Pepper leads to esophageal hole

When I was a kid my dad made me eat a bunch of spicy food. I’m not sure why, but if he ordered hot wings at a restaurant the convention was that I had to try one. I’m a fan of heat now – but ghost peppers aren’t something I want to try.shutterstock_220826371

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a ghost pepper eating contest led to a whole in a competitor’s esophagus.

After eating a hamburger laced with ghost pepper puree, the man began vomiting and retching violently. Suffering from severe abdominal pain he was admitted to hospital where doctors discovered a 2.5-centimetre hole in his oesophagus.

The chili eater underwent emergency surgery and spent 23 days in hospital.

The ghost pepper, or bhut jolokia, was considered the world’s hottest chilli until 2013 when it was surpassed by the Carolina Reaper pepper.

Doctors writing in The Journal of Emergency Medicine have warned that the rise of food challenges may complicate diagnoses.

In this spicy situation, doctors initially assumed the man’s symptoms related to discomfort after his meal, before discovering the rupture in his oesophagus.



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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.