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  • Doctors at Aster Ramesh Sanghamitra Hospital, Ongole save the life of a 22-year-old male whose friends jokingly inflated his abdomen with an air pump

    Published on January 26, 2022

    We have all come across being pranked on or have played a prank on someone else. Often meant as an innocent joke or an attempt to cackle oneself, a prank could go very wrong, and the failed attempt could result in a serious injury or could even be fatal.

    In a recent freak incident at Ongole in the Prakasham District of Andhra Pradesh, a prank gone wrong resulted in a tragic turn of events. A 22-year-old male was brought to the emergency department of Aster Ramesh Hospital, Ongole and presented with per rectal industrial air pump insufflation. The cause of the rectal perforation was due to the boy’s friends’ playfully inflating the boy’s abdomen with an air pump at a party that night. This further led to a complicated and serious condition known as ‘Tension Pneumoperitoneum’ putting the boy’s life at risk.

    The boy was brought in a semi-comatose state with difficulty in breathing and abdominal distention (outward swelling). His blood pressure had dropped considerably, and his pulse was feeble. Emergency doctors reviewed a CT scan of the abdomen which showed rupture of the intestine with extensive accumulation of air within the abdomen causing compression on the organs and blood vessels. He was diagnosed with a critical condition called “Abdominal Compartment Syndrome” with tension Pneumoperitoneum.

    The patient was immediately taken for an emergency laparotomy surgery.  The air was let out and the damaged intestines were repaired.  Post-surgery, the patient was monitored in the ICU and after 7 days, subsequently discharged.

    Speaking about the case, Dr. Karthik Babu Perumalla, Consultant Laparoscopic GI & Bariatric and Endoscopic Surgeon, Aster Ramesh Hospital, Ongole who operated on the patient said, “Such incidents although rare, should be avoided.  The air that was pumped with high pressure blew out the intestines and filled the abdomen with high pressure. Such high pressure within the abdomen is called “Tension Pneumoperitoneum” as a result of which the blood supply to vital organs like the intestines and kidneys deplete and could potentially lead to death”.

    “An incident as such in particular leaves the patient in such a critical condition where surgery should be performed within a few hours to have a chance to save the life.  The patient could have died even before reaching the hospital if there was any delay” added Dr. Perumalla.

    Pranks may be funny. However, sometimes they can put a person in grave danger that could not only cause severe injury but also someone’s life. One must be aware of their actions and stop and realize when fun merges with fatality.

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