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And Then There Are These Claims... PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

So, as skeptics, we evaluate evidence and come to a provisional conclusion. Sometimes, we’re told a story and we simply don’t have the evidence to come to a conclusion. This is often the case with ghost stories and alien sightings, though to date, most skeptics agree that there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support a belief in either.

What do we do if such a story is on the news? Mosnews from Russia reports that a man was taken to the emergency room complaining of severe chest pain and coughing up blood. Suspecting cancer, surgeons performed a biopsy and found not a tumor but a tree. Or a least a sapling… a young fir 5cm long was growing in the man’s lung.

That’s the story. The evidence… needs some discussion.

Is this a believable story? Can a tree grow in a man's lung?

There’s a photo on the site of some bloody tissue with what looks like a tree in it. Now, how do we know whether to believe this story or not?

We have:

A photo of tissue (lung tissue? scar tissue?) with a branch in it (grown? placed?)

A report from a source I’d never heard of before. (Discover got the story from the same source)

Alternate explanations (hoax)

We don’t have:

Motivation for a hoax

An explanation for how a tree could grow in a lung


As skeptics, what should we believe? I see belief as a gauge with neutrality in the middle, belief on the right, and disbelieft on the left. The suggestion that I drive a Honda should be found on the extreme right of the gauge, and the statement that I once swam the English channel should be to the left. Both are possible, but only one has evidence to support it.

A claim like a tree growing in a man's lung is a bit different. We also have to question whether such a thing is possible before we can decide that it really happened.

And here's the thing... we don't have enough information, I don't think. And that's where we have to excersize one of your most valuable tools in the skeptics' toolbox: the "I don't know" statement. I don't know if that really happened or not. My gauge is very slightly towards the "it happened" side.

Where does yours lie? I invite you to post a comment indicating where this story lies on the belief-o-meter for you, and why you came to that conclusion. Maybe we'll figure this out. And I urge you NOT to try to grow a tree in your lungs just to replicate this event.

 

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Some starters...
written by theMark, April 13, 2009
For:
+ Most seeds carry enough useable material in them to provide for the initial growth, even in the absence of light or earth
+ Breathing gives the plant carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen... enough building blocks to keep it growing for a while
+ Moisture is available (yuck)

Against/Needs more checking:
- How much light does a plant need? Does the photo show just a pale sprout like what you'd pull out from between floor tiles, or does it show green leaves? (Green leaves => hoax, IMO)

Since the link is currently dead, and with the lack of more information, I'm still in the "don't know" department...
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written by Bruno, April 13, 2009
The tone of the article is fairly unhyped, as news stories go, and it doesn't positively claim that the sapling actually grew there (only that it appears to be too big to have been inhaled just like that so it makes sense to consider the alternative). From that POV it's quite low on the hoax scale. I'm not a biologist so I couldn't judge whether it's possible at all.

I'd say "interesting enough to keep an eye on", exactly in the middle between positive disbelief and positive belief.
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Mosnews.com
written by deavman, April 13, 2009
A good rule of thumb would be to check others stories published at this site, and you will find out that it seems to thrive on bogus, unchecked, psi-laden, obviously untrue or otherwise devoid of a grasp on reality. A little bit of digging shows a reputation of "reporting" standards with a lot to be desired, to say the least. This said it is possible for a seed to grow in dark, moist, unlikely places. It is always a good idea to clean kitchen sinks from uncooked seeds(beans, lentils etc..) as these might end up causing major backups while happily growing within the drain system. The little sapling on the picture shows a definite greenish hue thus rendering the whole story unlikely .
An unshelled pine seed is at least 10mm long and if inhaled will cause a major discomfort if not total lung collapse (atelectasis) This would require immediate medical assistance, so it is improbable that the subject would have waited so long as to allow the seed to grow. A biopsy does not require opening of the chest cavity, inserting a biopsy needle in order to obtain a small sample for further analysis will most likely be sufficient. It looks like a someone with nothing else to do, cooked up a story around a picture of an actual tumor (it does look like lung tissue) coupled with an unscrupulous online publication picking up any quirky little factoids in order to fill curiosity needs of the masses.
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written by Grander, April 13, 2009
Being a russian myself, I'd say that what seems impossible or bizzare to an average american, can probably be done by a russian, given the right bizzare circumstances... I'm talking abpout inhaling a 5cm tree branch.
Judging by the structure of this branch, it can go "one way" through a narrow place, so, IMO, the guy did it himself, maybe without remembering doing it, because of drugs/alcohol/other substances. That's my version for the event. So my "believe-o-meter" is close to "positive disbelief" on the "tree groing inside lung", and close to "positive believe" on the "the branch was really in his lung".
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written by MadScientist, April 13, 2009
Claim of tree growing inside: bogus - that piece shown does not resemble something grown from a seed nor does it resemble something which may have grown from a small cutting (or a bud as the site suggests); it appears to have been broken off an already mature part of a plant. Someone could have snorted the thing, but that must take some effort - maybe he did it on a dare and just wouldn't own up to it. It's hard to tell what the tissue in the photo is; it seems to have the spongy look of lung tissue - what animal it's from is anyone's guess (unless someone recognizes some distinguishing features). Green leaves is also suspicious since photosynthesis is necessary to produce the green pigment. It's looking like the guy snorted that thing, probably deliberately, but why? (She swallowed a spider to catch the fly, but I don't know why she swallowed the fly...)

