Medical workers are used to seeing shocking things. Even so, sometimes, even the most seasoned professionals are left astonished. Doctors, nurses, and even some patients on Reddit share some of their OMG moments that left them speechless.
1. Papering Over The Crack
When the bag was taken off, we discovered the surgical wound had split open, revealing their intestine exposed to the air. Shockingly, that wasn't the most serious issue. It turns out that this situation didn't occur overnight—it had been progressing for several days.
It seems the patient had resorted to makeshift solutions like plastic bags and newspaper to cover the wound when their original dressings ran out.
2. She Had A Bone To Pick With Him
An older couple from the countryside of Alabama had a wild evening of drinking, which led to a fiery dispute. Things escalated quickly, and the woman unexpectedly tumbled off their trailer porch, falling into the bushes below.
In his dazed state, her husband dropped the disagreement and rushed to help her. She wasn't too hurt, sporting a few small scratches, but what the man spotted looked like a piece of glass or a pipe lodged in her arm from the fall.
He chose not to take her to the hospital, thinking he could handle this situation himself. He grabbed his largest pliers and tried to get a good grip on this strange object stuck in his wife's arm. With all his strength, he tugged and tweaked, but the object wouldn't come out.
Once his sense of pride was bruised and the effects of alcohol faded for both of them, they finally decided that visiting the ER was a wise choice. Upon arrival, the doctor made a shocking discovery. The unfortunate woman had sustained a severe compound fracture in her upper arm.
The "glass or pipe thing" was actually her own bone, protruding through her skin—the very thing her husband had been attempting to yank out with a pair of pliers.
3. On The Fence About His Care
I used to work as a nurse in a remote hospital, with patients who—it seemed—evaded visiting us, and my favorite character was an old farmer. He paid us a visit complaining about a persistent chest pain. When questioned if he'd experienced it earlier, he confessed he'd been feeling such pain sporadically for a few years. But usually, the pain subsided after he touched his electric fence.
Interestingly, on one occasion when he was near his farm's electric fence, he experienced the chest pain. He unintentionally grabbed the fence to keep his balance, got shocked, and noticed the pain was gone. Since then, any time his chest pain attacked, he would touch the fence to alleviate his discomfort.
Incredibly, he had been treating his own intermittent heart rhythm for years.
4. An Unwelcomed Vacation Souvenir
A good pal of mine, who happens to be a family physician, was seeing a young girl around 10 years old. The girl was experiencing back neck pain. During his initial check-up, he discovered a lump which initially seemed like an infected cyst. Her parents gave him the go-ahead to proceed with the removal. That's when he saw a disturbing sight—the cyst actually moved.
In actuality, it turned out to be a sizeable botfly larva—about the size of a nickel. Interestingly, she got it while on a family holiday in South America.
5. Scraping At The Stink
A lady in her mid-thirties came in for a routine Pap test. I noticed a dark brown object in the right area of her cervix. My initial fear was that it could be cancer. As I gently probed the brown spot to get a better sense of its nature, a strong odor became apparent. My healthcare assistant instinctively moved away to the opposite end of the room.
I held my breath only taking quick breaths through my mouth a few times per minute, purposefully directing my face away from the source of the unpleasant smell. As I continued to examine the brown object with a bit more intensity, the eerie mystery finally unraveled itself.
What lay before me was the distinctly cylindrical form of an old tampon! To our utter surprise, the patient was completely unaware of its presence, despite having finished her menstrual period over a week ago. Thus, for more than a week, she had just been going about her regular routine oblivious to the fact. Thankfully, she did not succumb to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
The tampon was successfully and uneventfully removed, allowing the woman to take home some practical advice: it's essential to remember to remove tampons, or perhaps, she might want to think about switching to sanitary pads as a safer choice.
6. Freed By A Falling Flap
My mom is a medical nurse who's dealt with a lot of tough cases. One of the more memorable scenarios revolved around an older gentleman who regularly visited the hospital three times a week for the care of the unusual growth on his face. This growth gradually covered the left side of his face, even causing his only functional eye to close, resulting in his blindness.
This situation also meant, his wife, already compromised by her feeble health, and who he'd previously been taking care of, now had to care for him. Despite his condition, his age made the hospital skeptical about the prospects of surgery. Thus, his frequent hospital visits ceased.
Because he couldn't travel to the hospital anymore, a nurse, much like my mom, would visit him at his home thrice weekly. The growth was unpleasant to look at, continuously leaked fluid, and had a strong, offensive odor that pervaded their home. During one of her nursing visits, while cleaning his face at the sink, my mother noticed a hanging flap of skin.
As she went to clean it, something you couldn't even dream of happened. A disturbingly distinct sound echoed as the growth suddenly dropped into the basin, revealing a repulsive sight of maggots squirming amidst necrotic flesh. It eventually turned out a fly had laid eggs on the growth at some point.
The maggots had hatched and devoured the rotting flesh within the growth until it detached. Miraculously, the man was fine. Fresh, healthy skin had formed below the growth, and his sight from the left eye even restored. This unexpected turn of events gave him a renewed zest for life.
7. Totally Tongue-Tied
One day I spotted an odd little bump on the center of my tongue. I brushed it off, figuring I'd burnt it on hot food or something. But by the next morning, the little bump had ballooned. It took on a really creepy appearance which had me running to my mom for help. She was in quite a panic herself and rushed me to the doctor without a second thought. We spent what felt like an eternity in the emergency room; my mom near tears and restlessly pestering the nurse on duty.
