Arthur Lampitt didn’t know what was in his body for 51 years. It started in 1963, when Lampitt crashed his Thunderbird into a truck. The near-fatal accident landed him in the hospital with a severely broken hip, but he recovered and moved on.
Now The Washington Post reports that the first sign of something strange occurred when Illinoisan Lampitt inexplicably set off a metal detector roughly a decade ago. An x-ray revealed that there was some sort of object lodged in his arm — a medical instrument left inside him back in 1963, his family reasoned.
Lampitt didn’t worry too much about it somehow until the slender object buried beneath his skin finally got to be a nuisance. While he was moving concrete blocks around, the now 75-year-old man noticed a pain in his arm, which was “bulging” and getting larger.
He still had no idea what the bulge could be, but it dawned on him when he unearthed a few old photos of his wrecked car and noticed a missing piece — the left turn lever. Though his family doubted this self-diagnosis, Lampitt was proven right this past Wednesday when the seven-inch part was removed from his arm after a 45 minute surgery.
Doctors told Lampitt’s wife Betty that a “protective pocket” was formed around the object, and it eventually got infected, only many years later than doctors would normally expect.
“We see all kinds of foreign objects like nails or pellets,” hand surgeon Dr. Timothy Lang told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “but usually not this large, usually not a turn signal from a 1963 T-Bird.”
Lampitt said he might keep the car part as a keychain.