Cockroaches are one of the toughest organisms that roam the Earth. They have immense surviving abilities and are believed to have originated more than 280 million years ago, in the Carboniferous era. We all know the herculean task it is to decontaminate a home which has been infested with cockroaches. In the series of events that have occurred with respect to cockroaches and humans there is yet another bizarre incident that has been added to the list. We’ve heard pretty often that doctors have removed a fully grown snake or a live fish from human body with even more horrific and grotesque incidents. In one such case doctors at the ENT department at Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai have removed a live cockroach from the nasal cavity of a woman. According to the reports, the live insect was removed from the skull base of a 42-year old woman.

The surgery lasted close to an hour and involved using suckers, forceps and clamps. The insect went inside the woman’s nose while she was sleeping and unable to turn back, lodged itself at the base of the skull. The cockroach got stuck between the two eyes and close to the brain. The woman named Selvi who is a domestic help woke up around midnight on Tuesday as she developed itchy sensation and irritation in her nasal cavity. Soon she was struggling to breathe and after three unsuccessful hospital visits was referred to Stanley Medical College and Hospital. Doctors soon found the cause for her breathlessness, the cockroach which had made its home at the base of her skull. The doctors used a combination of suction and forceps to finally pull out the insect. The procedure took 45 minutes to get the roach out of her skull. A nasal endoscope was used that helped the doctors detect the insect.

Head of ENT department at the hospital, Dr MN Shankar who led the tricky and uncommon procedure said, “This is the first such case I have seen in my three decades of practice”. It was noted that the department had removed objects like beads, a button cell, a leech and chalk pieces from nasal cavities previously.