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Doctors Extract Huge Spoon From Man's Throat A Whole Year After He Swallowed It


Dr. Katie Spalding

Katie has a PhD in maths, specializing in the intersection of dynamical systems and number theory.

Freelance Writer


Like sword swallowing but less impressive. Xinjiang Meikuang General Hospital

Another week, another bonkers medical case. And like so many in the genre, the latest owes its existence to those three timeless ingredients: youth, ridiculous challenges, and foreign bodies being inserted into places they have no right to be.

Back in 2017, “Mr Zhang”, a man in his early 20s from Xinjiang in northwest China, was betting with friends when, for unclear reasons, he decided to try swallowing a spoon.


Now, swallowing a spoon apparently isn’t easy, especially one that’s 20 centimeters (8 inches) long and made of steel, and the utensil actually ended up getting stuck at the top of his esophagus – the long tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.

Spoon. Xinjiang Meikuang General Hospital.

And, amazingly, that’s where it stayed – for an entire year.

“Mr Zhang felt that there was no serious problem,” explains the official statement from Xinjiang Meikuang General Hospital. “[He] did not go to the hospital to take out the steel spoon.”

All that changed last month, however, when our intrepid spoon-swallower was, for reasons even less clear, punched in the chest. Suffering from chest pains and trouble breathing, he finally made his way to the hospital for an examination.


Needless to say, the doctors were quite surprised to find silverware lodged in their patient’s gullet.

“I have never encountered a similar patient," said Dr Yu Xiwu, director of the hospital's Department of Otolaryngology.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out keeping cutlery in your foregut is a bad idea, medically speaking. The doctors determined that the spoon posed an immediate and life-threatening risk, and on October 22, under general anesthesia, Mr Zhang underwent a risky two-hour procedure to pull it back out of his mouth using forceps.

The offending spoon. The official report describes it as being found "wrapped in mucus", if you're wondering what that gunk is. Xinjiang Meikuang General Hospital.

After the surgery, Zhang was said to be recovering well and breathing painlessly once again. And for anybody else out there considering using their guts as makeshift cutlery draws, Dr Yu has some advice.


“Don’t be impulsive and do things that hurt you,” he said according to the statement. “[When] foreign bodies enter the esophagus or stomach, they can be life-threatening at any time.”

For an equally bizarre tale of someone gulping down things they really shouldn’t, click here to read the case of the man who ate 7 kilograms (15 pounds) of coins, nails, and other metal doodads. Or if you have a really strong stomach, click here to find out one disgusting consequence of eating undercooked squid.

[H/T: Live Science]


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