Doctors Describe The Patients Who Made Them Ask, 'How Are You Still Alive?'

Doctors have their hands full and their work cut out for them. Many times, a skilled doctor is all that stands between a patient and the Grim Reaper. As such, it makes sense that certain wielders of medicine have seen many shocking things; the pay may be great, but theirs is no easy profession. A few doctors even relay their patient's last words. Medical care providers often encounter patients that are alive against the odds - given their physical state. Amassed below are the tales from medical professions on Reddit who've seen some extraordinary cases - and a patient with an upside down lung is only one of the astonishing anecdotes. 



  • He Had An Upside Down Lung

    From Redditor /u/CaptainReginaldLong:

    Pathologist here: Had a guy who had [passed] suddenly and unexpectedly. I soon learned he was the recipient of a lung transplant about 15 years prior.

    When I opened the man up, his transplanted lung was upside down. I flipped the lung into the proper position, and bloop. It flipped right back to upside down. That was quite alarming. The surgeons who originally performed the transplant incorrectly attached the organ. When he by chance entered the correct position, the lung flipped over, causing his pulmonary artery to seal shut, resulting in his [passing].

    The man lived for 15 years with a lung that was dying to flip upside down. And it was only by sheer chance he didn't move in such a way that allowed it to do so until the fateful day [...] It is one of the most fascinating cases I have ever witnessed.

  • A Car Fell On His Face

    From Redditor /u/xGiaMariex:

    A patient I took care of had a car fall on his face. He was underneath it working when it slid off of the jack. The only reason he survived was because he broke every bone in his face (he had a Lefort III) which allowed for his brain to swell (he also needed an additional surgery to relieve the pressure of cerebral edema, but the facial fractures did allow for a great deal of "give" in his skull). I was rotating through ICU so I first saw him just a day after the accident. His head was so swollen, he didn't even look human. Fast forward a few weeks later... I was rotating through a different unit in the hospital and came across the same patient. He was quickly recovering and had minimal neuro deficits.

  • One Patient Had A Machete Lodged In His Head

    From Redditor /u/Mojothewonderdog:

    [A guy] walked in with [a machete] lodged right in the middle of his forehead. Denied he was in any pain (yes, he was inebriated), neuro and physical exam were WNL.

    He sat in fast track for 6+ hours. We were super busy with an bad MVA with multiple victims, so he had to wait for a free trauma or neuro surgeon to see him. He sat on as stretcher, dozed and watched TV...his only complaint was that the machete was blocking his view of the screen.

    They finally took him to OR the next day. They removed it with a lot of effort, because it was really wedged in the bone. Minor swelling in the frontal lobe. No neuro deficit at all. Walked out 4 days later with a really [wicked] scar.

    Reason his brother went after him with a machete (which was a common weapon of choice in that city)? He was messing with his brother's wife and got caught in the act. I told him he was lucky that that was the only head that got chopped.

    Lost him to follow up, which I was super bummed about, because I would have loved to hear more of his family drama.

  • One Patient Survived A Chainsaw

    From Redditor /u/auraseer:

    Had a guy walk up to the front desk after hitting himself in the throat with a chainsaw.

    All the flesh of his neck was flayed open. I could see his trachea and his right jugular vein. If he had cut in just a tiny bit deeper, he would have sliced right into both.

    The only thing that saved him was that he was a big fat guy with a huge neck. A skinnier man would have [passed] very unpleasantly.

  • This Patient Lived On But Not Really

    From Redditor /u/wotsname123:

    As a very junior doctor I looked after this mega-alcoholic who needed ascites (fluid in the abdomen caused by liver failure) tapping out every month or so. He kept coming in a worse and worse shade of yellow/ green (jaundice), needing more and more fluid removed, still merrily drinking all the while. Well, the obvious happened, he [passed]...

    So I wander onto the ward a few weeks later, to find him sitting there in bed, green as you like, looking very alive.

    Turned out it was his twin, also an alcoholic, also not to live much longer.

  • This Patient Lived 18 Months Longer Than Anyone Expected

    From Redditor /u/OldEars

    About 20 years ago, I had a patient come in with obstruction of his colon by a large colon cancer. The cancer had spread to his liver, and CT scan showed the liver basically replaced by metastatic tumor. So he wouldn't [perish from an] intestinal obstruction (I won't go into detail, but trust me, it is a very unpleasant way to [go]) the patient, his family, and I decided to try placing an expandable metal stent through the tumor. It worked! His obstruction was relieved and he was able to go home to spend his last days with his family.

    18 months later the patient came in for an office visit...for heartburn. He was even more jaundiced than when I first met him, but he felt basically well and was eating well. The stent was still functioning. I never saw him again and assume he finally succumbed to his disease, but he got at least 18 months of precious [...] time.