Scientists have reported the successful removal of a live 50cm 'eel' from a man's rectum.
According to the paper in the journal Surgery, the 50-year old man was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department at Kwong Wah Hospital in Kowloon, Hong Kong, suffering abdominal pain.
Doctors seeing to the patient diagnosed peritonitis and did an x-ray to find out what was wrong. The x-ray revealed the presence of a live 'eel' in the man's rectum.
"On further questioning," says the paper, "the patient admitted an eel was inserted into the rectum in an attempt to relieve constipation.
"Emergency laparotomy found a 50cm eel biting the splenic flexure of the colon, and a 3cm perforation was found over the anterior wall of the rectum.
"Insertion of a live animal into the rectum causing rectal perforation has never been previously reported. "This may be related to a bizarre healthcare belief, inadvertent sexual behaviour, or criminal assault. However, the true reason may never be known."
The patient was discharged a week later.
This item was first published on the Practical Fishkeeping website on Friday April 24, 2009. It may not be reproduced without written permission.