The next question is what nutrients would be available to the plant inside a human lung and would it be possible for a plant to grow there at all? Anyone have a small terrarium that they can thermostat at ~37C and line with animal blood? Hehehe.
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I think It's possible
written by BillyJoe, April 14, 2009
I've heard of a psychiatric patient who had a habit of inhaling her saliva and who ended up in ICU with pneumonia as a result. There were no coughing fits.

It's certainly possible to inhale a small bud or seed and for it to grow. Normally, inhaling such an object would cause severe coughing fits sufficient to suggest there was something seriously wrong and hence prompt urgent medical attention. But not always. Children have been admitted to hospital with pneumonia and found to have a peanut in their lungs. The parent then remembers a coughing fit a week or so back.

Could a seed or bud grow in the lung. The first poster here has answered that question and I certainly think there is sufficient circumstantial evidence that it can. Seeds do germinate in areas completely devoid of sunlight. I suppose a bud could also continue to grow there.

It would be unusual for the inhaled seed or bud to not cause collapse of lung and/or pneumonia. But not impossible

And for those who see a green pigment in that photo, you must have reverse colour-blindness!

BJ
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written by bosshog, April 14, 2009
The object was described as "green". Doesn't chlorophyll require sunlight?
Does a bud grow into a "branch" without roots?

I say consider the source. Russia is a strange confluence of high culture and remote backwardness, often found in the same person. This smells like a bogus piece of news to me.
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written by GusGus, April 14, 2009
1. Reverse color blindness? No, there really are green pixels in the image! That is, it is not an illusion caused by the nearby red material.

2. I always thought a biopsy was a small amount of material, not something approximately 4x9x4 centimeters.

3. The sapling appears to be a broken-off piece of a tree, not a real sapling. There are no roots, just a snapped-off branch.

My conclusion: A hoax.
.
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Did they doctors just need extra lung tissue?
written by Snopes, April 14, 2009
I actually saw this on the sci-fi site io9 before I got here. (Yes, I know. I get there first. It's sad. Once a geek, always a geek.)

Anyway, I called bs on it the minute I saw it because of the picture. Generally, when you remove a tumor from a lung, you try to take as little tissue as possible with it. The article quotes the guy, so since he's not raving about the psychotic doctors who removed his whole lung, I'm going with "fake".
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written by Gr8wight, April 14, 2009
I think it is important to make a distinction between saying, "I'm skeptical," and saying, "I don't believe you." Being skeptical does not mean automatically rejecting a story because we think it sounds farfetched. Being skeptical only means witholding acceptance of a story until better evidence can be examined.
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ha
written by Wheelywim, April 14, 2009
First reaction: Bullshit.

They took a large piece of the lung away. Is that possible without destroying the whole lung?
Why not removing a smaller part, just the part with the tree?

Zooming in on the (lowres) picture i think there are some suspicious light dots on the 'stem' of the tree.

I googled somewhat and found a rontgenphoto on http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix...68x439.jpg

Whoo, Nice sharp picture. The tree is very sharp. Too sharp.
It's all black and white.
No it's not.
Why is the tree a bit green??
And isn't the tree much too large here in comparision with the rest of the bodyparts?
I think it is.

