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A woman went to the ER thinking she had a bone stuck in her throat. It was a nail piercing her artery.

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A Peruvian woman was eating pork rinds when she suddenly felt an object stuck in her throat. After vomiting blood, she went to the emergency room thinking she had swallowed a bone – but it was something far more dangerous. 

Celia Tello, 68, had to undergo surgery to remove the object, which doctors told Reuters turned out to be a nail that was piercing one of her carotid arteries, blood vessels that the Cleveland Clinic says are “a vital part of your circulatory system.” There is a carotid artery on each side of your neck, each splitting into two branches to help supply blood to your head and neck. 

“It never crossed my mind I had this nail or piece of wire,” Tello told Reuters in Spanish. 

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An x-ray image shows the nail accidentally swallowed by a 68-year-old woman who was eating pork rinds in February. 

EsSalud via Reuters


Surgeon Diego Cuipal told Reuters that doctors had to conduct a “careful dissection” to remove the nail and that there was a risk of “detaching a clot that could reach the brain.” X-ray images showed the long nail lodged in her throat. 

“We were able to isolate the affected artery and we repaired it by sectioning it and we joined a healthy artery with another healthy artery,” Cuipal said in Spanish. 

The incident occurred last month, and Tello has since healed. Now, all that remains is a large scar on her neck from the procedure. 

This is not the first time random and dangerous objects have turned up in someone’s food. Last year, stainless steel was found in peanut butter and bone fragments were found in smoked sausage, leading to massive food recalls. The FDA has cautioned that some food contamination is expected, saying that it’s “economically impractical” to avoid some “non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects.” 

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