19-year-old Renuka A Harlapur from Karnataka's Koppal accidentally swallowed the detachable end of a pen when she was in Class 3. The nursing student had no indication then, that it would haunt her for nine long years.
The Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bengaluru removed the pen cap from Renuka's lungs on Tuesday, reports Sunitha Rao for The Times of India.
According to the report, Renuka had been suffering from chronic cough for a few years now. This was accompanied by foul-smelling sputum, the report states. Numerous visits to the hospital did not help, as cough syrups failed to make her condition better.
Her condition began to worsen, even making it difficult for her to breathe.
TOI reports that later a team of thoracic surgeons and an anaesthetist headed by Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director of RGICD, found the three-cm cap lodged in the lower lobe of her left lung.
It was the shrunken lobe that caused breathing problems in Renuka. The chronic cough and the foul-smelling sputum indicated infection of the lung, the report says.
Speaking about the surgery to TOI, Dr Buggi said that the cause of the cough had gone undetected in the past, as the object could not be seen in X-rays.
"It was only visible as a dark spot. We tried to remove it via endoscopy but it wasn't possible. Hence we had to operate on the patient. Before the surgery, we had to improve her general condition to avoid post-operative complications,“ Dr Buggi was quoted as saying.
It was only during the course of treatment, that Renuka revealed to the doctors that she had swallowed the pen cap years ago. Until then, her parents- both labourers - too, did not know about the episode.
Earlier in January this year, doctors at Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai removed tuft of hair from a teenager's stomach, that had in fact occupied most of her stomach.
Surgeons who performed on her extracted hair that was approximately 250 ml, out of the total size of 300 ml with hardly 50 ml available for water or food intake.