Veteran unknowingly lived with World War 2 shrapnel

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by ANGELA AN / WBNS

KING5.com

Posted on July 5, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 6 at 1:23 PM

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.
 

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