A child swallows a coin


A young girl in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, swallowed a coin. She had not passed it after a week, so her parents took her to a local medical facility for review. Our advice prevents a medical evacuation and avoids the child undergoing an unnecessary surgical procedure.

Service: Medical Assistance

Location: Port Harcourt, Nigeria



The young child underwent an abdominal X-ray and following review of this, the treating doctor recommended to the parents that their child would need to undergo surgical removal of the coin. Not surprisingly, the parents were extremely anxious and they subsequently contacted International SOS to request an evacuation from the country.


child and coin case study


The call was immediately put through to one of our Assistance Centre’s medical team who confirmed that the child remained asymptomatic and was otherwise well. Our medical team contacted the treating doctor and obtained the X-ray images that were taken. 

The images were reviewed by our team, who confirmed that there did not appear to be any indication for urgent surgical removal; and that as long as the child remained asymptomatic we would recommend a follow-up X-ray in a week. 

This follow-up X-ray confirmed that the coin safely transited the child’s gastrointestinal tract, and a few days later we received a call advising that the coin had finally been passed. 


Our advice and support not only saved our client money as a medical evacuation was prevented, but it also avoided the child undergoing an unnecessary surgical procedure. Further to this, the family were reassured by the knowledge of being able to access medical expertise at any time.