Medical Horror Stories

November 22, 2022 | Byron Fast

Medical Horror Stories

We all like to rant and rave about our workplace annoyances—but what about workers in medical professions? These poor souls face terrifying, heartbreaking—and mostly just plain disgusting—experiences, and they have to attend to them STAT. These Reddit stories, however, come with a warning: only the brave, and those with stomachs of steel, should read on.

1. She Was Lying In Wait

I got a fast bleep one night to a side room on the ward. A fast bleep means "drop everything you’re doing and attend to this emergency please." When I entered the room, I found no patient in the bed. Not anywhere in the room. I was just about to leave the room and go back out to the nurses station, where there had been a bit of a hubbub when I’d dashed past the first time, when something caught my eye.

I looked up at the ceiling—and couldn't stop myself from screaming. It was a face with wide, slightly wild “psych eyes” peering down at me. She was a lady waiting for a bed in the psych hospital who’d clearly thought the ceiling was the best place to hide from the people trying to poison her. Honestly, I can’t think of another occasion that I’ve been quite so terrified.

Worst thing was that I had to walk—well, dash—back out underneath her to get help from the nurses and security to get her down.

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2. This Is Why We Have Two

While I was in training at an army hospital, the doctors would provide free medical attention to civilians that couldn't afford it on their own. One story was about a woman in her seventies who came in complaining about a problem with her anus. And that's not even the bizarre part. When the doctors went to roll her onto her side, one of the guys grabbed her arm, and it just flopped freely like it was just hanging on by skin.

They freaked out and asked her if she was okay and if her arm hurt. She said that it was no big deal, and that it was just her bad arm. As it turns out, when she was 16 years old, she fell down and completely dislocated her shoulder. They didn't have access to medical attention, so she just lived with it like that for over 50 years.

She just conceded that she would never use that arm. He said that it could have been reset very easily without surgery, if they would have taken care of it when it happened. This story makes me so sad every time I think of it.

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3. Right Angle? Wrong Angle

One of my students was a nurse. She was a really pretty girl, about 30 years old, and quite conservative. So when I asked her about horrible things she'd seen on the job, I thought she would share a pretty tame story—especially considering there were three other students in the class, two of them 22. I couldn't have been more wrong. She started by telling me that a guy came into the hospital and he was "swollen" down there.

Was his scrotum inflamed, I asked? "No, no, not swollen," she said. "My mistake. More like..." and here she made a hand gesture which I will never forget. First, the hand raised, perfectly straight, as if to initiate a karate chop. Next, the hand folded in the middle. 90-degree angle. At this moment I began making horrified expressions and the other students, all women, began laughing hysterically.

The best part? His mistress did it to him, not his wife. He ended up telling his wife that he had been riding a bicycle after work and had fallen off and done this horrible thing to himself. His wife, crying and agonized, pleaded with the doctors to save her poor man's little man. However, he told the real story to the stone-faced doctors and nurses, who proceeded to inform the wife of the truth.

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4. Location, Location, Location

I work at a hospital, and one day I got a script for a dewormer with a ridiculously high dose. Higher than I had ever seen before. I thought for sure it was a mistake, so I called the doctor just to be sure. He said that it was no mistake, and then told me what was up. I must say, this is the most disturbing thing I can remember in recent history.

It turned out the patient was someone with Cysticercosis, which is a tapeworm infection. While this isn’t that unusual, what was unusual was the location. The tapeworm infection was in her brain. The doctor and I both agreed there was very little chance of it working, but he said there were absolutely no other alternatives.

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5. I’d Like To Lodge A Complaint

I’m a student psychiatric nurse. While on a ward for the elderly suffering from dementia, I had one experience I will never forget. I was helping a client eat, when I got a call from one of the rooms in the corridor. The client I was helping was pretty much done, so I went to investigate, hoping that it wasn't a fall as the call was from a room belonging to a very unsteady lady. Oh god, how I wish it were just a fall.

The lady who called—let's call her Betty—was in the corridor outside her room. The first thing I noticed were her hands. They were covered in what could only be excrement. I asked her if she’d had some trouble in the bathroom. Hey, it happens, sometimes when you're older you may be a bit shaky or confused, and I'm not one to judge the unwell.

So, I move into her bedroom to help her clean up: that’s when the smell hits me. For a second I just stare and try to take in what has happened. What follows is how my brain tried to process what I saw. There were traces of excrement everywhere: on the walls, on the wardrobe, on her clean clothes, on her bed, on the door. I think: that's okay, we can clean this. But there was something strange.

