Senior Living

By Carla K. Johnson AP Medical Writer Here’swhy it’s best to re- move false teeth before sur- gery: You just might swal- low them. Amedical journal is re- porting the case of a 72-year- old Britishman whose par- tial dentures apparently got stuck in his throat during surgery andweren’t discov- ered for eight days. The man went to the emergency room because he was having a hard time swallowing and was cough- ing up blood. Doctors or- dered a chest X-ray, diag- nosed himwith pneumonia and sent himhomewith an- tibiotics and steroids. It took another hospital visit before another X-ray revealed the problem: His dentures — a metal roof plate and three false teeth — lodged at the top of this throat. The man thought his dentures were lost while he was in the hospital for mi- nor surgery. Howit happened isn’t ex- actly clear, but a half-dozen previous cases have been documented of dentures go- ing astray as surgical pa- tients were put to sleep. Placing a tube in a pa- tient’s airway can push things where they don’t be- long, said Dr. Mary Dale Pe- terson, an anesthesiologist at Driscoll Children’s Hos- pital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Besides dentures, retain- ers, loose teeth and tongue piercings can cause prob- lems, said Peterson, who is president-elect of theAmer- ican Society of Anesthesi- ologists. Before a child’s sur- gery, she’ll pull a very loose tooth and tell the patient to expect a visit fromthe tooth fairy. “We can make a nice game of it.” In the British case, after the dentures were removed, the man had several bouts of bleeding that required more surgery before he re- covered. The journal arti- cle didn’t identify the man or the hospital involved. What can be learned fromthis case?Doctorsneed to listen carefully to their patients and build a time- line of what happened rather than relying heavily on scans and tests, said Dr. Rui Amaral Mendes, an as- sociate editor of BMJ Case Reports, which published the paper Monday. For their part, patients should tell their doctors about mouth problems be- fore surgery, said Mendes, an oral surgeon at Case WesternReserveUniversity in Cleveland. That includes dentures, blisters and seri- ous gumdisease. Loose teeth could be knocked down the throat when tubes are put into the airway. “Stay on the safe side,” he said. “Inform your phy- sician of what’s going on in your mouth.” The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Home Care & Companions We Offer 24 Hour “In-Home” Care for those who choose to remain in their home. 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Call Today 308-382-3436 www.theindependent.com The Grand Island Independent THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 2019 4A senior LIVING By Adrian Sainz The Associated Press TUNICA, Miss. — The sons of Ben and Hattie Davis give spe- cial meaning to the term “band of brothers.” Eleven in all, their combined 158 years of service to theU.S. mil- itarymake thembrothers in arms aswell as brothers raisedona fam- ily farm in rural Alabama. Seven of the 11 gathered in mid-July at a hotel and casino in Mississippi for a reunion thick with brotherly love and military pride. They laughed together, told stories from their days growing up and serving the country and reminisced about what it was like to be black in the U.S. military in the 20th century in America. But in the end, they talked less about racism than the lack of re- spect all veterans feel from their fellow Americans. “Being in the military, it was a fine thing,” said Lebronze Da- vis, who fought in the Vietnam War and has survived cancer and heart surgery. “We all thinkwe’ve done an outstanding job.” In 2017, the Davis men were honored by the National Infantry MuseumFoundation. The names of the 11 brothers and their un- cle are engraved on four paving stones installed at the museum. “What these brothers did out of love for both family and coun- try is nothing short of remark- able,” foundation president Pete Jones said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Their sense of duty is unrivaled, and is the kind of spirit that makes our nation’s armed forces the greatest in the world.” Sixteen siblings — the 11 vet- erans, plus three sisters and two brothers who did not enter the military — grew up on a 60-acre cotton farm in Wetumpka, Ala., where their parents worked hard to put food on the table. Momwas thedisciplinarian, dadhada softer approach. “Their moral and ethical val- ues were pristine,” said