WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.
All medical professionals encounter strange medical conditions and patient visits during the course of their career that they’ll never forget.
And, for Fresno, CA-based Community Regional Medical Center Doctor Kenny Banh, this will certainly be true of an emergency room walk-in patient he treated last August.
“He asked me for worm treatment and I was like, oh, not an everyday request,” Banh recalled, stating he is typically skeptical of patients who self-diagnose, but, in this case, the man was adamant about his symptoms.
Dr. Banh further explained that the patient first realized something was wrong when he experienced bloody diarrhea, followed by the realization that something was dangling from his rectum.
“And he thinks it’s very odd. He doesn’t get it until he pulls it out, and then it wiggles and he drops it and is like, ‘Oh, it’s a worm,'” said Banh.
A tapeworm measuring 5-1/2 feet long.
The man wrapped the parasite around an empty paper towel roll and brought it with him to the hospital.
“He says, ‘The one thing I like, that I love, I love sushi, specifically salmon sashimi and I eat it every day,'” said Banh.
Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study warning about parasites found in Alaskan-caught salmon in their monthly journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, but did not caution consumers about eating the fish.
In this instance, the tapeworm had likely been growing in the man’s intestines for at least six months.
“What does everyone want to know? ‘When did I get? Where did I get it from?’ He wants me to go all WebMD on him,” said Banh.
Questions also arose if the tapeworm helped the man lose any weight.
“Everybody asks me that. And the answer is: absolutely not. He’s like all the negatives of the worm infestation and none of the positives,” said Banh.
In this case, the man visited too many local sushi restaurants to pinpoint where he may have gotten the infestation.
He did tell physicians as he left, he would never eat sashimi again.
We’ll pass on sushi for awhile! If you found this article helpful, please share with friends and family by clicking the button below!