Competitive eating may be an intense athletic event, but one adventurous San Franciscan took his competitive spirit one step too far.
The ghost pepper is notoriously one of the hottest peppers on Earth, burning at 1 million Scoville units. After a 47-year-old competitive eater tried a ghost pepper-puréed burger for a contest, he immediately began retching and vomiting. He was taken to the hospital where doctors discovered a 1-inch tear in his esophagus that was leaking food, and a collapsed lung, which surgeons had to work quickly to re-inflate.
The pepper was not so hot that it burned a hole in his esophagus, but rather the patient suffered from spontaneous esophageal rupture, or Boerhaave's syndrome, according to Medscape. This rare medial episode can occur after eating a massive amount of food or alcohol; if left untreated, it can lead to death.
After the man was tended to, doctors inserted a feeding tube and he was hospitalized for 23 days. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to Medical Daily.
The moral of the story is: Don’t attempt the ghost pepper challenge unless you want to risk a life-endangering reaction.