Doctors think it’s tumor and decide to operate. They open him up—it’s nothing they’ve seen before

September 28, 2017 4:20 pm Last Updated: October 2, 2017 12:57 pm

One man recently found out what happened to a long-lost toy from his childhood.

The 47-year-old man, who remains unidentified, complained of a cough occasionally accompanied by mucus for over a year. Doctors referred him to a respiratory clinic.

An x-ray revealed a mass in one of the 47-year-old man’s lungs. After considering his medical history—he recently suffered from pneumonia and was a smoker—doctors believed it could possibly be a cancerous tumor. They decided to operate.

Doctors discovered a mass in a man’s lung, and they determined they needed to operate.

(Photo by US Army Africa, CC BY 2.0)

Doctors at the clinic conducted a bronchoscopy, a procedure where doctors use a thin instrument to view a patient’s airways. It was during this procedure that doctors were able to get a look at the so-called tumor.

“On closer inspection, this turned out to be a traffic cone from a Playmobil set,” the doctors wrote in a case report published in the British Medical Journal.

A plastic traffic cone measuring approximately 1 centimeter was pulled from the man’s lung using biopsy forceps.

The foreign object in the man’s lung was part of a Playmobil toy set he received 40 years ago.

(Photo by S., CC BY-SA 2.0)

Doctors wrote in their report that following the procedure, the patient informed them that as a child he had a habit of both playing with the Playmobil set and swallowing the Playmobil pieces. The man even recalled the playset he received for his 7th birthday, and he guessed that it was shortly after his birthday that he accidentally inhaled the traffic cone.

Even though the plastic cone had entered his lung 40 years earlier, doctors believe that because he was so young when it happened, his lung was able to adapt to the presence of the foreign object.

Once the traffic cone was removed, the man’s condition dramatically improved.

The doctors remarked that while it is not unusual for a child to inhale or swallow a foreign object, this was the first time, to their knowledge, that a foreign object had gone 40 years without detection.

Four months after the procedure, the 47-year-old’s cough and other related symptoms had almost completely disappeared.

“On a positive note, his symptoms improved markedly and he finally found his long-lost Playmobil traffic cone in the very last place he would look,” the report stated.