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November 6, 1972

Leeward Passage

JAMA. 1972;222(6):703-704. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210060053021

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To the Editor.—  In a letter in the July 17th issue of The Journal, Drs. Johnson and Parker report the passage of a thermometer through the gastrointestinal tract (221:303, 1972). They note that the passage was expedited by eating a high residue diet.Many years ago, a carpenter was referred to me because he had swallowed a nail of similar size and shape as that of a thermometer. It had been his custom while working on a ladder to hold nails between his teeth. Somehow the ladder had slipped and in his effort to right himself, he gulped— swallowing a nail. His industrial physician followed the progress of the nail by x-ray film. It reached the sigmoid, but after ten days still remained there.He was referred to me at that time for its removal. Its location, however, was too high for extraction through a sigmoidoscope. I was anxious to