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Boy’s Secret Revealed in X-ray

Did you ever do something naughty when you were a child and think that if you just kept it a secret from mom or dad that you would evade getting in trouble?  That’s what a 15-year-old boy in Ohio thought, too, when he swallowed a dart from a blowgun.  Unfortunately, the dart became lodged in his throat and an x-ray at the emergency room showed the evidence.

Blowguns Easy to Make, But Potentially Deadly

This boy’s story exemplifies the fact that blowguns are dangerous; he had been coughing for three hours before he finally asked to be taken to the ER.  Blowguns are designed to allow darts to be propelled outward by a forceful breath and are relatively easy to make since they are typically just a narrow tube.  In fact, the boy had found instructions on the Internet to make his blowgun, and most of these websites do not adequately warn of the dangers of  blowguns.

Surgical Procedure Required to Remove Dart, Other Boys Affected

The 15-year-old boy’s story was recently highlighted in an article published in the July 22 issue of Pediatrics.  The same doctors who wrote the article say they witnessed two other boys, ages 14 and 15, during the same time period that had also aspirated a blowgun dart.  In all of the cases, the blowgun darts were removed using a narrow tube that is inserted down the throat to view objects in the airway and remove them.  Although the boys were lucky, doctors warn that blowguns should not be used by teens or children, as the darts could easily puncture a hole in the airway or lungs, or even injure the voice box.


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