A 21-year-old mechanic from Nerkundram who consumed industrial chemicals in an alleged suicide bid was rescued by doctors here.

The patient consumed a mixture of Desmodur (diisocyanate) and Desmophen (polyhydroxy ester), which when combined, forms polyurethane foam. The chemicals are used as insulation material to repair refrigerators, airconditioners and freezers.

The patient was brought to the toxicology department of Government General Hospital a day after he consumed the poison. After administering first aid, surgical and medical gastroenterologists took over as he complained of pain in the stomach and discomfort in the chest.

An examination found ‘a cylindrical, hard, white mass in the entire oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach’. As the mass had not attached itself to the walls of the oesophagus, doctors managed to remove it through endoscopy.

However, a CT scan revealed the mass in the stomach had taken the shape of the organ. Surgical gastroenterologists had to cut open the stomach to remove the hard mass.

“We mixed the chemicals in order to study them. We then found on the internet that the chemicals were normally used only under industrial conditions. We were amazed he survived as the chemical foam grows 30 times its original size, solidifies and assumes the shape of the container it is stored in. We tried to assess the temperature of the foam. But the thermometer used to measure human temperature broke and we had to use an industrial thermometer. It showed the heat generated to be 94 degrees Celsius (201 degrees Fahrenheit),” said S.M. Chandramohan, who was part of the team that performed the surgery.

The patient, who underwent the surgery last month, was asked to return for a review and doctors found he was eating normally, said dean of GH, V. Kanagasabai.

Doctors have named the foreign object, removed from the man’s gastrointestinal tract, as oesophago bezoar.

Keywords: suicide attempt

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