They better had put a woodpecker in the tree. That would be so absurd and ridiculous, it had to be true.

Final reaction: Hahahaha.
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written by MadScientist, April 14, 2009
@BJ: As bosshog pointed out, the tree bit was described as green - and it looks green in the photo too.

I really doubt a pine seed of all things would grow in someone's lung; I've planted hundreds of pine seeds and they're a nuisance to get started because the seed covering is so tough. Various gardening books claim that fire or some time in a bird's guts can prepare a seed for growing but I've always used a bit of sandpaper to thin the seed covering.

I wouldn't expect the sprig to grow so straight either. There's a lot wrong with the story. What still needs to be determined is was a piece of pine actually recovered from someone or not? After all, if I went to the butcher and asked for a piece of a pig's lung, stuck a sprig of pine in it, took a lousy picture and made these claims, how many people would be able to tell me I'm full of crap?
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written by LovleAnjel, April 14, 2009
I agree with other posters, that looks like it was broken off of a mature tree, and it also looks like they took his whole lung out. I would lean on the side of a common snopes.com diagnosis: real picture, incorrect attribution. To me this looks like someone was impaled on a tree branch, and during autopsy someone took a picture of the lung or another organ removed for examination.
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written by thornae, April 14, 2009
@ha: Even if I were less dubious about the original story, I wouldn't be trusting any photos from the notorious Daily Mail...

I considered sending this to my dad (a GP) for laughs, but decided it wasn't worth it.
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written by Careyp74, April 14, 2009
I see a lot of good questions being raised, which is a good exercise in skepticism. I saw a couple I didn't think of (GusGus, Wheelywim and theMark made the best points) and one that I have and I didn't see listed is, why do they go back and forth on what the object is? Is it a fir tree? A branch? A fir tree? When I see this type of confusion I blame the media. I have been interviewed several times for various stories and when reading the articles usually find much error in reporting.
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written by rosie, April 14, 2009
This reminds me a little of reports - that I've always been sceptical of - of people finding tomato plants growing from pips stuck between their teeth. Is even that plausible?
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My Belief-o-Meter
written by JasonPatterson, April 14, 2009
It is all well and good to say that one is open to the idea that strange new phenomena can be true, and I would like to believe that I am, however, a single phenomenal event (this report) does not overwhelm all of my past experiences (plants don't grow inside people) and push me to a neutral position.

Before I went to the site, I would rank myself as a 3 on the idea that the branch actually was in the guys lung, and a 1 on the idea that it was really a tree that grew there (on a 0-10 scale with 5 being completely neutral.)

An interesting effect occurred while I wrote this. I initially wrote the following: After viewing the site, I am at a 1 or 2 on the idea of a branch in the lung, and a 0 on the idea that it grew there.

However, after I went on to list, point by point, the reasons for my lack of belief in the story, I realized just how ridiculous it is. I then revised my level of belief that it was even in the guy's lung to between a 0 and 1. Closer to 0, honestly. Has anyone ever had a branch in their lung? Almost surely. Did this guy? Almost surely not.

I think it's more likely that you swam the Channel and forgot than that this thing grew in the guy's lung.
In their favor:
Seeds can sprout in bizarre places and plants are capable of growing out of some strange stuff. I don't know about fir seeds specifically, but I had an 8" tomato plant grow out of the U-bend in a sink that wasn't used often. Additionally I once saw a tomato plant growing underwater in one of those fast food contraptions where you catch a quarter on a platform to win some fries or a burrito or some such.

Information that is Surprisingly Neutral:
The information in the story itself:
First, who is telling us this information? As mentioned previously, a quick check of the source is revealing. Going to their other health links reveal that 5 out of 9 are categorized as both 'weird' and 'health.' HOWEVER, this is not the only site on the internet that provides the story. If something fantastic did occur, surely it would be bounced around on sites such as this as well as reputable sources. It is now listed on the Telegraph (though with a bit of skepticism thrown in, if not much) and of course, by the most reliable of all sources, FOXNews. The picture featured in the article comes from Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian paper that does exist.

Second, though Udmurtia is a real place, the only reference I can find to an Udmurtian Cancer Center is related to this story. Additionally, the only reference I can find to Vladimir Kamashev is a municipal leader. I would think that a cancer center and a doctor would be referenced somewhere on the internet in a way other than via this story. The lack of such a reference is not any sort of proof, of course, but it definitely doesn't help their case.

