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|The case of the deadly
santol seeds, a rejoinder
Posted: 9:52 PM (Manila Time) | Aug. 23, 2002
Inquirer News Service
Unecessary and premature deathSantol is a seasonal tropical fruit
with seeds half the size of chestnuts.
EAT the fruit
but don't swallow the seeds unless you want to get into trouble.
The Department of Surgery of the Ospital ng Maynila Medical
Center (OMMC) headed by Dr. Reynaldo Joson once again issued an
advisory to warn the public on the hazards of swallowing santol
"We strongly advise
the public not to swallow santol seeds because they can cause
unnecessary and premature death," warns Dr. Joson.
reports that a 47-year-old female vendor died recently as a result
of complication of swallowed santol seeds. She ate about 10 Bangkok
santols and swallowed all the seeds, about 30 to 40 of them. Three
to four days later, she went to the OMMC because of severe abdominal
pain that could not be relieved by medicines.
excruciating pain all over the abdomen when palpated by the
physician. With a diagnosis of perforated intestines secondary to
the swallowed seeds, an operation was immediately performed. Upon
opening the abdomen, feces were seen spilled all over the abdominal
cavity, leaking out from three perforations in the large intestines.
The perforations were caused by the sharp ends of the santol
Surgeons had to remove the segment of the large
intestine with the perforations, and make a colostomy, which is an
artificial anus on the abdominal wall. They spent a lot of time
cleaning the abdominal cavity to remove the feces.
surgeons tried their best to save the patient but on the fourth day,
the patient died of uncontrollable and irreversible infection in the
blood stream, called septicemia.
"Most of the time, the
seeds will be passed through the anus during bowel movement," Dr.
"However, in some cases the seeds may cause
intestinal obstruction by sticking together to form a hard bolus of
seeds or by completely plugging the intestinal lumen that has been
previously and partially constricted by a disease like a tumor or
He adds that the seeds may also cause
perforation of the intestines. After the fibers enveloping the seed
have been digested, the remaining shell, which is indigestible, is
usually sharp at its two ends. These sharp ends can perforate a
normal intestinal wall especially if it has been weakened by a
disease or a degenerative condition, such as repeated inflammation
or diverticulosis of the intestines.
perforation will result in a spillage of feces into the abdominal
cavity causing peritonitis, which is a serious infection of the
lining of the abdomen and the entire abdominal cavity. If surgery is
not done promptly, the infection can get into the bloodstream and
this may lead to death.
Intestinal obstruction and
perforation caused by swallowed santol seeds require
resection-anastomosis surgery, which consists of cutting out and
discarding the damaged parts of the intestines and reconnecting the
cut ends together. Occasionally, the surgeon may do a colostomy.
|STORY HIGHLIGHTS: |
Unecessary and premature
frequent in older people