When Foreign Objects Go Astray in the Body

in StemSocial7 days ago

Yesterday, I decided to pay a visit to my aunt, hoping for a cheerful reunion. However, upon seeing her, it was evident that something was amiss. Instead of radiating her usual positivity, she appeared to be in pain, the result of an unfortunate encounter with a nail. Her distress was compounded by her deep-seated fear of needles, nails, and anything sharp with a pointed tip. In this case, she had just received a Tetanus injection, and the ordeal had left her trembling. She made a statement that if it was a needle, it could have been worse because it could get lost in her foot.


The mere thought of needles can send shivers down the spines of many, and witnessing one piercing the skin unexpectedly can be a nerve-wracking experience. My aunt made an illustration that, imagine she was working and was stabbed by a needle, there is a probability that it could vanish into her foot as a result of being broken while the rest is on the floor. There is a real life experience of a person who had such encounter, and I think it will be right to share what happened to her.

On February 1st, 2023, a TikTok user by the name of Rebecca Hiller, going by the username @rbca.hlr, captured the attention of millions as she shared her astonishing story. For over a decade, she had been living with half of a sewing needle lodged in her foot, which had caused her constant numbness and inexplicable pain. Her ordeal began at the tender age of 13 when she stepped on a sewing needle, and her attempt to remove it only resulted in half of the needle emerging.

Fast forward a decade, when she sought the assistance of a medical professional. X-rays revealed not remnants of the needle, but rather a mass in her foot. As a consequence of the old injury, scar tissues known as Neuromas had formed between her toes. It's worth noting that neuromas, benign tumors of nerve tissue, are treatable. Judging from her TikTok updates, it appeared that she had been prescribed a series of injections to address the Neuromas. But what happened to the missing needle? Could it have migrated elsewhere in her body? And if it did, is it conceivable that the needle could move around and potentially damage one of her organs?


There have been cases of object moving in the body and destroying organs, a good example is that which I saw in a journal published in 2015 about a 61 year old woman who suffered from severe symptomatic mitral regurgitation. Upon exermination, foreign body was found in the heart by cardiac catheterization. She had previously undergone a hysterectomy and in the process the doctors had left a hypodermic needle for anesthetic and it had fractured in her abdomen. Foreign objects getting to the heart can either be by direct trauma such as bullets, no one would think an injection shattered in the abdominal region would find its way to the heart but it did. Fragment from the needle migrated from her abdomen to the heart, destroying one of the heart valve.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), there is an estimate of 0.3 to 1.0 per 1,000 cases of surgical instruments being left inside patients in abdominal operations. Beyond surgical mishaps, there are instances of individuals accidentally swallowing foreign objects, only for these objects to travel down the wrong path and cause serious problems. One such case involved a toothpick that induced Toothpick Aspiration, resulting in Massive Hemoptysis. Another instance concerned a 29-year-old man who swallowed a toothpick that proceeded to enter his lungs.

The tales of foreign objects going astray and foreign objects infiltrating the human body can be very scary but then, it serves as stark reminder of the unexpected dangers that can lurk in seemingly mundane situations. When you realize that there is a foreign object in your body, it is important that you visit a doctor, do all necessary test and endeavor that the object is identified and removed.

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