The syringe barrel Zhang Hua vomitted.
After an investigation, an anesthetist is believed to be at fault for not removing the syringe barrel after surgery.
"As a result, the syringe barrel slid into the patient's esophagus before he regained full consciousness," the statement said.
The hospital said it has suspended the anesthetist from duty.
Zhang does not entirely accept the hospital's explanation.
"I consulted an anesthetist, who told me that a syringe barrel is usually used to prop up the mouth so the patient doesn't break the ventilator's tube. I was told it should be part of the tube," he said.
But Zhi Xiuyi, dean of the department of thoracic surgery at Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, said he has never seen a syringe barrel used for this purpose.
"We use teeth cushions under these circumstances," he said.
Zhang, who says his throat is much better, said he entrusted his wife's cousin, who is a lawyer, to talk to the hospital about compensation.
Following meetings with the mediation board for medical treatment disputes, the hospital has "agreed in principle" to pay Zhang 60,000 yuan in compensation.