Not in their favor:
Regarding a tree growing inside a person's lung:
1: It may vary depending on the species, but generally fir saplings are far more spread out horizontally than adults. The branch in the picture was very narrow and densely needled. It also had no apparent root structure (it could have been removed.)

2: How long would it take for the sapling pictured to grow to that size? It takes a couple of weeks from the time that pine a tree sprouts until it reaches this sizein good conditions.

3: What would a tree that is stuck inside of a warm, close, soaking wet bag for that long look like? It seems very unlikely that it would have held together at all, let alone grow straight with neatly arranged needles.
Basically, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the plant grew in place.

The question of whether it was in his lung at all:
1: The x-ray wouldn't have shown anything looking like a tumor if a tree were in someone's lung. It would have shown a pine tree shaped object, plain and simple.

2: The amount of tissue removed is ridiculously huge. If they were resecting a tumor, the doctors would first look for its boundaries to see where to cut. They wouldn't just lop off a BIG chunk of lung and then open it up to see what they got. I might have believed a surgical picture featuring an incision with the tree branch poking out, but this picture is clearly bogus.

3: The tissue around the tree doesn't seem to be damaged overly much. Sure, it's all bloody and nasty looking, but you'd think there would be some damage if a branch were stuck in your lung for any period of time.
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written by WendyL, April 14, 2009
I say HOAX! Trees need sunlight to grow. There is no sunlight inside a lung. If this thing actually grew in the man's lung, then it cannot be a tree. If it is shown to truly be a tree, then it had to have been placed there.
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written by monstrmac1, April 14, 2009
I was under the impression that sunlight would be needed for a tree to get that big. Also, why did symptoms start appearing that quickly. This guy should have had symptoms that got progressively worse over time.

I say its BS.
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Addeendum to my previous comment:
written by GusGus, April 14, 2009

4. The sprig shown in the photograph doesn't match the sprig shown in the x-ray. The needles in the photograph are straight, the ones in the x-ray are somewhat twisted.
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written by Steel Rat, April 14, 2009
re: No motive for hoax. You're kidding, right? Come on. What motive did the Weekly World News have to post stories about Bat Boy, or Cloud Demons or any story they ever printed? Even if the paper is "free" online, the presumably have advertisers, and you going to their site makes them money.

Really? No Motivation? I think your critical thinking skills need refreshing.
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The story is a plant
written by nelson650, April 14, 2009
We need to root out this sap and see if we are bark-ing up the wrong tree. Maybe we should just leaf well enough alone. I guess I could branch out with this, but I wood find myself out on a limb. Knot very funny, I know.
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written by Lahurongirl, April 14, 2009
If it was growing in there, it was growing upside-down, as the needles are pointing down into the tissue. Pine Needles grow up and away fom the tunk.
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I have seen it with my own eyes
written by sasparr, April 14, 2009
As a medical student I cared for a one year old who had fever and abnormal chest x-ray that was felt to be a vascular malformation. It was removed surgically and plant material was found. With some help from plant anatomists we identified the plant as Eastern Redcedar tree, not unlike the specimen in the picture, but much smaller. The child likely aspirated the branch. I found a large redcedar tree in the front yard of her home, took a sample and it matched the tree in the lung! It is unlikely if not impossible for the branch to grow in the lung - but aspiration (esp. when intoxicated) is a possilbe mechanism. I could tell you stories about other foreign bodies we found in various orifices!
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How Long
written by mglasco, April 14, 2009
How long would it take the seed to grow to that size compare to how long it had been in the mans lung? And why would they have to remove that much of the lung in order to remove the "tree" which looks like it's not really attached to anything.
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Some answers...
written by BillyJoe, April 15, 2009
The object was described as "green". Doesn't chlorophyll require sunlight?
Actually some plants produce chlorophyll independent of sunlight (eg algae), but I'm not sure whether fir trees do.

Does a bud grow into a "branch" without roots?

The roots could be hidden by the lung tissue

I always thought a biopsy was a small amount of material, not something approximately 4x9x4 centimeters.
They are also animals called excision biopsies

The sapling appears to be a broken-off piece of a tree
I wonder if it would be possible to inhale a 5cm long piece of tree without knowing about it (ie in a drunken stupor)

Generally, when you remove a tumor from a lung, you try to take as little tissue as possible with it.

