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They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

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The pen that wouldn't die. (credit: British Medical Journal)

The pen that wouldn’t die. (credit: British Medical Journal)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorSeems like many of us complain that today’s products aren’t built to last. Make them cheap, let them break, then shell out good money for a brand new one.

Well, I wish I could tell you which brand of pen the one you see at left is, since it certainly is a good one. It lived inside a woman’s abdomen for more than 25 years, and when removed, wrote like new.

Here’s the background. A 75-year-old woman recently went into her doctor because of some abdominal pain. She told the doctor about 25 years ago she swallowed a pen. The doctor did not believe her — after all, X-rays taken when the big swallow happened 25 years ago were normal.

But enter today’s technology, especially a scan that can detect plastic object that a plain X-ray would not.

Lo and behold … there it was. A pen in the lower intestines. It really wasnt the cause of the woman’s symptoms, but doctors decided it might be a good idea to get that thing out of there before it did cause trouble.

So out it came, and before sending it to the lab, the docs decided to test this felt tip writing utensil out.

25 years later, it still wrote crystal clear-ly. Heck, it’s such a good pen, you can even read the doctor’s handwriting.

When asked how she swallowed it in the first place, the patient said she had a sore throat and was cleaning her tonsils when she slipped and gulped down the pen.

Wow.

Don’t do that.

(Meaning either the slip or using a pen to clean your throat.)

Here’s a link to the study in the British Medical Journal Case Reports: casereports.bmj.com.

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