|An X-ray shows a needle that was found inserted into the left lung of a 14-month-old boy in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Monday. Shi Xianghui / For China Daily|
A mother in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, reported to police that her 14-month-old baby was attacked, after doctors removed a 5-centimeter-long needle from the boy's lung on Monday.
The baby, Lin Lin, began coughing and crying at his home in neighboring Danyang on Dec 29 and developed a high fever in the following days.
After several days of treatment with pills and injections at a local hospital, he was sent to Nanjing Children's Hospital for further examination.
Doctors took an X-ray of his chest and were shocked to find a needle-shaped metal object in his lung.
Mo Xuming, deputy director of Nanjing Children's Hospital, said the needle could not have been swallowed or inserted into the baby's body by accident.
"It was dangerous because the pinpoint was positioned outside the lung and could have moved toward the heart," Mo said.
Lin Lin's mother, surnamed Dai, recalled seeing a red mark on the left side of the boy's back the day before he got the fever.
"I showed the mark to many people, and they all told me it was an insect bite," Dai said. "It didn't occur to anyone that someone could have pushed the needle into the baby."
She said that she did not keep an needles in her home.
The incident is not the only one of its kind.
In August 2013, a man in Heilongjiang province inserted four needles into his 56-day-old daughter's body because he suspected the girl was not his biological child.
The man was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Media also reported a superstition among older generations in Northeast China that pushing needles into a girl's body will ensure the next child will be a son.
In Huai'an, Jiangsu province, an 11-month-old girl had one needle removed from her body in May, one in July and four in August.
In November 2005, doctors found that a needle had been inserted into the heart of a 17-month-old boy in Chongqing.