A man who inhaled a toy traffic cone as a child and had it removed from his lung 40 years later has kept it as a “trophy” and said he would “pass it on to my grandchildren”.
Paul Baxter, 50, from Preston, was referred to a respiratory clinic after going to his GP with a chest infection.
During a bronchoscopy medics identified “something small and orange” at the bottom of his lung.
“I think I’ll keep it forever,” Mr Baxter said.
The postman said he went to the doctors with a “bog-standard winter cold” and thought he was getting routine checks.
A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said medics had suspected the patient – a long-term smoker – had a tumour but when they removed the mass they discovered it was a “long lost Playmobil traffic cone”.
Mr Baxter said: “I did what every kid does. I used to eat my toys. I must have had it in my mouth and it went down my windpipe. But I don’t remember feeling anything.
“It was just sat there for 40 years. I had pneumonia when I was 18 and nothing was picked up then. I was in hospital in 2004 with a brain abscess and had an MRI scan but again nothing was picked up.”
When a doctor put a camera down his throat, Mr Baxter recalls: “He said he could see something orange at the bottom of my lung…I couldn’t think what small and orange thing could be in there.
“[When they pulled it out] everyone just started laughing, the doctors, nurses, all of us.”
Mr Baxter said he recognised the cone from a model railway set he had when he was seven.
“I find it absolutely hilarious,” he said, adding: “No, it is not on the mantelpiece. It is in a jar they gave me, in the cupboard.
“I think I will keep it forever, pass it on to my grandchildren.
“We do watch them around toys now. We have to.”