We have a new record: 80 years from publication to retraction

cover_2015_51We have a new record for the longest time from publication to retraction: 80 years. It’s for a case report about a 24-year-old man who died after coughing up more than four cups of what apparently looked — and smelled — like pee.

According to the case report titled “Een geval van uroptoĆ«” published in 1923, an autopsy revealed that the man had a kidney that was strangely located in his chest cavity. A case of pneumonia caused the kidney to leak urine into the space around his lungs, leading to the perplexing cough.

If that sounds too crazy to be true, you’re right: This man never existed. The case was retracted in 2003. (Yes, we are a little late to this one — it recently popped up in one of our Google alerts.)

A write-up by the editors of the Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde — that translates to “Dutch Journal of Medicine” — explains that the strange case was a fake (on the fifth page of this PDF, in English):

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