Doctors Confess When They Lied To A Patient To Help Comfort Them In A Bad Situation

It’s hard to imagine that doctors—the very people we entrust our lives to—would ever lie to us. However, after reading the following stories, one might actually be able to justify the deed. Think about it: if a patient is freaking out, it is going to be harder to help them, which may cause a delay in care and lead to negative consequences.

Doctors have an obligation to help patients medically in the best way they can, and sometimes that means keeping things from them that they do not need to know. Read on and you might find it hard to disagree.

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#1 Surgery Was Not An Option

There was a lady who came into the ER and was listed under patients with “Multiple Medical Problems.” This usually meant she had diabetes, plus a variety of other issues which stemmed from it. Her blood test results came back with irregularities, so we knew something was up. I hadn’t seen the patient yet, but the doctor came to the nurse’s station asking who had Room 15.
I jumped up and followed him into the room. When I walked in, I saw what I thought was a corpse. Then, the patient’s eye swiveled over to look at me. She looked completely lifeless; as if she had been decaying for quite some time already. I could see every one of her bones and her body was twisted in a decorticate position with her jaw locked open.
Soon after, the smell hit me: rotting flesh, death, and bodily fluids. I struggled to keep a neutral face and not gag. I placed a blood pressure cuff on her arm and her skin just started flaking off in my hands. The doctor started removing her clothes to examine her. Her feet were black to the ankles. Her hip bones were poking through her skin and were also black. The skin around her ribs was worn away and you could see her oozing muscle fibers.
Her calves were incredibly swollen and the skin was splitting like ripped pants. At some point, the doctor went to remove a large bandage on her lower back. Her entire sacrum was exposed and the bones were BLACK! The skin around it was a black liquified mass. In all my years of being a nurse, I had never seen anything like it.
The smell was unbearable. I can’t even describe it. The doctor told her family I would clean up her ulcers and wounds in preparation for surgery, even though it was clear no surgeon was going to take on her case. I had no idea how to clean dead bone tissue and liquified skin (they don’t cover that in nursing school). When I went to clean her sacral area, all the liquified skin separated and oozed all over the bed.

I really struggled to keep myself together. Afterward, I needed a moment in the supply closet to cry it out for a second. I had no idea the human body could breakdown so much without dying. I think about that woman sometimes and what led to her living like that. It still breaks my heart to think about her horrible situation.


#2 The Family Didn’t Need To Know How Low His Chances Of Survival Were

Five years ago, I spent six months working in a small Zambian hospital in the medical ward as part of an outreach program. I have done mostly family medicine and some surgery in my early days but I decided to mix life up a bit. The hospital was third-world—there were a few basic medications, rudimentary clinical tools, and a small lab on site which was usually out of operation.

There were no resuscitation tools whatsoever. HIV, TB, and malaria were rife—it would not be uncommon to encounter a death per day despite our best efforts. On one of my first days, there was an unconscious person carried in by a mob of locals. I could smell him before I saw him because he had been in a house fire and his skin was cooked.

It was completely black around his chest, face and over his legs. He was still breathing on his own and maintaining his airway, but we had no doubt that he had inhaled a lot of smoke. With no way to intubate or provide oxygen, we merely had to hope that he didn’t swell up and have to deal with the rest of the burns while he was unconscious.

Two colleagues who worked in the hospital came over urgently. We all kept our cool externally and got the nurses to translate to the man’s family that we were going to do everything we could to get him better. In reality, all three of us knew his chances at survival were in the single-digit percentages. We decided that due to the extent of his burns we were going to have to do an escharotomy (cutting the burned skin to prevent it from contracting).

Turns out, I had the most surgical experience, so despite having never done one before I gave it a go, hoping for the best. We got an IV into a neck vein and got fluids going. The local nurses dressed his burns. We gave him whatever pain relief we had. He was unconscious for a couple of days but eventually woke up. Each day we were expecting his kidneys to pack up, but to our surprise, he got better. He was with us for just over four months. He came out severely scarred but he had beaten the odds and survived.


