KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - As a very little school girl in her home village of Morka of the extreme Northern Sudan, Fatima Abdoun Idris used to fear punishment from her firm teacher of housekeeping very much. And one day while holding a needle between her teeth, she was told by a classmate the teacher was on her way to the classroom. The perplexed Fatima hurriedly sat upright, unconsciously swallowing the needle. Forty years of suffering then followed, until when she at last got the right diagnosis and was rid of the metallic object in a clever surgery.
One year after Fatima had swallowed the needle, she began to feel pain on the lower right side of her bowels. Her mother took her for medical treatment in Khartoum. Checkups were made and a surgery was conducted. But no use. The doctors told her there was no needle in her body.
In 1980 Fatima got married, and later gave birth to a number of children. Later on when her husband died, she had to observe the traditional mourning of her area. She was made to lessen lying on bed and also to receive guests in a sitting position. Here the pains increased and she developed fits of chronic headache. She also lost appetite for food. Visiting the doctors she was served with no more than pain killers.
Then she, on a social visit to the nearby town of Dongola, made a new check up, including an X ray which showed something unusual. The surgeon opened her colon but could not find the needle.
Later on an X-ray image was taken in Khartoum that showed the needle in the colon and a surgery was ordered.
Says the surgeon who conducted the surgery, Consultant Doctor Mohammad Alkhair: “We were aware Fatima was operated on previously. So I decided to make a larger opening, to find that the needle was not inside the colon, but was sticking out of it. We used a mobile X-ray system used in bone surgeries to trace the needle. Astonishingly, the needle appeared in this set. It had pierced through the colon and settled outside it. It was outside the colon in the peritoneum membrane. Overtime the needle was turned into a twisted, dark object.”
Dr. Khair said the peritoneum membrane in which the needle was encased had acted as a policeman, guarding the bowels from inflammation that could have been caused by the presence of this foreign body, the needle. When the needle pierced through the colon wall, a sack of flesh built around it. After the surgery, the peritoneum membrane and the colon returned to their normal position and the pain was gone.”
Dr. Khair attributed the failure of the first surgery to detect the needle to the fact that the opening made was too small to allow the surgeon to spot the needle. He also said the medical equipment used at that old time were not as advanced as they are today.
He advised the young doctors to take their time with the patients and listen carefully to their complaints before drawing conclusions. This will help them to determine specifically what has happened and what should be done to overcome the problem.
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