For over five days, two-year-old Mirkelam Yunis from Ar’ara walked around with pieces of almond inside his right lung. It emerged that several days earlier he had eaten almonds and choked. After he had coughed and taken the almond pieces out of his mouth, his parents thought the incident was over. A few days later the toddler began to cough and was running a high fever. His parents brought him to the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Medicine Unit, where it was discovered that he had severe pneumonia. To rule out a foreign object in the lung, for the first time ever the doctors at Hillel Yaffe had to perform a fiberoptic bronchoscopy, a procedure carried out jointly by pulmonologists, pediatricians, otorhinolaryngologists (ENT specialists), and anesthesiologists. The procedure took place under general anesthesia. During the examination, pieces of almond were found inside Mirkelam’s right lung. The otorhinolaryngologist and otolaryngologist (head-neck surgeon) carefully inserted a special flexible lighted bronchoscope (tube) into the lung so as to remove the piece of almond. The procedure was successful and the child was hospitalized in the Pediatrics Department for continued treatment and observation.
Mirkelam Yunis and his mother with Dr. Vered Nir and Dr. Suhel Gara
Director of Hillel Yaffe Medical Center’s Pediatric Pulmonary Service, Dr. Vered Nir, noted: “We had to perform a combined examination with general anesthesia to rule out foreign objects in the lung. During the examination, after we had found small pieces of almond, the otorhinolaryngologists had to remove them and we then made sure that no more foreign objects remained in the lung which could lead to a blocked airway and continued infection. Three procedures were carried out under one general anesthesia.”
Director of the Pediatrics Department at Hillel Yaffe, Dr. Adi Klein, emphasized: “This case again proves that nuts and dangerous foods, such as grapes, popcorn, and whole sausages, should never be given to toddlers or small children. These foods can enter the airways and block air to the lungs. In this case the toddler walked around for five days with pieces of almond in his lung, and luckily got to the hospital in time.”