Finally, our painstaking wait was over as they called my name. We were led into a room where our medical adventure escalated. You see, after inspecting my tongue, the doctor admitted he'd never seen anything like it before. My mom broke down, and I felt my heart racing. We were used to trusting in doctors implicitly being part of a medical community. Soon, more medical experts were called in for their opinion.
They next transferred me to some sort of dental chair and proceeded to shine unforgiving, bright lights onto my face. In no time at all, five doctors and even the head of the hospital were gathered around gaping at my tongue. Mom was virtually petrified in a corner, watching in mute terror. The expert minds finally concluded that the only feasible method to get to the root of my issue was to poke the bump. Imagining what was to come, I wished I could ask for a second opinion.
Since they had a firm grip on my tongue, verbal communication was out of the question. They numbed my mouth with an odd mustard-flavored anesthetic, and the leading surgeon gloved up, masked up, and had his goggles on ready for action. Slowly, he brought a shiny metal instrument close to my mouth and applied some pressure. As he retreated, he looked at me and out of the blue, he asked when I last had popcorn. Caught off guard, I mumbled something about eating popcorn a few days back while watching X-Files.
That's when the mystery was unraveled: a perfect half of a popcorn husk was presented to me on my bib. Apparently, it had stuck onto my tongue and had been rapidly covered by new tongue cells. The room quickly filled with amused laughter, my mom's tears of worry were replaced with tears of relief, and I was left utterly flabbergasted. My peculiar popcorn predicament even landed me a spot in a reputable medical journal.
8. The Endless Gaping Wound
I used to be the nurse responsible for preventing bedsores on my ward, which included ensuring our patients weren't developing sores from being bed-bound. Once, while doing my regular rounds, I came across a 19-year-old patient who'd recently had lung surgery. I figured it'd be a quick check as younger folks are typically less prone to these issues.
I'd been taking care of him post-surgery for a few days by then, and we'd established a good relationship since we were both quite young. I explained to him that I needed to examine his sacral area (or the buttocks, to be blunt) for any signs of sores, and assured him it would only take a moment.
He laughed at the oddity of it, but he made a startling confession: "There is something weird happening there. I was too embarrassed to mention it before, but it's been painful for about a year now whenever I use the bathroom and clean up afterwards." Immediately, my nurse instincts kicked into high gear, suspecting something wasn't right.
Donning my protective gear and ensuring privacy, I began the examination, yet I wasn't ready for what I encountered. As I gently parted his butt cheeks to inspect the skin, I observed a wound that extended deep, exposing muscle and even bone. The most frightening part though, was it was brimming with infection.
The stench was overwhelming, like a punch to the face. Not only was there a bacterial invasion, but a fungal one as well. The sight resembled an abstract painting, as though Jackson Pollock had given birth to an artwork within. I restrained from opening the wound fully because I couldn't gauge the depth.
I broke the news to this brave young man, explaining the severity of the wound and insisting a doctor should have a look. He took the news like a champ. In fact, while I was fetching a doctor, he even asked a friend to take a photo of the wound on his smartphone so he could see it. When I returned, I'll never forget his reaction.
He exclaimed, "Oh my God. MY BUTT SEEMS INFINITE. No wonder it's been hurting." I nearly buckled over in laughter after hearing this. But rest reassured, he made a complete recovery.
9. Her Vile Vapor Filled The Vents
In a quaint town in Australia, I found myself working in a modest hospital. The medical team asked for my help with a patient they had received from the emergency department. The patient was dealing with bladder issues as evidenced by a CT scan showing a severely swollen bladder. There seemed to be issues with the catheter, so they brought me in to take a closer look.
Despite some hesitation, I met her at her ward. The catheter procedure was challenging. Even though I managed to squeeze out a bit of urine, I felt something was off. I reviewed the CT scan; the catheter installed in the emergency department seemed correctly positioned before being removed.
On further review, I found a vast uterus filled with fluid-like density behind the bladder. The medical report showed a significantly distended bladder with the catheter balloon sitting in the PROSTATIC URETHRA. Additionally, severe hydronephrosis was reported. Our consultant and I decided she needed to be taken to the operating theater immediately.
We waded through the operation with tough odds, maneuvering around this enormous uterus. We requested assistance from the Obstetrics and Gynecology team to ensure a safe removal. However, during the procedure, the uterus ruptured, unleashing a torrent of pus. The smell was unbearable.
The operating room was clouded over with a yellow-green funk smelling strongly of sulfur. Some individuals were gagging, and the scrub nurse even threw up in her mask. We finished the case, and I headed home, but the smell seemed to be lingering. It was so potent that it even interrupted my breakfast.
When I returned to the hospital, I discovered everyone was wearing masks. The smell, it seemed, had not only lingered but also permeated the entire hospital due to an outdated ventilation system. It was leaking into the air all night, assaulting everyone's senses with its intolerable stench.
On a brighter note, the patient survived for another three years.
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10. The Ugly Tooth
In my early days as a pediatric nurse, during my first week in the children's emergency department, a little girl, around six or seven years old, arrived with a severely swollen jaw and face. The poor thing couldn't move her jaw without feeling severe pain and she hadn't been able to eat for a few days.
It appeared she had just begun brushing her teeth for the first time and, unfortunately, she developed multiple abscesses and tooth decay. Compounding matters, her mother informed us she was still recovering from similar procedures where she had to have a majority of her teeth extracted due to a similar condition.
They hadn't considered consulting with their primary care physician because they assumed the little girl was simply pretending to be ill to avoid going to school.
