A litchi seed nearly cost Dhanbad-based businessman Uttam Roy his life. Roy (58), with the inch-long seed in his trachea, travelled about 300km to Kolkata and finally breathed easy when doctors at Apollo Multispecialty Hospital removed it through bronchoscopy.

Roy was eating litchi in his office on Saturday morning when the seed slipped into his throat accidentally and got stuck in the trachea while he was answering a phone call. When attempts to either cough it out or swallow it failed, his family rushed him to hospitals in Dhanbad. However, none had the instruments to help Roy. He was finally brought to Kolkata at around midnight.

The patient was put on oxygen support as his saturation level had dropped to 64%. Pulmonologists Debraj Jash and Shuvranu Ghosh found the seed in the left side of the main trachea, majorly blocking his airway. They were accompanied by anaesthesiologist Chandan Panda in the procedure. “The surgery had to be done immediately. If we allowed the object to granulate, it could have damaged the lung. We do remove foreign objects from the trachea occasionally but usually in kids,” said Jash
“The litchi seed is slippery and was hard to grip. It slipped at least 25 times before we could extract it,” added the pulmonologist.