10:29 AM EDT, October 17, 2012
Hector Flores, Jr. made a squeaky whistling sound every time he took a breath. It went on for four weeks.
So, what was wrong with with seven–year–old Flores? That's what his parents wanted to know when they took him to a hospital in the Bronx, New York.
"They were of course surprised when he started making this noise, and it further convinced them that there was certainly something going on that wasn't right," said Dr. Mona Ganger an Attending Physician, Pediatric Otorhinolargyngology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore.
Earlier, doctors at another hospital gave the child medication to address what they thought was a digestive problem, but that wasn't it.
So what was the problem? Believe it or not, it all began with a toy duck that squeaks when you squeeze it. Flores was playing with it in a swimming pool when, somehow, the part that makes the whistling sound fell out, and he swallowed it.
The boy had no idea he'd joined an elite club of whistle-swallowers, including legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin in the film, City Lights, and Pete the dog from the ever-popular, Our Gang comedies.
It’s funny stuff, but doctors weren't laughing when they took a look inside Flores’ respiratory system, and sure enough, there was the whistle, lodged in an artery in his lung.
"His whistle was actually lodged in [a] tube that leads into the lower part of the right lung," said Dr. Ganger.
"And that could be potentially dangerous, I'm assuming?" asked INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent.
"Of course," said Dr. Ganger.
The whistle was removed in a 30-minute procedure. So it's a happy ending that makes you want to whistle a happy tune.