As a lawyer in Atlanta who specializes in dental malpractice and dental nerve injuries, the following struck me as curious: A 72-year-old man could not figure out what was wrong with his throat. Following a minor operation on his abdomen, he had been in pain, coughing up blood and unable to swallow solid food for almost a week.
But when emergency room doctors examined the back of the man’s throat, they found nothing unusual. After ordering a chest X-ray and blood tests, they told the man he had a lower respiratory tract infection, and he was sent home with medication. The pain, doctors said, was likely a lingering side effect from having a tube inserted in his throat during the surgery.
It wasn’t until the man’s condition worsened, prompting a second trip to the emergency room, that doctors finally discovered the real source of his symptoms: His dentures, which he thought were lost during an operation eight days earlier, had actually been lodged in his throat the entire time, according to an article published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Case Reports.