Padlock expertly removed from six-year-old's stomach without surgery

The medical team decided to do an endoscopy, knowing full well that if it didn't work, Tommy would need surgery.

The padlock, pulled from Tommy's stomach. (photo credit: Courtesy)
The padlock, pulled from Tommy's stomach.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tommy, a six-year-old Jerusalem resident, was admitted to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem on Wednesday by his father after accidentally swallowing a padlock.
"We arrived at the hospital with heavy hearts and very afraid," said Tommy's father.
Hospital staff tended to him immediately, urgently needing to decide on the best treatment method.
Dr. Ze'ev Davidovics, a senior doctor at the children's gastroenterology unit at Hadassah, explained that "in the case of the swallowing of an object," there are three treatment approaches.
"The first, more conservative approach" he said, "is to let it exit naturally. The second is endoscopic, and the third is surgical."
They went with an endoscopy, knowing full well that if the procedure didn't work, Tommy would need to undergo surgery.
They inserted a thread through Tommy's mouth, knotted it around the padlock, and pulled it out, sans surgery. "Tommy didn't complain at all," said Davidovics, "but we knew that if we didn't get it out, it could tear his stomach, and cause him tremendous damage."
Davidovics teamed up with fellow senior gastroenterologist Dr. Mordechai Slae to carefully devise Tommy's treatment plan.
Tommy's father thanked the medical team at Hadassah, saying "we knew this was an unusual case, and to our pleasure and relief, we were met with an extremely professional staff. This staff thought deeply and creatively about how to take out the padlock without putting my little boy through surgery."
"The fact that the procedure to take out the object was successful made us all so happy. We were able to return to our normal lives, something we never thought would've been possible," he added.
Davidovics said that, "in light of the variety of objects that kids can swallow, and the damage that can come from that, we felt so lucky that we were able to take out the padlock before it could cause any permanent damage."