I don't think so. It could be hard to tell how far the tumour has spread into the surrounding lung and hence excising a generous margin of lung surrounding the tumour would seem a sensible thing to do.

They took a large piece of the lung away. Is that possible without destroying the whole lung?
Yes. Sometimes only one lobe is removed (eg lung cancer) leaving viable remaining lung

Why not removing a smaller part, just the part with the tree?
They thought it was a tumour.

I really doubt a pine seed of all things would grow in someone's lung
Okay bt what about a sprig?

I wouldn't expect the sprig to grow so straight either
Good point. That leaves inhaling the whole 5cm in a drunken stupor.

What still needs to be determined is was a piece of pine actually recovered from someone or not?
Not really. We're talking about whether the story is plausible.

that looks like it was broken off of a mature tree,
Do you think it's possible he inhaled the whole thing?

and it also looks like they took his whole lung out.
Actually, a whole lung is very much larger.

I considered sending this to my dad (a GP) for laughs, but decided it wasn't worth it.
Do it. Send it to him as if its a true story and gauge his reaction.

Trees need sunlight to grow.
To 5 metres, yes. But to 5cm?

why did symptoms start appearing that quickly. This guy should have had symptoms that got progressively worse over time.
Good point. Which again leans me towards him inhaling the thing. I do wonder if this is possible though.

The sprig shown in the photograph doesn't match the sprig shown in the x-ray.
Yes, I saw that straight away. It can't be the same patient.

regards,
BillyJoe
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Thank you sasparr...
written by BillyJoe, April 15, 2009
As a medical student I cared for a one year old who had fever and abnormal chest x-ray that was felt to be a vascular malformation. It was removed surgically and plant material was found. With some help from plant anatomists we identified the plant as Eastern Redcedar tree, not unlike the specimen in the picture, but much smaller. The child likely aspirated the branch. I found a large redcedar tree in the front yard of her home, took a sample and it matched the tree in the lung! It is unlikely if not impossible for the branch to grow in the lung - but aspiration (esp. when intoxicated) is a possilbe mechanism. I could tell you stories about other foreign bodies we found in various orifices!


But did you mean "aspirated". Aspiration refers to stomach contents entering the lung. Did you mean that? Do you think he ate the branch first?
Or did you mean "inhaled"?

The only problem is the size of the branch.
Hmmm....

BJ

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Seems to be possible
written by Criticalist, April 15, 2009
A quick search of pubmed reveals this:

ttp://ejcts.ctsnetjournals.org/cgi/content/full/31/2/309

This however is a branch that was retained in the lung after direct injury which is pretty different from a seed growing in there. Considering any foreign object in th elung is going to generate an intense inflammatory reaction around it, the chance of a seed actually growing is nil.
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broken link
written by Criticalist, April 15, 2009
sorry link in above post should be:
http://ejcts.ctsnetjournals.or...l/31/2/309
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@ criticalist
written by BillyJoe, April 15, 2009
Everyone check out that link!
(Actually I thought the idea here was to rely only on what we know and extrapolate from that to decide whether we think this story is plausible. Nevertheless...)

First of all notice that size of the "excision biopsy" and the amount of surrounding lung tissue removed.
I think it looks very much like the picture in that news item.

Secondly, notice the size of the tree segment: 7cm
The tree segment in this news item was only 5cm

The only remaining problem is: could the patient in the news item have had a similar injury in the past and forgotten about it? I think it is at least possible.

I haven't entirely discounted the inhaled object hypothesis, but I'm a little worried that it may be too difficult to inhale a 5cm twig. Still, once in 6 billion life times....

