A 38-year-old man told a clinic he had been suffering from breathing problems for a number of years. The initial examination found he had a deviated septum (when your nasal septum is significantly displaced to one side) and calcified septal spurs. After performing a rhinoscopy however, doctors were able to discover what was truly wrong with the man: a tooth was growing in his nostril.
As explained by doctors Sagar Khanna and Michael Turner in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Physical examination of the nose showed a septal deviation, calcified septal spurs, and a 2-cm perforation in the posterior septum. On rhinoscopy, a hard, nontender, white mass was observed in the floor of the right nostril. Computed tomography of the paranasal sinuses showed a well-defined, radiodense mass consistent with an inverted ectopic tooth in the nasal cavity, which was thought to explain the obstructive symptoms and septal perforation.”
The tooth was later removed from the man’s nose during oral and otolaryngologic surgery and measured 14 millimetres in length. “At follow-up three months after surgery, the patient’s symptoms of nasal obstruction had resolved,” Khanna and Turner further explained.
For an ectopic tooth—ectopic meaning that it was in an abnormal place or position, in this case it’s fairly obvious why—to appear in someone’s nose is extremely rare. According to an NHS information sheet about ectopic teeth, “Sometimes one or more teeth develop in the wrong position, end up getting stuck and remain buried in the jawbone under the gum.”
It continued, “The most common ectopic teeth are the canine teeth in the upper jaw. The main risk of this is that the tooth can bump into the roots of other adult teeth and cause damage. Sometimes this can make them feel wobbly and eventually need to be removed. A cyst can also form around the buried tooth. Some people have a baby tooth left in their mouth, which has not been naturally pushed out by the buried adult tooth. This baby tooth over time may eventually be lost leaving a gap or require further dental treatment to replace it.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m booking a dentist appointment as we speak.
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.”