Drunk man rushed to hospital after he swallowed a venomous live catfish

Drunk man rushed to hospital after he swallowed a venomous live catfish

After a long night of drinking, a man was rushed to hospital in mysterious circumstances, but healthcare officials were astonished to find that he had a live catfish lodged in his throat.

Writing in the Acta Oto-Laryngologica Case Reports, a team of doctors looked to delve further into this astonishing story of man eating fish. Entitled "The Jackass and the Fish", this paper from the University Medical Center in Rotterdam tells us about how one intoxicated man decided to swallow a live fish.

Catfish Credit: Getty

Apparently inspired by the television show Jackass - in which a group of men try to pull of various feats of difficulty and danger to amusing (and often hilarious) effect - a 28-year-old male tried to swallow a catfish of the Corydoras aeneus variety, only to realise far too late that the fish in question was venomous.

According to the report, the man - as well as his friends - was sitting around, drinking beer and also taking some ecstasy, when the group decided to swallow live fish from an aquarium. The goldfish were able to slip down the man's throat, but the catfish did not.

Having been startled by the abrupt change in environment from aquarium to oesophagus, the catfish stuck out its spines and lodged itself in the man's throat, releasing venom that is of a similar pain level to that of a bee sting. To manage this pain, the man reportedly tried to heal himself with  "more beer, honey, and ice cream", but this proved to be unsuccessful.

Beer Credit: Getty

Arriving at the hospital with catfish still lodged in throat and armed with a two-minute video of catfish entering throat, the authors of the report proceeded to explain what occurred in the video:

"Drinking and shouting ["grote vis, grote vis!" ("big fish, big fish!")]; person A drinks from a glass containing clear water and a live fish; person A spits out water and fish, catches fish in his hands and throws fish on table; fish flounders in distress on table; agonized fish handed over by person B to patient.

Patient gulps beer from bottle and subsequently engulfs the fish; patient unable to drink more beer as fish apparently got stuck in his throat; patient gags vigorously.

Patient clearly in distress, vomits liquids; patient in extreme distress, uses two fingers to induce gag reflex, but apparently fish remains stuck; person C administers wrongly applied Heimlich maneuver; patient still gagging; patient spews blood in bucket."

Venomous catfish Credit: Natural History Museum Rotterdam

Fortunately, the man went into surgery to remove the fish, and a second surgery ensured that all of the fish had been dislodged after a CT scan revealed that parts of the catfish was still stuck in the man's throat. After two weeks of antibiotics, the man recovered successfully.

Now featured as part of an exhibition at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, the catfish serves as a cautionary tale for what happens when man and beast collide: often, there are "dramatic consequences for both parties".