A 2-year-old toddler swallowed 8 needles: The incident took place in the Mariscal Cáceres province of Peru, where the child’s mother, Narly Olórtegui Pisco, worked on a farm. It was there that the child ingested the needles.
Urgently rushed to Hospital II-2 Tarapoto, the toddler received immediate medical attention from surgeon Efraín Salazar Tito. A subsequent examination revealed that the eight needles had become lodged in various parts of the child’s abdomen.
According to a statement by the San Martin Regional Government, “Two needles were found in the peritoneum on the right side, three on the left side, one in the abdominal wall, and two others dangerously positioned between the bladder and rectum.”
It is believed that the needles were originally intended for cattle injections at the farm where the child’s mother worked, and the child inadvertently discovered and swallowed them.
Pisco, the mother, explained that the incident was an oversight by the farm owner, as the veterinarian regularly tended to the cows. She presumes that the needles used on the cows were the cause of this unfortunate accident.
Foreign-body ingestions, such as children swallowing objects, are relatively common as young children often explore objects with their mouths. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2019 revealed a significant increase in ER visits related to foreign-body ingestions in children under the age of 6. Round objects, coins, toys, jewelry, and batteries are among the most frequently swallowed items.
While round objects pose a choking hazard, ingesting sharp objects like nails, screws, or, in this case, needles, can be extremely dangerous. They can cause internal cuts or become lodged in various organs. A study in the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery recounts a case where a 20-year-old woman accidentally swallowed a sewing needle. Initially, the needle traveled through her bowels but ended up in her lung. The study also highlights that foreign bodies account for 15 percent to 35 percent of all bowel perforations.
Fortunately, the Peruvian child underwent a successful two-hour operation to remove all eight needles. During the procedure, surgeons also addressed and repaired minor lesions in the child’s small intestine.
The toddler is currently on a liquid diet due to the delicacy of his intestines but is expected to be discharged from the hospital within two or three days. Pisco expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Salazar and the medical team for their swift action in removing the needles.
The statement concludes, “Had it not been for the timely surgical intervention, the child’s health would have deteriorated, and the outcome would have been tragically different.”