Doctors Reveal The Strangest ‘I’ll Never See That Again’ Cases They’ve Experienced
Think your job is stressful?
Imagine going into work and having to save a man’s life who slipped in the rain and was impaled by his umbrella, or figuring out how to treat a zebra bite. How about treating someone who accidentally glued their eye shut?
Doctors have to deal with craziness on a daily basis, and they often get exposed to some unbelievable cases. Many of them have taken to the internet to share the bizarre, once-in-a-lifetime cases they have experienced, and honestly, they are pretty baffling. Read on for a taste of what it’s like working in medicine. Just make sure you’re not eating lunch.
#1 From Scrape To Sepsis
One time, a patient got a scrape on his knee and didn’t bother cleaning it out. He must have picked something up from the ground because, after a few days, the infection got so bad that his knee doubled in size from the inflammation. He was also on the verge of developing sepsis, as the infection had started making its way into his bloodstream.
Never ignore an open wound, no matter how seemingly small it is.
#2 Ankle Twister
A patient of mine accidentally fell off a ladder and broke her ankle. She had brought home an enormous Christmas tree to put up in her foyer, which had really high, vaulted ceilings. Her left foot was basically twisted 180 degrees. Not a pretty sight at all.
#3 Sounds Like Violet Beauregarde
She was inflated like a balloon through her hand. She had been using a machine that made plastic bottles. It works by taking a hollow spike with a blob of melted plastic and jabbing into a mold, injecting air until it reaches a preset cut-off pressure. While cleaning the machine, it cycled and caught her hand. The spike kept injecting air but never hit the cut-off pressure, so it kept injecting.
Fortunately, it didn’t hit a vessel—that would have ended her. Instead, the air dissected in the fascial planes and subcutaneous tissue and blew her up. There was free air in her abdomen, both lungs were partially collapsed… She looked like a volleyball. We re-inflated her lungs with chest tubes and gave her antibiotics, but she was fine otherwise. The rest of the air absorbed over a few days. I saw her in the office & she was a tiny thing, unlike the huge obese person I had suspected on discharge from the hospital.
#4 What Are The Odds?
A good friend of mine is doing their residency at a pediatrician’s office. He came across a six-month-old girl who started growing lots of hair. A nurse took note of the fact that the father was in his ’60s and had enough insight to ask if he was taking testosterone treatments. It turned out that during skin-to-skin contact, he would lay his daughter on his chest, in the same spot he had applied his testosterone gel earlier in the day.
#5 This Man Had No Idea This Was In His Back For Years…
I had a guy bouncing around clinics for years with non-specific back pain. The typical treatment for it is rest, stretching, ice, and maybe some over-the-counter meds. Well, when he got to us, he mentioned he never had any imaging done of his back, so we conducted an X-ray.
Sure enough, there was a small caliber bullet lodged near where his rib met his spinal column. Never had expected a bullet. I probably will never see one again.
#6 All Locked Up
Locked-In Syndrome. She was paralyzed, unresponsive, and could only move her eyes, despite all her vitals and scans reading normal. She was shipped off to a big hospital with a neuro ICU. I haven’t gotten a follow up on her. She was only 35 years old.
#7 Uh, Did She Think Her Eye Disappearing Wasn’t A Cause For Concern?
A lady came in and literally half of her face was gone. She had basal cell carcinoma. I had been this way for years, according to her.
The kicker: that’s not even the problem she came into the hospital for. She had come in for an umbilical hernia that was as big as a basketball. It had been there for months and she started vomiting over it, so she finally went to the ED.
#8 And He’s Still Alive?
I had a patient who actually weighed 1,068 pounds. His BMI was higher than his nurse’s weight. He was in his 30s. He came in with presumed septic shock and received a 30 cc/kg bolus was about 16 liters. He ended up with negative blood cultures and we never found out why his blood pressure got so low. He couldn’t fit in any CT scanner. One doctor postulated that he got so large his weight collapsed his large veins, but we really have no idea.
#9 “I Made Her Mad”
I’m a medical student, but I have already seen two cases that I don’t think I’ll see again.
The first was a woman with Frey’s syndrome. Basically, every time she chewed, a small area on her cheek (right in front of her ear) would start sweating a lot and get red.
The other one was a middle-aged man who got injured by his wife. It was actually the second time that he had come to the ER for being injured by his wife, and apparently, his son had injured him once before too. He defended his wife by saying, “I made her mad,” and refused to take legal action against her.
#10 New Fear: Vomiting So Hard I Rupture My Esophagus
About seven months ago, a young dude came into the emergency room with severe chest pain and shortness of breath. He was kind of skinny and lanky, so after thorough questioning and clinical examination (including an ECG), we sent him to get a chest X-ray to rule out a pneumothorax, which is when air gets trapped between the pleura and lung tissue.
