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  QUESTION: Could health worsen from 4 lodged lead shotgun pellets in the head 3 in the nape of the neck?  22 Aug 2003, Ireland

My partner was shot with lead pellets from a shotgun by a disgruntled customer while he was working one night in a bar - April 2001 - he received 4 shots to the head and 3 to the nape of the neck. Hospital said 6-8 weeks and his body would dispel them - it has been nearly 3 years - we are very worried as there have been some medical concerns - lump at front of head unexplained? decreased sex-drive and inability to sleep on right side of body. Can you help us at all and let me know if these injuries could become serious - we are really worried!!! Thank you in advance.

Ann and Mick

ANSWER: 22 Aug 2003

Dear Ann,

I am attaching my fact sheet on lodged lead shot etc, entitled "Question: What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?", available online only for LLSBS [Lodged Lead Shot & Bullet Support Group] MEMBERS ONLY -

The first thing to do is, Mick needs a blood lead test from the doctor. This is the way to determine whether his decreased sex-drive is possibly from the lead in his bloodstream or there is another explanation. It may be appropriate to investigate removing the pellets if the blood lead level is elevated. Ensuring excellent intake of Vitamin C, iron, calcium, zinc and protein will be one way of reducing his blood lead level, although if it is very high he may need chelation treatment in hospital. In case Dr Chris Winder of The LEAD Group's Technical Advisory Board, has any further advice or different advice for you, I am copying this email to him. I have been planning to set up an e-group for people (or their families) who have lodged lead foreign objects in them (I estimate that there are millions of such people in the world) so that people can share their experiences of managing the problem. Please email me if you do not want your email address added to the closed discussion group. Personally, I had never heard that the body could dispel a shot pellet, so this piece of information, would be the kind of thing that could be verified or falsified by the members of the e-group.

I wish you and Mick all the best.

Yours sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Update 2012: What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?

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