May 17, 2022

Woman rushed in for emergency surgery after swallowing Covid swab

A woman was rushed in for emergency surgery after swallowing a six-inch Covid swab during a home test. Bobby Lee, 31, says she briefly feared for her life after gulping down the medical tool.

She decided to test after feeling unwell during a night shift but, when she put the swab in her mouth, it got stuck. Unsure what to do, care worker Bobby then tried to swallow the swab – but it only went part-way down her throat.

Worried, she raced to A&E from her home in Peterlee, Co. Durham – where doctors said they had never seen a similar case before. She was quickly transferred to a nearby hospital and, after emergency surgery, she is now on the road to recovery.

Mum-of-two Bobby said: “When I swabbed the back of my throat I sort of gagged. The stick twanged in my mouth and got stuck at the back of my throat, with the swab down my throat and the end stuck in the roof of my mouth at the back.

“I tried to remove it but just couldn’t get it out, so I literally thought to myself I was going to have to try and swallow it. I swallowed, and it went down a bit, but it only went half way down my throat so you could see the end of it sticking out of my throat.”

Panicking as she was alone with her youngest of two children, Bobby tried to remain calm and said she went straight to hospital. At one point she even felt as though she could not breathe temporarily, but thankfully she was able to do so eventually.



Bobby Lee, 31, says she briefly feared for her life after gulping down the medical tool
Bobby Lee, 31, says she briefly feared for her life after gulping down the medical tool

She added: “I didn’t even ring 111 because I had my little girl with me, I just jumped in the car and drove straight to A&E. I was just shocked because I didn’t know what was going to happen, if I was going to stop breathing with the little one on my own.”

After getting into the hospital, Bobby was quickly dispatched to a separate hospital where doctors tried to work out what to do.

She said: “Every time I was swallowing I couldn’t feel it at the back of my throat anymore, but you could still see it. They’d never experienced the issue though so they didn’t know what to do. I was breathing alright, but you could still see it.

“Eventually I had a mini-surgery with a camera down my throat. They got it out, but I was just so shocked it happened.

“It had gone all the way into my tummy, the pictures they took with the camera down my throat even showed it near my intestines. It had to come out of my mouth though as if it had gotten into my intestines it would have punctured them.

“It really was scary, but I’m just glad I had the sense to jump straight in the car. It could have ended up fatal.”

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