Man had a nine inch plastic fork trapped in his stomach for TEN YEARS.

When Lee Gardner rushed to hospital after vomiting blood and  suffering debilitating stomach cramps he feared the worst.

But doctors in Barnsley were left stunned  when they discovered a nine-inch fork in the man’s stomach and incredibly it had  been there for more than a decade.

The baffled medics were even more confused  when they found the piece of cutlery as Mr Gardner, 40, admitted he had  completely forgotten swallowing it.

Incredible: Doctors were left stunned when they discovered a nine-inch fork in Lee Gardner's stomach

Incredible: Doctors were left stunned when they  discovered a nine-inch fork in Lee Gardner’s stomach

A decade ago doctors had said that the whole  fork would pass through his system naturally, so he assumed that it had  gone.

But in fact it was still completely intact  and sitting at the bottom of his tummy.

He has now made a full recovery.

‘I had been vomiting blood, and when they  were looking inside me with the camera the doctor said: “Are you sure you’ve not  swallowed anything?”,’ he said.

‘I said no but when he said: “Are you sure, I  can see prongs of what appears to be a fork?” – I remembered accidentally  swallowing one years and years ago.

‘I couldn’t believe it. I have never had any  problems with my stomach, except once a couple of years ago I remember thinking  I felt like something had lodged when I bent over awkwardly.

Painful: Lee rushed to hospital in severe pain, and bizarrely had forgotten he swallowed a whole piece of cutlery

Painful: Lee rushed to hospital in severe pain, and  bizarrely had forgotten he swallowed a whole piece of cutlery

‘But the advice when I swallowed it from the  doctor was that it would just pass through my system and as that was so many  years before I really didn’t think it could be the fork.’

Mr Gardner remembered messing about with a  plastic fork in his mouth years earlier – when he gagged and accidentally  swallowed it.

Doctors at Barnsley Hospital used a camera to  look inside his stomach for a cause when they stumbled across the ‘mystery’ object.

Images showed the fork head was resting in  Lee’s stomach with the handle protruding into his small bowel.

Its prongs, called tines, had pressed on the  stomach lining causing an ulcer that led to the bleeding.

Grim: A camera found the fork in his tummy, which was causing him serious damage

Grim: A camera found the fork in his tummy, which was  causing him serious damage

Consultant general surgeon, Hanis Shiwani, was asked to take a look by  his baffled colleagues.

He decided it would be too dangerous to try  to extract the fork without surgery and carried out a 45-minute operation to cut  open his stomach.

He said: ‘The fork was impacting on the  stomach wall, causing an ulcer which was bleeding. I had to remove that part of  the stomach and I was glad when it wasn’t cancerous.

‘Technically it was not a challenging  operation but it was exciting because it is not something we have ever done  before.

‘We know that coins, nails, pins and  batteries are common things people swallow but not a nine-inch fork. I jokingly  said that we should contact the Guinness Book of World Records.’

Mr Shiwani said Lee was fortunate the fork  had not damaged his gullet on the way into his stomach.

‘If it had been a metal fork, or had got  stuck in the gullet it would have caused more damage earlier.’

He said Lee, could have suffered a perforated  stomach, potentially leading to a fatal infection, if the fork had not been  removed.

But Lee, who was discharged from hospital  this week, is expected to make a full recovery.

The consultant, who has worked at Barnsley  Hospital for ten years, said he had never known a foreign object to last so long  inside a person.

‘If something does get lodged, then normally  a patient would become ill almost immediately. This is why Lee’s case is so  uncharacteristic.

‘The plastic had been exposed to stomach acid  for ten years but apart from it being black, there was no damage. It didn’t melt  it down or anything which is remarkable.’

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