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Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury
The girl who swallows knives: uncontrollable deliberate self-harm in a teenage girl with borderline personality disorder
  1. Mohammed Rashid,
  2. Ishaan Gosai
  1. Department of Psychiatry, Hellesdon Hospital, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mohammed Rashid, Mohammed.Rashid{at}


The authors describe the case of a now 19-year-old girl who after a traumatic childhood, began to deliberately self-harm at the age of 13, often by cutting her forearms. More recently, however, swallowing inanimate objects has been her method of choice. At the time of writing, she has had over 150 accident and emergency department (A&E) attendances, over 10 gastroscopies and a laparotomy. Knives, razors and six-inch sewing pins have all been removed from her gastrointestinal tract. So far, psychiatrists have been unable to stop her and her risk of accidental death rises every time she deliberately self-harms. The authors include the patient's personal views on her illness and discuss borderline personality disorder as a condition.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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