Long-term smoker thought to have lung tumor—what doctors actually removed was disturbing

November 7, 2017 3:55 pm Last Updated: November 7, 2017 3:55 pm

When this long-term smoker was referred to a respiratory clinic, doctors thought there was a tumor in his lung. However, they couldn’t stop laughing when the “tumor” was removed—something totally unexpected.

Paul Baxter, 50, a postman from Preston, U.K., had thought that he had just come down with a winter cold and had been referred to a respiratory clinic for a medical examination. Then doctors found “something small and orange” at the bottom of his lung during a bronchoscopy.

©Facebook | Paul Baxter

Initially, doctors thought the patient had a tumor, as he was a long-term smoker—but the tumor turned out to be something else entirely, something they least expected.

In the end, it turned out that that “something” had actually been a “long lost Playmobil traffic cone,” a toy, which Baxter had accidentally inhaled when he was a child. The unusual case was later documented in a British Medical Journal.

Baxter found the whole situation “absolutely hilarious” and told BBC what he planned to do with the cone. “I think I’ll keep it forever,” Baxter said.

©Facebook | Practical Sonography

As to how the cone ended up in his lung, Baxter had no recollection.

“I did what every kid does. I used to eat my toys. I must have had it in my mouth and it went down my windpipe. But I don’t remember feeling anything,” he said. “It was just sat there for 40 years. I had pneumonia when I was 18 and nothing was picked up then. I was in hospital in 2004 with a brain abscess and had an MRI scan but again nothing was picked up.”

He also recalled the doctors’ reaction when they realized it was a traffic cone that Baxter had gotten at the age of 7.

©Facebook | Table Mountain Toys

“He said he could see something orange at the bottom of my lung … I couldn’t think what small and orange thing could be in there. [When they pulled it out] everyone just started laughing, the doctors, nurses, all of us,” he said.

Now that the cone is out of his lungs, he says, “I find it absolutely hilarious.”

“No, it is not on the mantelpiece. It is in a jar they gave me, in the cupboard. I think I will keep it forever, pass it on to my grandchildren. We do watch them around toys now. We have to,” he added.