Maegan McCart- February 15, 2017
The woman knew after waking up suddenly in the middle of the night that the pain in her head, which had an itchy and scratchy feel to it, could not be ordinary. The 42-year-old woman, who lives in a town outside of Chennai, India, ended up at Stanley Medical College. She was complaining of a severe headache and was having difficulty breathing. A doctor conducted an endoscopy (a procedure in which an instrument is
introduced into the body to give a view of its internal parts) to determine the source of her pain. At first he didn’t see anything, but then he saw the legs of some kind of creature. “We didn’t know whether it was a wasp, or some other insect. Slowly, we had to pull it out,” M.N. Shankar, professor and head of the Ear, Nose, Throat Department at Stanley Medical College, said.
The cockroach was pulled out with the help of suction machines and forceps over the course of 45 minutes. It was about an inch long and is still alive. It had been in the woman’s body for about 12 hours; after it was retrieved from her skull, her respiratory problems immediately went away. The cockroach had burrowed itself into the roof of the nose, almost near the skull base, which is the dividing point between the brain and the nose. The scariest part of all this, Shankar said, “there’s really no good way to prevent this from happening.”