July 11, 2008 / 4:28 PM / 9 years ago

Doctors pull screws, nails from metal-eating man

LIMA (Reuters) - Doctors in a coastal town in northwestern Peru have rescued the innards of a 38-year-old man by removing 17 metal objects -- among them nails, a watch clasp and a knife -- that he ate.

Luis Zarate was taken to the regional hospital of Trujillo earlier this week by his family after complaining of sharp stomach pains. Doctors took X-rays of his chest that showed his insides littered with screws.

"There were 17 strange objects found at the level of his stomach and colon," said Dr. Julio Acevedo, one of the surgeons who operated on Zarate.

The black-and-white scans showed Zarate's skeleton interlaced with things like bolts, barbed-wire and pens.

"The objects had caused the stomach to expand," said Acevedo.

Doctors said Zarate was mentally ill but it was not clear why he ate the metal.

Reporting by Carlos Valdez; Writing by Dana Ford; Editing by Terry Wade and John O'Callaghan

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