Man's throat began to rot after he mistakenly swallowed bleach tablet

A man lost his voice as his throat began to rot after he accidentally swallowed a bleach tablet thinking it was painkillers.

The 65-year-old was suffering with an intense headache when he reached for pills by his kitchen sink.

Thinking he picked up paracetamol, the man swallowed the tablet and felt an immediate burning sensation in his throat and mouth, followed by severe coughing.

He was able to cough out part of the tablet but required urgent medical attention.

He arrived at the emergency room at Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland an hour after accidentally swallowing the bleach.


At first he was complaining of pain and difficulty swallowing and was kept in for observation for six hours, with no signs of any complications.

But within six hours he complained of severe pain in the mouth and throat and was unable to speak.

BMJ Case Reports

BMJ Case Reports (He began to lose his voice and excess fluid, marked by the two arrows above, began collecting in his voice box.)

"I was drowsy, my throat was painful and I could not really talk any more," the unnamed patient wrote in the BMJ case report. "Much later, an ear, nose and throat specialist finally came to examine me again, he left quickly and returned with four or five doctors in green clothes. I remember that I needed to urinate but it was denied to me because ‘there was no time.'"

"I don’t have any more memories from this moment and until I got out of coma weeks later.

"Everyone told me I came back from a long way. I know I have fought a survival battle, so I wanted to live."

Tests revealed parts of his larynx were necrotising - or rotting - and excess fluid was collecting in the voice box.

He was unable to breath on his own.


Doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to help the man breathe - a procedure that involves them making an incision into his windpipe to allow air to pass through.

He was kept in intensive care for two weeks while the tube was in his throat to help him breathe and he was given antibiotics to help his body fight infection.

After 17 days the tube was removed from his throat and he was allowed to begin eating solid foods again.

A month after he was discharged his throat was healing and he was expected to make a full recovery.

Dr. Caroline Boonekamp, who treated the man, wrote in the BMJ that the case was an important reminder to store medicines away from cleaning products.

This article first appeared on The Sun.