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Years ago, as a PG student, I was assigned to work on a dissertation titled ‘Duodenal Mucosal Study in Malabsorption Syndrome”. The study entailed taking the intestinal biopsy using a tool called ‘Crosby Capsule”.
Crosby Capsule is a spring-loaded metal capsule measuring 1cm long and 7mm in diameter, connected to a long thin polythene tube. The capsule has two halves fitted to each other before using. The patient is made to swallow the capsule and when it reaches the desired part of the intestine, a biopsy is taken using negative suction. Then the capsule is pulled out with the help of the polythene tube and the biopsy sample sent for study.
I breezed through the first couple of cases before the trouble started. At the next essay, the detachable part of the capsule got unstuck and was left behind in the patient’s tummy as I pulled the tube out. Though it did not cause any harm to the patient per se, the capsule itself was an expensive gizmo belonging to my boss. But then, an ingenious ward boy came to my rescue: He tailed the patient till he passed the motion right into a pot and after sifting through the goo, restored the capsule to me. I tipped him well and from then on I unofficially appointed him as the ‘Officer in charge, Search & Recovery of capsule”.
The mishap occurred many times after that and each time my ‘search and recovery agent” rose to the occasion. As I went through the ‘motion” of taking the biopsy, the tidings of my exploits with the Crosby Capsule reached my boss’s ears and he promptly put paid to my adventure sport.
He gave me a fresh topic for the dissertation. “If you don’t change the topic”, he said, tongue in cheek, “You may have to re-title your earlier dissertation as ‘Lost and Found – A Study of Biopsy Capsule in Motion””!!!!!

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