BJ
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written by CasaRojo, April 15, 2009
That seems to be a lot of lung tissue. More removed than necessary it looks like to me. Then again, I wouldn't really know. I can't imagine someone inhaling two inches of a fir tree sprig all the way into the lungs. Maybe he was 'sniffing' something (some sort of recreational drug) and there happened to be a tiny fir tree seed mixed in somehow. So let's say that could happen for the sake of argument, there's probably plenty of moisture to germinate the seed but I wonder if there some kind of chemical reaction that could occur within the lungs that would simulate the effect of sunlight after germination.??? It seems that it would bothersome long before it reached 5cm. By looking at the picture, it doesn't look as though it grew there. If I were really researching this, there would be many questions I'd ask including- exactly what kind of fir tree it is and is it a tree that grows in particular part of Russia that he lives in. Lotsa questions but at this point I'd say that I didn't know but I'd lean a bit towards hoax if I were pinned down, with this limited information. As far as motive goes, I don't think people need much of a motive to do the things they do. But how 'bout this tree guy? --->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtl9gN0gTvs&feature=related
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Criticalist
written by JasonPatterson, April 15, 2009
It seems very likely that people have gotten tree branches stuck in their lungs by inhaling them (as mentioned by the medical student above.) I worked in a vet's office and recall a dog that ran into a blackberry bush, getting a 10" section of the stem (with thorns) rammed up its nose and down its throat. It's definitely possible, and it may have happened in this case as well. I just don't think that this particular picture is what it claims to be.

In the story you posted, they did remove a sizeable chunk of tissue, but that was because the lung had encapsulated the stick, and it "contained purulent, foul-smelling fluid." It seems prudent to have removed it. Even with the larger branch and all of the damaged and inflamed tissue surrounding it, they still took far less than in the story. The lung in the story seems to be perfectly healthy (at least in appearance.) I can't figure out why they would have removed it.
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Sasparr
written by JasonPatterson, April 15, 2009
If you recall, when the branch was removed from the girl's lung, how much tissue was removed? Was it comparable to the image in the story?
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written by Trish, April 15, 2009
I wouldn't say the greenish hue of the sapling would indicate a hoax - many seeds have leaves inside that are already green -and thelayer underneath bark, which doesn't get direct sunlight, is often green.
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@ CasaRojo
written by BillyJoe, April 16, 2009
That seems to be a lot of lung tissue.
Perhaps they thought it was a malignant tumour and wanted a safe margin.
More removed than necessary it looks like to me.
If it was you, would you rather they left behind a little bit of that tumour?
Then again, I wouldn't really know.
smilies/wink.gif
I can't imagine someone inhaling two inches of a fir tree sprig all the way into the lungs.
That's a toughie all right.
Maybe he was 'sniffing' something and there happened to be a tiny fir tree seed mixed in somehow.
A poster here with personal experience informs us that it's difficult to get a fir tree seed to germinate.
I wonder if there some kind of chemical reaction that could occur within the lungs that would simulate the effect of sunlight after germination.???
Chlorophyll can be produced without sunlight in algae and some other plants, so perhaps that is possible.
It seems that it would bothersome long before it reached 5cm.
Haven't you ever germinated a tomato seed in the dark? 5cm takes only a few weeks at most.
By looking at the picture, it doesn't look as though it grew there.
I'm tending to agree. Too strainght and all that.
If I were really researching this, there would be many questions I'd ask including- exactly what kind of fir tree it is and is it a tree that grows in particular part of Russia that he lives in.
Why would as hoaxer use a fir three that was not indiginous to the area?
at this point I'd say that I didn't know but I'd lean a bit towards hoax
Probably a reasonable conclusion.
The question we are asking, though, is if it is a plausible story.
As far as motive goes, I don't think people need much of a motive to do the things they do.
Agreed.

BJ
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written by CasaRojo, April 16, 2009
Perhaps they thought it was a malignant tumour and wanted a safe margin.
I assume that what they saw it was not a tumor prior to removing the lug tissue. Not enough information.
If it was you, would you rather they left behind a little bit of that tumour?
There was a tumor? Like I said, I don't really know how much lung tissue might need to be removed but to my untrained mind in these matters, it looks like more tissue was removed than necessary. I don't know.
Haven't you ever germinated a tomato seed in the dark? 5cm takes only a few weeks at most.
It seems to me that if you had a bit of tree in your lungs that even the smallest piece would be at least significantly irritating.
Why would as hoaxer use a fir three that was not indiginous to the area?
My thoughts originated from the probable remote possibility that a fir tree seed was inhaled while snorting a cocaine like substance, possibly powered peyote or the like, which was probably not produced locally in Russia. I realize that I am taking very long shots in the dark here but if it's possible that he inhaled a fir seed, tiny bud/branch, then what might he have been doing that would lend itself to that end? IOW how could someone unintentionally inhale such a thing?
The question we are asking, though, is if it is a plausible story.
Jeff said "I invite you to post a comment indicating where this story lies on the belief-o-meter for you, and why you came to that conclusion."
With the limited information and giving the story less thought and research than if I were trying to definitively prove if it actually happened, my conclusion is that my 'belief-o-meter' needle is pointing a bit to the disbelief side indicating a hoax.
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No need to rush to a hard conclusion.
written by Lord Omar, April 16, 2009
I thought about this claim for awhile after I heard it and decided that there was little evidence of this strange event, and also no real motivation other than creating some intrigue for a hoax.

