“I tilted it up to shoot it out at a tree and it fell back out of the straw that I had it in,” 15-year-old Shawn Stillinger told WCSC. “And, it went into my throat.”
After Stillinger had no luck getting help at two hospitals, otolaryngologist Dr. David Gudis was able to help him at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“We could access his airway and operate on his airway endoscopically all through his mouth,” Gudis said. “People can die from this. People can die from airway foreign bodies.”
Gudis was able to remove the dart without slicing the teen’s throat. “One of the ladies told me they were going to have to cut my throat open,” Stillinger said.
“He was scared and I think he realized then what he did wasn’t really worth what he was feeling right at the moment,” said Tara Chavis, the boy’s mother. “I hugged him when I got to where he was. Then, I probably would have liked to have like 5 minutes in private with him. Maybe Dr. Gudis wouldn’t have had to do the job, because I might would have shaken it out of him.”