On the bullhorn of a surgical dilemma

There’s practical advice in Rectal Foreign Bodies: Case Reports and a Comprehensive Review of the World’s Literature, a medical study I mentioned here last week. It’s full of handy, workaday hints … if your work involves doing surgery to recover objects that have strayed, as a variety of objects seem to do, from their more usual locations.

The authors, American surgeons David Busch and James Starling, also manage to tell good stories. They do it tersely:

“Light bulbs have been safely removed by padding the glass bulb with fine mesh gauze or cheesecloth followed by deliberate shattering of the object. Other ingenious mechanisms to remove light bulbs include a threaded broom handle and two large kitchen spoons.”

“In one instance a drinking glass was removed by packing the rectum with plaster of Paris to include an anchoring rope after the plaster of Paris had set.”

The problem goes way back, it seems….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

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