In a truly bizarre and astonishing incident, doctors in Singapore were left dumbfounded when they found an unexpected culprit behind a man’s throat discomfort—a fully intact octopus. The eight-legged mollusk had somehow become stuck in the patient’s gullet, causing him great distress.
The incident unfolded when the unidentified man started experiencing vomiting and difficulty swallowing shortly after consuming a meal that included the cephalopod. Concerned about his worsening condition, he sought medical assistance at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Medical professionals swiftly conducted a CT scan, which revealed the presence of a remarkably dense mass in the man’s esophagus. To gain further insight, they proceeded with an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, a gastrointestinal examination employing a small, flexible tube. Much to their surprise, they discovered an octopus, its tentacles stretched out just two inches away from the border between the esophagus and the stomach, resembling a scene out of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller “Alien.”
Handling such a delicate situation required utmost caution. The hospital’s medical team deliberated on various methods to dislodge the octopus, recognizing the need to avoid any potential risks, such as esophageal perforation. Although initial attempts to push or extract the creature proved unsuccessful, the skilled medics skillfully maneuvered the endoscope past the octopus, guiding it into the stomach, and finally, with the aid of forceps, succeeded in grasping the head of the mollusk and removing it from the patient.
Thankfully, the surgical intervention proved successful, and the patient’s recovery was swift. After just two days, he was discharged from the hospital, relieved to have overcome such an unusual ordeal.
According to physicians at the facility, food obstructions are a common occurrence, with the majority of cases resolving naturally, without medical intervention, in 80% to 90% of instances. However, in 10% to 20% of cases, endoscopic procedures like the one performed on this patient are necessary, and occasionally, as a last resort, surgery may be required in 1% of cases.
Remarkably, this incident is not the first time an octopus has caused trouble in such a manner. In a previous case in 2016, a 2-year-old boy in Wichita, Kansas, required hospitalization after an octopus became lodged in his throat during what was likely an ill-fated sushi session. Tragically, it is estimated that around six people lose their lives each year in South Korea while attempting to consume sannakji, a live octopus dish that is considered a delicacy. These fatalities occur when the suckers of the octopus adhere to the diner’s throat, leading to asphyxiation—an especially high risk when the tentacles are cut longer or the entire creature is consumed, often as part of a daring and soju-inspired challenge.
While the incident of the octopus in the throat may seem peculiar, it serves as a reminder of the unexpected dangers that can accompany culinary adventures. As doctors continue to encounter such extraordinary cases, they remain prepared to tackle these challenging situations and ensure the well-being of their patients.
In conclusion, this unusual encounter with an octopus lodged in a man’s throat serves as a testament to the resilience and expertise of medical professionals who navigate such extraordinary circumstances with skill and precision, ultimately saving lives and preserving the joy of ordinary experiences like enjoying a meal.