The medical team had never seen anything like it before.
Granite City’s 75 year old Arthur Lampitt had an operation to extract a metallic object from his left arm – no one was sure what they might find.
It ended up being a turn signal from a ’63 Thunderbird. The rod had been in his arm ever since a car accident more than 50 years ago.
Mr. Lampitt was driving his then brand-new automobile to work one morning but crashed head-on into a large truck. He suffered cuts from flying bits and pieces, broke his hip and totaled his car.
The wounds seemed to heal up okay and so Arthur went on about his life as usual. He married a couple years later, raised his four sons, worked in real estate and other odd jobs.
About fifteen years ago, something odd happened. While on a visit to a courthouse, Arthur set off a metal detector. Doctors conducted an X-ray and discovered a metal rod about the length of a wooden pencil wedged up inside his arm. Because he didn’t even know it was there the doctors told him to just leave it – clearly it had not inhibited him from doing anything and was not causing pain.
And so all was well until a few weeks ago when things in his arm changed. The tissue in his arm seemed to be disturbed and was quickly swelling up. It appeared that whatever was in his arm was now trying to work it’s way out!
Pondering the car accident from many years past, Arthur developed a theory about what might be in his arm. Could it have been from the accident? So Mr. Lampitt studied photographs of the interior of the car and noticed that the turn signal rod that should have been on the left side of the steering wheel was missing. Could that possibly be what had been lodged in his arm all these years?
Sure enough, within an hour, Dr. Timothy Lang at the City Place Surgery Center in St. Louis proved Arthur’s theory correct. The metal turn signal rod, about 7 inches in length and corroded after many years, was successfully removed in one piece.
“We see all kinds of foreign objects like nails or pellets, but usually not this large, usually not a turn signal from a 1963 T-Bird,” Lang said, “Something this large often gets infected.”
Mr. Lampitt, now having recovered, is still trying to decide what to do with his new keepsake. Hopefully he doesn’t turn it into something that may end up with him in a car again!