Diamond in the rough

We’ve covered a few cases of people swallowing unusual things before, although this is probably one of the strangest cases we’ve yet come across in the medical literature.

A diamond thief was caught by a security guard during a burglary and needed a free hand to fight him off, so he swallowed the precious stone.

He was detained and taken to hospital but the diamond failed to pass naturally, so the police obtained a court order allowing the doctors to remove the diamond through the, er… tradesman’s entrance.

Often, the presence of unusual foreign objects inside the body are the result of mental illness or accident but this is the first case I know that has occurred due to quick thinking.

A 36-year-old man involved in the burglary of a precious diamond was surprisingly found at the crime scene by a security agent while he was just holding in his hand the precious stone. To keep the stone in a safe place during the battle with the security agent, the thief put the stone in his mouth and swallowed it.

Once the thief was arrested by the police, he was kept under surveillance and the stools were screened to retrieve the stone. Unfortunately, the bowel movements of the suspect were rare and the stone was not evacuated in a timely fashion. The patient was then referred to our hospital for an abdominal X-rays recommended by current medical and forensic guidelines.

The abdominal X-ray showed the stone in the cecal area. Because of court order, we shortened the waiting time until natural expulsion. Therefore, the patient underwent a total colonoscopy in the presence of police officers that easily allowed uncommon stone retrieval using a basket catheter.

The picture above, by the way, is what a diamond looks like through an endoscope, after is has got stuck up the nether regions of a burglar.

Link to case study.
pdf of full text.


  1. Emmy
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Someone should put on an art gallery showing of images like this. Between dog radiographs (those boneheads will eat anything), birds ingesting objects that people toss in the water and now this story, you’d have a great exhibit.

  2. Steve Merrick
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    “The picture above, by the way, is what a diamond looks like through an endoscope, after is has got stuck up the nether regions of a burglar.” It’s this kind of poetic prose that keeps me coming back to Mind Hacks, time after time. :-) Keep up the good work!

  3. anthony
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Strange? This seems like the best reason I ever heard of swallowing a diamond.

  4. Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    This week, in Argentina, a burglar stealed a jewellery golden chain and swallowed it!
    What a coincident!
    Here the new (in spanish): http://www.elciudadanoweb.com/?p=209870

    Greetings from Argentina,

    PS:They are still waiting for the treasure to come out…

  5. cavall de quer
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Errrr- wasn’t this a bit of an invasive procedure? cruel and unusual? Wonder who’ll be hanging that stone round their neck, too…..

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