4-year-old swallows metal chain

Pediatric gastroenterologists pull a ten-centimeter chain out of a 4-year-old boy's stomach.

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Yedidya Ben-Or,

The chain pulled from the boy's stomach
The chain pulled from the boy's stomach
Courtesy of Rambam Hospital

A four-year-old from Israel's north arrived in Haifa's Rambam Hospital after swallowing a long metal chain.

The child's sister saw he was playing with the chain, and when it disappeared a few minutes later, she understood he had swallowed it.

The boy was taken to the hospital by his parents, where he underwent a series of tests which showed that he had indeed swallowed a foreign object.

Since the child showed no symptoms and did not show any signs of pain, he remained under observation while hospital staff waited for the chain to make its way out of his body naturally, as is policy in such cases.

When the chain did not exit his body two days later, a chest x-ray was done in order to detect its placement in the body. This x-ray showed that the chain, which was ten centimeters long, had made its way into the boy's stomach. At this point, hospital staff decided not to wait any longer, and to remove the chain as quickly as possible.

With the boy under general anesthesia, the hospital's pediatric gastroenterologists executed a successful attempt to remove the chain from the child's stomach. The child remained under supervision until he was released on Sunday in good condition.

"Theoretically, the chain could have become stuck in the child's stomach or intestine, causing a blockage," Rambam's Pediatric Gastroenterology Department Head Professor Ron Shaul said. "Our goal is to avoid invasive procedures as much as possible, especially when it comes to young children. But we had no option other than to remove the chain."

"Swallowing foreign objects can end in the worst way," he added. "We beg all parents to watch their children every second, and to avoid exposing them to small and dangerous objects, and to keep such objects out of their reach. If a child accidentally swallows a foreign object, bring him immediately to the closest emergency room."

X-ray showing the chain in the boy's stomach
Courtesy of Rambam Hospital







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