11. Cooked To A Crisp
I'm currently studying medicine, and I've seen some seriously nasty stuff. However, the best stories I've heard were from my parents, who are both doctors. My dad shared this one particular story from when we lived in Scotland in the early 1990s. This was one of those rare sunny days that the Scots might actually get a tan. Because let's face it, tanning doesn't usually go hand-in-hand with the typical Celtic Scots.
One overly ambitious Celt, however, decided to seize this sunny day. He pulled out his stash of aluminum foil sheets, slathered himself in cooking oil, and tried to get as much sun as possible. But, as it turned out, this was the biggest blunder he could have made. Just as you'd expect, he showed up at the Emergency Department a few hours later, covered from head to toe in painful third-degree burns.
12. Bag It Up!
A man with a well-documented history of diabetes once walked into the clinic. By the time I saw him, the worst had already happened. His legs were swollen like big sausages, and the entire room reeked, resembling the stink of a dump yard. His ankles showcased peculiar indentations that were over a centimetre deep. As it turned out, he had an ulcer on his foot.
Despite needing to clean and dress the wound, he chose to cover it with a sock. As time went along, the ulcer worsened into gangrene and the pus soaked the sock. Even he couldn't stand the stench anymore...so he did what any responsible adult might do—he wrapped it in a plastic bag. Not really—it's just a joke—he seriously did just wrap it in a plastic bag.
As fate would have it, the pus found its way around the bag and the horrible smell resurfaced. With things spiralling out of hand, he decided it was time for medical intervention. Just a fun poke at you again! Nope, he doubled up with another plastic bag. This messy activity was rerun about 9 to10 times.
In the emergency room, they painstakingly peeled off the enormous mound of plastic, dead tissue, and pus that was held together by elastic bands at the ankles—it was like peeling a giant, foul-smelling onion. It was a job that made two to three nurses gag, and we had to switch them out with others to keep going. Oddly enough, the man wasn't in much pain because he had long-term nerve damage in his feet. This allowed him to disregard the issue for a worryingly long time. End of story.
13. Bladder Leakage
In my experience, one incident really stands out from back when I was in med school. I was on a general medicine rotation and we had an older lady in for issues with controlling her urine. She mentioned casually that it felt as if something, like a lump, was descending from her body, though she couldn't really see what it was.
My senior colleague and I thought it best to check it out. As we examined her lower torso, we found we couldn't use a speculum effectively because there was a solid lump protruding from her. And that's when it dawned on us. This noticeable lump was her bladder. It had fallen out of place.
14. An Out Of This World Excuse
During my time as a medical student, I’ve collected a few unusual stories. This one, while not necessarily gross, definitely feels like it was straight out of an episode of The Twilight Zone.
I recall a conversation with a woman to whom I was explaining the necessity for an MRI. Her calm response was nothing short of astonishing. She told me that she wouldn't be able to have an MRI because she had a metallic tracking device inside her body, implanted a decade ago when she was, according to her, abducted by extraterrestrials.
Just before this revelation, we had spent an hour in conversation, and she had behaved absolutely normally, showing no signs of any noticeable mental instability. Composing myself, I smoothly suggested that a CT scan could be a safe alternative for her. It's safe to say, I'm rarely surprised these days.
15. Blind To The Truth
A man came into the clinic one day, claiming that he couldn't see. We asked him when this began, and he nonchalantly revealed it had been happening for the past five days. He hadn't rushed to the doctor, thinking his blindness might simply pass "like a common cold or something". Now, while examining him, when I asked him to move his legs, he casually said, "Oh, I can't do that". And I was just flabbergasted.
Further probing into how long he had been unable to walk, his wife joined the conversation, saying, "Oh, about two years". They hadn't sought any medical help in all this time. Instead, they borrowed a wheelchair from a friend and carried on as best as they could. It turned out, this man had suffered multiple strokes due to several unattended risk factors.
Considering his lack of understanding about his own medical conditions, I genuinely felt sympathy for him.
16. Some Crazy Monkey Business
One of my best friends, a dedicated nurse, is always sharing the most intriguing stories. She's often stationed on the medical-surgical unit at the hospital, and once had an unusually hefty female patient. The woman's size required her to have assistance, not from a dog as you might assume, but from a service monkey.
This service monkey was really quite useful, fetching her glasses, managing the TV remote, you name it. It was a bit peculiar, but nothing too out of the ordinary...until one day, things took an odd turn. When my friend went in to check the woman's vital signs, she unexpectedly found the monkey nursing at the woman's breast.
17. Stash Bang
One night on my ER shift, a lady walked in citing a 'stuck foreign object.' When I asked her about it, she explained that during an intimate moment, her partner noticed something had nipped off inside her. Though she could sense that something was indeed out of place, she wasn't able to fish it out.
Along with a nurse, I got ready to investigate using a speculum and forceps. I was expecting to find a lot of things, but the one thing that did come out was completely unforeseen—a $20 bill. Bewildered, I asked her if she had put it there, to which she answered no. She was clearly as puzzled as I was about the situation.
I offered her the bill, which she refused. So, I ended up throwing it away. I never really understood why the woman had a $20 bill inside her or why her partner would've left it there in the first place.
18. The Discovery Of A Tasty Treat
My father is a nurse. He's shared with me countless tales of patients with odd injuries, like trying to explain away deodorant cans lodged in places they really shouldn't be, often with far-fetched stories about window-based accidents. But one particular story sticks out more than the rest.
