Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Boy suffers lung collapse

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

A 12-year-old Taipei boy suffered a partially collapsed lung recently after inhaling a pen cap more than two years earlier.

The boy's doctor, Lo Shih-hung (羅師宏) of Cathay General Hospital's ear, nose and throat department, said that symptoms caused by the blockage of the boy's lower left lung passage were overlooked because the boy also suffers from asthma, which induces similar symptoms.

"The boy was frequently wheezing and coughing, but those symptoms were attributed to his asthma," Lo told reporters yesterday.

The pen cap was eventually removed successfully through surgery. However, Lo said that foreign objects trapped in lung passages could end up causing fatal lung collapses if not caught in time.

"The object acts like a plug ... air cannot get in and phlegm cannot get out," he said.

The Far Eastern Memorial Hospital's chief of ear, mouth and throat medicine, Chen Guang-chao (陳光超), said that the most common blockages he sees in his practice tend to involve food rather than other items.

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