19 August 2012
Last updated at 09:43 ET
Doctors are now sharing how they removed the fork in medical journals
Doctors operating on a man who was taken to hospital with stomach pains discovered a 9in long plastic fork that he swallowed a decade ago.
Lee Gardner was taken to Barnsley Hospital when he started vomiting blood and having cramps.
He said he was told the fork, which he swallowed 10 years ago, would pass through his system naturally so he did not think to mention it to doctors.
Surgeon Hanis Shiwani said Mr Gardner was lucky there was not more damage.
Mr Gardner, from Cudworth, Barnsley, said: “I can’t believe it. I have never had any problems with my stomach except once a couple of years ago I remember thinking I felt like something had lodged when I bent over awkwardly.
“But the advice at the time was that it would just pass through my system, and as that was so many years before I really didn’t think it could be the fork.”
‘Handful of cases’
Mr Gardner said he was playing around with the disposable fork in his mouth and gagged, accidentally swallowing it, but it had never caused him problems.
He added: “While they were looking inside me with the camera the doctor said ‘are you sure you’ve not swallowed anything?’ I said no but when he asked again ‘are you sure, I can see prongs of what appears to be a fork’, I remembered accidentally swallowing one years and years ago.”
The prongs had caused an ulcer that led to the bleeding
Doctors found that the prongs had pressed on the stomach lining causing an ulcer that led to the bleeding.
Mr Shiwani said: “If something does get lodged, then normally a patient would become ill almost immediately.
“This is why Lee’s case is so uncharacteristic, not just because the object is a fork but because we believe there are only a handful of cases reported like this where a foreign object has been inside someone for such a long time.
“Lee is extremely lucky that the fork hasn’t caused more damage but we are confident he will make a full recovery.”