A 60-year-old man with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a heavy smoker and drinker presented to the emergency department with left-sided thoracoabdominal pain after falling down the stairs. Initial clinical findings were left-sided chest tenderness with no clinical evidence of subcutaneous emphysema. Twenty-four hours later the patient's respiratory distress increased—repeat chest X-ray showed a left gastrothorax indicative of a ruptured left hemi diaphragm. Diagnostic laparoscopy in the supine position via an umbilical port confirmed the presence of the stomach, spleen and splenic flexure of the colon in the left chest. Laparoscopic reduction of the stomach and colon was performed, but a small upper midline incision was required to reduce the spleen without injury. The diaphragmatic tear was repaired by direct open suture. The patient required a brief period of postoperative ventilation via a tracheostomy. The patient remained well at a 3-month follow-up visit.