UK doctors remove plastic fork man had swallowed more than 10 years before

One man lived with a nine-inch plastic fork lodged in his stomach for over a decade.

Lee Gardner, 40, from Cudworth in the UK swallowed the fork long ago, but doctors told him the disposable utensil would naturally pass through his system. When he started vomiting blood early one morning, he never even thought of the fork as a possible cause for his predicament.

An ambulance brought Gardner to nearby Barnsley Hospital. The next day doctors looked inside his stomach to search for the root of the problem. When one doctor spotted something particularly unusual, he asked Gardner if he had swallowed anything. After Gardner said no, the doctor asked the question again, adding "I can see prongs of what appears to be a fork."

Gardner remembered accidentally swallowing the fork over 10 years ago when he was playing with it in his mouth, according to the hospital.

"I can't believe it," Gardner said. "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."

Surgeon Hanis Shiwani extracted the fork in a 45-minute long operation. The surgeon removed a portion of Gardner's stomach, reports the Daily Mail.

"Technically it was not a challenging operation," said Shiwani, "but it was exciting because it is not something we have ever done before."

Shiwani said that he sees stomachs with foreign objects inside fairly often - especially when dealing with children. The duration of time the object remained in Gardner's system, on the other hand, is quite uncommon.

The fork's prongs created an ulcer by sticking into his stomach lining. This interior rupture spurred the bloody vomiting, according to the BBC. Given the unusual circumstances surrounding the incident, Gardner has allowed the doctors to publish their approach to removing the fork in professional journals.

"Lee is extremely lucky that the fork hasn't caused more damage, but we are confident he will make a full recovery," said Shiwani.


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