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pieces extracted. Each prong was nine inches in length, and the conjoined stem two inches long and three-quarters of an inch in diameter.
Marchetti * mentions the following case : — Some students of Goettingen introduced into the rectum of an unfortunate woman all, save the small extremity, of a pig's tail, from which they had cut enough of the bristles to render it as rough as possible. Various attempts were made to extract it, but in vain. Marchetti being consulted, adopted a very simple and ingenious procedure, which consisted in securing its inferior extremity with a strong waxed thread, and slipping over it into the rectum a canula prepared for the purpose. He thus defended the.bowel from the effects of the bristles, and easily removed it.
Custance mentions the case of a man who fell on an inverted blacking-pot, and had the whole of it forced up the rectum. Attempts were made for an hour and a half to dilate the sphincter, and remove it with a forceps, but in vain. The small end of an iron pestle was then introduced, till it touched the bottom, and, being held there firmly, was struck with a flat iron. At the second blow the pot was broken into several pieces, which were removed piece by piece by the forceps, or the fingers. Next morning he laboured * 'Obs. Med. Rarior Syllog.,' cap. vii.
under severe intestinal inflammation, with incessant vomiting and excruciating pain over the whole belly; he died at night. The pot was two inches and three-eighths in diameter at the brim, an inch and a half at its base, and two inches and an eighth in depth.
In the first volume of the 'Medico-Chirurgical Transactions,' Mr. Thomas relates the following case: "A gentleman, of an inactive and sedentary disposition, had for many years suffered from constipated bowels, which increased to that degree that the most active cathartics failed in producing the desired effect. By the advice of a practitioner, whom he consulted in Paris, he daily introduced into the rectum a piece of flexible cane (about a finger's thickness), where it was allowed to remain until the desire to evacuate the ficces came on. This plan succeeded so well that for more than a twelvemonth he never had occasion to resort to any other means. One morning, being anxious to fulfil a particular engagement in good time, in his hurry he passed the stick farther up, and with less caution than usual, when it was suddenly sucked up into the body, beyond the reach of his fingers. This accident did not interrupt the free discharge of the faeces, and the same evacuation regularly took place every day, whilst the stick remained in the gut. It was seven days afterwards when I first saw him: he was in a very distressed state, with every symptom of fever, tension of the abdomen, and a countenance expressive of the greatest anxiety. His relatives and friends were totally ignorant of the real nature of the case; and nothing less than the urgency of his sufferings could ever have prevailed upon him to disclose it to me. Such were his feelings on the occasion, that a violent hysteric fit was brought on by the mere recital of what he termed his folly.
"Upon examination no part of the cane could be discovered; but one end of it was readily felt projecting, as it were, through the parietes of the abdomen, midway between the ilium and the umbilicus on the left side. The slightest pressure upon this part gave him exquisite pain. After repeated trials, I was at length enabled, with a bougie, to feel one extremity of the stick lodged high up in the rectum; but without being able to lay hold of it with the stone forceps. To allay the irritation for the present, an emollient clyster, with Tinct. Opii, 3ij, was given, which passed without the least impediment, and did not return. On the next examination, two hours after, I found the sphincter ani considerably dilated, and, by a continued perseverance to increase it, the relaxation became so complete that in about twenty minutes, I was enabled to introduce one finger after the other, until the whole hand was engaged in the rectum. I found the bottom of the stick jammed in the hollow of the sacrum, but, by bending the body forward, it was readily disengaged and extracted. Its length was nine inches and a half, with one extremity very ragged and uneven.
"For several days after, the situation of the patient was highly critical, the local injury, joined to the perturbation of his mind, brought on symptoms truly alarming. At length I had the satisfaction of witnessing his complete recovery; and he has ever since, more than two years, enjoyed good health, and the regular action of the bowels, without the assistance of medicine, or any other aid."
A man, aet. seventy-three, was admitted into the St. Marylebone Infirmary. He was delirious, and made his complaints very incoherently. He said there was a stick in his rectum, but no further information could be gained from him. He was seen by Mr. B. Phillips, who suggested that the sensation of something in the rectum might be caused by the enlarged prostate, and that in his delirious condition the sensation of a foreign body was sufficient to impress upon his mind the idea that it was a stick. He died the day after his admission; and upon a postmortem examination being made a stick rounded at each end was found, its superior extremity had penetrated through the sigmoid flexure of the colon into the peritoneal cavity.* •
In the thirtieth volume of the 'Medical Gazette 't is an account of a Greenwich pensioner, who was admitted into the infirmary on the 20th of October, 1814, having eight days previously introduced a large plug of wood into the rectum for the purpose of stopping a diarrhoaa. It was with great difficulty extracted by Mr. M'Laughlan, surgeon to Greenwich Hospital.
In June, 1842, a man, aet. sixty, was brought to King's College Hospital, labouring under obstruction of the bowels, which he attributed to having eaten a large quantity of peas six days previously. He expired while being carried in a chair up to the ward.
On examining the body after death upwards of a pint of gray peas was found in the rectum: they had been swallowed without mastication, and had undergone no alteration in passing through the alimentary canal, except becoming swollen by warmth and the absorption of moisture. The urethra was pressed upon, and he had had retention of urine for four days. The bladder was enormously distended, its
* 'Medical Gazetto,' vol. xxix., p. 840. | Pp. 461, 462.