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Woman swallowed coin, lost voice for 12 years

By T.K. Randall
July 10, 2019 · Comment icon 21 comments

A single coin robbed Heffernan of the ability to speak. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Santeri Viinamaki
When Marie Heffernan unknowingly swallowed a coin as a teenager, her life took a sudden turn for the worse.
Heffernan, who was only 13 at the time, was told by doctors that her lost voice was due to an acute case of bronchitis and laryngitis, but when her symptoms failed to improve, adjusting to life without a voice left her feeling both socially isolated and increasingly fearful that she may never speak again.

"I'd just started high school, it was frightening - I didn't know what was going on and neither did the doctors," she said. "People's reactions changed over time - first their reaction was one of surprise and shock but over months, when my voice didn't return, it became something else."

"People didn't know what to say to my parents, they just stopped talking to me at all."

Then, one day 12 years later while sitting at work, Heffernan suddenly started to choke on something and managed to cough up a 1959 threepence.
It turned out that the coin had been lodged in her vocal cords, preventing them from vibrating.

Almost immediately she started to make sounds again and within two weeks she began to string words together. Her story would go on to make headlines across the country.

"I couldn't believe it - it's still a mystery how I swallowed the coin, a threepence which wouldn't have even been in circulation," she said.

"The only thing we can think is that it must have been in a can or bottle of soft drink."

Source: Illawarra Mercury | Comments (21)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Captain Risky 5 years ago
You make no cent's. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Captain Risky 5 years ago
Actually it sounds a bit like 50 cents. 
Comment icon #14 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
Ah, since I've never been to Australia, makes it kind of difficult to be from Australia.
Comment icon #15 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
Oh? Which American accents do you prefer?
Comment icon #16 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
Lol, no... that's none of the Maine accents. It's more of a spoof/play on twisting some of the more southern state accents, probably as a spoof/play about being from more southern Maine vs the northern regions of Maine.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Rolltide 5 years ago
Comment icon #18 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
Goodness, yes.. .and my bad for playing part in the derailment. Back to the OP then. I can't imagine how terrible it would be to have something stuck in your throat for so long.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Captain Risky 5 years ago
LOL...
Comment icon #20 Posted by Golden Duck 5 years ago
Pennies were still put in the Christmas pudding when I was (supposedly) growing up. I remember one Christmas my grandmother/aunts/mother saying how the decimal currency coins were had some toxic reaction with food.  That could be why the coins were kept after circulation. it's a bit of an old wives tale anyway.  I'm pretty sure I swallowed a decimal currency coin at some stage.  It was dad's job to "account" for it.
Comment icon #21 Posted by pixiii 5 years ago
You'd think right!?!?  Well, as an Aussie myself, I'd just like to say that most of us usually spend money, not eat it.  This girl was clearly out of the ordinary.  But damn....no x-ray's? There's got to be more to this story or maybe that's how they are in Wollongong    


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