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Remove This: Medical Tales Of Strangest Objects Found In Patients

Fragment of Wendy's utensil removed from a man's bronchial tube.

This fragment of a plastic Wendy's utensil was removed last year from a man's bronchial tube. Duke University hide caption

itoggle caption Duke University

If anonymity on the Internet brings out the worst in people, imagine what happens when you ask doctors on a roped-off online site to name the strangest things they've ever pulled out of patients.

Sermo, a members-only website for doctors, just did it and posted some of the can-you-top-this answers on its public blog.

Some of the cleaner examples include a plastic helicopter stuck in a child's nose, two toy dogs in a small boy's stomach and a seashell that had apparently been in a surfer's lung for a year.

There were, of course, much more disturbing cases that, out of politeness, we mention without describing the affected body part: a string of pearls, a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger and a windshield wiper blade.

Some docs took advantage of the question to make what pass for medical jokes. Several replied the most unusual object was a "hospital administrator's own head" — location not revealed.

One of our favorites was the none-of-the-above answer from a shrink, who wrote:

Not my specialty — As a psychiatrist the only thing I "remove" are neuroses.

But for our money, the strangest object we've heard about is still the fragment of a Wendy's utensil pulled from a North Carolina man's bronchial tube last year. The hunk of plastic appears to have been stuck there for quite a while, causing a chronic, debilitating cough.

How did it get there? John Manley, the patient, told Shots, he wasn't sure but that he ate pretty regularly at Wendy's "I can't put my finger on it," he said. "It's fast food. You grab your food, you eat it fast and you leave."

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