Doctors at a U.K. hospital proved the pen is truly mightier than the sword, when they discovered a pen that was sitting in stomach acid for 25 years still writes.

A 76-year-old woman visited the emergency department of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital complaining of diarrhea and unexplained weight loss. A CT-scan showed a “linear foreign body.”

After being questioned by doctors, the woman said she used a pen to check a strange spot on her tonsils 25 years prior, but the pen slipped out of her hands and down her throat. When doctors X-rayed her stomach at the time, it showed nothing.

The woman said the doctors – and her husband – did not believe her, so the pen stayed in her belly for more than two decades, causing no symptoms at all.


The woman’s new doctors decided it was best to remove the pen before it perforates the small intestines. When the pen was removed from the woman’s stomach, doctors were shocked to see the felt-tip pen still worked. Doctors wrote “Hello” with the quarter-century old pen.

A pen surviving in the stomach for so long is no simple feat.

The acids in the stomach or hydrochloric acid, which help break down food, is strong enough to dissolve a knife over time.

The story of the unidentified woman was published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday.