A man has been holding in a poo for over 40 days now, seriously risking his own health.
Lamarr Chambers was pulled over by police on the January 17 after a chase in Essex, UK, the BBC report. When they looked in his car “officers saw him moving his head towards his hand as if he was eating something,” prosecutor Kathy Wilson said.
Though the defendant says this was chicken, the police believe he has swallowed drugs. He has since been placed in a cell with a modified toilet that would allow the police to search for any evidence in his stool.
Since his arrest he has gone on a “toilet strike” and is refusing to take a poop, restricting his meal intake in order to prevent the inevitable according to prosecutors, though his defense lawyers argue he is genuinely trying to evacuate his bowels.
A magistrates court has been told that Chambers, 24, has refused laxatives and an X-ray. He has smashed the previous record of holding in a bowel movement in police custody, which is believed to be 32 days, according to the BBC.
The court has been told by his defense that he has not been given privacy for the duration of his arrest.
“There’s the potential of something going seriously wrong. We’re in an arena of risk of death.”
So how dangerous is this?
Mr Chambers has been eating and drinking during this time, so starvation may not be the biggest risk to his health. However, there are other problems that could arise.
The first obvious problem is that if he has swallowed drugs, as the prosecution believes, the container could burst and flood his system, risking an overdose. Given that he is charged with supplying crack cocaine and heroin, that would be very bad for his health indeed.
If the bag doesn’t burst, or it turns out he was just eating chicken, that doesn’t mean he’s in the clear.
In 2015 a teenage girl with a phobia of toilets died after holding in a bowel movement for eight weeks. The build-up led to her chest cavity becoming compressed and eventually she died of a heart attack.
A post-mortem revealed she had a “massive extension of the large bowel”, though an inquest stated that her life could have been saved if she hadn’t refused medical interventions.
Assuming it doesn’t get to that stage, he will still suffer as his stools return to his colon where the water will be reabsorbed. The feces will become hardened and as a result, he could get an impacted bowel, which could require surgery.
His defense says that the prosecution doesn’t actually need the stool to make their case and that having it would just be the “cherry on the cake”.