Back when my dad was in his mid-20s, he was working in the emergency room of a hospital. One day, a woman with a large frame checked in complaining about stomach discomfort. As they began to examine her and investigate her complaint, all was progressing as usual until they reached around her sizable abdomen. At that moment, they were met with an incredibly foul odor.
The source of the scent was a rotting chicken wing overrun with maggots, nestled within her belly folds, the maggots had even started nibbling on her skin. Delightful.
19. A Bundle Of Joy
Once upon a time, I found myself in the midst of my OB/GYN work experience, bringing my very first baby into the world. The mother was an elder woman hailing from a country town. Just as the baby's head was fully visible and I encouraged her to push, an unexpected surprise happened—a lot of worms, about 60 or so, started wriggling out of her behind. I actually choked back a nauseous reaction, but managed to maintain my professional demeanor and completed the delivery.
It was that eye-opening moment that had me thinking; y'know what? The OB/GYN life doesn't really seem to be my cup of tea.
20. What’s In The Bag?
I used to work as a nurse in the emergency room. One time, a critically injured woman was rushed in by helicopter, having been in a severe car accident. Her husband had been driving and tragically died on the spot. After we stabilized her, the surgical team prepared to take her into operation. The clothes we'd needed to remove were collected, along with her purse brought in by the EMTs from the scene of the accident.
The purse was soaked with blood, so I decided to just extract her wallet for convenience. What came next is an episode that has left an indelible mark on me all this while. When I put my hand into the purse and took out what I believed was her wallet, I was mortified—it was not a wallet, but a lump of her husband's scalp.
21. Quaking In His Shoes
My buddy used to be a paramedic in Hamburg. They once answered a call to attend to a person who was unconscious and lying on a park bench near the train station. They moved over to the man, attempted to rouse him, checked his vital signs and everything, then moved him onto the floor. Notably, the man didn't have any shoes on, but he had wrapped his legs in plastic bags.
People who frequently interact with addicts know that many lose interest in personal hygiene over time. Ironically, this neglect can be more hazardous than the drugs they're addicted to, as they often ignore sores or wounds. This particular man gave off an incredibly strong odor, and it became heartbreakingly clear why when they started examining his makeshift plastic shoes.
The man's legs were blackened, right up to the knee, and were teeming with maggots. His legs were infected due to untreated needle punctures. Lifting up the plastic bags, which were melted into his decaying skin, revealed piles of maggots around his feet.
It was undoubtedly one of the most horrifying sights my friend had ever seen.
22. The Crusty Old Man
One night during my ER shift, I had a pretty rough time. I was directed to the examination room set aside for patients with infections, which was an alarming omen as it usually indicated an abscess requiring draining. However, this case was far worse.
It revolved around a man suffering from infected venous ulcers on both of his legs. His medical record revealed that he hadn't been for a doctor's visit since about ten months ago, with no alerts of subsequent check-ups from a nurse or a GP.
So, I asked when his legs were last examined and the nurse responded it was during his last recorded visit. I then asked when his wound dressings were last changed, and the nurse said they hadn't been. The patient was an elderly man living alone in his trailer, stationed in the heart of a forest, with no access to running water.
He had a heavy drinking habit and a carefree attitude overall. I geared up and entered his room. There was a noticeable smell; a strange mix of old beer, mustiness, and infection. Infections have a distinct scent and his was especially overpowering, bordering on a sulphurous odour.
I introduced myself to the puzzled patient. He had expected antibiotics for influenza, yet he found himself here. When asked, he didn't understand why we needed to check his legs as they were "handled last year". We scrupulously began to remove the dressings.
They were brittle and gave a crackling sound as they were removed. Progressively, the colour underneath transformed into an unhealthy yellow, and the disagreeable odour grew more intense. One of the nurses had to exit the room due to nausea. That's when I spotted a tiny, squirming maggot in a crevice.
Upon reaching the injury, we noticed that a swarm of maggots, roughly 50 or so, were feeding on him. The smell was unbearable. I tried to breath through my mouth off and on so as not to taste the stench.
One of the nurses returned only to leave again. The same story unfolded with his other leg. The infection there was much worse, going so deep as to expose a few tendons around the ulcer base. We cleaned the maggots off, attempting to contain them in a bowl, but they squirmed everywhere, including the floor. I had to be careful not to step on them.
Afterwards, we cleaned the patient as well as we could to reduce the lingering smell. Subsequently, the OR was scheduled for debridement and a fresh vacuum dressing. He was discharged a few days later, along with stern instructions and schedule for continuous dressing changes and check-ups. After that, we never saw him again.
23. Dancing With Doom
There was a certain man who frequently showed up in the emergency room due to recurring urinary tract infections. It's important to note that urinary tract infections don't usually happen as often in men compared to women. Interestingly, this man's profession was a male exotic dancer—he had a unique party trick which he dubbed a "ruby shower".
Basically, he would empty out his bladder, and with the help of a catheter, fill it back up with red wine. This unusual trick would be performed during his shows. Regrettably, one day, karma seemed to catch up with him. He suffered from a severe infection which he was unable to recover from.
24. Guess What Was Bugging Him
At urology conferences, you can encounter many fascinating tales. One story that stands out the most even involved a video, accompanied by the challenge, "Can you guess what we're seeing?" I assumed what was on display was the interior of a bladder, which I got correctly. And surprisingly, there were two tiny corn cobs swishing about in there.
