Friday, February 18, 2011

Stories from the Clippings

Blind Boy Scheduled for Open Heart Surgery:

Bobby Pin Mistaken for Food?

What kind of food would that be? A french fry? A piece of chicken?

I don't know but apparently a little three year old boy, blind from birth and getting ready for open heart surgery thought that the bobby pin should go in his mouth. That in itself is not so unusual; kids put stuff in their mouths all day long. In fact, someone I know chewed up a glass christmas ball and swallowed it down and another familiar kept caterpillars in his mouth (And to those who are reading this: you know who you are). Fortunately neither one of them suffered any ill effects.

But poor Dale Slowik swallowed the bobby pin and promptly forgot about it and his parents were none the wiser. The bobby pin went down easy until it hit his intestines where it became securely lodged. It stayed there until Bobby went in for some preliminary x-rays some weeks later in preparation for his delicate heart surgery.

Low and behold, and much to the surprise of the attending physician, x-ray personnel and Dale's parents, there sat the pin. So there was nothing to do but to postpone the heart surgery and go after the pin. Lucky for Dale, he was ready for yet another surgery some weeks later.

This story reminds me of an x-ray image from the scrapbook of Dr. George Weirs King (1845-1929). Dr. King was the physician/surgeon of the Montana Mining Company in Marysville, Montana. He invented apparatus for all sorts of curious diseases and accidents. Among his duties was to haul up injured miners from deep in the earth, set broken bones, correct club-feet and apparently, to remove a penny-whistle from the esophagus of one young boy.

Extracting swallowed objects from children seems to be a required component of the dossier of many a physician.

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