Mom undergoes emergency surgery after swallowing COVID test


It gave him cotton in the throat.

A British mother feared for her life after she accidentally swallowed a COVID-19 testing throat swab – which ended up traveling down to her intestines.

“It was really scary . . . It could have ended up being fatal,” Bobby Lee, 31, told South West News Service of the stomach-churning case.

The mother-of-one had chosen to take a rapid COVID-19 test at home after feeling ill after an overnight shift, but when she tried to swab her throat the tool wouldn’t come out.

“When I dabbed the back of my throat, I kind of gagged,” the petrified relative described. “The stick banged into my mouth and got stuck in the back of my throat, with the swab in my throat and the end stuck in the roof of my mouth at the back.

“It could have ended up being fatal,” said Bobby Lee, 31.
Bobby Lee / SWNS

After attempts to remove the instrument failed, the Durham resident tried to swallow the swab causing it to slide lower.

“It only went halfway down my throat, so you could see the end sticking out of my throat,” lamented the panicked mother, who was home with her youngest child at the time.

At one point, Lee said she temporarily had trouble breathing, but was eventually able to, SWNS reported.

The cotton swab goes wrong after doctors pull it out of Lee's esophagus.
The cotton swab after the doctors pulled it out.
Bobby Lee / SWNS

Hoping not to panic her daughter by calling emergency services, the quick-witted caretaker said she “jumped in the car and drove straight to A&E.”

Unfortunately, the doctors said they had never seen a case like his before.

“They had never encountered the problem, so they didn’t know what to do,” Lee said. “Every time I swallowed I couldn’t feel it in the back of my throat, but you could still see it.”

Ultimately, doctors opted for emergency surgery, which involved ramming a thin, flexible camera down her throat to locate the tool, then extracting the oversized Q-Tip with surgical tools.

After attempts to withdraw the swab failed, Lee tried to swallow it, which only succeeded in getting it caught further down his throat.
After attempts to withdraw the swab failed, Lee tried to swallow it, which only succeeded in getting it caught further down his throat.
Bobby Lee / SWNS

The surgery went with a hitch; however, accompanying footage showed how dire the situation could have been had Lee not sought medical attention.

“He had gone to the stomach. The pictures they took with the camera down my throat even showed it near my intestines,” Lee said. “It had to come out of my mouth, as if it had entered my intestines, it would have pierced them.”

In January, the US Food and Drug Administration warned candidates for the rapid home COVID-19 test to only swab their noses – dismissing viral reports that tests are more accurate when users also swab their nose. throat.

The testing tool would have traveled to Lee's intestines.
The testing tool would have traveled to Lee’s intestines.
Bobby Lee / SWNS

“The FDA advises that COVID-19 tests should be used as authorized, including following their instructions for use regarding obtaining the sample for testing,” the agency, which approves COVID tests, said. to The Post in a statement.

The FDA said it also “noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs,” which can harm a patient if not done properly and must be collected by a trained professional.


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