Chinese Man Swallows Spoon On A Dare — And It Gets Stuck In His Esophagus For A Year

Published November 1, 2018

The man experienced no discomfort from the spoon lodged in his esophagus until he was punched in the chest a year later.

Spoon Xray Chest 1

Xinjiang Meikuang General HospitalAn x-ray of Mr. Zhang’s chest with the spoon lodged in his esophagus.

A man in China is recovering after the removal of an eight-inch spoon from his throat. The utensil had reportedly been inside his esophagus for an entire year.

In 2017, the man in his early 20s identified as Mr. Zhang, swallowed the spoon on a dare, according to a statement from Xinjiang Meikuang General Hospital. Shockingly, the eight-inch spoon caused little discomfort to Mr. Zhang who was able to carry on as normal for months without any significant pain.

It wasn’t until a recent altercation that this changed. Sometime in mid-October 2018, Mr. Zhang was punched in the chest and he immediately complained of abnormal soreness and an inability to properly breathe. He finally sought medical attention for what turned out, obviously, to be a piece of cutlery lodged in his esophagus.

Doctor Throat Patient Spoon

Xinjiang Meikuang General HospitalA doctor examines Mr. Zhang after surgery.

When he arrived at the hospital, doctors reported that Mr. Zhang had clutched his chest and appeared to be in a great deal of pain. Once examined with an endoscope, the spoon in all its mucus-covered glory was discovered. The man’s body had formed a cocoon of mucus around the spoon.

“I was very surprised,” Yu Xiwu, the director of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and one of the surgeons who operated on Mr. Zhang, said in the statement. “I have never encountered a similar patient.”

Spoon Mucus Table

Xinjiang Meikuang General HospitalThe eight-inch spoon removed from Mr. Zhang’s throat.

The team of doctors was quick to remove the spoon before an infection could set in. According to the statement from the hospital, on Oct. 22, three doctors performed a two-hour procedure to safely remove the spoon.

During the procedure, Mr. Zhang was placed under general anesthesia and the utensil was removed via metal forceps down his throat, and through his mouth. The procedure was considered fairly risky as doctors feared potential complications such as esophageal tears, perforation, hemorrhage, and infection.

Spoon Syringe Mucus

Xinjiang Meikuang General HospitalThe mucus-covered spoon removed from Mr. Zhang’s throat.

Unsurprisingly, once the spoon was out of his throat, Mr. Zhang felt relief from most of his symptoms. The hospital’s statement says that he is recovering well and after a couple days of rest he will be discharged.

At the end of the statement, Dr. Xiwu gave a gentle warning to those who are looking to perform a similar stunt as Mr. Zhang, saying, “Don’t be impulsive and do things that hurt you. Because foreign bodies that enter the esophagus or stomach, they can be life-threatening at any time.”

Good advice, doctor.


Next, discover the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the man who got stuck at the airport for 18 years. After that, take a look at the special tool that doctors were forced to invent after a man got a 23-inch dildo stuck in his rectum.

Caroline Redmond
Caroline is a writer and Florida-transplant currently living in New York City.
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