Lifestyle & Belief

Doctors remove pen from woman’s stomach after 25 years – and it still works


CT scan demonstrating a linear foreign body in the stomach of a 76-year-old woman.


BMJ Case Reports

Doctors in the UK recently removed a felt-tip pen from a 76-year-old woman’s stomach that she inadvertently swallowed 25 years ago and were astonished to find it still works, MSNBC reported.

Describing the case in the journal British Medical Journal Case Reports, her gastroenterologist Oliver Waters explained the patient was suffering from weight loss and diarrhea. He diagnosed her as having severe diverticulosis, or pouches that have formed in the wall of the colon. Then a scan detected "a linear foreign body in the stomach.”

The woman recalled swallowing a pen by mistake years earlier, but X-rays done at the time found no trace of the pen, MSNBC reported.

The pen hadn't caused her any gastric damage, the Daily Mail reported. In fact, the symptoms that prompted her to visit her doctor had spontaneously resolved. However, her medical team decided to remove the pen so that it wouldn’t perforate her stomach lining in the future.

According to MSNBC:

After bathing in stomach acid for a two-and-a-half decades, the pen was corroded and the plastic was flaky, but, amazingly, the pen still had usable ink and could write!

Waters noted that the woman’s husband and primary care doctor did not believe that she had swallowed a pen at the time, the Daily Mail reported. “Occasionally it may be worth believing the patient’s account however unlikely it may be,” he wrote in BMJ Case Reports.