Melbourne woman awakens with flying cockroach in her ear

Alicia Farmer
May 7, 2018

In April, Katie Holley told she woke up feeling an odd sensation in an ear.

The bug not only crawled into her ear, but got in deep and hung on with all its might.

"I need therapy for a lot of reasons, but this experience blows all of those other reasons out of the water", Ms Holley said. Her husband, Jordan, was soon awake, looked inside her ear with his iPhone's flashlight. Knowing that a foreign object was lodged in her ear, she used a cotton swab to try getting it out, but only ended up with two little legs stuck on the tip.

After another unsuccessful attempt at solving the problem themselves, the couple chose to go to the emergency room to get medical attention. Another doctor was able to pull out the head and antennae. Afterward, Holley was given a prescription for antibiotics, both oral and topical. Using an otoscope, they peeked inside, and there it was: another leg. "All in one piece", she said.

A similar study published 1985 in the New England Journal of Medicine cited another case where a roach in one of the patient's ears went into "a convulsive rate of speed" when sprayed with numbing agent lidocaine.

The doctor pulled out six pieces of the roach's remains - but feared there was still more left.

"I'm so sorry for those of you who are going to have nightmares now", Holley wrote on Facebook. The physician proceeded to make an ENT emergency appointment for Holley, since there might be more pieces left out of her reach.

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The flying roach tried to enter Holley's ear canal but got stuck.

The doctor was still not sure the entire bug was removed and sent Holley to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who placed a microscope inside the woman's ear. At this point, Holley was in even more discomfort.

"I was furious. I was really disappointed with the ER for not having seen that, for letting me believe it was all out", Holley, a 29-year-old sales and marketing manager, told The Washington Post on Saturday.

Luckily for her, palmetto bugs generally don't bite, and if they do, their bites aren't harmful.

Cockroaches have been known to burrow into people's ears. She said that she revealed to her essential care specialist what had happened, and a doctor right hand flushed her ear four times.

In fact, Holley said, she and her husband had hired an exterminator about a week before the incident.

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