Arguster, the youngest at 67 years old. When the boys graduated high school, it seemed natural to enter the military. Military experience runs long in the Davis family. The brothers’ uncle, 99-year-old Master Sgt. ThomasDavis, survivedPearlHar- bor’s surprise attack. Ben Jr. was the first brother to enlist. He joined the Navy in 1944, while WorldWar II was still raging. Arguster served in the Air Force for four years and then the Air Force Reserve until 1998. Lebronze, 70, saw the heaviest fighting of the group: He survived jungle ambushes as an Army sol- dier in Vietnam, where he devel- oped advanced napping skills. “I cango out inanybushes and sleep likeaHoliday Inn,”Lebronze said. “You learn how to do it be- cause you are so tired. But guess what, you can hear a gnat go by you.” The brothers talk often, and try get together every year. This year, seven of themtraveled toTu- nica,Miss., for some gambling and buffet action to celebrate three July birthdays. They spoke with an Associated Press reporter in a meeting room at the Horseshoe hotel. The Davis roll call features a mix of personalities. Octavious, the brothers agree, is the jokester. An Army veteran, he drew riotous laughter when he told a bear-in-the-woods joke. “We just like to get together and talk trashand just have a good time,” said Octavious, 80. “All of us are close.” Lebronze is known as the straightforward brother. Broth- ers Frederick, 68 — the serious one —and the more practical Ju- lius, 73, joined him in serving in the Army during Vietnam. Eddie, 89, also served during Vietnam, but that was just part of his 23-year career with the Army and Air Force. He has a more spiritual side, while Army veteran Nathaniel, 75, is no-nonsense. Washington, a six-year Army veteran, has passed away. Ben, Al- phonza, who served 29 years in the Army, and Calvin, who did four years in the Navy, couldn’t attend. In their years after serving, the brothers have worked for the U.S. Postal Service and the Bureau of Prisons, as electricians and busi- nessmen. And they clearly have shared personality traits: friend- liness, strong work ethic, mutual respect. They remember being disre- spected too, like the white-only drinking fountains and “col- ored-only” waiting areas they en- dured while growing up in the years of legal segregation. “These were the norms we saw,” Nathaniel said. But the brothers said they didn’t experiencemuch racism in the military. Julius does recall whenhis base inMobile,Alabama, was put on alert the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. “Everybody thought that black peoplewere going to tear the town up,” he said. Octavious says the brothers don’t often talk with one another about their military experiences. Lebronze won’t watch war mov- ies and he doesn’t even dream about his time in Vietnam. But they all boomed a collec- tive “no” in response to one ques- tion: Are veterans respected as much today as in the past? Arguster says he has grown weary of the overused phrase, “thank you for your service.” His preference? “I would much rather hear them say, ‘Thank you for helping to keep this country free.’” 11 brothers from Alabama, 158 years of U.S. military service LEFT: Seven Davis brothers — Eddie, Frederick, Arguster, Octavious, Nathaniel, Julius and Lebronze — chat during a reunion at a hotel-casino on Friday, July 12, in Tunica, Miss. In 2017, the Davis men were honored by the National Infantry Museum Foundation. The names of the 11 brothers and their uncle are engraved on four paving stones installed at the museum. The foundation’s president calls their combined military record “nothing short of remarkable.” BELOW: (From left) Eddie Davis and his brothers Julius, Octavious, Lebronze, Frederick, Arguster and Nathaniel pose for a photo behind a family picture during a reunion in Tunica, Miss. Eleven brothers in all, their combined 158 years of service to the U.S. military make them brothers in arms as well as brothers raised on a family farm in rural Alabama. The Associated Press/Adrian Sainz Missing dentures found stuck in throat eight days after surgery PRE-SURGERY CHECKLIST The Associated Press/BMJ This undated X-ray image provided by the BMJ in August 2019 shows dentures stuck in the throat of a 72-year-old patient. They became lodged in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered until eight days later. The journal article didn’t identify the man or the hospital involved.

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