U.S. teens inhaling blowgun darts by accident

July 23, 2013 at 1:52 AM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 23 (UPI) -- Ohio hospital emergency department physicians warn teenage boys are making homemade blowguns and inhaling the darts by accident.

Dr. Kris R. Jatana, a pediatric surgeon at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said in three months the emergency room treated three teenage boys who made a homemade blowgun using online instructions.

For example, a 15-year-old boy came to the emergency department at Nationwide Children's complaining he had been coughing for 3 hours. Eventually, the teen admitted he had created a homemade blowgun and instead of exhaling to propel the dart, he accidentally inhaled and the dart lodged in his lower airway, Jatana said.

The study authors said they found many places that provided instructions in how to make homemade blowgun darts, but few included adequate safety warnings.

"Prompt treatment can result in a good outcome for the patient, but serious complications could occur, especially given the hesitance of patients to divulge what caused their symptoms," the researchers wrote in the study.

The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.

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