BBC News

False teeth stuck in woman's throat for nine weeks


A 75-year-old woman with dementia had her false teeth stuck in her throat for nine weeks after doctors failed to spot she had swallowed them.

Nermin Keating, who lives with her daughter and full-time carer Umit Maddock in Braintree, Essex, swallowed the 11-teeth dentures in November.

Ms Maddock, 46, said her mother was seen by doctors about four times before the teeth were found and removed.

"Everybody thought it was impossible for someone to swallow them," she said.

Ms Maddock noticed the dentures were missing at the time when her mother, who also has Parkinson's disease, was "a bit poorly" with a high temperature.

'Almost choking'

She was given an emergency appointment at Braintree Community Hospital.

"I took her there and mentioned the teeth," Ms Maddock said.

"She was diagnosed as having a lung infection and given antibiotics. They didn't take much notice of her throat."

A week later things had not improved so Ms Maddock took her mother to her GP, Mount Chambers Surgery in Coggeshall.

"I can't remember if I mentioned the dentures, but it was a duty doctor and her throat wasn't checked," she said.

Each time they visited the surgery Ms Keating was given antibiotics and told the issue was to do with her lungs or her existing illness, Ms Maddock said.

"It still wasn't getting better," she said. "When I was feeding her she was making funny noises and almost choking.

"I still wasn't happy so I took her one last time and saw one of our long standing doctors, Dr Noel Pereira.

"He looked in her throat and found the teeth were there."


Ms Keating was referred to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where the dentures were removed with "really long forceps".

Two weeks after the dentures were removed, Ms Keating is on a liquid diet and feeling "much happier".

Peter Hadfield, practice manager at the Mount Chambers Surgery, said Ms Keating's case was "extraordinary".

"The patient had difficulty swallowing for quite some time and she had been seen by the out-of-hours service," he said.

"But her condition kept changing and nobody ever suspected the obstruction was a set of dentures.

"I have never heard anything like this."

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