Suspected tumour turns out to be Playmobil traffic cone

Traffic cone

In a case that will leave parents up and down the country sh*tting [toy] bricks, a man has had a Playmobil traffic cone removed from his lung – 40 years after he inhaled it

A man whom doctors suspected had lung cancer has discovered that this 'tumour' was in fact a small orange traffic cone.

After a year of coughing up yellow mucus and feeling unwell, the unnamed 47-year-old was referred to the Royal Preston Hospital. An x-ray showed a mass in his lung, and medics initially thought that the patient, who had smoked for more than 30 years, had cancer. But further examination revealed that the 'tumour' was in fact a long-lost Playmobil traffic cone.

The British Medical Journal reports that the man regularly played with, and even swallowed, Playmobil during his childhood. On this occasion – in a development that will have parents of small children blinking in horror – he inhaled it. “He recalled being given this Playmobil set for his seventh birthday and believes he aspirated the toy traffic cone soon after,” according to the BMJ.

Remarkably, the cone remained in the man's lungs for 40 years with no ill effects. “A case in which the onset of symptoms occur so long after the initial aspiration is unheard of,” the BMJ confirms. The cone, about 1cm in length, was eventually removed using forceps.

Four months later, the patient is almost back to full health: his cough has nearly cleared and his other symptoms are markedly improved – even better, he has his toy traffic cone back. Win, win.