Having two small corn cobs would have been peculiar enough by itself, however, there was something even more disturbing–we were looking at two slugs. The patient arrived at the hospital with a complaint of discomfort during urination. Upon discovering the slugs in his bladder, he shared that he had taken a nap in the grass the previous day, suggesting that the slugs "must have slithered in all on their own" without his knowledge.
25. Intestical Distress
Recently, I had an eye-opening experience while on duty in the surgery department, where we performed surgery on a patient with a severe case of "inguinal hernia". Honestly, I thought I had seen it all during my time at the hospital, but boy, was I mistaken! This patient had some mental health challenges to boot, and once we had him sedated and prepped on the operating table, we removed his robe for the initial inspection.
We proceeded with an open abdominal surgery, which consisted of an intense few hours of meticulously removing his INTESTINES from his groin area. In a nutshell, the patient's abdominal wall had ruptured, causing his intestines to slowly fill his groin over time, a situation that went unnoticed for several years until he sought medical attention.
26. Two Gut-Busting Dilemmas
My father-in-law, Dr J, worked in the emergency room for two decades. There were two incidents that really shook him.
The first was a man who arrived with his stomach covered in blood, looking disoriented, clearly under the influence of something. When asked what was wrong, he calmly replied, "My stomach hurts". As Dr J opened his jacket to inspect further, shockingly, his intestines fell onto the floor. Turns out, the man's companion had accidentally shot him in the stomach while they were using drugs. Nonchalantly, he said, "Oh man, I need to go to the hospital".
The second funny incident was of another man who reported stomach ache. After an initial assessment, Dr J determined that he needed to perform a scope. As he was exploring the patient's bowels with a camera, abruptly, a light ensued from the opposite direction, obstructing his view.
Shockingly, it was a flashlight. Though one could guess how it got there, it's baffling why it was switched on. Dr J could hardly contain his laughter. He excused himself, advising the patient he needed second opinion, and burst into laughter outside, comparing the situation to a cartoon where someone runs into a tunnel, only to have a head-on collision with a train. In this case, the tunnel was the man's backside, and the train was the flashlight.
27. How To Free Willy
While on shift in the emergency room one night, we had a man come in complaining of discomfort in his groin area. After examination, it turned out he had placed a school locker-style Master Lock, the kind with a revolving dial, around his private parts. The lock was causing a blockage, where blood could enter but couldn't exit, causing extreme swelling.
Upon realizing he couldn't recall the combination to the lock, he had tried to force it open with a screwdriver but ended up snapping off the dial instead. We asked the urology department for advice and their first suggestion was to take the man to surgery. They planned to make an incision lengthwise, remove the top and bottom parts of the lock, before stitching him up again. As you might expect, the poor guy was not too keen on this idea.
So, the alternative suggestion was for one of our burly nurses, Tom, to use bolt cutters to break the lock off. They opted for this plan. Behind a closed curtain, Tom counted to three. At the count of "three", there was a loud cry from the man and a popping sound. Tom emerged with the broken lock and the man was then taken to a private room to recover from the ordeal.
28. Fountain Of Goo
One afternoon while I was working in the emergency room, an elderly woman was brought in from a nursing home. She seemed very troubled and kept calling out for help. It seemed she had been brought in because of her "agitation" which often means the nursing home staff found her tough to manage.
We assigned a care assistant to help soothe her and ensure she didn't wander off. The assistant was feeding her, and as I was walking by, the lady suddenly choked on her meal and fell backward.
Immediately, I hit the emergency call button and the team sprang into action. We made sure her airway was clear although she wasn't able to breathe on her own: a surprising fact, considering that there was no food stuck. With no heartbeat detected, a male nurse started chest compressions, and another nurse attempted to insert a breathing tube.
But, as soon as the chest compressions started, a shocking scene unfolded. A gush of a thick, murky green substance came out of the woman's mouth, covering the walls, ceiling, and hospital staff. The nurse performing compressions had to carry on, while his colleague continued attempting to clear the airway to insert the tube.
It took about five to six minutes for the nurse to insert the breathing tube successfully, after having suctioned more than six liters of the unknown substance. Despite an attempt to revive her with a defibrillator, the doctor had to declare her dead. The entire area was soaked in the slimy, murky brown-green mess. It was an unimaginably gross sight to behold.
Later, we discovered that the poor woman had a severe bowel obstruction. It seems her heart stopped while she was eating, and the gooey mess was due to days of liquified waste. Needless to say, I took a very thorough shower that night.
29. Stuff A Sock In It
When my teacher used to work as a nurse in the Emergency Room, an elderly woman in her 80s came in for treatment. The nurse checked her vital signs and found that although the lady's mouth temperature was fine, her neck felt unusually warm. So, he chose to check her temperature rectally and discovered it was a startling 103 degrees.
Even more surprisingly, as he was attending to her, he noticed something unusual. Upon further inspection, he extracted an old sock. The elderly woman explained her uterus had collapsed months earlier and she had been using the sock to hold it in place. The healthcare team immediately started treating her for toxic shock syndrome. Unfortunately, she developed sepsis and tragically died later that same day.
30. Trying To Absorb What We Saw
A young lady came to us recently, struggling with severe abdominal pain and fever. Despite conducting all standard tests, we couldn't find the problem initially. We decided to do a swift pelvic exam next. As soon as she got into position for the exam, I was nearly overwhelmed by an intense odor. I've encountered many strong smells before, but this was something else entirely.
In fact, the scent was so powerful that we ended up needing to clear out half of our facility, as it caused reactions of discomfort amongst individuals in the hallways and the waiting area. It turns out, she had unintentionally left a tampon in place and inserted a new one, forgetting about the original. Our best estimate suggests that the first tampon was left in there for around two months, hence the decay.
