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article imageSwallowed pen still writes after 25 years in woman's stomach

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 19, 2011 in Odd News
An unusual medical situation has been discovered by doctors. Twenty-five years ago, a woman accidentally swallowed a black felt-tip pen. Remarkably, when doctors recently removed the item, it still contained usable ink.
A 76-year-old British woman was having some intestinal difficulties when she went to see a specialist. The case, which has been published in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, outlines the woman's medical situation which was referred to a GI specialist after she experienced weight loss and diarrhea.
The official diagnosis Dr. Oliver Waters gave was severe diverticulosis, however the specialist found an oddity when doing a medical examination on the woman.
Through a stomach scan, he saw something that didn’t belong in the cavity, "A linear foreign body in the stomach, but no other abnormality," was the description, according to the doctor's report.
Asking the woman, she recalled a story to her doctor that described how she accidentally swallowed a black felt-tip pen over two decades ago. She described a scenario where she was standing on stairs, and using the pen to check out a spot on her tonsil. During this process she slipped and fell, and the force of the fall pushed the pen down her throat, reported MSNBC.
At the time she'd told both her husband and general practitioner what had happened to the pen, but they were cynical and apparently didn't believe the story. The doctor did run an x-ray at the time, but scan results found no evidence of a pen lodged inside her body, so her claims were dismissed.
Modern technology, however, was able to see the pen. The medical case report said, "A gastroscopy demonstrated a plastic felt-tip pen sitting in the lumen of the stomach without evidence of any gastric damage. "
After a group consultation, doctors came to the conclusion the pen should be removed, even though it wasn't causing the woman's current health issues. Using a combined endoscopic procedure (ear, nose and throat) that required a general anesthetic, doctors successfully extracted the pen. Astonishingly, doctors found the pen actually still worked. In looking at the doctors' photos, the pen looks a bit worn, however the doctors were able to write the word "hello" with the pen and snapped a phoograph to demonstrate.
The medical writers said, "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."
Images of the scan and the actual pen can be viewed here.
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