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Tetanus Bead

This month we will be looking at foreign objects in our collection. The first to feature is a small bead that was covered in tetanus bacteria. This bead was inserted through the left nostril of a small boy who was then taken to his local doctor’s surgery where a rhinoscopy (a method that involves using a tube like instrument to examine the inside of the nose) found that there was no bead in sight. The boy was sent on his way and remained in good health until seven days later. On the morning of the seventh day, he was admitted to hospital being unable to open his jaw. The doctors found the boy to have spasms that were seen as tetanic as well as a temperature of 39°C. The normal human temperature is 37°C. It was later discovered that the bead had never been found after the initial consultation, seven days previously. The boy was taken in for an operation to remove the bead which was successful. Unfortunately, the boy became unconscious and died two days later. A post-mortem revealed that the bead had tetanus germs on it that had spread throughout the boy’s body causing his death.

Tetanus Bead
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