February 17, 2019

What Happens When You Swallow a Live Catfish?

“One afternoon in April 2016, four friends in the Netherlands got drunk, took some ecstasy, and stared into a fish tank. They were feeling particularly inspired by an old episode of the TV show Jackass—specifically, a segment in which the stunt personality Steve-O swallows a live goldfish. So they dunked their empty glasses into the tank, scooped up a small collection of goldfish one at a time, and gulped them down. The group washed down the fish with more beer.

Once all the goldfish were polished off, according to an in-depth case report published last week by physicians at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, a 28-year-old man volunteered to take his turn with the one remaining fish in the tank: a nearly two-and-a-half-inch-long bronze catfish that another participant had found too large to ingest. A video reportedly shows the catfish swallower attempting to gulp down the flopping animal with a swig of beer amid chants of “Grote vis! Grote vis!” (“Big fish! Big fish!”).

The man began to gag. His friends watched, horrified, as he vomited beer and jammed his fingers down his throat. He started spewing blood into a bucket, and eventually was admitted to intensive care to have the fish dislodged from his throat.”

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