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#3 Get Your Teeth Cleaned Or Else

In dental school, I had an emergency patient come in complaining of sore gums. Upon examination, I found a massive calcified bridge behind her lower front teeth. She only had about three remaining lower teeth, but they were all connected with a whitish brown mineral deposit that was about the size of a golf ball.

She told us never had her teeth cleaned and she was probably 55 or so. I performed an emergency cleaning and she could speak so much better afterword. Of course, I had to play it off to her like her situation was normal, but in my years of practice, I had never seen a case that bad. Get your teeth cleaned people. Even if you can’t afford every six months, once a year or every other year is a heck of a lot better than never.


#4 It’s Really No Big Deal To Vomit Blood

I once had a patient with a stomach bleed and a small bowel obstruction. We had to put in an NG tube (which is a tube that goes in your nose and down to your stomach) to drain his stomach, which was pretty distended and hard. I was inserting the tube and when all of a sudden it hit the guy’s gag reflex. He projectile vomited all over himself, the bed, the wall, and the floor. It was like a scene from the exorcist.
He didn’t stop for almost ten minutes. When we finally got the tube in, it immediately sucked out three liters of this black sludge. I was mortified and had to play it off like, “Oh no, no it’s fine, it’s really common to vomit during the procedure. We’ll just go get some towels and clean you up!” My coworker and I left the room and we just stared at each other in silent shock.

#5 But It Doesn’t Happen All The Time

I had a patient who needed a lower GI study to find a bowel bleed. To get a GI study done, you need to excrete clear mucus. For three days, we bowel-prepped him with heavy laxatives and enemas. He barely excreted anything. He put on the call light at 6:45 p.m., just 15 minutes before my shift was to end. He calmly said, “I kinda want to try and go #2.”
He said it so casually I figured he was going to toot out another gas bubble and walk back. He stood from the bed, took one step, and the floodgates burst. It just wouldn’t stop. He left a giant mess from the bed to the bathroom and even coated the walls as he bent to park his butt on the toilet. It was an absolute nightmare.
In my nine years, I have never seen that much come out of a person. He was not a large man. He was so embarrassed but I just kept my face as solid as possible. I grabbed half the linen closet and three packages of wipes to sop it up. I told him it happened all the time.


#6 Just Hum And Smile

A motorcyclist came in after he was hit by a car. He had gone over the hood, slid a few meters, and somehow landed on his butt sitting up. He slid across intersection mostly on his butt, getting serious road rash. Luckily, he was only a block from the hospital and ambulance. They packed him and brought him to the ER.

We ended up cutting off his chaps and began the cleanup of gravel and sand embedded in his skin. The attending paused, grabbed the saline, and irrigated the area while humming. I handed him some gauze to pack the wound and smiled at the patient who was under local anesthesia. I then went on break, went fetal and dry heaved.


#7 What Were Those Docs Saying Behind The Scenes?

I was playing soccer and noticed a little skin irritation underneath my arm. I thought it would go away but it developed into a weird little thing. It was about two inches in diameter and ended up growing into a collection of skin tags. I went to the doctor who didn’t have a clue what it was, so he sent me to a specialist.

The specialist didn’t seem to know what it was either. Four other doctors had to come in to take a look and were really interested. They took a ton of photos and told me they hadn’t seen anything like that before. They also couldn’t really offer any medication and said they would just monitor it. About a week later, the ‘skin tags’ developed little circles on the top that turned into scabs.

Then, the thing just kind of dried up and fell off me. It was freaking weird and to this day I have no idea what it was. I was not comforted.


#8 “Of Course” He’ll Walk Again

I had to have my leg rebuilt after a car accident. After months of waiting, I was eventually sent to Duke University for my surgery. My surgeon was supposed to be the best orthopedic surgeon in the country, I think he used to work for the Baltimore Ravens. Anyway, all the doctors from my hospital at home were very unsure if I would even have a functioning leg, let alone walk normally again.

