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Stab in the dark

Martin R Brown
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (11): 708. || doi: 10.5694/mja11.10857
Published online: 12 December 2011

A 55-year-old man suffered a thoracic knife wound during an assault. The wound was sutured by a general practitioner. Five days later, the patient re-presented to another medical centre with chest pains after travelling on two Australian domestic flights, including one for which airport security required him to undergo screening with a metal detector.

Chest x-rays showed a 13-cm steak-knife blade, with no handle, lodged deep within the chest wall muscle, but not perforating the pleura (Figure, A, posteroanterior view, and B, lateral view). The blade was removed surgically.

This case highlights the need for thorough investigation of thoracic stab wounds.

  • Martin R Brown

  • Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


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