A 42-year-old Indian woman said she was sound asleep last Tuesday night until around midnight when she woke up to a “tingling, crawling sensation” in her right nostril. At first, the woman, a domestic worker named Selvi, said she brushed the feeling off, thinking that she may have caught a cold, until she felt something move.
She said she spent the rest of the night in discomfort, waiting for the sun to rise so she could go to the hospital.
“I could not explain the feeling but I was sure it was some insect”. “Whenever it moved, it gave me a burning sensation in my eyes.”
She said as soon as the sun rose, her son-in-law took her to a clinic closest to her home in Injambakkam, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
But when they got there, the Doctors referred her to another hospital, because they thought she might be suffering from a nasal growth.
The second hospital referred her to a third one where the doctors recommended a scan, and told her the discomfort may be coming from “a foreign body that seemed to be mobile,”.
Finally, in her fourth doctor visit, at Stanley Medical College Hospital, doctors used an endoscope to find out what the cause of the discomfort was.
“It was a full grown cockroach,” M.N. Shankar, the head of the ear, nose and throat department, told the Times of India. “It was alive. And it didn’t seem to want to come out.”
The insect was sitting in the skull base, between the eyes and close to the brain, Shankar said.
Doctors first tried to use a suction device to remove the cockroach, but the insect clung to the tissues. After a 45-minute process, using suction and forceps, doctors were able to extract the bug, still alive. Because of the critter’s location, doctors had to first drag it to a place from which it could be extracted. It had been lodged inside for about 12 hours.
Doctors placed the insect in a container, its wing spread and its legs moving rapidly.
“If left inside, it would have died before long and the patient would have developed infection, which would have spread to the brain,” Shankar added. Shankar said this was the “first such case” he has seen in his three decades of practice.