Anyways, after looking at the chest X-ray, we didn’t see a pneumothorax, but we did see slivers of air trapped in the mediastinum, the part between the lungs. I asked him if he had vomited before the chest pains started and lo and behold, he did. Dude got sent to the University Hospital in an ambulance ASAP with the suspected diagnosis being Pneumomediastinum DD (Differential diagnosis) Boerhaave Syndrome—i.e. when one vomits so hard the esophagus ruptures. The University Hospital confirmed the diagnosis to be Boerhaave Syndrome and the patient underwent emergency surgery. I actually still have his X-ray on a CD because I thought it was such an interesting case.
#11 Sounds Like It Hurts
#12 He Lives To 115 Only To Be Hit By A Bus…
When I was a med student, there was this lady who was admitted with shortness of breath. She was not conscious due to COPD and pneumonia. She looked old, but not by much.
When she woke up, the resident was taking her history and looked surprised. He said, “Are you really 106?” She said, “Yes, but it might be wrong—two years, give or take.” The resident asked if her husband was still around. She said he passed away one and a half years ago. When we asked how did he pass away she answered: “He was 115 when he died. His senses were getting weaker and he was not feeling well so he was moving very slow…”
“So did he have a heart attack or something?”
“No, he just didn’t hear the bus when he was crossing the street and died from a traffic accident.”
She had really old daughters taking care of her but they weren’t very old-looking either.
#13 I Mean, We Do Have Thumbs For A Reason
At a rural Emergency Department once, I saw a lady that tried to plug her tractor’s hydraulic fluid line, which had a leak, with her thumb. Then she activated it. Probably thousands of PSI worth of pressured fluid ripped through her thumb and hand. Pretty mangled. I’ll probably see wounds like that, but unlikely from someone thinking they can plug a hole like that with their thumb.
#14 What Could Possibly Go Wrong!
I had a patient who came in with a toothache on his front tooth. He had used a power drill and attempted to perform a root canal on himself. He had failed to achieve the desired result.
#15 I Didn’t Mean To Hook My Own Eye…
The Emergency Department had a kid come in with a hook piercing through her right eye (it was an accident apparently). Her cries still echo at the back of my mind from time to time. I hope she is fine now, though she can probably only see through one eye as one of her optic nerves was severely damaged.
#16 Do You Think He Was Embarrassed Or Just In Severe Pain?
Student doctor here. Last week, there was a man who came into the emergency theatre and had 14 kilograms of feces removed from his large bowel. No one in the theatre had seen anything close to that before.
#17 Sounds Sadly Like A Cartoon
Went to ER to see an injured man. He had a car accident and hit the bridge of his nose on the steering wheel upon impact. It broke it and popped his eyeball out of the socket. The EMTs used a styrofoam cup that they cut in half to cover it. We took him to surgery and I watched them for hours reconstruct his face.
#18 Poor Guy Just Slipped In The Rain
An old man slipped in the rain and impaled himself on his umbrella.
#19 Is This Person Even Human?
I went to an allergist doctor and was told I was allergic to water. The doctor said that he could finally retire because he had never (and will never) see that again in his lifetime.
#20 The Fridge Actually Was Talking To Her
A lady kept saying that she could hear voices coming from her fridge. She seemed otherwise normal. After it had gone on for a couple of months, it was arranged that she would be admitted to the local psychiatric hospital for a short time to be evaluated. When the hospital transport arrived to pick her up, the drivers came into her kitchen and could hear the voices too. Her fridge was actually picking up the local radio transmission from a talk-only station.
#21 He Actually Kept The Deer
I saw this large, 30-year-old guy in full camo come into the emergency department with an enucleated eye. He had been hunting a young male white-tailed deer in the northern woods in Arizona and was carrying the thing back to his car over his shoulder. He stumbled and the deer’s neck bent towards his face, plunging the antler straight into his eye.
Naturally, he hiked another three miles to his car and drove himself to the hospital.
Oh, and he didn’t leave the deer behind either.
#22 What Did He Do To The Poor Zebra?
We have a saying: “If you hear hooves, don’t think of zebras.” Well, I’ve never seen a person bitten by a horse, but I have seen one bitten by a zebra. This was in rural Denmark.
#23 And She Didn’t Choke?
One patient had a weird hobby of swallowing whole butter knives, open pins, entire metal spoons, batteries, and 5-inch metal skewers. Whenever we would X-ray her abdomen, she would crawl over quick, wanting to check it out and with bright eyes. Really creepy girl. She was 21 years old.
#24 At An Urgent Care, Of All Places
I work at an Urgent Care Unit in the USA and the other day I had a patient come in who ended up being diagnosed with leprosy… LEPROSY. My mind is still blown.
#25 I Hope This Examiner Was Joking…
About a year ago, we had a medical examiner at the hospital who was the worst doctor I’ve ever seen. The man couldn’t perform an autopsy to save his life, no pun intended.
