Foreign bodies, whether ingested or aspirated, may present a serious problem in any patient. In the psychotic patient the problem is peculiarly aggravated by the paucity of signs and symptoms and the frequent repetition of this aberration.
Baudamont was one of the first to report, in 1779, the presence of foreign bodies in the intestine.3 Numerous articles on this subject have appeared in the literature, including reports on both psychotic and normal patients.* Most of them are concerned with one or a few unusual cases. The consensus is that conservative measures should be followed since there is a widely held view that once the foreign body has reached the stomach it will pass through the gastrointestinal tract with little difficulty. Conservative measures are particularly advocated in dealing with psychotic patients because of the high recurrence rate.
A study of this problem in the psychotic patient was undertaken at Saint