An aching stomach turned into a real-life horror show for one Fresno, California, man after he ended up pulling a 5-foot-long stowaway out of his body. He headed straight for the emergency room, but he didn’t go alone.
He took the offending article with him in a plastic bag.
The patient went to the emergency room at Community Regional Medical Center in San Francisco to report abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea. He was tended to by emergency medicine physician Dr. Kenny Banh, who later shared what turned out to be an incredible (and stomach-churning) story on the podcast “This Won’t Hurt A Bit.”
“I see this young gentleman,” the doctor recalled. “He’s a 30-year-old Asian gentleman, and I said ‘What brings you in here today?'”
Banh recalled his mysterious patient asking to be treated for worms. Dr. Banh, skeptical at first, then looked into the plastic bag that the young man was carrying and couldn’t believe what he saw.
The patient had pulled a 5-foot-long tapeworm out of his behind. There it was, in all of its glory; over 5 feet of worm, neatly coiled around a toilet paper roll.
The doctor was a bit skeptical until the man showed him what was in the plastic grocery bag he was holding.
“That came out of your bottom?” Banh recalled asking, speaking to Inside Edition. The patient replied, quite simply, “Yes.” The young man then explained that he had been sitting on the toilet, felt a “wiggling” sensation, and was struck by an intense panic; he thought that his intestines were coming out of his body.
He took hold of the sinewy material, gave it a tug, and ended up reeling over 5 feet of tapeworm out of his behind. Strangely relieved but not knowing what else to do, he coiled the tapeworm around a toilet paper roll and headed for the nearest hospital.
Thank you CA Surgeon General Dr. Burke Harris for spending the day with us at UCSF Fresno.
The patient asked Dr. Banh, “How big’s the worm?” The doctor had no idea but was game to find out. In the lobby of the emergency department, the two men unrolled the tapeworm on the ground and Dr. Banh used his foot-long clipboard as a size guide.
The pair drew their jaw-dropping conclusion; this worm was five-and-a-half feet long. “Oh, that’s about my size!” the doctor exclaimed.
A Fresno man pulled a 5 1/2 foot-long tapeworm out his own body. Be warned: There are photos. https://t.co/GeqlymlgRh
— NPR (@NPR) January 21, 2018
Dr. Banh asked all the right questions and quickly ascertained the probable root cause of the parasite. The culprit? “Almost certainly” raw salmon, he said. The patient had a penchant for sushi; in particular, salmon sashimi.
It’s a known source of tapeworm. In 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified contaminated Alaskan salmon and sounded the alarm; the salmon was found to be infected by the Japanese broad tapeworm parasite.
The doctor couldn’t accurately pinpoint the age of the tapeworm, however. Worms can grow at different rates, he said. His patient was treated with medication to break down and eliminate any remaining parasites.
Dr. Banh, keen to keep things in perspective, advised people that the risk of parasites is present in all foods, even vegetables. A blanket sushi ban was not necessary. NPR additionally assured readers that tapeworm infection remains uncommon in humans.
After his shudder-inducing ordeal, however, nobody would have blamed Dr. Banh’s patient from rethinking his daily lunch order. He did exactly that.
According to Fox News, the California resident said he “won’t be eating salmon anytime soon.”