SC boy swallows blow dart after accepting YouTube challenge

Published: Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:07 PM EST
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - From the cinnamon challenge, to eating a cactus, to other dangerous dares. Antics are all over YouTube, enticing many young kids, like Shawn Stillinger, to say "challenge accepted," to a homemade blow dart experiment.

"I tilted it up to shoot it out at a tree and it fell back out of the straw that I had it in," said 15-year-old Shawn." And, it went into my throat."

He showed-off the blow dart, that was once lodged in his windpipe, and admitted it was a nightmare.

"One of the ladies told me they were going to have to cut my throat open," said Shawn.

"He was scared and I think he realized then what he did wasn't really worth what he was feeling right at the moment," said Shawn's mother Tara Chavis.

When asked the worst thing that entered his mind, he replied, "maybe they wouldn't be able to get it out."

After 2 hospitals couldn't remove the dart, Dr. David Gudis, doctor of Otolaryngology, from MUSC stepped in.

"We could access his airway and operate on his airway endoscopically all through his mouth," said Dr. Gudis.

He successfully removed the dart without cutting into his throat. It's what he calls, the best possible scenario.

"People can die from this," said Dr. Gudis. "People can die from airway foreign bodies."

That concern was multiplied in the eyes of mom, although short-lived.

"I hugged him when I got to where he was," said Chavis "Then, I probably would have liked to have like 5 minutes in private with him. Maybe Dr. Gudis wouldn't have had to do the job, because I might would have shaken it out of him."

The two feel fortunate for the outcome.

Shawn is now thankful to one man who he says saved his life and he encourages others to think before accepting a challenge.

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