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Man Accidentally Inhales New iPod Shuffle
MEDFORD, Mass. (CAP) - A Massachusetts man is in the hospital this week after accidentally inhaling the latest version of Apple's tiny iPod Shuffle directly into his nasal cavity.
The new Shuffle, a slim aluminum rectangle less than two inches long, had been on the market only a few hours when Medford, Mass. police received a 911 call from Tufts University student Josh Elkind, 19, saying the Shuffle had disappeared up his right nostril.
"When paramedics arrived, the only evidence of the device was the headphone cord hanging out of the victim's nose," said Medford Police spokesman Jack McKay. "He had several friends with him, but apparently he had to call 911 himself because they were laughing too hard to do it."
According to fellow Tufts student Jason Knowlton, 20, Elkind had been among the first in line to purchase the new shuffle that morning at the Radio Shack on Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford.
"All he kept saying was, Dude, I can't believe how small this thing is! I bet this could fit right up my nose!," said Knowlton. "And we heard this snort and turned around and, like, the whole thing was gone!"
According to Dr. Hans Krasnal at Massachusetts General Hospital, who performed emergency surgery on Elkind this morning, the situation could have been "much worse."
"The iPod could have easily slipped into his larynx, and from there into his lungs, which would probably have killed him," said Dr. Krasnal. "It's very much a concern with these new, smaller iPods. The last model very rarely got past a patient's mucous membrane."
Hospitals around the U.S. started receiving similar reports almost immediately upon the new Shuffle's release. In Cleveland, officials at Marymount Hospital reported a 22-year-old woman coming in with the device lodged in her belly button; and Greenwich Village, N.Y., has seen at least five instances of patients with iPod Shuffles protruding from their buttocks - or worse, not protruding.
"Nobody wants to get stuck with caliper duty when one of those cases waddles in," noted one emergency room nurse at Beth Israel Medical Center who declined to be identified.
Responding to concerns from consumer groups, Apple is now saying it will include warnings with all future releases, similar to the warning that "permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume," which it started including with iPods several years ago.
"We didn't realize that consumers needed to be told about the volume danger, and when it was brought to our attention we did so," said Apple COO Tim Cook. "And now that we know that we have to tell kids not to stick iPods up their asses, we'll do that too."
He then shook his head and added, "It's a good thing these kids have so much expendable income, or else they'd be completely useless."
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