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Turn Signal From 1963 Car Wreck Removed From Illinois Man's Arm

Arthur Lampitt unknowingly carried around the memento from his mangled Thunderbird for 51 years.
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An Illinois man who wrecked his new Ford Thunderbird in 1963 unwittingly carried around a memento of the crash for decades — a seven-inch turn signal embedded in his arm and not removed until this week.

Arthur Lampitt, 75, was pretty sure what the foreign object was even before a surgeon cut it out of him on Wednesday. When his arm started to swell recently, he unearthed photos of the totaled car and noticed the blinker lever was missing.

Still, his wife Betty was stunned when doctors removed the piece of metal and confirmed her husband's suspicion. "Oh my god," the Granite City, Ill., woman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The surgeon, Dr. Timothy Lang, told the newspaper it was a shock to him, as well.

“We see all kinds of foreign objects like nails or pellets, but usually not this large, usually not a turn signal from a 1963 T-Bird,” Lang said. “Something this large often gets infected.”

Lampitt, a father of four, busted his hip in the accident half a century ago, so a more minor injury to his arm went largely unnoticed.

It wasn't until about a decade ago, when he set off a courthouse metal detector, that X-rays showed there was something — thought to be about the size of a pencil — in his arm, the newspaper reported. But since it wasn't causing any pain, he didn't do anything about it.

A couple of weeks ago, that changed when he felt a sharp point. “Everything was fine until it started to get bigger,” his wife told the Post-Dispatch. “The arm started bulging.”

The procedure to remove it only took 45 minutes. He got to take the lever when he left, but hasn't figured out what to do with it.

We’ll figure out something, I am sure,” he said.

— Tracy Connor