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The Exploding Water Bottle

The very Mysterious case…of the Exploding water bottle.

So it seems we are the referral center for weird and wonderful cases.  Recently we saw a man with an unusual story.  He came home from work thirsty…very thirsty. He got a bottle of water and was about to open it up when…it exploded!

Me:  Exploded?
Him:  Yes, it exploded!
Me:  Was it ordinary water, or was there some alcohol in it, or maybe some alcohol in you?
Him:  No.  Ordinary water.  Then I passed out, woke up and found myself wet with water, and I had a sharp pain in my chest.
Me:  Fascinating…
I could continue on in this vein, but in the interest of time, I will summarize.  He was surprised to see that the plastic cap of the water bottle was missing.  The pain in his chest became worse and he found that he could not eat or drink without pain.  After consultation with a series of hospitals, he came to Nyankunde, concerned that the missing bottle top might have ended up inside him somehow.  He arrived at our facility about a week after the incident. I made him try to drink some water and it was pretty clear that something was wrong. We decided to take a look with a scope.
After he received sedation and some ketamine, I decided to question him again.  It was such a ridiculous story that I couldn’t believe it.  Under the influence of my “truth serum” the story remained the same; exploding water bottle, chest pain and inability to swallow.
We put the scope down and halfway down the esophagus, there was a flash of blue. It looked kind of like the top of a water bottle.  Actually, exactly like it. We were able to push the bottle top into the stomach, then get a snare around it.  Even then, it was not easy to remove.  It took a fair amount of pulling to get it out of this upper esophagus. We had to move his neck into different positions before it came out.  A quick check demonstrated that he was still breathing and was not bleeding.
In the end, it was a nice little case and we were able to help the man.  I don’t ever say that I’ve seen it all, there is always something surprising.
Note – In the accompanying photo our team is rejoicing. Look closely and you will see the bottle cap at the end of the snare.


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