A boy injected himself with lethal mercury because he wanted to be like his favourite X-Men superhero.
The 15-year-old boy in India reportedly wanted to be like the superhero Mercury from the Marvel world, but he ended up with painful ulcers that refused to heal.
The boy also allowed spiders to bite him in a bid to become like Spider-Man.
The unusual case was published in a report in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, which revealed the injuries suffered by the unnamed child after he deliberately injected mercury into his body.
He visited a trauma centre in India with “multiple non-healing ulcers on the left forearm”.
Medics suspected that substance abuse may have been a factor so carried out a psychiatric evaluation. The teenager revealed he had intentionally injected himself with mercury he had managed to extract from a thermometer at least three times.
The report says that the boy was “inspired” by the character Mercury from the X-Men franchise who has appeared in a number of comics.
It added: “Interestingly, he had a past history of multiple bites by spiders to simulate Spider-Man. Surprisingly, he had no other psychiatric problems and had a normal IQ.”
Doctors carried out toxicology examinations to check for mercury levels in the teenager’s blood.
He had managed to miss all the major blood vessels while injecting the mercury, but the ulcers needed to be cut out and he had to undergo a skin graft.
The boy is expected to make a full recovery.
The report concluded: “The patient did not develop clinical signs of chronic poisoning, proving that subcutaneous mercury injection has a low risk of systemic toxicity, and that histopathology plays an important role in diagnosis.”