The thing is, I can't see any major, er, "movement," from which it would have come. Then I notice there's something on the floor. As if someone had defecated on the floor and...picked it up? Yes, there's slide marks from someone obviously moving…Oh my god. She has taken a dump on her dinner plate. I saw, on her bedside table, a plate piled high with excrement.

And I just stood there. I stared for what felt like an eternity—more like five seconds in reality. Eventually, I called someone to give me a hand. Perhaps it was a political statement about the state of the food in the hospital, I don't know. Regardless, I now have the best dinner table story.

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6. This Dora Over-Explored

I was seeing a three-year-old little boy in the clinic. His mom noted that for the past week she had noticed a foul smell around this kid's face when she kissed him, brushed his teeth, or got anywhere near his mouth. I examined him a little closer and saw that his right nostril was clogged with something whitish, but obscured by mucus.

I pulled out the alligator forceps and recruited two nurses to hold this kid down—he was actually quite strong. I eventually pulled a wadded-up sticker out of his nose. It was soggy and coated in green slime, but the smell was the worst, just putrid. His mom then told us that she’d recently bought him a set of Dora the Explorer stickers at least a month ago and some were missing. Mystery solved.

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7. I’m Still Standing

On a night shift in a psychiatric ward, a patient somehow got out his window and jumped from the second floor. We all ran out and were surprised to find him still standing on the lawn outside. It was an incredible miracle. Mind you, he was screaming his throat out, but he was still standing upright for some inexplicable reason.

As we got closer to him, we realized why he was standing. He'd snapped both his legs straight off in the fall. This caused his splintered shins to impale the soil. It was kind of like a couple of organic javelins. Even years later, I still shudder when thinking about the blood, the creaking of the bones, and the screaming.

Doctor Visits Took A Horrible Turn factsShutterstock

8. He Was Missing A Head

EMTs got called to the scene of a bicyclist that got hit by a bus. Upon arrival they found him without vital signs at the scene. This was no surprise, as he’d been decapitated. The EMTs searched for his head, but couldn't find it anywhere. Eventually, they gave up and took the body to the hospital. The doctors there X-rayed the guy and were shocked. The mystery of the missing head had been solved.

The head had been pushed straight into his chest cavity and was sitting where his lungs and heart were.

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9. It Broke Her Heart

I'm in veterinary medicine, and kids are what get me the most. Don't get me wrong, adults can be big babies too, but I guess I just feel terrible for the kids because I got to keep all my beloved childhood pets until I was at least well into my teens. The worst one was when I was a receptionist. We had a puppy with a parvo infection dropped off that was already in bad shape. In addition, the family was dirt poor.

It was a cute little lemon beagle. When the owner came in to pick the dog up and heard that even with the best, most expensive supportive care, this puppy might not make it, she opted to just take him home for the short time he had left. There was a little four or five-year-old girl waiting in the waiting room, and when mom came out with the beagle she lit up, ran over, smiling.

She thought the puppy was okay and she’d have it for a long time. The look that went over the mom's face absolutely destroyed me. Horrible.

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10. His T-Shirt Predicted It

I’m a respiratory therapist in a Level One Trauma Center. One time we had a man come in with an open leg fracture. There was a literal bone, the femur, pointing up and the rest of the leg hanging off and partially resting on the bed. He had been in a motorcycle accident with his wife, who had been riding on the back. The wife didn’t survive the accident.

The worst part of the story was that he was wearing one of those biker shirts that read: "If you can read this, the wife fell off". Pretty horrible stuff.

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11. They Just Fell Off

I’m a medical student. I was in the ER one shift and a rather obese man was brought in by his family, who said he'd been very confused lately. I went to go see the patients while the lab results from a standard blood count and chemistry were being processed by the lab. Being a medical student, I didn't have a clue what was wrong with the guy.

After rapidly exhausting my line of questioning on an incoherent patient, I started doing a physical exam. As I removed his socks to check his pedal pulses and reflexes, I noticed that the sock I just pulled off felt like they had rocks in them. Big rocks. Curious, I emptied out the sock onto the bed, only to see that they were his toes. Three of them. It was the most disturbing sight I've ever seen.

The lab results came back, unsurprisingly, with a screamingly high blood glucose—totally off the charts. We figured out what happened. He’d had severe diabetic neuropathy and chronic, extreme hyperglycemia. Because of this, he couldn't feel his toes become ischemic and was too confused to regularly check them, so they had just fallen off.