During my first appointment at Duke, the doctor told me it was really not a big deal and he would have me fixed almost good as new. I honestly thought he was just trying to be nice and optimistic, but he was serious. Five months later, I was walking and learning how to run again. He said it was one of the most complicated surgeries he had to do and a group of surgeons even flew in to observe him do it.


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#9 Playing It Down On The Need For Speed

As a medical student doing my first placement in the emergency department, I was waiting outside the triage room to ask the nurse something. I was the lowest-ranked person in the department. I knew a lot about the Kreb cycle, but not a whole lot about medicine. A young man came up to me. “Sorry to disturb you,” he whispered.

He then unwrapped a towel from his hand and showed me his thumb, which he had dropped a loaded barbell onto. It was shattered, just flattened, with splinters of bone coming out. I stared at it. He stared at it. Then I told him: “Oh yes, no problem at all; you better take a seat and I’ll make sure someone sees you right away.”


#10 Comfort Your Patients Folks

I worked in a heart procedure lab that helped people get rid of bad heart rhythms. A prisoner came in for a last ditch effort to help his failing heart. He had developed a condition called ventricular tachycardia. When I examined his heartbeat, it looked pretty bad. Before we got started. He grabbed me on the arm and said, “I’m scared. Is it going to be okay?”
“We have very talented physicians here sir, and they do this all the time,” I replied. The ventricular tachycardia was set off during the procedure and ended up deteriorating into ventricular fibrillation. We were able to resuscitate him, but he never woke back up. Comfort your patients, folks—it might not guarantee a saved life, but it will surely provide comfort.

#11 He Didn’t End Up Making It To His Wedding On Time

I had a saddle pulmonary embolism two weeks before my scheduled wedding. My quite seasoned heart surgeon seemed pretty confident that I’d be okay, and he even said he’d get me to my wedding on time. Long story short, I was in the hospital for about a month due to complications. Several weeks later, when I was visiting my heart surgeon for a follow-up, he told me he’d only ever seen two other people as sick as I was. Those two didn’t survive.


#12 Maybe It Was His Doctor’s Pokerface That Saved His Life

I was sideswiped by a car, then got run over by the truck that was behind me while I was cycling to work. I was self-impaled by my right femur, which shattered my pelvis and shoved bone fragments into my guts. The last thing I remember before I got knocked out for surgery was the surgeon telling me everything was going to be fine, and that it was just a routine operation.
I didn’t wake up for a month. When I did, I was missing the entire left leg. I was too weak to move, couldn’t talk because I had a tube through my neck, and I was very uncertain about reality due to what I went through in my coma. Parades of doctors came to tell me how it’s a miracle that I survived both the accident and the surgery.
I was told over and over that my survival was very much against all odds. My surgeon, on the other hand, never said anything like that. He always maintained that he was going to get me through. His attitude, honestly, helped when I had to go back to his table a few more times. For four years, I kind of blew off the people who made a big deal about my survival.
I adopted my orthopedic doctor’s attitude. At some point, I met a woman who was in the medical field. I fell in love with her and eventually trusted her enough to let her read my medical records. I had never read them before because it was such a massive pile of paperwork. She broke down crying and couldn’t read anymore.
She told me that the beginning of my time in the hospital was full of the type of write-ups you’d find in the morgue. She told me that when they opened me up, bits of my pelvis fell out. I asked her to stop there. She wouldn’t read anymore, and I didn’t want to know anymore. I now know my doctor has one heck of a poker face.


