Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Open Wide

Popular imagination aside, in my years spent working in the emergency department, foreign body removals just really weren't that common. Of course there were occasional instances where objects found themselves in unlikely places -- "Sir, either we wait for the laxative to help the golf ball out, or I'm afraid you'll need surgery" -- but they really weren't a frequent occurrence.

I can also dispel any rumors of a "hall of fame" of removed objects... you'll find no drawer of lightbulbs or Coke bottles in the Big City ED. You will, however, find a very impressive collection of foreign bodies detailed in a new book about a pioneering endoscopist. Profiled in the NYT, Swallow tells the story of a turn of the century physician who removed (and kept) everything from keys to miniature binoculars from inside his patients.

Makes the pen I once saw fished out of a patient's throat seem not nearly as impressive.

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