Tiny sea snail grows and hatches inside little boy's knee

Pictured in the foreground is the snail. In the background is the child from whence the snail emerged.

The child's name is Paul Franklin. A few weeks back Paul was visiting the beach with his family when he tripped and dashed his right knee against a rock. His parents cleaned and bandaged the injury. A week later Paul fell again while iceskating, and again his parents dressed the wound. A day later the knee had swollen and Paul had developed a limp. He was hurried to a nearby hospital, where doctors prescribed him a course of antibiotics.

What happened next is recounted in greater details at The Orange County Register, but here's the play-by-play summary:

  • After a couple days, the would looked like it was getting better. But then it got way, way worse. The wound looked necrotic, and was badly swollen.

Tiny sea snail grows and hatches inside little boy's knee

  • Doctors advised Paul's parents not to drain the wound by squeezing it.
  • When the wound started looking even nastier than it does at right in the side-by-side image pictured above, Paul's mom said to hell with doctor's orders and squeezed away.
  • Boom. Out pops a snail.

Tiny sea snail grows and hatches inside little boy's knee

At first she thought it was a rock. But nope. It was a snail. A live snail that had been wriggling around in her son's knee since... well... the leading theory is that when Paul smacked his knee against a seaside rock, an egg must have been jammed into the flesh and just kind of... incubated. Nobody's really sure how or if that's possible, but according to the OC Register, Paul's mom is now "trying to find a marine biologist" who can tell her as much.

All images by Jebb Harris, OC Register

[OC Register]