EXETER, England, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Doctors in Britain say they found a pen lodged in a 76-year-old woman who unintentionally swallowed it 25 years earlier.
Dr. Oliver Richard Waters, Tawfique Daneshmend and Tarek Shirazi of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Foundation Trust in Exeter, England, said the woman had been referred to them on an urgent basis due to weight loss and diarrhea.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy -- a small camera attached to a flexible tube -- demonstrated severe diverticulosis, small pouches in the lining of the colon, or large intestine, that bulge outward through weak spot, and a subsequent CT scan of the abdomen showed a linear foreign body in the stomach.
The woman's symptoms resolved spontaneously and on subsequent questioning, she told doctors she was checking a spot on her tonsil 25 years ago with the pen when it slipped, fell and she swallowed the pen by mistake.
She said her husband and primary care physician dismissed her story and X-rays done at the time came out normal.
Doctors said a plastic felt-tip pen sitting in the woman's stomach appeared to have not caused gastric damage, but the physicians removed the pen and determined that despite being exposed to gastric juices, the pen still wrote.
The case, published in the British Medical Journal, "highlighted that plain abdominal X-rays might not identify ingested plastic objects and occasionally it may be worth believing the patient's account however unlikely it may be."