Monday, 30th October 2017

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Whistle extracted from child’s lung

Surgeons at Calcutta govt hospital introduced forceps through a bronchoscope to remove the pieces

By Rith Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 14.11.18, 3:14 AM
  • Updated 14.11.18, 3:14 AM
  • a min read
Rima Khatoon Telegraph file picture

An eight-year-old girl who had part of a whistle stuck in her right lung for 12 days underwent surgery at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday to remove the 2cm long object that doctors say might have eventually caused respiratory failure.

Rima Khatoon from Tarapur village in Nadia district had mistakenly swallowed a portion of the whistle that came loose while she was playing with it at home. “There would be a whistling sound whenever she took a deep breath. Rima was so scared that she hardly ate anything the past few days. She has become very thin,” said the girl’s aunt, Shahnara Khatoon.

Surgery using a bronchoscope was difficult because of an inflammation in the lower right lobe of the windpipe inside the lung. “We used a bronchoscope to reach the object and then introduced forceps through it to extract it. The surgery was performed with the patient under full anaesthesia,” said Ramanuj Sinha, head of the ENT department at the hospital.

The surgery was delayed because Rima’s mother, Firdausa Bibi, first took her to a hospital in Murshidabad.

By the time she was brought to Calcutta, Rima had been suffering from shortness of breath. “Not enough air was going into her right lung. Had the foreign body stayed there for longer, there was a possibility of her developing pneumonia and even a lung collapse,” a doctor said.

The surgery to remove the whistle started at 9.30am and lasted 45 minutes. A member of the medical team said portions of the whistle embedded in Rima’s lung were successfully extracted and that she was already on the path to recovery.

Children, especially infants, swallowing anything they can lay their hands on is a nightmare for parents but more common than most people think. The dangerous part is that a foreign object like a coin will invariably get stuck in the airway. In Rima’s case, surgery to remove the whistle was a difficult one because it went very deep and lodged itself in a lobe, where the airway passage is very narrow.