In a case of fortune prediction gone terribly wrong, Capital City Police Peshawar, Pakistan, are currently searching for a proclaimed healer who is accused of convincing a pregnant woman to hammer a two-inch nail into her head. Per local news reports, the unnamed Pakistani woman embedded the nail into her skull after the healer told her that doing so would result in her having a son. Yikes.
The spine-chilling story goes something like this: a woman showed up at a local hospital in Pakistan with a two-inch nail (five centimetres) implanted deep into her skull. According to local outlet Dawn, she had three daughters and was desperately hoping for her current pregnancy to give her a son as she was afraid her husband would leave if she had another girl. Approaching an unlicensed religious healer, she was advised by him to hammer in a nail into her skull in order for her to guarantee she’d be giving birth to a son.
The extreme lengths the woman went to in order to pursue having a male child become more understandable considering the preference of male children in Asia. Several populations use common practises such as dowries and many value the notion of male heirs continuing on the family legacy.
Hospital staff who attended to the woman at the Lady Reading Hospital told Dawn, “She is three months pregnant, and because of her husband’s fear, she went to the faith healer.” The healer in question allegedly gave the woman ‘taweez’ (an amulet for good luck in common South Asia), as well as “things to recite, and the nail.” “The victim then returned home and hammered the nail in her head,” the hospital staff member continued. The woman had initially told them that she hammered it in herself, however she later revealed that the healer she went to had carried out the act.
According to the local publication, family members of the woman heard her screaming in pain and made attempts to remove the nail but were unsuccessful. She also tried to take the nail out herself with pliers. Her family eventually took her to hospital to be treated.
Haider Suleman Khan, the resident neurosurgeon at Lady Reading, also spoke to Dawn and shared that “doctors successfully removed the nail in an operation” after the woman arrived at the hospital. “She said that a woman in her locality did the same and gave birth to a boy even though the ultrasound had shown her unborn child to be a girl,” Khan continued.
An X-ray of the victim’s skull showed that the nail had pierced the top of her forehead but missed her brain miraculously. Khan stated that a hammer or another heavy object must’ve been used to knock it in, according to The Telegraph. He also shared with AFP that the woman was “fully conscious” during the procedure but was in immense pain.”
Now Pakistani police are on the lookout for the charlatan doc. While investigations are ongoing as of now, they are looking for the healer to bring him in for questioning. Covering the story, the BBC noted that the healer’s name still remains unknown and the woman left the hospital soon after the nail was removed without talking to law enforcement.
Insider reported that police are also inspecting CCTV footage in order to ascertain the woman’s identity.
In a tweet posted on Tuesday 8 February, Peshawar police chief Abbas Ahsan claimed that a special task force had been formed to investigate the incident. “The team will also investigate why the incident was not reported to police by the treating doctor,” Ahsan wrote.
The Los Angeles Times also investigated the situation and found that ‘pirs’ (faith healers) are fairly common in Pakistan while police crackdowns on them are rare. However, the usual advice of offering an assortment of herbs to try, advising people to pray for their ailments and money troubles is a far cry from telling someone to hammer a nail into their head.
Among several other translated tweets posted by Capital City Police Peshawar, an update posted today, Thursday 10 February, stated, “The woman’s mental balance does not seem to be right. She is undergoing a medical examination. The woman’s husband has also been included in the investigation.”
On Tuesday 14 December, Paediatrician Michael Narvey from the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Canada, shared a video on TikTok speaking about the rare case of a woman growing a baby in her liver instead of her womb. “I thought I had seen it all [until] a 33-year-old woman comes in with a 14-day history of menstrual bleeding and 49 days since her last menstrual period,” he first stated.
“What they find in the liver is this: a baby. She had an ectopic pregnancy in her liver. We see these sometimes in the abdomen but never in the liver. This is a first for me,” Doctor Narvey continued in the video. Doctor Karan Raj, another medic on the app, responded to the initial video with his own take on the medical case.
Doctor Raj explained that it was “one of the scariest CT scans I’ve ever seen—a 27-year-old woman with a healthy 2-week foetus in the right lobe of the liver.” He continued by saying that so-called hepatic ectopic pregnancies are so rare that “there are only a handful of cases documented in the literature,” adding that the “liver is a highly vascular structure so any compressive force placed on it could result in massive internal bleeding.”
I already know what some of you are thinking—that this is yet another story by some TikTok-famous doctors to garner views and likes on the platform. However, although very rare, ectopic pregnancies can actually happen. According to the NHS, an ectopic pregnancy is “when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.”
“The fallopian tubes are the tubes connecting the ovaries to the womb. If an egg gets stuck in them, it won’t develop into a baby and your health may be at risk if the pregnancy continues,” its website continues. Speaking to The Independent, the Mayo Clinic—a nonprofit American academic medical centre focused on integrated health care, education, and research—confirmed that “such pregnancies can’t proceed normally” and that “the fertilised egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated.”
While in the case of the unnamed woman, her foetus ended up growing in her liver, the medical centre added that an ectopic pregnancy can also take place in “the ovary, abdominal cavity, or the lower part of the uterus.”
According to the NHS, early signs that this kind of pregnancy may be occurring include a missed period and other signs of pregnancy, stomach pain low down on one side, vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge, pain in the tip of your shoulder and discomfort when peeing or defecating. “In the UK, around 1 in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic. This is around 11,000 pregnancies a year,” it states.
That being said, in a subsequent video, Doctor Narvey noted that one viewer indicated that a baby survived a hepatic pregnancy in Africa back in 2003. In an article titled Miracle baby ‘grew in liver’ the BBC reported that the baby “was born after specialists performed a difficult operation to deliver her.” Liver specialist Professor Jack Krige, who helped deliver the baby, told a South African newspaper, “She is the real thing. She is truly a miracle baby.” Both the baby and her mother, Ncise Cwayita, 20, were reported to be well after the delivery.
In Cwayita’s case, doctors only discovered the baby was growing in the liver when they performed a scan a week before she was due. Her womb was found to be empty, but doctors found a small “window” where the amniotic sac connected with the outside of the liver—this is where they were able to go in to deliver the baby.
They had to leave the placenta and amniotic sac in the liver, because the mother’s life would have been at risk. At the time, it was expected they would be absorbed back into her body.
While this previous case might seem encouraging in regards to the more recent occurrence, Doctor Narvey made clear in his second video that Cwayita’s baby was “not actually in the liver, [it] was attached to the liver.”