Anyway, we had a 22-year-old patient who presented to the ER deceased. Very deceased. There was a gaping wound on his neck; his left anterior carotid artery had been severed. The patient had obviously bled out in the ambulance. He was wheeled to an empty room (so as not to frighten other patients). I waited for the medical examiner.
Upon his arrival, he checked the patient’s pulse. On their neck. I couldn’t believe it.
#26 She’s Actually Doing Okay Now!
I had a tumor in my fallopian tube. No doctors in my area had ever seen it and none will likely ever see it again.
#27 Pretty “Eye-Opening” To Hear That This Is Possible
A women managed to mistake fake fingernail glue for her eye drops on her bed stand. She glued her eye shut.
#28 Only A Little Bit Suspicious…
I used to be an Emergency Room registrar. A lady came in because her heart monitor was going off. The thing is, she was covered in blood and had some small lacerations on her head and scalp. She wouldn’t tell anyone why she was covered in blood, she just insisted she needed her heart checked out. It was the weirdest thing.
#29 Absolutely Heartbroken For Her Husband
She was a 70-year-old lady with normal health. A month prior to arriving at the university hospital where I work as a resident, she was walking, reading, and enjoying life with her husband. Suddenly, she had rapidly gone blind and no longer spoke nor ate. Her husband was distraught, obviously. Diagnosis: Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
#30 Listen To Your Doctor
Some years ago, we had this patient that was diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage. It was pretty treatable. She didn’t need a mastectomy, even chemo. Just a lumpectomy plus radiation.
Well, after some “advice” she got from some “holistic healer,” she backed up on the surgery and refused any treatment since her healer had told her that “cancer is the result of keeping a grudge on things” and “medical treatments are a scam that is colluded with the big pharma.”
Her whole care team tried to put some sense in her head but to no avail. Even the head of surgery tried to convince her; the social workers; the priest of the hospital chapel. She said no.
Fast forward a year and a half later, she comes back to the Emergency Room with a terrible fever. The smell gave it away. Her breast was no longer there, it was just an open, bleeding mass producing pus. She went to the Emergency Room after her husband begged her to go. She was still convinced her “healer” could cure her.
Scans showed it had spread everywhere. She passed away a month later. She was 35 and left three small kids behind.
#31 Sounds Like A Memorable BBQ
A guy I knew a few years back got badly burned in a BBQ accident—basically, the whole front side of his body was affected, 70% of the skin. He barely survived and was in a medically-induced coma for a long time while they tried to transplant skin from the few parts that hadn’t been burned.
#32 “Of Course I’ll Be Looking After Her, She’s My Daughter”
When I was a hospital social worker, a slightly confused 80-year-old woman was refusing an assessment for a care package, saying her mother will look after her.
She had a dementia diagnosis and noticeable short-term memory loss. She couldn’t wash or dress herself, and no staff had noticed any visitors during her stay. She was pretty frail.
Just as were applying for DOLS (the right to not let people leave because we think they lack capacity) who should walk up the ward but her over-100-year-old mother, carrying two old-style leather suitcases, one in each hand.
“Of course I’ll be looking after her, she’s my daughter.” The mom looked like a younger sister, fit as a fiddle and bright as a button. We got her daughter into a wheelchair and the mom pushed her to her car.
#33 Sir, She’s Just Trying To Help You!
My first patient experience in medical school was a doozy.
The patient came in with chest pain, multiple previous MIs, looking terrible. He went into cardiopulmonary arrest in front of us and we immediately start CPR. Being a med student, I was doing compressions.
Halfway through the first round, the guy starts groaning and grabbing at my arm. I assumed that meant his heart started up again so I stop for a second and the guy goes totally limp. No palpable pulse.
I restart compressions and the same thing happens again; this time they tell me not to stop. Apparently, there was little enough down time and the compressions were working well enough to perfuse his brain to the point of actually waking up a bit.
Ultimately we sedated the guy, but for the first few minutes, we had to hold his arms down so he wouldn’t grab me. He was still groaning during that time too.
Called the code about 30 minutes in.
#34 If He Could Just Fit In The Elevator…
We were supposed to get a patient transfer from another hospital who needed ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) due to severe ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). But to make a long story short, our hospital had to decline because the guy was over 500 pounds and wouldn’t be able to fit in the elevator with all the personnel and the ventilator he needed.
#35 If You Notice That You’re Literally Decaying, Just Go To The Doctor
I had a patient hospitalized last year after coming to the ER for back pain.
When the nurse took her clothes to give her a gown, she discovered that her left breast was gone. Not surgically removed. More like removed after complete necrosis. The hole was about 8 x 8 cm, necrotic, and after debridement, you could actually reach the ribs. Also, the smell was horrible.
She was married and shared the same bed as her husband. Apparently, it had been evolving for a year. None of them thought something was strange with that breast…
The husband asked me if I was 100% sure it wasn’t arthrosis. Well, nope. Sorry dude, it isn’t.