COLUMBUS, Ohio - A World War Two veteran who received the Purple Heart for combat wounds has been carrying a piece of the war with him for the past 65 years without knowing it, and it almost cost him his life – again.
Stewart Mease was barely 20-years-old when he fought as an infantry soldier against the Germans.
Fast forward to 2010. Seven weeks ago, the 89-year-old felt a mass under his left armpit. Doctors surgically removed what was, at first, a blood clot. But Mease started to bleed even more in the operating room.
"There wasn't really any one spot that was bleeding. It was a very, very deep wound so I couldn't get my finger down to the base of the wound," said surgeon Bryan Grischow.
Doctors were able to stop the bleeding and save Mease's left arm. But in a strange twist, that massive bleeding led doctors to discover something else. When nurses changed the dressing, they found a metallic object.
"She rinsed it off and showed it to me and sure enough, it looks like a piece of shrapnel," said Grischow.
That piece of shrapnel had sat dormant for more than six decades.
"I didn't know I carried that shrapnel that whole time," said Mease.
The presumption is that a powerful magnet used in the hospital dislodged the shrapnel.