A 64-year-old patient who went to hospital complaining of back pain and fever died after doctors extracted a 7.8-inch blood clot in the form of a bronchial lung. Although not the procedure that killed him, he suffered from difficulty breathing and low blood pressure and coughed up blood, according to reports from his doctors, published in reports of the BMJ case.
He was placed in the intensive care unit of Imperial College Health NFS Trust in London, where he was on sepsis treatment and on a ventilator. A CT scan revealed lesions on his brain and another detected pulmonary edema, and he also suffered from severe staph infection at the time.
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After coughing up blood, doctors discovered through bronchoscopy that there was "large clump of blood" stuck in his breathing tube and repeatedly tried to remove it by suction, but to no avail.
"During the night, the resources needed for solid bronchoscopy were not available," his doctors wrote in the case report. "After verifying an epiglottis view, the patient was paralyzed, sitting and climbing under suction, in an attempt to remove ETT and clotting."
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The removal was a success, and his breathing improved immediately, but he could not recover from his various other illnesses, including colon cancer. His family agreed to turn off his life support and he died shortly thereafter.
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Photographs of the procedure show blood clots attached to the end of the endotracheal tube once removed from the patient's chest. Another shows that the clot formed in the perfect leaflet of a bronchial tube and measured longer than his doctor's finger.