A British man breathed a sigh of relief after doctors discovered that a suspected lung tumor was actually a Playmobil toy traffic cone he had aspirated as a 7-year-old.
Respiratory clinic physicians in Preston found the tiny plastic toy deep in one of the man’s lungs.
The 47-year-old handyman was complaining of a nagging cough that had hung on for more than a year. The scan showed a dark spot on his lung. Because he was a heavy smoker, doctors assumed it was a cancerous tumor.
During a bronchoscopy, in which a fiber optic scope is threaded down the throat to provide a look at the lungs, surgeons were stunned to find the Playmobil toy embedded in lung tissue.
The patient told physicians the piece was part of a “long-lost Playmobil” set he had received on his seventh birthday, the British Medical Journal reported.
The miniature plastic cone was about a half-inch tall. Surgeons removed it with forceps.
“Following the procedure, the patient reported that he regularly played with and even swallowed pieces of Playmobil during his childhood,” doctors wrote in their report.
“This may be because aspiration occurred at such a young age that the patient’s airway was able to remodel and adapt to the presence of this foreign body,” the report said.
Physicians said it is common for kids to inhale small articles. But the handyman’s case was “unheard of” because he developed symptoms so late after aspirating the object.
Four months after the toy was surgically removed, the man's cough has gone away and he feels fine, doctors said.