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Published on Jul 23, 2013
A 15-year-old boy inhaled a dart after making a homemade blowgun following guides on the Internet. The case, which was part of report published in the July 22 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, was one of three blowgun injuries reviewed by doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The boy made a blowgun at home, then tried it out. In taking a deep breath to blow the dart through the pipe-like structure, he sucked back the dart. Deep inhalation also opens the vocal cords fully, which allowed the foreign object to travel deep into the airway, explained one doctor at the children's hospital.
The accident left the boy coughing and wheezing for several hours and the boy lied to his mother about what happened, saying that he had only been playing with his siblings. Once an X-ray revealed the sharp object stuck in his windpipe, he admitted to his homemade weapon project.
The boy underwent a non-surgical bronchoscopy procedure, wherein a tube-like tool with a camera attached is passed through either the nose or mouth and enters the airway. Any objects in the area can be seen by the doctor and removed with this tool, which is called a bronchoscope. The dart was recovered and the boy was not seriously injured.
In each of the cases reviewed in the report, boys were the victims of blowgun injuries. According to some reports, girls are less likely to engage in the building of blowguns, but are more likely to inadvertently swallow scarf pins or turban pins used to secure decorative garments, an accident which most commonly results from talking while holding pins in the mouth.