Doctors send home boy with a pen in his head

A 13-year-old boy from Karlskrona in southern Sweden got a pen stuck in his head after an unlucky fall. Doctors stitched him up and sent him home - with a piece of the pen still in his head.

The pen had lodged itself just above his eye.

A doctor at Karlskrona hospital sewed up the gash in the boy’s head, kept him in for overnight observation and sent him home in the morning. Had the doctor bothered to x-ray the child it would have been discovered that a piece of the pen remained in the boy’s skull.

After returning home the boy began complaining of headaches, fever and dizziness. The boy was taken back to hospital where he was x-rayed and the foreign object detected. The boy was then rushed to Lund University Hospital.

The boy was by this time suffering from meningitis as a result of the pen stub and so an operation had to wait until he had completed five days of antibiotics treatment.

After two operations the pen stub was finally removed from the long-suffering boy’s skull. Doctors in Lund said that the boy was lucky to be alive.

“The thing that bothers me is that the boy was made to suffer unnecessarily. He should have been x-rayed at once,” said the 13-year-old’s grandad to Blekinge Läns Tidning.

An x-ray is not standard procedure at hospitals in Blekinge when patients are admitted with foreign objects in their heads.

“Not if the doctor has ensured that everything has been removed,” explained head physician Urban Sjöblom.

Karlskrona hospital plans to conduct an internal enquiry as the basis of a report to be submitted to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).