Man airlifted to hospital after swallowing teeth
The man reportedly swallowed a plate with a single false tooth attached to it
By Caroline Brodie
Aberdeen Press & Journal
NORTHUMBERLAND, England — An offshore worker had to be airlifted to hospital yesterday after he accidentally swallowed his false teeth.
The 45-year-old man was picked up from the Ensco 102 drilling rig by a rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer, Northumberland.
Aberdeen Coastguard co-ordinated the medical evacuation after receiving the initial distress call from the ConocoPhillips-operated installation, which is 130 miles east of Aberdeen, at about 7.20am.
A coastguard spokesman said: "We got a call saying a man had swallowed his dentures and the medical team was concerned and decided he had to go to hospital in case it turned into something more serious."
He is believed to have swallowed a plate with a single false tooth attached to it.
He was said to be conscious and well during the evacuation but medics feared the denture could become lodged in the back of his throat or make its way into his lungs. The man was flown to Wansbeck General Hospital, in Northumberland, for treatment, arriving at 11.30am.
Recent research, carried out by Dusseldorf University Hospital, showed that false teeth were third on a list of objects most commonly accidentally swallowed by adults, after chicken and fish bones. The study found that 80% of swallowed items pass through the body harmlessly when eaten accidentally, but in a small number of cases, surgery is needed.
The emergency procedures are typically used in cases where a patient has swallowed especially sharp bones or any foreign body longer than just over two inches. Last February, a Taiwanese man died after choking on his dentures.
Paramedics took the man to hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Medical staff later found his dentures lodged in his throat.
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