Boy told he couldve died after swallowing entire 40-piece tub of chewing gum

A young boy who swallowed 40 pieces of chewing gum had to be rushed to a hospital emergency room when it clumped together in his stomach.

The child, from Ohio, US started to develop cramps and diarrhoea and then CT scans showed he had a large mass stuck in his stomach, also known as a bezoar, which was taking up nearly 25% of the space.

Doctors placed an oesophagoscope, or hollow metal tube, down the throat and used forceps to try and pull off bits of the gum which were later brought back up.

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He was told by medics he was lucky the gum hadn't blocked his intestines, which could have been fatal, but he suffered no long-term effects from the procedure.

Doctors said if the walls of the bowels were pierced, it could lead to the contents leaking into the body, according to the case published in the medical publication JEM Reports.

According to the boy's mum, on the day of the incident the four-year-old had consumed an entire tub of sugar-free chewing gum.

Medics debated how to treat the boy and eventually decided to remove the mass using multiple "passes" of the oesophagus.

Doctors placed then placed the oesophagoscope down the throat and used forceps to try and grab the gum.

Medics said the procedure took "multiple" attempts, and the boy was sedated throughout the operation.

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He complained of a sore throat after the treatment but was given painkillers and discharged home.

Doctors have advised against people swallowing chewing gum as the body cannot digest it because it's built out of synthetic polymers and latex, which don't break down easily when ingested.

Dr Elizabeth Rajan, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, said: "On very rare occasions, large amounts of swallowed gum combined with constipation have blocked intestines in children.

"It's for this reason that frequent swallowing of chewing gum should be discouraged, especially in children."

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