Inevitably, the surrounding area was severely infected. By the time she reached us, she was in the early stages of septic shock.
31. She Sprung A Leak
Once, while working as an imaging tech, we had a patient weighing roughly 400 pounds who was mostly confined to their bed. In order to maintain cleanliness, the patient had a tube that helped to dispose of their waste, but unfortunately the tube had fallen out about a day prior. This led to an unpleasant collection of waste building up under the patient.
We discovered this quite off-putting situation when we turned the patient to set them up for X-rays. The awful odor was so potent that it emptied the room and took hours to dissipate. Many of us had to take showers and change our clothes to rid ourselves of the lingering stench, which I can confidently say was the most terrible smell I've encountered in my 15 years of hospital work.
32. Poor Little Kitty
Just recently, I'd been chatting with a long-lost friend, who is currently working as an operating room nurse. She narrated an experience she had while getting a woman with severe obesity ready for surgery. This entailed diligently sanitizing neglected areas hidden beneath layers of fat that probably hadn't been exposed to daylight for who knows how long. In the midst of this, as she lifted a generously large fold near the woman's lower back, she abruptly halted.
What she saw initially seemed like a bone. Brave and composed, she carried on examining. A few moments later, she revealed a shocking finding—the skeletal remains of a tiny kitten, its decaying flesh bound up with the bones. Suppressing emotions of sorrow and disgust, she calmly approached the woman, saying, "Madam, I hope this won't alarm you, but I've discovered the remnants of a small cat within your body folds."
To her surprise, the hefty woman seemed untroubled and responded, "Ah! That's where he went!" It appears that some incredibly large individuals develop tough calluses from skin friction. This little cat could've been desperately struggling, yet she may not have sensed a thing. Poor little fella.
33. As White As Snow
My father is a doctor specializing in internal medicine. He once had a visit from a young man, who was barely out of his teens, who came to the hospital with a concern about a personal issue. The poor fellow was experiencing intense itching and discomfort in his groin area, so my dad, in order to diagnose the problem, asked him to lower his trousers.
The young man was of African American descent, so imagine my dad's surprise when he noticed that the young man's pubic hair was stark white. As it turns out, the itchiness was due to the young man contracting pubic lice, or 'crabs', from a partner. These tiny creatures had laid their minuscule eggs in his pubic hair, creating the illusion of it being white. Even now, the thought of this gives me the creeps.
34. Not A Leg To Stand On
My wife works as a surgeon, and each night, she has about sixty minutes to share the distressing things she encounters. One story that particularly stands out involves a young couple on a motorcycle. They were navigating a tunnel that connected two highways, and the boyfriend was driving at an alarming speed.
As they drew nearer to the tunnel wall, the girlfriend riding on the back, panicked, and made a devastatingly poor choice. She decided to brace herself by placing her foot against the wall of the tunnel. Unfortunately, her foot snagged the wall, catapulting her off the bike. She tragically broke her leg at the thigh, the sharp end of the broken limb thrusting into her groin area.
35. Getting Busy After Baby
There've been a few instances like this, but let me share one. A woman visited us on a Monday after being released from the hospital the previous Friday post childbirth. Typically, we tell women to abstain from intimate activity until cleared by a doctor. However, her partner persisted, so she finally gave in on Friday night.
This resulted in the tearing of some stitches leading to severe bleeding all weekend. She arrived at our clinic pale-faced, with bluish lips and fingertips. Her hemoglobin was at a low of four, while the average is around 12–15. Trying not to be a nuisance, she didn't seek help until she constantly felt faint.
In the end, she had to return to the hospital for a blood transfusion and some necessary repairs.
36. Clear Out!
For the initial five years of my profession, I worked as a nurse in an emergency department. One time, we were visited by an 80-year-old man. He had an unusual object lodged in his backside. Interestingly, he was a veteran and had a live shell—roughly the size of a slender soda tin and about nine inches long—stuck up there. He remained remarkably calm despite the predicament.
Nevertheless, we had to dial up Australia's equivalent to the bomb squad for help with the situation.
37. Picking His Brain
A few guys had too much to drink and decided to drive around town. One of them, sitting in the passenger seat, was leaning way out the window to throw up when the car suddenly rounded a sharp bend and began to teeter. The rollover incident resulted in the top of the passenger's head scraping against the road, revealing his brain. But the story doesn't stop there.
A friend of mine, an emergency medical technician, had the gruelling task of removing pebbles and other debris FROM THE MAN'S BRAIN. The sobering part? The guy was still awake during this. My friend mentioned the unmistakable smell of the human brain that he cannot forget. Even though I wasn't present, every time I think of this incident, it sends shivers down my spine.
38. Someone Did A Hatchet Job On Her
My mom worked as a nurse in the ICU for a decade, so life was always interesting. On her initial day on the job, she was on a break when all of a sudden, a woman, her head swathed in a towel, strolled into the hospital. In a composed and quiet manner, the lady revealed that her spouse had lost his temper and hurled a hatchet at her head.
Fortunately, her forehead, being the most robust part of her skull, bore the brunt of the injury, thereby allowing her enough strength to bandage her wound and drive herself to the hospital. Thankfully, the woman turned out fine as a large part, while her husband was apprehended by the police.
