Medical Error: This Lung Cancer Tumor Was Actually a Tiny Toy Cone Inhaled 40 Years Ago



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In what may be among the strangest medical diagnoses of the year, a British man was told that he did not have lung cancer tumor, but instead had swallowed a plastic toy cone 40 years earlier. Experts say this case isn’t as isolated as we may think; inhaling toys is actually a pretty big problem for small children.

In a case published in BMJ Case Reports, a 47-year-old male was being treated for respiratory problems at a clinic in the UK for about a year after suffering from a number of problems ranging from uncontrollable coughing to excess mucous production. Eventually the man underwent an x-ray, which revealed a black mass in his lungs. Fearing the worst, the patients was told that the mass was likely a cancerous tumor.

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To confirm the suspicion, doctors performed a bronchoscopy test, using an instrument called a bronchoscope to examine the airways. The tube is…