A nine-month-old baby has been hospitalised in the Asian nation of Tajikstan after doctors discovered that he was riddled with sharp needles.
He was brought after his mother was horrified to find one of the needles poking out of his gums, which she quickly removed.
Mudassir Karimov was shocked when doctors told her that x-rays revealed dozens more hidden away inside her son’s body.
Some of the needles had been there for so long that they had begun to rust inside his flesh.
Doctors are certain that the needles have been inserted into the boy slowly, and over a long period of time, and that this could not have possibly happened by accident.
His family have suggested that a carer may have inserted them to “ward off evil spirits”.
Doctors have since removed half a dozen of the needles but have encountered difficulties removing the rest.
Family discover nine-month-old baby is filled with metal needles 'inserted by carer to ward off spirits' https://t.co/1EBatNTASo— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) July 5, 2018
“We have not touched the needles in the skull and stomach, as the surgery would have taken too long,” said head doctor Shukhrat Choriev.
“Our job is to remove the needles -the police will decide how it happened,” said a source within the hospital. “But the child could not have done this himself.”
The case mirrors a similar incident last year where a boy in the neighbouring nation of Uzbekistan died after doctors discovered 16 needles hidden inside his body.
Similar cases have also been reported across central Asia where sharp needles have been inserted into the flesh of children to ward off evil spirits.
Meanwhile the boy’s family have insisted they do not know where the needles came from, and deny any part in the abuse.
The boy’s grandmother spoke to reporters and described one of the needles, saying it had an eye but lacked a pointed end.
Surgeons also confirmed that some of the pieces removed were just normal sewing needles.
“The last two we removed were ordinary sewing needles,” said the surgeon. “They were not new. They had been inside the body for sometime and have already rusted.”
It is not known how doctors will move ahead and remove the remaining needles, but it is unlikely that they can be allowed to remain given the potential for infection and injury that they pose.