Doctors remove hidden toy traffic cone from man's lung after 40 years


A man was rushed to hospital for tests when an X-ray presented a dark mass on his lung (Picture: BMJ Case Reports).

A 47-year-old man in the United Kingdom was referred to a respiratory clinic after complaining of coughing up yellow mucus and feeling unwell for over a year.

Doctors believed the cough could have been because the man was a smoker but on closer inspection, a cone-shaped mass was spotted in his lungs via an X-ray.

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".

During a diagnostic procedure, doctors in the United Kingdom, who have documented the case in the British medical journal BMJ Case Reports, discovered a "mustard coloured foreign body" in the lung.

The miniature plastic cone was specifically from a Playmobil miniature toy set that the man had as a child.

The unique case was detailed in the BMJ Case Reports journal, which explained why a toy ended up inside Baxter's lungs.

"For example, during childhood it may have been absorbed into the mucosal lining of the bronchus which developed around it", they wrote.

The toy cone has apparently stayed lodged inside Baxter's lungs for 40 years.

They believe the situation continued for more than 40 years without being noticed because "the patient's airway was able to remodel and adapt to the presence of this foreign body".

"While it is a common occurrence for children to accidentally inhale small objects", they wrote, "a case in which the onset of symptoms occurs so long after initial aspiration is unheard of".

Four months after the toy was removed from the patient, his cough had nearly disappeared and X-rays showed only a minor residual lung infection and irritation, said the report.

"He may have had symptoms as a child at the time it was aspirated - cough, chest pain, etc. - but these were put down to a transient illness".

The most important sign of TFB for any adult or child is if they choke on an object and develop chronic coughing.