A surgeon from the Ospital ng Maynila
Medical Center (OMMC) has warned the public not to swallow
santol seeds as they could cause premature death.
Dr. Reynaldo Joson, chairman of the department of surgery
of OMMC, revealed that a week ago, a 47-year-old female vendor
died as a result of complication of swallowed santol seeds.
The woman, he said, ate about 10 Bangkok santol fruits and
swallowed all the seeds - about 30 to 40 of them. Three to
four days later, she consulted at OMMC because of acute
Dr. Joson said that on examination, severe tenderness was
all over the abdomen. With a diagnosis of perforated
intestines secondary to swallowed santol seeds, an operation
was immediately done. Upon opening the abdomen, fecal
materials were seen all over the cavity leaking out from three
perforations in the large intestines.
The perforations were caused by the sharp ends of Bangkok
santol seeds. As treatment, the attending surgeons had to
remove the segment of the large intestine containing the
perforations, put out a colostomy (artificial anus on the
abdominal wall) and clean the abdominal cavity to remove the
feces. The surgeons tried their best to save the patient.
However, on the 4th day after the operation, the patient died
of uncontrollable and irreversible septicemia (infection in
the blood stream).
Dr. Joson said that the case last week is not the only case
that has occurred in the Philippines. Most likely, he said,
there are other similar cases occurring in other hospitals,
especially government ones, and throughout the country which
are not being reported and publicized.
Last year, he added, during the same season, OMMC and the
Philippine General Hospital had about two cases each. Short of
a registry, we feel that death from swallowing santol seeds is
reaching or has reached a public health magnitude that a
health advisory is necessary.
He said that the OMMC Surgery Departmet is starting a
registry on swallowed santol seeds causing surgical abdomen.
He also advised that if santol seeds are accidentally
swallowed, watch out for abdominal pain. If abdominal pain
occurs, consult an abdominal surgen (general surgeon) right
away who will give the necessary advice on what to do