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Man Learns Suspected Lung Tumor Is Playmobil Traffic Cone He Inhaled 40 Years Earlier

Image: Playmobil
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.

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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.

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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.

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]

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

burnerofcourse
burnerofcourse

OMG I have a story I never get to tell! One of the guys on our softball team had a collision with another player at second base and he hit his nose and forehead HARD on the other guy’s shoulder. He drops his glove and grabs covers his nose with his hands, and when he calms down and realizes he didn’t break anything, he also notices something in his nose. He blows it out, and we are all looking at this little hard thing in his hand, and then after like ten seconds he starts laughing his butt off. When he finally catches his breath, he explains that 24 years earlier (when he was like 8) he had a number 2 pencil up his nose eraser-first and someone hit his hand. It hurt and he started crying, and they noticed the eraser was gone from the pencil but they didn’t find it on the floor.

It turns out it broke off in his nasal cavity and stayed there 24 years until the collision knocked it back out.