39. The Face Of Self-Destruction
As an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist, my primary focus is handling sinus diseases and ear infections these days. However, during my tough residency years, we often found ourselves responding to a lot of facial injury emergency calls. There was one day when we were asked to rush down to the ER for a self-inflicted facial wound. These cases are never easy, but this one was unlike anything I had experienced.
A man had shot his face with buckshot, essentially obliterating its structure. Despite the horrific situation, there was an incredibly brave EMT who managed to secure an oral airway while out in the field. Once he was with us, we switched out that airway for a breathing tube placed in the throat and did our best to suture the remaining tissue.
A few days post-injury, we staged a mammoth 14-hour surgical operation, where we took segments from his abdomen and leg to reconstruct his face and jaw. In another operation later, we succeeded in creating a functional mouth opening for him, allowing him to consume some types of food. However, without a tongue, eating remains quite a struggle.
40. Crab Nauseum
Back when I was training to be a paramedic, we'd often be stationed in the emergency department. One time, a man was brought in from what seemed like a really poor nursing home. At a glance, everything appeared normal until they removed his trousers. This is when we saw the problem. His testicles were about the size of a football and showing signs of necrosis. This condition is known as Fournier's gangrene.
A reasonable guess would be that he'd had it for some time, considering the size, hue, and unsavory smell. He was a stroke survivor and now seemed significantly more confused than what was typical for him. The sight was disturbing—but the smell was the real kicker. It was analogous to the smell of decaying crab meat. One of the interns who came into the room to check on him almost threw up and had to jet out of the room within 20 seconds.
I truly felt for the man, he seemed clueless about his situation, and he must have grown accustomed to the unusual odor. When I returned home that evening, my roommates and buddies had decided to prepare some snacks. One of them made mini crab cakes. The scent transported me right back to the scene with the man at the hospital. It was an irony that was quite hard for me to stomach.
41. A Hernia As High As The Heavens
I once had a patient who was 95 with an inguinal hernia. They'd been living with it for about 25 years and it was noticeably growing. As a student, I was told that I'd be examining a "lump." Before I began the exam, my supervisor advised me to maintain a neutral expression throughout.
With respect to the patient, I unveiled them and suddenly thought, "Wow," but of course, only internally. My jaw locked due to the intense surprise I was trying to hold back, and then I reached out to examine this "lump".
Turned out, this "lump" was actually the patient's protruding intestines stretching through this gaping hole. The hernia was so enormous that, even with the patient lying down, it reached down to their knees! I was shook and needed to let off steam but couldn't do that in front of my supervisor. So, my fellow intern and I went to the local pub right after to discuss our surreal experience.
Sadly, the patient eventually passed away.
42. The Worst Split
My mom works as a registered nurse. One night, a man stumbled into the emergency room, carrying a bag near his groin area. It turns out, he'd been out partying with friends and had quite a bit to drink. Their chosen sober friend was driving a pickup truck, and our main character and his fellow partygoers decided to ride in the truck bed as they sped down a highway.
Fueled by alcohol and potentially a lack of judgement, the man had chosen to stand up just as the truck bumped across an uneven patch. This resulted in him taking flight and landing in an intensely painful manner; now I know where the phrase "a split" comes from.
Inside the bag he was holding were his internal organs, even his lower gastrointestinal tract. The medical team acted quickly, rushing him into immediate surgery. Impressively, the doctors were able to fully restore his reproductive function.
43. Pull My Finger
One day, a man arrived at my clinic complaining about a swollen finger. He explained how his finger had become inflamed and painful a week earlier, and it continued to worsen over time. Three days before he came in, he noticed an open wound at the end of his swollen finger.
On the day of his visit, the man casually mentioned that he had extracted something from this open wound with a pair of tweezers, but he wasn't exactly sure what it was. Intrigued, I asked him if he had taken a photo or kept what he pulled out, to which he responded by pulling out a tissue from his shirt pocket. What I saw left me awestruck.
Unbelievably, it was his distal phalanx—the last bone in his finger. The bone had gotten infected, and in response, his body tried to expel what it perceived as an unwelcome foreign body. So, essentially, this man pulled the tip of his own finger out from his finger. It was like a baffling magic trick that I haven't seen the likes of since.
44. His Beard Was All Buggy
My ex-spouse used to work as a heart technician, specializing in performing heart ultrasounds, or echocardiograms. One time, a patient came in having grown out a rather shaggy and untidy beard. As my ex began to administer the examination, he noticed something peculiar in it. Upon taking a closer look, he shockingly found roaches residing in the man's beard. He quickly called for a nurse, and they further revealed that the man was significantly infested with body lice.
As a result, my ex had to promptly sanitize himself and spent the rest of the day wearing hygienic hospital scrubs.
45. That’s A Wrap
As an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), my colleague and I respond to a variety of calls. Often, we're summoned to a location where someone is "unable to walk", which typically translates to a person struggling to get up from a bed or a chair. We anticipated a routine procedure: assisting the person to stand or transporting them to a hospital after assessing their condition.
Upon our arrival, both a police officer and a neighbour were present. They warned us about the severe situation we were about to encounter. The second we entered the house, an overpowering stench overwhelmed us. Despite my experiences with decaying bodies, this was much more intense. We discovered a man in the living room, lying helplessly on the floor, unable to rise.
The man's legs were bundled in plastic wrap and bags, which were visibly swelling and leaking a brown fluid. He admitted to having developed foot sores, choosing to self-treat with plastic wrap instead of consulting a doctor. Unfortunately, his condition had worsened to the point of incapacitation and severe sepsis.