#13 Easy As Pie

I had to see an orthopedic oncologist because I had two sarcomas, one in my left thigh, in the sciatic nerve, and one in my left pelvis. My surgeon said he would get both out and the most I would end up with is a drop foot, which is a condition where you can’t lift up your foot on your own. Not too bad, I thought.
I went back two years later and my doctor told me he thought he would have to remove my leg because of how the sarcomas were enmeshed in my bones. I honestly thought the whole time that it was just an easy out; though the two ten-hour surgeries may have been a clue that it wasn’t so simple. These days, I have a limp due to missing half of my left pelvic bone, but I got to keep the leg!


#14 The Flatulence To End All Flatulence

I used to do psychiatric evaluations in an emergency room setting. One time, I was evaluating this 60-year-old woman who was lying in the hospital bed. I was asking her questions, and she stopped me to say, “Excuse me, but I need to pass some gas.” I let her know that it is a completely normal body function and not to be embarrassed.
People pass gas all the time, but I was not prepared for what came next. She let it rip, and out came the loudest, wettest, and longest sounding flatulence I have ever heard. It was bubbly and juicy, hitting all the deep notes while ending on a squeaker. I don’t think anyone could have made a noise like that. It sounded so relieving, but then the smell hit me.
It was bad enough that I started to gag and had to excuse myself from the room. When I came back, I politely asked if she needed a nurse for anything in case she needed to be cleaned up, but she declined. Obviously, I’ve witnessed people flatulating before, but I’d never heard or smelled anything like that before. That was something else.


#15 Further Than A White Lie

Years ago, my 11-year-old shattered both of her femurs and her hip. At the time, her orthopedic specialist was so reassuring that we had no doubts about her recovery. A year later, we went back for a review and he asked me if I’d like to see her trauma x-rays. Not having any idea of the reality, I said yes.
What I saw looked like her leg bones had exploded. After my freaked reaction, I commented on how cool and calm he was, and how he seemed so certain that she’d be fine. He said he actually had to go for a short walk around the hospital to collect his thoughts since he had no idea how he would put my child back together. He also told me he had used the films as a teaching aid. He’s one of my heroes.


#16 Nothing More Than Your Average Nose Bleed

I’m an oncology nurse. The other day, I had a patient who had a nose bleed that just would not stop. I gave him an extra infusion of platelets, vitamin K, and multiple doses of Afrin (a nasal spray which causes vasoconstriction). It would stop for maybe 20 minutes before it would start bleeding like a faucet again.

The whole time, I kept saying, “Nosebleeds are common, it’s probably the dry air from the heater,” etc. I ended up personally holding his nose for over an hour straight while we waited from someone from ENT to pack it. He lost so much blood that he needed a blood transfusion. My arm was so sore and the patient looked like he had been impaled twice over from all the blood on his clothes.


#17 Scary Things Happen When You Never Go To The Dentist

I had a 62-year-old patient who had never seen a dentist before. He had literally everything bad going on—decaying teeth, bad breath, abscesses, etc. The assistant and I were like, “Don’t worry, we see this kind of stuff all the time!” Not a lie… Just never all at once.

#18 That’s Not Where Your Phone Goes

I had a patient come in with complaints about severe lower abdominal pain. He told me that he had something stuck in his “prison pocket.” Before I could ask him what it was, he bent over and showed me a cord sticking out. I told him, “Don’t trip, I’m sure the doctor can help you out with that. You’ll be alright.”

I came to find out that it was the prong of the phone charger. As I was trying to comfort him, I started to hear a vibrating sound. I asked him if he heard it too. He said, “It’s the phone inside me that’s stuck with the charger.” It wasn’t just a regular flip phone either, it was a large smartphone. I have no idea what possessed him to do that.


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#19 The Only Worse Ones They See Are The Dead Ones

I had a guy who hurt himself under the chin with a weapon. He had actually done it like, 16 hours prior to the family finding him. He was still alive, conscious and alert to what was going on. His jaw looked like the alien’s jaw in Predator. The family was freaking out, of course. I had to tell them that we saw worse cases often, which wasn’t necessarily true. He lived for almost a day after shooting himself, then died in the back of my ambulance.


