Sent home after originally being seen in hospital following a choking incident, the woman was given antibiotics after an X-ray failed to identify the items.
Her symptoms worsened and she returned to the hospital where a CT scan identified 28 crayons in her oesophagus. These were surgically removed before she later died.
Reviewing the incident researchers suggest her death is used as an example of why doctors should check the oesophagus in non-verbal patients presenting with similar issues which can be caused by a Foreign Body Airway Obstruction or FBAO.
“Delayed recognition of foreign body puts patients at risk for oesophageal perforation, aspiration, airway compromise, infection, sepsis, and death.”
They also warn that where a ‘non-verbal’ patients is experiencing problems breathing they should consider investigating a potential FBAO given the increased risk to certain cohorts.
To find out more about how to reduce the risk of choking we have some helpful suggestions on our website.