Deliberate ingestion of foreign bodies by institutionalised psychiatric hospital patients and prison inmates.
AffiliationDepartment of Surgery, Cork University Hospital, Ireland.
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CitationIr J Med Sci. 1996 Oct-Dec;165(4):294-6.
JournalIrish journal of medical science
AbstractDeliberate and recurrent foreign body ingestion is a common problem among institutionalised patients. We review our experience with 36 cases of deliberate foreign body ingestion by prisoners or psychiatric patients, thirty of whom were institutionalised at the time of ingestion. Symptoms were frequently severe in the prison inmate group but, in contrast, psychiatric patients presented with few, if any, symptoms. A majority of objects pass spontaneously or remain in situ without complication. Twenty-four patients were discharged following initial evaluation and without specific treatment. Eight of these were reviewed electively and discharged within one week. Twelve patients were admitted for observation, seven of whom were discharged within 48 hrs. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed in four patients and an intragastric foreign body identified in two cases. Laparotomy was performed in two cases for unresolving mechanical intestinal obstruction. Management should be conservative when possible, with surgery indicated only for complications.