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#20 His First Live Patient Was A Success

Many years ago, I underwent surgery for a retinal tear. The surgeon froze the tear with a tool, then attached a silicon band to the back of the eye, all under local anesthesia with me hearing everything. He was like, “Oh, this is a breeze.” The day after, he looked at the healing and told me he was relieved that it worked because prior to me, he had only performed it on dead bodies.

#21 The Nice Ones Are The Easiest To Lie To

I was working as a CNA in a nursing home. There was a lady who had stage four bed sores (all the way to the bone) and the treatment nurse wanted me to look after her because I was a calming figure and really good with the residents that needed a little support. She had me roll her on her side, then carefully peel back the bandage.

I was staring down in half horror and half fascination as I could clearly see the bone, ligaments, muscle, and layers of skin. I was gawking hard when I heard a small, frail voice say, “Is it getting better?” I turned on my biggest, friendliest smile and replied, “It does! It looks SO much better. Does it feel better?”

She smiled and I changed the subject to her grandkids (she had a picture of them). I hadn’t seen anything like her case before, but she was such a lovely lady. I started looking forward to helping her after that.


#22 Just Tell Her It’s A Yeast Infection

I work in gynecology and had to chaperone a male doctor for a pelvic exam. What I saw was horrifying. That day, I learned that if you smile while humming, it helps suppress your gag reflex.


#23 Everybody Goes #2 (Just Not Usually In The Bed)

It’s usually when an alert, oriented person goes #2. No matter how terrible the mess is, we just have to smile and say, “No, no, don’t worry, we do this every day, now let’s just get you clean.”


#24 Breastfeeding Can Be Perilous

I had a first-time mother who was having difficulty nursing because she was chafing pretty badly from her baby’s teething. Before showing me and her gynecologist the problem, she apologized that I had to see it, probably because I’m a male. I told her not to worry because I had seen plenty before, especially in the ER.

While it was not the worst thing I’d ever seen, I don’t think I’ve seen skin so badly chafed before. It looked like she might have had the beginnings of mastitis on one of them since it was red, warm, and very tender. It just looked raw and extremely painful. I just kept on a neutral face and assisted the gynecologist where I could.


#25 The Reality Would Certainly Not Have Been As Calming

I’m a pediatric nurse and triaged a young girl with a rash. The mom had been to several doctors and they didn’t know what it was. I recognized it right away: it was Stevens-Johnson syndrome. I remained calm and the patient was flown to a burn center. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it. I had only seen it once before and it was fatal for that patient too.


#26 It’s Better When They Think They’re Not Your First

We had a patient come into the labor and delivery unit thinking she was in labor. Her baby had no heartbeat. She was rushed back from an emergency C-section for internal bleeding. After we took her back to the room, I weighed and measured her baby, then gave him a bath and got him dressed in some clothes they had bought.
She asked me if I had ever seen a full-term demise before and I said, “I had a few in my years of working.” It was a total lie. I’d never had a demise before, let alone a full term one. I didn’t want her to think she was my first. I still cried with her. I will never forget her, that beautiful little boy’s face, and the anguish I could hear in her and her boyfriend’s cries as we brought them their baby to see for the first time.


#27 Thank The Maggots For Your Life, Sir

An elderly man with skin cancer came in complaining of ear pain. He said the pain was so bad he had to wear a surgical mask over his ear because the wind made the pain intensify. He said he could hear crackling sounds constantly. I removed the mask covering his ear. Underneath were hundreds of maggots. Real, live maggots!

His ear was gone—it was just a wound with a hole for the ear canal. He had no idea that he had maggots. He was so embarrassed. I told him I’d seen maggots before, but honestly, I had never seen anything like that. Interestingly, the maggots were doing a good job of keeping the wound clean and may have even been preventing an infection. He got admitted and had them removed though.

