Graveyard Shift
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Surgeons Describe Their "Oh Sh*t" Moments In The Operating Room

Updated July 1, 2019 477.1k views15 items

Doctors have seen some pretty gnarly things in hospitals and waiting rooms but surgeons are the medical professionals who see the most gore. By the very nature of their job, surgeons must endure patients with gruesome diseases, malodorous body scents, and rotting flesh. Additionally, they must brave it all with steady hands and clear heads. How do surgeons abide such things and return to their jobs day after day? First, they scrub their hands vigorously. Second, theirs is one of the highest paid professions in the world. Large sums of money can make almost anything palatable. 

Surgeons also seem to enjoying sharing their tales with one another in order to make the horror less scarring. They've created a thread on Reddit detailing all of the moments when they went, "Huh, how in the world is this even possible?" And all of those WTF moments are below to make you wonder if any amount of wealth is worth such a queasy stomach, and whether you'll ever trust yourself to go under a surgeon's knife ever again.

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  • Just Another Day Of Broken Blades And Body Fires

    From Reddit user Deadroachdancing:

    "I was bisecting someone's leg (deceased) and I did not know that said person had a metal rod through their femur. Proceed to cut through the bone with a metal saw. Sparks fly and my blade broke. Luckily I was standing off to the side, instead of directly behind the blade, as it flew backwards and hit the wall. The clothes the person had been wearing were lying underneath the body and caught a spark. I doused it with the water hose before a large flame could start, but still it was a [scary] moment."

  • The Senior Doctor Got Food Poisoning And Left The Operating Room

    From Reddit user Suckitz7:

    "I was in my second or third heart procedure/catheterization when my senior doctor got sick, ripped off his surgical gown and ran out of the room. The doctor had just yelled, "Oh, no!" and left. I had just positioned these catheters with wires into the sleeping patient's heart. They were just hanging out there pulsating to his heart beat. Apparently, the doctor had gotten food poisoning and made a run for the bathroom... never to return.

    "So I've never made it to this point in the procedure before and am just wondering where to take it from here. I haven't even been taught how to take them out safely. I'm looking at the vitals and monitors like, 'What do I do now?' Of course they page my senior cardiology fellow in training who is taking a nap and not returning any pages or calls. No other doctors around. Finally, thank GOD, my tech/assistant who has done these procedures since before I was born gives me a nudge to flush the catheters, which I do, to prevent blood clots and death essentially. And after a few minutes properly removes the catheters and wires. They get treated like sh*t but have saved ALL of the fellows in training and senior doctors many, many times in complicated situations with their knowledge."

  • A Nice Case Of Maggots From The Road

    From Reddit user profbobo 229:

    "I was rounding a few months back and a guy gets wheeled into ICU smelling terrible. I walked over, and the dude had maybe the most macerated legs I have ever seen. There were things moving on the bed, and the suction container was full of maggots.

    "Turns out dude had been weaving on the road, and when police pulled him over and opened the doors, maggots fell onto the road. He got taken to the ER, arrested, taken up to ICU and very rapidly debrided, then bilateral above-knee amputated. He actually made it out of the hospital, but I cannot imagine waking up one day and having no legs.

    "I really wish I knew where he was driving, though..."

  • One Optometrist Only Spent Five Minutes On A Cataract Surgery

    From Reddit user missandei_targaryen:

    "In the OR, the worst I saw was some sh*t head optometrist who thought spending five minutes per patient was a good way to do cataract surgeries (most surgeons spend about 15-25 min per surgery). At one point he told me to keep the pre and post-op eye drops uncapped, because he didn't want to have to wait the literal five seconds it took me to unscrew the caps after each surgery. The patient's eyes looked all mangled and misshapen after the surgery, whereas every other cataract surgery I've ever seen, the patients looked fine right afterwards. Not really an 'oh sh*t' moment, but I told my boss after that day that I never wanted to work with that guy again. It was an accident waiting to happen. I heard one of his patients got an infection and lost their eye, but most of them were fine. Still, I wouldn't have let him watch my goldfish for a week long vacation, let alone come at my eye with a knife. He was a douchenozzel."