Watermelon seed pulled out of girl's vocal cords

4-year-old girl gets watermelon seed stuck in vocal cords, doctors warn parents to keep nuts and seeds out of small children's reach.

Shlomo Pyutrikovsky,

The extracted watermelon seed
The extracted watermelon seed
Galilee Medical Center

A four-year old girl was brought by her family to an emergency room in the Galilee after she vomited several times.

According to the family, the girl ate a watermelon seed a few days earlier while at her aunt's house, but did not choke or cough.

The girl did not seem to suffer breathing problems, and a physical examination found no health issues. When a chest x-ray did not find an issue, the girl remained in the children's ward for observation.

ENT specialist Dr. Maayan Grober said, "During her hospitalization, the girl began to develop breathing problems. After she underwent several additional examinations, the decision was made to send her immediately to the operating room. The operating staff began to prepare her for an emergency operation."

"An examination done while she was under anesthesia showed a foreign object under her vocal cords, in the main airway. An endoscopic test showed that what looked like a watermelon seed was lodged in an unusual place and was causing signs of infection and swelling in the area.

"It was this which was causing the breathing difficulties.

"This is a dangerous situation in which the seed does not block the airways, but its presence causes significant irritation, swelling, and infection, as well as breathing difficulties in the upper airways.

"It is vital to emphasize to parents the importance of not allowing children under age five to eat seeds, which may be inhaled or cause choking. The most dangerous foods to inhale are the various forms of nuts and seeds.

"We see time and again cases in which these nuts and seeds are placed in a place accessible to children, who are liable to put them in their mouths out of curiosity, without their parents realizing."

The medical staff quickly worked to remove the seed, since spontaneous breathing was liable to move the seed into the vocal cords at any moment, causing a complete blockage and choking.

Using an advanced endoscopic tool, the seed was removed quickly and safely, together with the infected tissue.

The girl's vocal cords were not harmed, and she recovered quickly after the operation. She is expected to be released home on Sunday, and will be given strong antibiotics to help fight the infection.