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Doctors Remove 3cm-Long Live Leech From Woman's Throat

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Doctors Remove 3cm-Long Live Leech From Woman's Throat

A quick heads up, if you're squeamish or easily grossed out you might want to click away now because this is pretty horrible.

OK - so only those with strong stomachs left, yeah? Good, then read on...

A woman in China shocked doctors after her complaints of having a sore throat turned out to be caused by a blood-sucking leech that was living in her windpipe.



The woman, named only as Ms Wang in reports, visited hospital where she told doctors she was experiencing discomfort in her throat, like 'something moving', and she had been coughing up blood.

Doctor Yao Hongmei, head of respiratory and critical care medicine at Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, ordered the 65-year-old woman to have a bronchoscopy when she went to hospital on the 2 July to try and get to the bottom of the problem.

It was here that doctors caught a glimpse of the parasite wriggling around in her glottis - the area of the throat containing the vocal cords - on the small camera placed into the woman's throat.

Doctors froze the parasite with dry ice before removing it. Credit: AsiaWire
Doctors froze the parasite with dry ice before removing it. Credit: AsiaWire

The creature was removed by doctors after they froze it using dry ice and peeling it from her throat. Lovely.

Nurse Ren Xuejiao, who helped treat the woman, said had they tried to forcefully remove the parasite, which measured around 3cm, they could have caused an injury to the woman and possibly left her needing surgery - and let's be honest, she's already been through enough.

Doctor Yao said: "In similar cases involving leeches in the past, doctors extracted the parasites by freezing them.

"Leeches go into hibernation at low temperatures, so I sprayed a carbon dioxide freezing agent on it, lowering part of its body to minus 80C.


"It froze, and then its suckers to release from the patient's trachea wall, allowing me to remove it."

The leech was around 3cm-long. Credit: AsiaWire
The leech was around 3cm-long. Credit: AsiaWire

The procedure to remove the leech took just six minutes, but I'm sure the horrific memories for the patient and staff will last a lifetime.

Doctors also warned that had they not removed the leech in time it could have gone to attack her sinuses.


According to the doctors, the woman worked on a farm and used to drink unsterilised 'spring water', which was likely to cause her to ingest leech eggs or larvae which has then hatched and grew in her windpipe.

Well, that's quite enough to convince me - I'm never drinking water again, just beer from here on out.

Featured Image Credit: AsiaWire

Topics: World News

Claire Reid
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