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Pen Removed From Woman’s Stomach After 25 Years – And It Still Works

Discussion in 'Gastroenterology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    Surgeons at a British hospital successfully removed a pen from a stomach of a 76-year-old woman , the patient swallowed this pin by accident 25 years ago. But here’s the part of this long drawn-out tale that has been getting a lot of ink: The pen still works.

    The British Medical Journal reports that a 76-year-old female was referred to the Devon and Exeter Hospital for urgent investigation due to weight loss and diarrhea. Doctors found the plastic felt-tip pen during a gastroscopy.

    After doctors questioned her, the unnamed woman recalled unintentionally swallowing a pen 25 years earlier. She had used the writing instrument to poke at a spot on her tonsils when she slipped, fell and swallowed the pen. But the BMJreports that her husband and general practitioner dismissed her story back in 1986. X-rays done at the time didn’t pick up any unusual objects in her stomach.

    Fast forward 25 years and the medical team had a dilemma: What to do with the pen?

    The woman’s diarrhea and other symptoms got better on their own. Although the pen didn’t seem to be causing any health problems, doctors decided to remove it as a precaution.

    This isn’t the first reported case of someone swallowing a pen: the doctors noted there has been at least one case report of a duodenal perforation caused by an ingested ballpoint pen.

    It may however, be the first known case in which a pen has survived 25 years in someone’s stomach and still worked. Doctors used the freed pen to write “Hello” in dark ink.

    “This case highlights that plain abdominal X-rays may not identify ingested plastic objects, and occasionally it may be worth believing the patient’s account however unlikely it may be,” the BMJ notes.

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