In Brief

No Laughing Matter: A Woman's Guffaw Results in a Dislocated Jaw

woman holding her jaw
(Image credit: ANN PATCHANAN/Shutterstock)

A woman aboard a train in China let out a laugh so boisterous that she dislocated her jaw, according to news reports.  

While traveling to Guangzhou South Railway Station in southeast China, the unfortunate passenger got stuck with her mouth agape, drooling and unable to speak properly after a booming burst of laughter, according to the India-based news outlet News18. Unbeknown to the woman, her lower jawbone had become unhinged from her skull. A call for help was sounded over the train's speaker system and a doctor on board named Luo Wensheng came to her aid. 

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Wensheng, who works at Liwan Hospital in the city of Guangzhou, rushed to the passenger and quickly assessed her condition. "I initially thought she had had a stroke," Wensheng reportedly told the Chinese news outlet Guancha. After realizing the woman's actual problem, Wensheng at first told her that she should seek help at a hospital, as he wasn't an expert on resetting jaws. But nearby passengers implored the doctor to help, saying that it would take at least an hour to reach a medical facility.

After two tries, Wensheng successfully reset the passenger's jaw. A person traveling with the woman later said that the woman had previously dislocated her jaw once before while vomiting, which likely placed her at higher risk for future dislocation, according to News18. The woman thanked Wensheng for saving her money, while the doctor urged her once again to seek care at a hospital.

Originally published on Live Science. 

Nicoletta Lanese
Staff Writer

Nicoletta Lanese is a staff writer for Live Science covering health and medicine, along with an assortment of biology, animal, environment and climate stories. She holds degrees in neuroscience and dance from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in The Scientist Magazine, Science News, The San Jose Mercury News and Mongabay, among other outlets.