Eating fries lands Mumbai boy in ICU, chicken pieces removed from lungs

Week after eating chicken fries, child suffers breathlessness, which leads to a collapsed lung; a bronchoscopy helps detect and remove pieces of fries that were blocking the airflow

Shezan Khan with his parents
Shezan Khan with his parents

Four-year-old Shezan Khan's craving for chicken fries unwittingly landed him in the ICU. The child fought his way to death and back when his left lung collapsed, all because lumps of chicken were obstructing the flow of air in there. No X-ray or CT scan could figure out any blockage obstructing the flow of air to his lung.

It was only after he underwent a bronchoscopy procedure last week that the doctors were able to detect and extract the lumps. His parents identified the blockage as the lumps from the fries he'd eaten.

Hiccups begin
Nasim Khan, Shezan's mother told mid-day, "On March 12, we bought chicken fries for him. While having them, he had hiccups and started coughing. But he was fine after drinking water. Then after seven days, he started coughing severely. But doctors didn't find anything and gave him antibiotics. Gradually, his condition started to deteriorate further."

The shreds removed from his lungs
The shreds removed from his lungs

When he did not respond to the oral antibiotics, doctors put him on injectable antibiotics. However, he developed heavy breathlessness, after which his paediatrician Dr Bharat Parmar rushed him to the Intensive Palliative Care Unit (IPCU) at the Bhatia Hospital. They conducted an X-ray, followed by a CT scan, which showed a collapsed left lung.

Doctors puzzled
The paediatrician suspected a blockage of the airways on the left side, since Shezan did not respond to the antibiotics.

"We couldn't find anything in the X-ray or CT scan to know the reason behind the blockage. We were really puzzled and opted for opted for a bronchoscopy, that helped in removing small shreds of a material that were obstructing his left lung. Abdul's parents identified the material removed as pieces of chicken that the boy had before his coughing began," said Dr Divya Prabhat, ENT surgeon, Bhatia Hospital.

The doctor explained that the human body has two pipes – food and wind – that run parallel to each other. But often when people eat fast, have hiccups or sneeze, the food can get moved to the windpipe, which could directly go to the lung.

Procedure successful
As for Shezan, the procedure, which was conducted on April 8, seemed to have worked wonders, because the following day, the child's vital parameters of the child improved and a repeat X-ray also showed proper aeration of the left lung.

"Before the bronchoscopy, the X-ray showed how his left lung had collapsed, but soon after, air started to enter his lung, helping him breathe properly again," said an enthralled Dr Prabhat, adding, "In my career, I have performed more than 5,000 bronchoscopies but we have never found chicken in anyone's lung."

What is a bronchoscopy?
Bronchoscopy is a non-surgical technique of visualising the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. During the procedure, an instrument known as a bronchoscope is inserted into the airways, usually through the nose or mouth.

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