Chinese man hospitalised after light slap from girlfriend caused organs to shift

A computed tomography scan showing Mai's diaphragmatic hernia.
PHOTO: Guangzhou Daily

All's fair in love and war but one man from Guangzhou was probably not expecting internal injuries after play-fighting with his girlfriend.

The 27-year-old was admitted to hospital on Nov 6 after a light slap on the stomach from his girlfriend left him with chest pains and breathing difficulties, reported Guangzhou Daily.

The man, identified only as Mai, told reporters that his symptoms had started after a playful "fight" with his girlfriend of two years the previous day.

"At the time, I thought it was just some chest tightness and pain that would go away after resting. But the pain got worse after more activity," Mai said.

To his surprise, doctors diagnosed him with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

This occurs when the diaphragm, which separates the chest from the abdomen, has an opening that allows abdominal organs to move upward into the chest.

In Mai's case, the defect was present since birth.

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His doctor, Feng Jinhang, told reporters that he had observed bowel sounds in Mai's chest. This indicated that Mai's intestines had moved up into his chest cavity.

Mai underwent surgery later that day to repair his diaphragm and move his organs back into place.

Diaphragmatic hernias require urgent medical attention and can result in gastrointestinal necrosis, perforation and life-threatening infections if left untreated, Feng said.

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kimberlylim@asiaone.com