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The case of the deadly
santol seeds, a
Posted: 9:52 PM (Manila
Time) | Aug. 23, 2002
By Rafael R. Castillo,
Inquirer News Service
More frequent in older peopleAlthough the complications are not
as common in the young as in the middle or older age group, the
outpatient department of the OMMC warns both the young and the old.
including death, due to swallowed santol seeds are more frequent in
the older age group. The age of patients in the OMMC report ranged
from 45 to 65 years.
"This is most likely due to the higher
incidence of abnormalities in the intestines in the older age group
compared to the younger population," explains Dr. Joson.
"As we know, habits are hard to break when they're deeply
instilled in the individual at a young age; one grows old with the
habit," says Dr. Joson.
According to Dr. Joson, the
debilitation and deaths associated with swallowing santol seeds have
reached such a magnitude to consider it a public health problem.
The OMMC surgical department cautions that this problem
carries a risk of premature death, even in an otherwise healthy
"Our department feels that death from swallowing
santol seeds is unnecessary and can easily be prevented by simply
not doing it. Unfortunately, our countrymen simply would not heed
the repeated advisories we have made in the past," laments Dr.
The doctor added that their recent case was not an
isolated one. Similar santol seed accidents have been reported in
various hospitals. Most of these cases are not being reported, hence
the low awareness about the hazards of swallowing santol seeds.
Last year, during the santol season, OMMC and the Philippine
General Hospital had several cases.
"Short of a registry, we
feel that death from swallowing santol seeds is reaching or has
reached a public health magnitude such that a health advisory is
necessary," says Dr. Joson.
He adds that the OMMC surgery
department is starting a registry on swallowed santol seeds
requiring surgery on the abdomen. Reports on cases may be included
in the registry through e-mail: email@example.com.
Joson adds the following advice: "If santol seeds are accidentally
swallowed, watch out for abdominal pain. If abdominal pain occurs,
consult an abdominal surgeon (general surgeon) right away. He will
give the necessary advice on what to do next."
|STORY HIGHLIGHTS: |
and premature death
frequent in older people