It is a rare event when Dr. Jay Wohlgelernter, a surgeon and director of the pediatric emergency department at Netanya’s Laniado Medical Center, encounters a live cockroach in his job. However, he saw one recently, and it was surprising, if not disgusting.
A woman in her 70s arrived at the emergency department complaining about a very loud noise, a tingling sensation and intense irritation in her ear. Wohlgelernter was on duty, even though the patient was not a child. After questioning her, he realized that an insect had entered her ear canal and settled on her eardrum.
This is a rare phenomenon. The standard treatment usually begins with pouring an anesthetic liquid into the ear, thereby killing the bug and easing the pain. But the patient said she was sensitive to anesthetics, so it was impossible to perform the usual treatment.
How the surgeon got it out
The surgeon inserted a tiny camera into her ear canal, where he saw a live cockroach. Thanks to his extensive experience, he was able to pull it out on the first try despite opposition from the cockroach. All this was done without anesthesia, and the patient did not move despite the pain and the sound of the insect’s wings on her eardrum.
“Once every few years, I get a call in the middle of the night, with a complaint and terrifying screams from patients that an insect got into their ears,” Wohlgelernter said. “Sometimes they behave as if they were having a psychotic attack. When an insect settles on the eardrum, it produces a very loud noise, along with a severe itching, tickling, tingling sensation.
“It is simply unbearable. In this case, a woman came to me from the emergency room with a complaint that about four days ago, an insect entered her ear, and despite the situation, she managed to remain calm. I have no idea how. Had she not been so calm, I doubt very much if I would have been able to get the bug out of the ear without anesthesia.”
“It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” Wohlgelernter said. “I am happy that I was able to pull the bug out of her ear, and I wish her good health.”