When a man from Barnsley suddenly started vomiting blood in the early hours he feared the worst – but little did he know his case was so ‘out of the ordinary’ his condition was one of only a handful reported in the world.
When doctors at Barnsley Hospital examined him they were shocked to discover a nine inch long plastic fork lodged in Lee Gardner’s stomach – from where he accidentally swallowed it over 10 years ago!
Lee, 40 from Cudworth said: “I can’t believe it – I have never had any problems with my stomach – except once a couple of years ago I remember thinking I felt like something had lodged when I bent over awkwardly. But the advice at the time was that it would just pass through my system, and as that was so many years before I really didn’t think it could be the fork.
The day after arriving at the hospital by ambulance Lee underwent a procedure to look inside his stomach with a camera to investigate what was causing him to vomit.
He continued: “While they were looking inside me with the camera that doctor said are you sure you’ve not swallowed anything? I said no but when he asked again – are you sure, I can see prongs of what appears to be a fork? – I remembered accidentally swallowing one years and years ago.
Mr Shiwani, the consultant surgeon who went on to surgically remove the fork at Barnsley Hospital said: “Swallowing foreign objects is quite common, children do it all the time and more often or not the object passes straight through the system.
“If something does get lodged, then normally a patient would become ill almost immediately. This is why Lee’s case is so uncharacteristic, not just because the object is a fork but because we believe there are only a handful of cases reported like this where a foreign object has been inside someone for such a long time.
“Lee is extremely lucky that the fork hasn’t caused more damage but we are confident he will make a full recovery.”
Lee has agreed for the hospital’s doctors to share their approach to removing the fork through medical journals.