Man's lung lump turns out to be plastic toy

Joy Montgomery
September 29, 2017

A British man accidentally ingested a toy as a child that appeared to be a tumor to his doctors 40 years later.

The freaky case came to light when the unnamed man, who was a lifetime smoker, reported a year-long, chronic cough to a local respiratory clinic.

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. A bronchoscopy scheduled later revealed that Baxter did not have a tumor in his lungs but a "long-lost Playmobil traffic cone" that was about 1cm in length.

Paul, who lives in the village of Croston, Lancs., with his wife Helen, 46, said: "Doctors said they could see something orange down my throat but didn't know what it was".

The handyman added that he "regularly played with and even aspirated (inhaled) the toy pieces during his childhood".

Parents and guardians are strongly recommended to seek medical advice as soon as they realize their children have inhaled an object.

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The patient had been referred to a respiratory clinic after showing symptoms of coughing and producing mucus following treatment for pneumonia.

"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.

"He was initially treated for a pneumonia, and as he was a smoker, he was followed up more closely following antibiotics since his symptoms and the changes on his X-ray persisted", Dr. Nicholas Denny, clinical fellow at Central Manchester Foundation Trust and author of the BMJ Case Report, tells Global News.

It is not unusual for children to inhale small toys, but doctors said that this case was rare as it remained unnoticed for 40 years.

Four months after the toy cone was removed from Baxter's lungs, the report noted that his cough has disappeared.

Because the man was so young when he swallowed the traffic cone, the report said, his airway may have been able to remodel and adapt to the presence of a foreign body.

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