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Swallowed Objects from the Jackson Collection

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Swallowed Objects from the Jackson Collection


Medical History, 20th Cent.
Jackson, Chevalier, 1865-1958


These objects were removed from the airways and digestive tracts of patients by Philadelphia otolaryngologist Chevalier Jackson, MD (1865-1958). Jackson developed methods and tools to remove impacted objects from people’s passages and made many advances in the treatment of the head, neck, throat, and respiratory system. His carefully preserved collection of 2,374 objects ranges from pins and tacks to buttons, coins, medals, and toys (like the jacks and battleship seen here). Jackson donated the swallowed and inhaled foreign bodies to The College of Physicians in 1924, and they are on display at the Mütter Museum.

Jackson considered Case #1071 his most difficult. Four large, open, interlocked safety pins were impacted in the esophagus of a nine-month-old child and bound together with a mass of wool. The small size of the baby’s airway made the case especially difficult. It took Jackson an unusually long time to extract the pins in three separate attempts lasting 36 minutes, 24 minutes, and 19 minutes. He first had to disentangle the pins; next, he placed the two lowermost pins into the baby’s stomach, to be passed in the stools. Then he closed and removed the other pins “harmlessly and bloodlessly” through the mouth. Jackson often discussed this case as a horrifying reminder to not to leave open safety pins within reach of small children. In this case, however, the baby’s sister had fed the baby the four pins entwined with strands of wool.


Jackson, Chevalier, 1865-1958


Digitized by the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia





Original Format



Jackson, Chevalier, 1865-1958, “Swallowed Objects from the Jackson Collection,” The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library, accessed July 7, 2022,