If there were anything other than curiosity at stake in my believing this claim I probably wouldn't. Since there isn't I don't necessarily think that any hard conclusions are really necessary or warranted. I'll wait and see if anything else comes out about this, or whether I encounter any reason to shift my opinion one way or another.
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in defense of the medical student...
written by PCB28, April 16, 2009


aspiration as·pi·ra·tion (ās'pə-rā'shən)
n.

1. The removal of a gas or fluid by suction.
2. The sucking of fluid or a foreign body into the airway when drawing breath.
3. A surgical technique used in the treatment of cataracts of the eye, in which an incision is made into the cornea, the lens capsule is severed, and the material of the lens is fragmented and aspirated by a needle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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...
written by m_huber, April 16, 2009
For what it's worth, a Google search for Vladimir Kamashev, the alleged doctor, only returned this story, which often implies that it's a made up name. Of course, I don't know if Russian doctors have profiles online like US doctors.

The picture doesn't show the patient. It shows red stuff with a twig-like thing in it. Can't really make a conclusion on that.

The story does seem a bit odd. I've never seen an x-ray of a twig; I'm not positive that it would show up. I'm also not sure why a doctor would immediately cut into someone's chest cavity on "suspicion" of cancer.

All in all, I lean towards "conceivable, with a high chance of fraud"
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...
written by BillyJoe, April 17, 2009
aspiration
2. The sucking of fluid or a foreign body into the airway when drawing breath.

Aspiration, inspiration, or inhalation?

BJ
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A Resected Lung Tumor
written by JasonPatterson, April 17, 2009
Now all tumors don't look alike, and they aren't the same size, but this is a 5cm lung tumor, including additional resected tissue. (I had originally included a similar image in my earlier response but it wound up being too long.)

http://pathologyoutlines.com/i...gross1.jpg

Note: They aren't taking extra tissue to make sure, they've cut quite close to the tumor. This one appears to be encapsulated (benign) but surely they would have checked to see what it was before they started hacking.

Again, though the actual man in this story very well could have gotten a branch stuck in his lung, (I don't find that difficult to believe at all, honestly.) the picture that goes along with it is clearly bogus.
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Um.....Just Curious........
written by GayIthacan, April 17, 2009
Since the 'twig' supposedly is inside a lung - and therefore soaked with bodily fluids.......

Just what - precisely - are the imaging fundamental particles supposed to be reflecting off of - or 'differentiating' - in order to produce such a clear image of a twig?

Isn;t it true of these types of images that there must be a LARGE DISCREPANCY in mass between the objects before differences in contrast and shape appear/ Such as bone vs. tissue - or tumor vs. muscle?

Why exactly, would a soaked-in-bodily-fluid mass of material the same consistency as the surrounding medium resul tin such a clear image?

I vote 'hoax' - hands down. And it would be SO EASY to find out for sure. The fact that the 'victim' has not done so speaks volumes as to the credibility of the claim.
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@ Jason
written by BillyJoe, April 17, 2009
Note: They aren't taking extra tissue to make sure, they've cut quite close to the tumor. This one appears to be encapsulated (benign) but surely they would have checked to see what it was before they started hacking.

In that case, the tumour was encapsulated. The conclusion therefore was that it was benign. Therefore there was no need to remove more tissue than was necessary to just remove the tumour and the surrounding abnormal looking lung.

In this case, however, the tumour was not encapsulated. Therefore they could not safely conclude that it was benign. That is, they had to assume it was malignant and spreading into surrounding normal looking lung tissue. Therefore they removed a wide margin of surrounding healthy looking lung tissue to ensure that they got it all.

This is how I read it.
But where is that confounded medical student?

BJ
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