The man, who was in his sixties, had been eating pork served with toothpicks when he inadvertently swallowed one. He did not notice at the time that it had got stuck in his oesophagus.
By the next day he had problems swallowing and was taken to the emergency ward in Karlskrona, southern Sweden. Doctors were unable to detect any problem and sent the man home.
Ten days later, however, the man was back in hospital with a hole in his windpipe and a serious infection that demanded an emergency operation. While doctors performed surgery, the patient suffered haemorrhages and died the next day in Malmö’s vascular clinic.
The incident, which occurred in December, has been registered with Sweden’s National Health Board (Socialstyrelsen) in a Lex Maria report, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health-care system.