Tags: Health Topics | Digestive Problems | toothpick | surgeon | children | diet | massachusetts general hospital

Report: Teen Nearly Died From Toothpick He Didn't Know He Ate

a pick of light wooden toothpicks surrounds a blue book about toothpicks
(Pat Wellenbach/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 31 January 2019 07:33 PM

A young athlete nearly lost his life to a toothpick he did not even know he had swallowed, a medical journal reported.

The 18-year-old's harrowing, nearly three-week-long episode was described by The New England Journal of Medicine, and involved a 3-inch long toothpick from a sandwich that made it through the teen's digestive tract, but poked through the intestinal wall and pierced an artery.

Nobody saw it — despite blood tests and scans — until doctors operated on the deathly ill youngster at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The boy's ordeal, described by the The New York Times, began when the teen — described as a professional athlete who was on the road with his team for training — developed a fever and pain in his right lower abdomen, visited an ER and was discharged after doctors could not come up with a definitive diagnosis.

Two weeks later, with a return of pain and bloody bowel movements —and a fever of 103 —the teen visited an ER in a different city; this time, an MRI found nothing. He was sent back to his family ]and two days later, was seen at Mass General in Boston, where doctors ordered a colonoscopy.

The teen's condition suddenly worsened, however, and he was in perilous danger of septic shock, the Times reported. When doctors got him onto the operating table, they found the troublesome pick.

But removing it triggered a whole new set of life-threatening events that would need several operations to fix, the Times reported.

The youngster ultimately told doctors he recalled shortly before he first became ill, he had eaten a sandwich that did not go down so well — likely the one that had a toothpick in it.

"It's important to put these things in perspective," Dr. Fabian Scheid, part of the Mass General medical team told the Times, but conceded about toothpicks: "I stay away from them. I don't offer them to any guests at my barbecue parties."

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A toothpick he did not even know he had swallowed nearly cost a young athlete's life, according to a medical journal.
toothpick, surgeon, children, diet, massachusetts general hospital
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2019-33-31
Thursday, 31 January 2019 07:33 PM
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