#28 “You Don’t Even Wanna Know”

In training, I was doing a toenail removal for the first time (it was ingrown). I guess I looked really young and probably incompetent. The patient asked me how many times I’d done the procedure before. I said, “You don’t even want to know.” I think he assumed I meant I’d done it a lot cause he relaxed after that. Sucker.

#29 Might As Well Have Been A Splinter

I had a tipsy driver crash into a fence and impale himself through the leg with a five-inch wooden post. It looked like something straight out of Untold Stories of the ER. Once his buzz wore off and the pain and shock set in, he asked how bad his injury was and if he was going to lose his leg. My partner, who was fresh from training at the time, calmly told him it was just a splinter. At the time, we didn’t know it was resting just a millimeter away from a major artery. One wrong bump, sneeze or blink and it would have been game over.


#30 Keep Calm And Save A Foot (And A Life)

 A few years back, I was barbed badly by a stonefish on a remote island in the Philippines. It just so happened I was with my friend who had just completed medical school. The reaction to the venom was brutal and it took us several hours before we could even get to basic treatment. Even then, the doctors, despite trying hard, simply didn’t have the training or equipment.
Despite this, my friend kept me cool through the entire nightmare. Despite the terrible effects of my reaction to the venom, she took charge of the situation in the clinic and effectively saved my foot and my life. I am still in awe how she calmly applied her knowledge and quick thinking with the limited resources she had on hand! I knew I was in good hands.


#31 No Worries About The Blue Vomit On My Face

While prepping for a C-section, the mother was feeling nauseous. She was lying down on the table, while I was across the room, setting up. Suddenly, she turned her head toward me and said, “I feel sick.” She projectile vomited on me. A massive fire hose spray of stinky vomit completely soaked me, from across the room!  Everyone just stared. She was so shocked and horrified. I said, “No problem, this happens all the time” with a big smile. “We’ll give you something to settle your nausea and you’ll feel better.” I then went to change scrubs and dry heave in the bathroom. It was all over my clothes, my face, my hair, and dripping into my shoes… It was bad.

#32 The First In A Million

I’m a paramedic in the UK. My first childbirth case on the road ended up being premature breach twins. I assured the mother that I’d seen a million of these. I absolutely hadn’t.


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#33 The Worst Possible Case Of Lice

There was a woman who came in with a kid. She asked me to check if he had any head lice. Indeed he did, and his scalp was like a moving carpet of little critters. I had never seen so many lice and eggs before. I had to pretend that her kid’s case was normal so that she didn’t feel gross. She was clearly already feeling very guilty. She said she didn’t know her kid could get them with his hair type, so she had originally thought it was something else.


#34 It Was Definitely Not Ok

I had a patient transferred from another facility. He had liver failure and end-stage kidney disease which required dialysis. They informed us he was holding onto a lot of fluids in his abdomen due to ascites. When he arrived, I waited for the paramedics to transfer him to his bed when one of them said, “Hey, could you bring more towel?” I walked into the room and the patient was standing on side of the bed with his legs apart.
He had an unbelievable amount of liquid gushing from his abdomen. There was so much liquid on the floor that I had to use three blankets and 15 towels to clean it up. While trying to get him situated, we were all very reassuring that this was okay (but internally screaming).

#35 There Is A Literal Smell Of Death

There was a resident I used to take care of who didn’t know she had colon cancer. When I found out about it, the smell was atrocious. She felt so bad… I didn’t want her to know that it smelled like death in the room. I continued to help her until her last day.


#36 A “Routine” Rupture And Spray Of Blood

I had just been through most of my labor. After the last push, I ruptured and sprayed the doctor. I had a horrible rupture leading to hemorrhage. They didn’t panic, nor tell me it was abnormal. The next day, my doctor came in to check on me and told me I was lucky to be alive. She had to stitch my uterus back together after I passed out. She said it was the biggest bloodbath she had ever seen.


