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August 12, 1983

Complications of Bay Leaf Ingestion

JAMA. 1983;250(6):729. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340060023009

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To the Editor.—  After reading the letter by Palin and Richarson in the Feb 11 issue of The Journal (1983; 249:729), I felt compelled to report an additional, personally experienced gastrointestinal tract complication of inadvertent bay leaf ingestion.While dining at our neighbors' apartment, I felt a sharp object in the back of my throat. Before I could gracefully remove it, it became lodged in my pharynx, inciting paroxysms of gagging, drooling, and coughing. Attempts to remove it manually or to dislodge it with firm back slaps were futile. Thinking it was a chicken bone, my husband took me to the emergency room, where lateral neck films showed stippled calcifications in the region of the arytenoids but no definite foreign body. Indirect laryngoscopy findings were also normal. The pain was at first localized above the sternal notch and associated with swallowing but, with time, became increasingly severe, constant, and referred