Mehroz with his father Syed Ali Haider Zaidi at the Mediclinic Welcare Hospital a day after the hijab pin was removed from his body Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS

DUBAI: A seven-year-old boy playing a game of darts landed in a Dubai hospital this week after a bizarre accident in which a sharp hijab pin he was using as his makeshift missile shot back into his mouth and down his throat to land in his abdomen.

Syed Mehroz Haider Zaidi, a Grade 3 student, said he was playing the dartboard game with his twin sister in their Sharjah home when the incident occurred.

His father Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said, “From what my son told us, his sister was using the dart pin that comes with the board while he decided he would make his own small arrow with a hijab pin that was lying around. Apparently, he placed the hijab pin at one end of a drinking straw and blew into it from the other end after taking a deep breath. The attempt backfired and the pin bolted back into his mouth through the straw. He tried to remove the pin from his mouth, but it just slipped down the oesophagus.”

Good faith

Ali said he immediately rushed Mehroz to a private hospital in Sharjah where doctors examined him and told him that the foreign body would pass through. Unconvinced, he went to another hospital in Ajman where he got the same second opinion. “We seldom question doctors as we go to them in good faith. But somehow, the fact that a sharp pin still lay inside my son’s body kept nagging me.”

Not wanting to take a chance, Ali said he approached a third hospital, this time the Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in Dubai, where doctors said the pin had to be removed immediately.

Dr K.S. Shamsheer, consultant gastroenterologist at the hospital, said Mehroz was referred to him by Dr Aftab Ahmed, the hospital’s pediatric surgeon. “The boy came to us after two weeks of the foreign body being lodged inside. He was lucky as the needle had only pierced the lining of the stomach and hadn’t cut into the walls. Such objects can result in perforation and cause peritonitis, an infection of the abdomen which in turn could lead to septicemia, necessitating open surgery.”

He said since the boy was stable, he decided to remove the pin through a non-surgical procedure called endoscopy. “If this had failed, we would have gone in for a laparotomy surgery. When we began, the needle had moved into the upper part of the small intestine and was stuck there. We pushed it back into the stomach so we could get more room to negotiate. We could not directly pull it out with a forceps as it was sharp. So we used an overtube. The pin had changed its colour due to oxidation.”

The procedure, which took 25 minutes, was done under general anesthesia.

The doctor said though such instances are rare, he attended to three such cases in the previous two days. “One was a French boy, 5, who had swallowed a steel metal marble and the other was an 11-month-old Emirati girl who had swallowed a ring. Both objects were removed endoscopically. No matter how careful we are with kids, these things happen. What is important is to get the right medical help at the right time.”

As little Mehroz readied to get discharged from the hospital, he said he had also learnt an important lesson: “I will never play with sharp things again.”

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