Runi Khatun, 26, from West Bengal, India, felt weak and emaciated before she was rushed to the hospital. She had begun to throw up after every meal and when the doctors examined her, they were baffled. Khatun was a compulsive eater and she had eaten almost 3 lbs of coins and jewellery.

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During the surgery, the doctors had to remove 69 chains, 46 coins, 8 lockets, 11 nose rings, 4 keys, 5 anklets, and a watch dial from her abdomen. Runi’s mother had complained that jewellry from their house had started to go missing but she had no idea that it was her daughter who was eating them. The total net worth of the coins and jewellery removed from her stomach was at £53,000 approximately. Upon asking about the missing jewelry, Runi would start crying and not tell anyone that she had been eating them. Khatun’s mother said that the woman had eaten the coins that she took from her brother’s shop.

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The doctors said that while most of the objects were made out of brass and copper, there were some gold items as well, which were very expensive. “Her condition was so critical that she required at least five bottles of blood. She could not even intake food physically so we had to administer Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to artificially inject food through her mouth,” said Dr Siddhartha Biswas, the head of surgical department at Rampurhat Government Medical College and Hospital. It had taken a week for Runi’s condition to stabilize and only then did the doctors decide to operate on her.

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The surgery lasted four hours and fifteen minutes, during the course of which the doctors removed large chunks of metal and jewellery from her stomach. The head of surgery said that the girl’s condition was now stable. He also said that if they operated on her any sooner, she would not have been able to survive.