Teen Is Hospitalized For 106 Days After A Ham-And-Cheese Sandwich Tears His Esophagus

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

When you’re a teenager, the countdown clock to summer vacation begins the day that school starts in September.

Unfortunately, 14 year old Alec Hebblethwaite had to spend his summer in the last place anyone would want: the hospital.

The trouble began in 2017 when Alec started throwing up blood at soccer practice after eating crackers.

Doctors initially determined that Alec had damaged his esophagus, and was instructed to make sure he stuck to soft foods until the problem area was healed.

Unfortunately, things only got worse from there, and Alec would have to be readmitted to the hospital after eating and choking on a ham-and-cheese sandwich.

Alec’s bad luck continued over the next three months. Eventually, a recent diagnosis explained everything.

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Photo: SWNS / Shanti Das; Flickr / stu_spivack 

SWNS / Shanti Das

Alec had to spend a total of 106 days in the hospital after choking on a ham-and-cheese sandwich.

SWNS / Shanti Das

His mom, Kasey Hunter, first noticed that he was having issues when he began throwing up blood at soccer practice.

The bloody vomit started after Alec ate a cracker that was presumably sharp enough to scrape his esophagus.

Medical staff informed him that he had simply scratched his esophagus with the cracker and told him to only eat soft foods until it healed.

The next month, Alec’s mom took him to Walmart after practice to get a snack. They both thought they were following doctor’s orders when Alec picked up a ham sandwich.

However, Alec began choking on the soft food item, which clearly indicated that his esophagus was not, in fact, healed.

This time, Alec also experienced chest pain, so his mom rushed him to the hospital.


They found out that Alec had actually ripped his esophagus, and emergency surgery had to be done to fix it.


Unfortunately, not everything went as planned: the wound became infected, which is why Alec was hospital-bound for so long.


SWNS / Shanti Das

The infection spread, and Alec had to undergo a number of surgeries, including the removal of his gall bladder, which also became infected.

Alec was finally discharged on September 1, but he hadn’t received his proper diagnosis quite yet.


It wasn’t until November that doctors finally diagnosed Alec with eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition where white blood cells build up in the esophagus, which leads to choking.

SWNS / Shanti Das

Alec still has to make weekly trips to the hospital to stretch his esophagus so it’s easier to breathe.

You can help donate to Alec’s cause by clicking this link.

SWNS / Shanti Das

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