The scene was appalling. As we carefully transported him out of the household, the ghastly odor of gangrene seeping from his legs haunted us all the way to the ambulance. The acrid smell lingered in the ambulance for days. Even though I often deal with unpleasant situations, this was the worst so far.
In the emergency department, the medical staff discovered the severity of his condition – his legs were decaying up to the knees. He underwent surgery to amputate both legs up to the hip, but his condition had deteriorated further into his pelvis, necessitating additional operations.
46. Hoping For A Miracle
My dad worked as a plastic surgeon in the emergency room of a large city in the south. A family consisting of a mom, dad, and their two toddlers—a little boy and girl around ages 3 to 5—were driving along a city highway close to the hospital. The kids were in the back seat of the car without the safety of car seats or seat belts.
A woman was driving in the opposite direction, her reckless speeding and erratic behavior indicative of her experiencing some mental health crisis. As their vehicles moved towards each other, she swerved her car off the road, colliding with a barrier. The impact launched her car into the air, flipping it upside down only to land atop the family car, crushing the back portion where the kids were sat.
Strangely, the front section where the parents were seated remained intact, leaving them unharmed physically. But the back of the car was warped so bad that the young children didn't survive. Overwhelmed with grief, the parents brought their little ones into the emergency room. The sight was simply heartbreaking and devastating, there was nothing that could be done to help.
47. Making Its Way Out
Currently, I work as a CNA and this is without a doubt the oddest thing I have ever experienced. You see, we had a woman in charge of payroll who survived a shooting in a past marriage. The bullet hit her in the back of her head. However, surgeons decided that it'd be too dangerous to remove the bullet.
Surprisingly, it didn't inflict any significant harm on her brain, and she’d continue to lead a normal life provided it healed in the right way. One day, I went to her office to collect my salary slip. We were making small talk when out of nowhere, she started coughing in fits and starts.
In an attempt to soothe her, I patted her back and guess what happened next. She suddenly coughed up the bullet into her hand! I was stunned to see that over the years, the bullet had gradually worked its way out. After this unusual event, she was absolutely okay and kept the bullet as a keepsake.
48. Nothing Upstairs
During my time in university, I was an active participant in several psychological studies. These primarily consisted of games and surveys, but a particular study had me undergo several MRIs. Mainly focusing on the back left side of my brain, namely the occipital lobe and left parietal lobe, I spent the span of four years being part of this.
There came a stretch in my third year, around February, when I hadn't interacted with the team for a while as they were between main studies. Surprisingly, I received an email at about 6:00 PM from the head of the neuroscience graduate department. Kept short and polite, it essentially said, "There is something unusual on your MRI which you need to discuss with me tomorrow".
He provided his office details and asked for my reply to coordinate a meeting. The seriousness of the situation started sinking in the next day when making my way to meet him. The department head of a graduate school had arranged a meeting with me, an undergraduate participant, on such short notice. I felt incredibly apprehensive about the meeting.
Upon arriving, we introduced ourselves and I was asked to be seated. The professor displayed a piece of paper, explaining a finding on my MRI that was distinct. They weren't in a position to determine anything based on the existing MRIs' quality and recommended an urgent appointment for a medical-grade MRI and neurologist consultation. He then presented me with the said print—and my stomach dropped.
In the print, there was a noticeable void, the size of a table tennis ball at the top right center of my brain. It was neither a mass nor a misshaped area, but a blatant nothingness.
The remaining brain structure was mildly displaced by this anomaly. I was in a state of shock for the rest of the meeting, overwhelmed and confused. With my consent, the professor performed a quick neurological exam to check my senses, response time, and motor skills, which strangely came out normal.
His confusion escalated as he couldn't decipher why everything seemed nominal. Out of concern, he asked for my planner, called the student medical center himself, and booked an appointment to speed up the referral. I had somehow managed to baffle an entire research team and their department head, leaving them wondering, "Just what is that?" Namtara.
49. Snakes Alive!
When my wife was studying to become a doctor, she encountered a patient with a unique problem—he couldn't urinate properly. She and the supervising doctor asked the standard set of questions but couldn't initially identify the cause. So, they decided to perform an X-ray. Looking at the results, they saw a confusing mass of dark lines in the man's bladder. Puzzled by the image, they decided to show it to the patient.
The patient's reaction? He happily shared the shocking explanation. It turns out, he had a peculiar pastime: he enjoyed allowing baby snakes to crawl up his urethra, where sadly, they would die in his bladder. He claimed this weird practice gave him an amusing sensation.
50. A Real Jaw-Dropper
There was a day when my nurse friend found herself swamped in the emergency room—it was simply one of those bloody shifts. She had already tackled countless relentless nosebleeds, so much so that people panicking over their unstoppable, flowing noses had become normality. Then, in walked this man.
He strolled in, clutching a blood-soaked rag to his face. She glanced over, rolled her eyes, and thought, "Great, another nosebleed". She advised him, "Would you mind lowering your rag sir?", intending to estimate the severity of his condition. He did as asked, revealing a jaw that was literally hanging from his face, swinging loosely.
The sight was unexpected and alarming. She managed to stammer, "Kindly, raise the rag again, sir," which he did. Immediately afterwards, he was whisked away to the trauma unit for further assistance. Intrigued about what may have led to his unusual condition, she dug into his case. It turned out that he had been tidying up a piece upstairs in his home.
Upon finishing, he was taking the item downstairs to put it away. Unfortunately, he stumbled, tripped and accidentally triggered it. The sad irony was that the item turned out to be loaded, and he had unknowingly shot himself in the face at point-blank range.