HANOI, Vietnam – Doctors have safely removed a bullet that had been lodged in a Vietnamese man’s lung for nearly three decades, his surgeon said Monday.
Doctors at Thanh Hoa hospital presented the bullet to Vu Van Thanh, 50, about two weeks ago. The 2.5-centimeter (1 inch) AR15 bullet had been stuck in his lung since he was shot while fighting in neighboring Cambodia in 1978.
Thanh Hoa is 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Hanoi.
”I have never seen a case like this,” said Dr. Nguyen Van Chung, who removed the bullet. ”It’s amazing that he didn’t feel pain until recently.”
Chung said tests revealed his special patient was fine after the three-hour operation was completed. Thanh was sent home over the weekend.
He fought for the Vietnamese communists in Cambodia, and was shot when he was just 21. The bullet went through his chest and lodged in his lung.
Thanh, a farmer, had long wanted it removed but could not afford the operation. Doctors carried out the procedure for free.
He did not feel any pain for the last 30 years, said Nguyen Van Thai, head of Thi Tu village, where Thanh lives.
He recently found it hard to breath and developed a severe fever before going to the hospital.
”When the bullet was taken out, it was already rusty,” said Dr. Chung. ”But he is perfectly fine now.”