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Penetrating injury to the chest by an attenuated energy projectile: a case report and literature review of thoracic injuries caused by "less-lethal" munitions

Joao Rezende-Neto123*, Fabriccio DF Silva1, Leonardo BO Porto1, Luiz C Teixeira1, Homer Tien3 and Sandro B Rizoli3

Author Affiliations

1 Risoleta Tolentino Neves University Hospital Trauma Center – Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2 Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES), Esplanada dos Ministérios Bloco "L" – Anexo II 2° andar, Brasilia, Brazil

3 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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World Journal of Emergency Surgery 2009, 4:26  doi:10.1186/1749-7922-4-26

Published: 26 June 2009


We present the case of a patient who sustained a penetrating injury to the chest caused by an attenuated energy rubber bullet and review the literature on thoracic injuries caused by plastic and rubber "less-lethal" munitions. The patient of this report underwent a right thoracotomy to extract the projectile as well as a wedge resection of the injured lung parenchyma. This case demonstrates that even supposedly safe riot control munition fired at close range, at the torso, can provoke serious injury. Therefore a thorough investigation and close clinical supervision are justified.