#37 Skip The Home Remedies Next Time

One time in the ER, a really sheltered Native American woman had some type of infection. Her grandmother told her of an old native trick to place a potato wedge with two “eyes” up there to soak it up. The problem was, she forgot it was up there.  If you’ve never smelled a rotten potato, you know it’s bad. She was so embarrassed. We told her it wasn’t the worst thing ever… But it was.
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#38 Be Careful Brushing Your Teeth

I had a 26-year-old female swallow an entire toothbrush. She said she was cleaning the back of her mouth, gagged and ended up swallowing the toothbrush! I told her I saw people swallow items all the time, but I didn’t tell her the toothbrush was a first for me.

#39 There Is No Such Thing As A Non-Issue Rancid Smell

I knew this sweet lady who had aggressive breast cancer. We had to change her dressings twice a day and all the lovely, silver-impregnated dressings in the world couldn’t block the smell. I stood there and told her it was fine; meanwhile, I had stuffed Vicks up my nose and it still didn’t stop the smell.

#40 Even The Patient Thinks It Was Right To Lie To Him

I somehow coughed so hard it tore a small hole in my lung. Everyone assured me it was common and that it was actually not too hard to fix. I believed them until they asked the med students to observe. About 30 of them filed in and took turns squeezing my neck (where the escaped air ended up settling). They’d say, “Hmmm,” and “Well, would you look at that,” and “Oh my.”
After they left, I told my doctor “You know, for how common this apparently is, all those students seemed pretty interested in it.” He replied with a half-guilty grin and a nod. I caught him in his lie, but can’t really blame him for trying to calm me down.


#41 Living Pimples Are The Worst

I had a 40-something fellow walk into the ER with some annoying pimples on his back and right leg. After taking a look at it, it was definitely maggots. Hundreds of maggots, which I had to tweezer out one by one accompanied by the smell of chloroform (which is used to draw the maggots to exit the skin so you can pull them out). I stopped counting at 120 and wasn’t even halfway.
He asked me, “How bad is it doc?” All I could say was, “Not bad at all, by the time we’re finished you’ll feel just fine.” I had never seen so many maggots in my life. It was like whack-a-mole: you took one out and two more popped their heads up.


#42 Just A Bit More Than Red In The Face

A guy who was filling up a propane tank at an industrial site said something sparked while he was filling the tank and fire started spilling out of the hose. As you can imagine, he was pretty burned up. His face, especially, was burned. He was actually pretty calm, but he said to me, “Yeah my face feels a little weird, I’m sure it’s a little red.” I said, “Yeah, you’ll be okay.” I was looking at his face in disbelief. It was not red at all. It looked like someone took grey plumbers putty and made a mask of it and put it on his face. I’d never seen anything like it. I felt incredibly bad for this nice man who was simply trying to do his job. I hope he’s doing okay. He’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him.


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#43 Nothing A Little Garlic Can’t Fix

I’m a scribe, so I guess I’m technically a medical professional. Anyway, a woman came in with a nasty yeast infection. She tried some home remedies and heard that garlic was a good antioxidant. The lady ended up coming in with about two cloves of garlic shoved up there. She was morbidly embarrassed to tell the male doctor about her condition, but the doctor reassured her that we dealt with those kinds of things all the time. We don’t.


#44 This Doctor Deserves A Prize

The orthopedist was cutting a cast off from above my knee to my foot with toes just sticking out. Maggots started crawling out of the wound beneath the cast. The nurse was freaking out. The doctor was simultaneously calming the nurse down, grabbing supplies to squirt Betadine at the maggots, and explaining to me the historical uses of maggots in medical treatment. Super professional doctor.

#45 An Uncomfortable Apology

I had a homeless patient who had both his feet so severely frostbitten that they were both completely necrotic. I could smell them from 30 feet away. I remember thinking that it smelled of death. When we got to the operating room with him to do bilateral amputations, there were people leaving to throw up in the hallway. The poor man was apologizing, and I was telling him not to worry about it. It was awful.