Image: Playmobil

In many ways, the human body is a storage locker. For hopes and petty frustrations, for meat and way too many bones, and—as one 47-year-old British man recently discovered—sometimes even childhood toys you forgot you inhaled several decades ago.

Earlier this month, the BMJ published a case study describing the man’s medical odyssey titled “An airway traffic jam: a plastic traffic cone masquerading as bronchial carcinoma.” As its name suggests, the report concerns a suspected tumor that turned out to be a “long lost Playmobil traffic cone” the unnamed patient received as a birthday present at 7 years old.

After coming in over a persistent cough that had a troubled him for over a year, a cone-shaped mass was spotted in the man’s lungs via X-ray. Being a smoker, doctors initially suspected the mass to be a tumor until it was revealed to be a toy cleverly hidden to be played with later.

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According to the BBC, the case study’s authors say the man’s “cough had almost gone and his symptoms had improved markedly” four months after the traffic cone was removed with a flexible bronchoscope.

The BBC did not disclose whether the cone—now apparently shellacked in cigarette tar—was part of a larger playset or if the man’s entire birthday present was a single Playmobil cone.

[BMJ, BBC]