07 Feb 2021: Massachusetts man accidentally swallows Apple AirPods whilst asleep
Worcester, Massachusetts resident Bradford Gauthier recently woke up with trouble swallowing, and a missing Apple AirPods. His wife and son jokingly suggested he might have swallowed it.
Gauthier had to undergo an emergency endoscopy at the ER to extricate the lone AirPod from his esophagus.
This is one of the many instances of pets and people consuming the lifestyle accessory by accident.
Hazardous routine: Gauthier had difficulty swallowing; Wore AirPods to bed almost everyday
After shovelling snow on Monday, Gauthier went to bed 'worn out'. Gauthier says he wore his AirPods to bed "almost every day" to avoid waking his six-month old.
On Tuesday, he woke up and noticed he had difficulty swallowing. He also found one AirPod missing. "I went back out in the morning and shovelled (snow) for an hour", he told WWLP News 22.
Details: Family jocularly suggested he might have swallowed the missing AirPod
When he came back in, Gauthier tried to drink a glass of water but couldn't.
His wife and older son put the clues together and jocularly suggested he might have swallowed the AirPod.
Gauthier explained that "it seemed too coincidental" that he would feel a distinct blockage in the center of his chest, and have a missing AirPod.
Inside-out: ER performed emergency endoscopy to remove the AirPod
When Gauthier went to the emergency room, an X-ray showed the missing AirPod lodged in his esophagus.
An emergency endoscopy was performed to extricate the AirPod.
The physician performing the medical procedure remarked blockages usually cause severe discomfort. Gauthier says it didn't occur to him that sleeping with wireless earphones could be hazardous.
Both the victim and the AirPod survived the surgical procedure.
Gulp: Swallowing AirPods a common occurrence, negligence could prove fatal
In a similar incident, a second-grader accidentally swallowed an AirPod he received as a present. The boy was holding it in his mouth by the long end.
Not everyone will be lucky to poop AirPods out the next day, as has been reported in at least one case. Meanwhile, a far greater risk exists when electronic gadgets are used carelessly around pets and infants.