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Doctor and Victim Warn of Hazard of Martini Toothpicks

October 15, 1986

BOSTON (AP) _ A letter in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine bears the grim headline: ″Martini Toothpick Warning.″

No, not even the martini toothpick can escape the scrutiny of physicians who delight in alerting their colleagues to hazards of modern life. This time, the doctor who treated the mishap had a co-author, the victim.

″We are writing to call attention to a new and potentially serious hazard associated with the hasty ingestion of martinis,″ began the letter by Daniel Malamud and Dr. Mary Harlan Murphy of Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia.

According to their report, Malamud quickly drank a Gibson, the kind of martini that has cocktail onions in it. The onions were speared on a flat wooden toothpick. As he drank, the toothpick floated into his mouth and lodged in his throat. There it became caught, pointed end first, in the posterior nares, the opening of the nostrils into the throat.

The doctor extracted the toothpick with forceps.

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