A 75-year-old man named Ron Sveden was coughing and feeling sick for months, and his pulmonary problems culminated in a collapsed lung which necessitated his being rushed to the hospital. An x-ray of his left lung revealed a strange growth. But it wasn’t cancer: Rather, a pea plant had been growing in his lung after he had “swallowed it the wrong way,” and had already attained a length of half an inch.
This may sound like something out of fiction: Indeed, there was a 1992 Rugrats episode in which the titular babies had to shrink and go into Chuckie’s stomach to defuse a watermelon seed he had swallowed, which was rapidly growing into a full watermelon plant. But swap ‘stomach’ with ‘lung’ and ‘watermelon’ with ‘pea’ and the scenario actually becomes plausible. Doctors believe that the warm, moist climate of the lung may have been sufficient to trick the pea into germinating. Pulmonologist Len Horovitz told AOL Health that “That can definitely happen. This did not surprise me … You can inhale a seed of a plant or sprouting plant and it can cause bronchial obstruction. I’ve pulled food out of people’s lungs before.”
Luckily, Sveden is on the mend: He’s presently recovering at home post-surgery.
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