(Roughly) Daily

“A Dorito asks nothing of you, which is its great gift. It asks only that you are not there.”*…

As a young lawyer in Australia, Andrew Taylor couldn’t help but hurry through lunch, quickly and distractedly eating between meetings. Until that is, he bit down on the wrong tortilla chip, one that “severely scratched” his esophagus. “I was in quite a lot of pain for some time, but was told by my doctor and dentist there was little they could do,” he explains, adding that they basically informed him that he would have to wait until his throat healed on its own.

They did make sure, though, that he knew how lucky he was. “I was told of a situation where someone actually tore their throat,” Taylor explains, “and it was quite touch-and-go there for a while.”

The case Taylor is referring to is widely known in dental circles. The gist of it: On May 10, 1990, a gastroenterologist in San Diego named George Longstreth wrote into the New England Journal of Medicine, describing how a “poorly chewed tortilla chip can produce serious injury.” His patient, 63-year-old Irene Harnisch, had swallowed a tortilla chip that ripped a five-inch gash in her esophagus. After throwing up blood and experiencing severe chest pains, she was rushed to the hospital, where she was kept for six days (she was unable to eat solid food for another two weeks). 

“It was a very serious incident,” Longstreth told United Press International at the time. “She lost four pints of blood. It’s possible she could have died.”…

What happens when your chips bite back? From broken teeth to a ripped esophagus, history suggests that a sharp Dorito is an oral accident waiting to happen: “The Sick Hellscape of Tortilla Chip Injuries.”

* Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake


As we chew our food, we might spare a thought for Lucy Hobbs Taylor; she died on this date in 1910. She was the first female dentist in the U.S.– the first woman in the world to graduate from a dental college, and to receive a doctorate in dentistry.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 3, 2020 at 1:01 am

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