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 (
"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.