Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thumbtack Mishap

Warning: Sad story ahead

A father noticed his young child was choking. He ran to go help his son by performing the Heimlich maneuver. After about the fifth thrust, his son became dramatically worse. When the child arrived to the ER he was dead. We noticed a lot of crepitus in his swollen neck. Autopsy results showed a thumbtack that perforated his trachea. The theory is that the boy swallowed the thumbtack and the effects of the Heimlich maneuver propelled the tack through his trachea. The back of the tack was sitting right where no air could pass, with the sharp part piercing a false track. The dad did everything he should have. I feel horrible for him.

Hard case to swallow...no pun intended.

-ER Doc

9 comments:

Maha said...

That poor family. What a horrible loss.

Anonymous said...

O my. How un-thinkable & bearable. I will think of this dad often & hope he doesn't blame himself forever.

TechnoBabe said...

Like you say, the dad did what he thought was the right thing, this is so sad. And I think the pun was intended. But it is okay.

AtYourCervix said...

How horrible for the dad!!

DreamingTree said...

So sad...I can only imagine the pain that family is experiencing. My son ALWAYS had something in his mouth, and once swallowed a metal nut. As a parent, you can take every precaution, but perfection is impossible. It's horrifying to think of how one slip can end in such devastation.

Anonymous said...

There but for the grade of God go I.

I'm an ER doc that was late for a shift Wednesday night for the same issue. Fortunately we live 5 min's from an imaging center and it turns out that even though my wife pulled 2 thumbtacks out of our son's mouth he had not swallowed any. Was a horrible 30 minute ordeal.

Th

Anonymous said...

Shit happens..

Anonymous said...

You can truthfully say "no pun intended," but you can't truthfully write it. Both the pun and the false denial detract from the post.

StorytellERdoc said...

Working in the ER, I can tell you that pediatric deaths are the hardest for our staff. People are affected for days and weeks after, sometimes forever. God Bless this patient and his family.