British woman undergoes surgery after swallowing Covid test swab

·2-min read
Freak accidents involving Covid-19 swab tests are rare, but have occurred all over the globe. — Unsplash pic
Freak accidents involving Covid-19 swab tests are rare, but have occurred all over the globe. — Unsplash pic

PETALING JAYA, May 18 — A care worker in the UK was rushed in for emergency surgery after swallowing a six-inch Covid-19 test swab.

Bobby Lee, 31, had decided to test herself at home after feeling unwell.

Somehow, the cotton swab lodged itself in her throat.

“When I swabbed the back of my throat I sort of gagged,” said Lee, according to Leicester Live.

“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.”

Unsure of what to do, she attempted to swallow the swab, but it only went halfway down her throat.

Lee then rushed to the hospital, trying to remain calm as she was alone with the youngest of her two children.

Leicester Live reported that doctors at the emergency room said they had never seen a similar case before, and Lee was transferred to another hospital for emergency surgery.

“It (the swab) had gone all the way into my tummy, the pictures they took with the camera down my throat even showed it near my intestines,” said Lee, adding that the swab had to be removed orally to avoid damage to her intestines.

While Covid-19 home test mishaps are rare, the experience can be unnerving.

In 2020, an unnamed man in Hull, the UK, also ended up in the emergency room after accidentally swallowing a test swab.

Last year, a village head in Karimnagar, India had to undergo an endoscopy after a nasal swab had broken off in his nose.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March issued a warning against improper usage of Covid-19 home test kits.

The agency said it received reports of injuries caused by the liquid test solution — ranging from people accidentally putting the liquid in their eyes and noses.

“The liquid solution in some tests may contain chemicals like sodium azide, which may cause harm if swallowed or if it comes in contact with skin, nose, mouth, or eyes,” said the FDA in its statement.

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