A British man was hoping for a misdiagnosis on a suspected cancer tumor, but he probably did not expect doctors to find a foreign object deep inside his lungs.
What was thought to be a tumor actually turned out to be a tiny plastic cone. How did a toy end up embedded in the man's lungs?
Suspected Lung Cancer Tumor Was A Tiny Toy Cone
Paul Baxter, from the city of Preston in Lancashire, England, was referred to a respiratory clinic after suffering from a cough for more than a year. He was suspected to be suffering from lung cancer, primarily due to his history as a long-term smoker.
However, during a bronchoscopy, doctors did not detect any signs of cancer. Instead, the camera picked up a small orange object at the bottom of Baxter's lung. The doctors proceeded with an operation to extract the object, and it turned out to be a tiny plastic traffic cone.
"[When they pulled it out] everyone just started laughing, the doctors, nurses, all of us," Baxter narrated, relieved that he was not suffering from lung cancer and adding that he will keep the toy that was pulled out of his lung as a "trophy" that he can show to his grandchildren.
How Did A Toy End Up In The Man's Lungs?
The unique case was detailed in the BMJ Case Reports journal, which explained why a toy ended up inside Baxter's lungs.
The report said that the patient remembered regularly playing with Playmobil toys during his childhood. Baxter remembered the toy cone from a model railway set he had back when he was 7 years old. He also admitted that he was eating his toys, and apparently, the toy cone entered his windpipe without him noticing it.
The toy cone has apparently stayed lodged inside Baxter's lungs for 40 years. The object was not detected when he was diagnosed with pneumonia when he was 18 years old, nor was it picked up by an MRI scan that was taken in 2004 due to a brain abscess.
Four months after the toy cone was removed from Baxter's lungs, the report noted that his cough has disappeared.
"On a positive note, his symptoms improved markedly and he finally found his longlost Playmobil traffic cone in the very last place he would look," the report playfully wrote. Inhaling small objects often resulted in symptoms within a week, but Baxter's toy cone only made its presence felt after four decades, making his case a very exceptional one in the history of medicine.