A prisoner in Ireland had to undergo surgery to remove a cellphone from his stomach.
After vomiting for four hours, a 29-year-old prisoner known to have social and psychiatric problems was rushed to the emergency room at a Dublin hospital, as reported by the Daily Mail. Six hours prior to the hospital visit, the man told staff he had swallowed a cellphone.
A chest X-ray revealed that the phone was located just above the stomach. This was the first reported case of an adult swallowing a cellphone that ended up in his stomach.
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Doctors initially tried to remove the phone through a gastrointestinal endoscopy, which is commonly performed to remove swallowed objects that have not passed into the digestive system, as noted by CBS. An endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a video camera and a light, was inserted to locate the phone and potentially drag it out through the esophagus. However, despite using various medical tools, the team was unable to properly align the phone without possibly damaging the esophagus.
Therefore, the doctors were required to make an incision into his stomach to remove the phone. This procedure, known as a laparotomy, is used in less than one percent of people who swallow a foreign object. Most cases of a similar nature tend to resolve themselves throughout conservative management or endoscopy, as stated by the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.
An ingested mobile phone in the stomach may not be amenable for safe removal using the current endoscopic retrieval devices. Therefore we recommend that all patients undergoing endoscopic removal of a mobile phone should be consented for a laparotomy […] There is need for the development of self-expandable overtubes or additional improvement on existing retrieval devices to ensure adequate alignment for removal without risks of damage to the [esophagus].
The prisoner was discharged from the hospital a week after the surgery, and was symptom-free four months after the incident.