Man gets deadly infection in skull after cleaning ear with cotton bud

Man gets deadly infection in skull after cleaning ear with cotton bud

The man had been suffering from an intermittent pain in his left ear and had hearing difficulties for the last five years.



By Web Report

Published: Fri 15 Mar 2019, 10:51 AM

Last updated: Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:55 PM

A man in England's Coventry area developed a deadly skull infection after a cotton bud got stuck in his ear reportedly five years ago.
The man had been suffering from an intermittent pain in his left ear and had hearing difficulties for the last five years. However, he was being treated with anitbiotics by a GP, who mistook his serious skull infection for an ear inflammation, until he collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. 
The unnamed patient had been suffering from seizures, headaches, ear pain and discharge from his left ear.
According to reports in Daily Mail, the man also admitted to forgetting people's names in the days leading up to his hospitalisation, and had been vomiting.
Doctors at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust where the man rushed, found his ear canal to be inflamed and filled with discharge and debris caused due to a cotton bud.
The man's case was featured in the journal BMJ Case Reports where ear, nose and throat specialist, Alexander Charlton, wrote: '[The patient] had a background of intermittent left ear pain and hearing loss for the past five years. He also admitted to being more forgetful of names in recent days, although denied other neurological symptoms'.

Doctors found the man did not have a fever and his physical exam was otherwise 'unremarkable'. They inspected his ear under general anaesthesia and found him to be suffering with an uncommon infection called necrotising otitis externa, which is usually caused by bacteria and affects the ear canal, surrounding bone. In the man's case, the infection had spread to the tissue inside the skull, but not his brain. CT scans showed abscesses inside the skull, in the form of small empty spaces between his bone and brain.

The man's ear was cleared out and he was put on intravenous antibiotics. Fortunately his scan six days later revealed his abscesses had shrunk and, after a week in hospital, he was discharged with an eight-week supply of medication. The man made a full recovery after 10 weeks.

In the report doctors wrote that although cotton buds being stuck in the ear is a common cause of infections and injuries but this had never been observed before


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