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Dead cockroach in Rajarhat boy’s lungs

A bronchoscopy was performed to remove the carcass, at Manipal Hospital

Sudeshna Banerjee | Published 10.12.21, 01:57 PM
The cockroach that was coughed out by the boy

The cockroach that was coughed out by the boy

A dead cockroach was lodged in a boy’s lung for a length of four months.

The carcass of the cockroach was retrieved from the lungs of the four-year old boy at Manipal Hospital on December 2.


The boy had started coughing persistently since August. His parents consulted several doctors but the treatment did not help. A CT scan of his chest showed evidence of a persistent non-specific infection in the right lung, but a definite diagnosis could not be reached. Meanwhile, the boy kept coughing.

Finally he was referred to Pallab Chatterjee, consultant pediatrician and expert in respiratory medicine, who performed a bronchoscopy on him. “In this procedure, a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the patient’ lungs. Within a few minutes, a lot of mucous plugs and large bronchial cast was extracted. That increased his cough. The child then underwent chest physiotherapy, during which he coughed up a small but intact dead cockroach,” Dr Chatterjee said.

The doctor, who stays in CA Block, has no idea how the creature got in. “I can only surmise that he put a cockroach egg in his mouth. Had it reached his stomach it would have passed out through his stool. But somehow it got into his breathing tube and germinated there, leading to the chronic cough.”

The child is now doing well and is not coughing any more. His parents, who are from Rajarhat, are relieved to see their son cured but also dismayed by the fact that the cockroach had stayed in his lung for almost four months.

Such cases of insect as foreign body in lungs are rare and alarming. In case of big insects, it may also cause complete blockage of the breathing tubes, which is life-threatening, doctors say.

Last updated on 10.12.21, 01:57 PM

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