Woman needs emergency surgery after swallowing Covid swab whole

A care worker had to be rushed into emergency surgery after swallowing a six-inch Covid swab at home.

Bobby Lee, 31, took the test after feeling unwell during a night shift on April 20. But the stick ended up lodged in her mouth.

Unsure of what to do next, she decided to swallow the swab but it then became stuck down her throat.

The mum-of-two, from County Durham, said: ‘When I swabbed the back of my throat I sort of gagged.

‘The stick twanged in my mouth and got stuck at the back of my throat.

‘I tried to remove it but just couldn’t get it out, so I thought I was going to have to try and swallow it.

‘I swallowed, and it went down a bit, but it only went halfway down my throat.’

Worried and alone with her youngest child, she dashed to A&E where she was transferred to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery.


At one point during the ordeal, Bobby felt she couldn’t breathe and she briefly feared for her life.

Now recovering from her ‘scary’ experience, the mother says she’s ‘glad I had the sense’ to drive to the hospital, adding it ‘could have ended up fatal’.

She said: ‘I didn’t even ring 111 because I had my little girl with me. I just jumped in the car and drove straight to A&E.

‘I was just shocked because I didn’t know what was going to happen, if I was going to stop breathing with the little one on my own.’

Doctors had never encountered such a case before, but they ended up opting for an endoscopy.

Bobby added: ‘Eventually I had a mini-surgery with a camera down my throat. They got it out, but I was just so shocked it happened.

‘It had gone all the way into my tummy, the pictures they took with the camera down my throat even showed it near my intestines.

‘It had to come out of my mouth though, as if it had got into my intestines, it would have punctured them.’

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