Early this summer, a friend of mine who is a mom of four shared an amazing image on her Facebook feed that took my breath away. It was an x-ray taken of her oldest son with quarter stuck in his throat.
Apparently, he had put the quarter in his mouth but hadn’t intended to swallow it. Whoops! A trip to the emergency room and a very expensive medical bill were the end of that potential catastrophe for this family.
Swallowing inedible objects is commonplace for toddlers and young kids, but as they grow older, this behavior disappears. At least it is supposed to disappear.
So when you hear a story of person with something strange found inside of their body, you can’t help but be curious. How did it get there? Did they swallow it on purpose or was it simply an odd accident? Check out these amazing and bizarre cases of strange objects found inside people.
1. Are you forgetting something?
The skills necessary to become a surgeon are impressive, making medical professionals seem as if they are beyond reproach. Still, even those with the highest medical training make mistakes from time to time.
Unfortunately, these mistakes can come at the expense of vulnerable patients. Not all mistakes cost a patient their life, but many result in the need for further medical treatment and at the least, a scary story to tell.
A 36-year-old woman presented to the hospital after experiencing some strange symptoms months after a surgery. According to the journal Hippokratia, an x-ray revealed a surgical instrument had actually been left behind and was migrating through her body. Of course, she was rushed into surgery and the instrument was removed from her colon.
This specific instance inspired a case study that suggested that all surgical instruments be counted twice before a surgical patient is closed up. Here’s hoping this practice keeps something similar from happening again!
2. You know that thing your mother told you about swallowing seeds?
When I was a child, my parents used to tease me about swallowing watermelon seeds, saying a watermelon just might grow inside of me. As unlikely as it may seem, there might be a kernel of truth in all of that teasing.
When a 75-year-old living in Cape Cod began to experience some alarming respiratory symptoms, his doctors suspected he might have developed a dangerous tumor in his lung. His surgery revealed otherwise when a small pea shoot was removed.
Doctor’s believe that this man had accidentally inhaled the seed and then it became lodged in his lung. If you know anything about the way plants develop, you might find yourself wondering how the pea plant began to grow.
The pea managed to sprout because most pea plants begin their growth underground. In the very beginning stages, a pea plant only needs warmth and moisture to sprout. Once it breaks through the soil, it receives the sunlight it really needs to thrive.
For this reason, the sprout found in this man’s lung was very small, its growth limited by the lack of light.
Although the patient was already experiencing other problems with his lung, removal of the pea did relieve the symptoms initially believed to be caused by a tumor.
3. That’s not what silverware is for.
Pica is an unusual eating disorder that causes people to feel a compulsion to ingest things that aren’t food. In most cases, people eat things like drywall, dirt, or hair, but stranger cases have been reported.
When a 52-year-old woman living in Holland showed up at the emergency room complaining of a bad stomachache, doctors never expected to find a collection of cutlery. An x-ray revealed she had eaten 78 forks and spoons.
When asked why, she said she had merely felt a compulsion to do it.
Since having the cutlery removed, the patient has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a complicated mental health issue that causes individuals to experience intense mood swings and act out in impulsive and inappropriate ways.
4. I’m so hungry I could eat a robot.
Among the tales of strange things found inside of people, the story of Michel Lotito is perhaps the most difficult to comprehend. Over the course of his life, Lotito was believed to have ingested as much as nine tons of metal.
All of his eating of strange things began when he was 9 years old. He was diagnosed with pica after he his parents discovered him snacking on the family’s television set. Lotito continued this strange and dangerous habit, discovering he had an incredible tolerance for sharp and rigid objects.
His disorder became his career when he realized he could eat inedible objects as a form of entertainment.
Among the most bizarre things consumed by Lotito is a robot eaten over the course of three weeks, multiple bicycles, and two beds. His biggest accomplishment (if you want to call it that) was eating entire airplane. Over a period of two years, Lotito ate a Cessna 150 Airplane, one bite at a time.
5. May Contain Small Parts
After their 8-year-old daughter began experiencing pain so severe she could barely stand up, two parents were horrified to learn she had swallowed over 30 small magnets and steel balls that were in one of her toys.
Amazingly, 8-year-old Haley survived after spending two weeks in the hospital.
Swallowing inedible objects is always dangerous, but magnets present a serious risk. Eating two magnets can actually result in the death of a patient, because the human body cannot pass them like other objects.
Because of this, parents should always watch their children with toys that have magnetic components.
6. Well, that’s one way to win a fight.
After getting in a heated argument with her boyfriend, one woman in China decided to take a unique approach to getting revenge. She swallowed 20 cobblestones, one by one, to get her boyfriend’s attention.
When she showed up at the hospital, she explained to her doctors that she had believed she would pass the stones. Instead, the cobblestones remained intact and had to be surgically removed from her body. Surely she got her boyfriend’s attention, but was it worth it?
7. What’s that in your lung?
A few years back, an amazing story made its way around the internet. It was the tale of a Russian man who showed up to the hospital complaining of severe chest pain. Doctors were concerned that he might have a cancerous tumor.
The patient had been coughing up blood and his worried doctors scheduled surgery right away. According to reports, they were amazed to find he didn’t have cancer; instead he had a fir tree growing in his lung.
Supposedly, the tree was five centimeters long and the patient was suspected to have inhaled it, after which it implanted in his lung. His doctors were quoted as saying the tree was actually pushing against his capillaries, which would explain his pain and the coughing up of blood.
If this story seems too bizarre to be true, that’s because it just might be. While some sources still report this as a true story, others have removed the story, and still others are arguing it’s a fabrication. It just goes to show you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.