8 days with fake teeth lodged in throat: Brit’s dentures discovered over a week after surgery
A 72-year-old Briton though his dentures were simply lost during surgery.
Six days after he had an operation on a benign lump in his abdomen the man needed medical attention once more. He returned to hospital complaining of difficulties breathing and swallowing, and of constant blood in his mouth.
Doctors were unable to diagnose their patient and sent him home with a prescription for mouthwash, steroids and antibiotics, CNN writes. However, he came back two days later, his symptoms only getting worse. This time medics managed to identify the cause, discovering a semicircular object stuck in his throat.
As it turned out, the first operating team forgot to take his dentures out before preforming surgery and the fake teeth got lodged in the man’s throat without anyone noticing. Unfortunately, the patient needed another operation to rid him of the problem, according to a study the British Medical Journal.
"There are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anaesthesia, but it is known that leaving dentures in during bag-mask ventilation allows for a better seal during induction (when the anaesthetic is being infused), and therefore many hospitals allow dentures to be removed immediately before intubation (when a tube is inserted into the airway to assist breathing)," study said.
"In addition to reminding us of the risks of leaving dentures in during induction of anaesthesia when the Swiss cheese model of errors aligns, this case also highlights a number of important learning points,” the authors pointed out.
They also call on doctors to be attentive to their patients, who can give doctors almost all information needed to form a diagnosis.
"The first is to always listen to your patient. It has long been known that one gets the majority of the information needed to form a diagnosis based on the patients' history."