The sad story happened when a local California restaurant served ghost pepper pureed on top of a hamburger as a part of an eating contest. The man who ended up having surgery just finished eating the topped burger and drinking six large glasses of water, when he began “violently vomiting and retching”.
A CT scan of the man’s chest showed indications of a “spontaneous esophageal rupture,” which is also called Boerhaave syndrome. Although this is “a relatively rare phenomenon,” medics ultimately decided to send the man for emergency surgery. While being under the knife, the surgeons noticed the man’s esophagus had a 2.5-centimeter tear in. To make things worst, food was leaking all over — there was a mix of “hamburger, onions and other green vomitus material”, as medics described it, found near the left lung.
Just a single seed from the pepper will cause severe burning in the mouth that could last as long as 30 minutes in most people. In fact, the pepper has a measured “heat” of more than 1 million Scoville heat units. That is five hundred times hotter than a poblano pepper (which measures 2,000 Scoville units of hotness), and two hundred times hotter than jalapeños.