Fish slides down throat – hook, line and sinker

The man’s upper airway became severely obstructed by the live fish, whose fins and spines firmly attached themselves to the mucosa in his hypopharynx.

Attempts from bystanders to extract the fish resulted in the tail breaking off. But while airway obstruction due to the ingestion of a live fish is usually fatal, this fisherman survived thanks to the epic efforts of medical staff at three hospitals.

The fisherman was first transported by mates to Barham Hospital 10 minutes away, where the medical officer performed an emergency needle cricothyrotomy. Next, he was transferred to Kerang Hospital 15 minutes away, where the only GP with postgraduate training in anaesthesia rushed over and attempted to intubate. 

That proved challenging with a standard blade because the man’s oropharynx was completely obscured by the now-dead fish. Eventually the doctor managed to a use size 4 microlaryngoscopy tube, secure the airway and ventilate the