BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-008482

Non-lethal? Penetrating chest injury due to beanbag bullet

  1. Sanjay Sharma1
  1. 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sanjay Thakur, docsanjaythakur{at}


We report a case of serious lung injury from beanbag bullet. A 46-year-old gentleman, shot with beanbag bullets was brought to the emergency department. Upon arrival he was in obvious respiratory distress and complained of severe pain in the right chest. A 3.0×3.5 cm entry wound on the right parasternal area was identified. Chest x-ray revealed a right haemopneumothorax, parenchymal changes at the right lung base and a radiopaque foreign body. A right-sided intercostal chest tube was inserted, draining air and 750 ml of blood. After stabilisation patient underwent a right thoracotomy. A beanbag bullet was found in the oblique fissure of the right lung, with extensive haematoma of the middle lobe. The bullet and skin fragments overlying the lung and along the bullet track were extracted. The pleural cavity was washed with normal saline and haemostasis was confirmed. The patient had an uneventful postoperative recovery.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article