Sometimes, a doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc., might immediately find the root of a patient's ailment and ask them, "How are you still alive?" In other instances, a patient's condition might be so bizarre and mysterious that the medical professional must investigate deeper, only to end up even more baffled.
These gnarly stories fall into the latter category. These RNs, EMTs, and doctors of Reddit all shared some of their most disgusting, most upsetting, and most downright WTF tales of medical emergencies gone awry. Perhaps it goes without saying, but these gross medical stories are pretty NSFW. Read at your own risk. (Comments have been edited lightly for clarity.)
A Grisly Surprise Inside A Woman's Purse
From Redditor /u/canigooutside:
ER nurse here. We brought a code trauma off the helicopter. A lady who was a passenger in a really bad wreck. Her husband was driving and was dead at the scene. Once we got her stable, the OR staff came to take her to surgery. I gathered up the clothes we had cut off of her and grabbed her purse that EMTs had removed from the car. There was a lot of blood on it, so I thought I should just grab her wallet instead. I reached in and grabbed what I thought was her wallet, pulled it out... it had hair. It was a chunk of her husband's scalp.
The Bear And The Barbie
From Redditor /u/Scottydogg07:
I am a surgery resident. I once helped operate on a man whose face was chewed off by a bear. I had to find little scraps of skin at the edges of the hole in the middle of his face and try to decide where they went to try and make the damage smaller.
I also saw a patient come to the Emergency Department with a Barbie in their rectum. He apparently puts the arms up and legs down like a diving position, rubber bands the arms together, then places it in his rectum for a time. When he wants it out, he takes laxatives. Only this time it got stuck. The kicker: when we removed it, he asked for it back.
Do Not Try This At Home
From Redditor /u/kaduceus:
Well I'm not a doctor yet - but here is a story from one of my professors:
This was in rural Alabama. This middle-aged married couple had presented to the ER after they had been drinking for almost the entirety of the evening and got into a heated argument. Things got heated and the woman eventually fell off the porch of their trailer into the shrubs a few feet below.
The husband in his drunken state suddenly dropped the argument and came to his wife's aid. She didn't suffer anything too serious, just a couple of scratches here and there.
Except for what the man said looked like a piece of glass or pipe or something that became lodged in the woman's arm when she hit the ground.
He decided to not come to the hospital because he could remove this object himself. He got his largest pair of pliers and gripped on to this glass/pipe-looking thing lodged in his helpless wife's arm. He clamped down and pulled and pulled. Cranked and cranked. Trying to remove this object and it wouldn't budge.
After his masculinity was defeated and the alcohol was wearing off on both of them, they decided it was sensible to finally come to the ER.
Upon arriving to the ER the doctor immediately realized this poor woman had a compound fracture of her humerus, and this "pipe or piece of glass thing" was her bone sticking through her skin that her husband was trying to pry out with a pair of pliers.
Maggots Aren't The Grossest Part Of This Story
From Redditor /u/bayesianqueer:
1. Maggots on a gangrenous foot. Both times I almost lost my lunch. The worst part was that the second time, I knew exactly what that faint crunching meant... but I still had to remove the sock/shoes.
2. Telling a highly addicted patient that I wouldn't be giving him the narcotic Rx he wanted after he had run out of his prescribed meds early because he took too many. (This was actually the only time I have ever said 'f*ck' to a patient):
Me: I'm not giving you an Rx. I also spoke with your pain management doctor and he does not want me to fill anything for you since you made the choice to take too many of your medicines.
Patient: starts flapping arms and legs in bed
Me: What are you doing?
Patient: I'm having a seizure.
Me: That's not a seizure, that's a tantrum.
Patient: gets completely still, looks me straight in the eye, and sh*ts his pants
Me: actually shocked What the f*ck did you do that for?
Patient: Because you're not giving me the medicine I need. Now you have to tell the nurse to come clean me up.
Me: Yeah... Nope. I will have the nurse bring you a clean gown and a towel. Bathroom's right next door.