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12. This Coffee Tastes Funny

One time, in the Intensive Care Unit, a patient was coughing up loads of sputum and, between changing the apparatus to catch it, the nurses caught some of it in the only thing they had handy: a Styrofoam cup. After a few moments, when the craziness was over and everyone went back to their day. One nurse, mistaking the cup of sputum for a cup of coffee, took a drink.

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13. Teenagers Bad, Aunt Good

I’m currently a vet tech, but heading to nursing school soon. Once I had a 75 kg (160 lb) mastiff/St. Bernard mix brought in for a supposed tapeworm problem. One of the female techs lifts his tail to take his temperature and squeals then runs away. I look and see maggots around his tail. I start to shave and see that his skin is full—and I mean full—of little holes that maggots are crawling into and out of.

I keep shaving his very thick fur and reveal more and more skin that looks this way. I shave the entire dog up to his last rib before I found healthy skin. The maggots are everywhere. I have him on a grate above a bathtub so I can spray the maggots off. I spent four hours shaving and cleaning him and removed no less than two gallons of maggots from this dog's skin. We know there were more because his entire gut was infected with them.

Later we found out what had happened. It turns out that the owners of the dog were in Europe on vacation, and their four teenage children were responsible for the dog. The wife's sister was watching the children but was terrified of dogs, so she didn't handle it directly. They were leaving this rather large dog with super-dense fur in the rain during a Charleston spring, which means it’s hot and muggy.

The dog probably got a small area of moist dermatitis that got infected and was left untreated and slowly spread through half the dog's body. All four children were present when the veterinarian told them what happened and said that there wasn't anything we could do but euthanize. Not one of them showed the slightest bit of remorse or acted as if they cared.

Only the aunt, who is terrified of dogs, remained with the dog as we gave the injection. She cradled the dog's head in her lap and wept because of how the dog must have felt. He was so good during the entire ordeal and wanted nothing more than for someone to pet his head.

That is the only time I ever cried because of my job.

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14. It Just Spilled Out

Pharmacy guy here, but I work with anesthesia during surgeries at night and the worst surprise I had was on a simple operation. An obese woman was having a boil on her arm lanced and drained...simple enough...but the minute the tiny incision began there was this popping sound. To our shock, the skin from elbow to shoulder split wide open. Black goo and puss then seeped out from where she had developed compartment syndrome. It was all over the table.

There's just not enough peppermint gauze in the world to cover up someone's necrotic flesh smell.

Weird patientPexels

15. Thank You For Sharing

I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I work in a pharmacy and have heard some pretty awful things. Some people have no shame. One morning, our pharmacist got a call from a long-time customer who wasn't quite right in the head. She had gotten an upper gastrointestinal done and was prescribed pills to stimulate her bowels to get the radiation out of her body.

She proceeded to explain to our pharmacist loudly—the pharmacist put her on speakerphone so we could all enjoy—that she had been up all night on the toilet. And then it suddenly stopped, and it wouldn't come out. And, she added, it hurt. So, out of all the things she could use, she grabbed a metal nail file and made "it" come out.

Well, at that point she was bleeding quite a bit, so she decided to stick a tampon up there and call it good. She was not seeking any medical advice, because—according to her—she was just fine. She just wanted to share this story.

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16. There Was A Direct Link

A patient came in one day with a dire sore throat. Midway through the examination the patient started violently gagging, opened his mouth and vomited what seemed like every single pint of blood out of his body. It turns out that the patient had a condition in which the esophagus rubs against the nearby artery and, if left unchecked, the membrane will fuse together opening a direct link between mouth and heart.

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17. It Went Nuts

A pleasant middle-aged lady was gardening one day when her dog went nuts and went for her in the yard. The ordeal apparently went on for quite some time until finally a neighbor heard, came over, and shot the dog to get it off her. I would have sworn no dog could do what that dog did, it looked like I would imagine a tiger attack.

The worst part was her arms and hands, which she had been using to ward off the dog. She lost both hands. It was, quite simply, horrific.

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18. There Was A Boy There

A couple weeks ago an old man, around 90, was brought into the hospital by ambulance, which he’d called for himself. I was reading through his background notes and noticed that he lives alone as many older ones do. It turns out this guy had stopped taking his medication for his dementia because he forgot about it. He then also began to get dehydrated and confused as he also forgot to drink water or eat meals. But here's where the story gets freaky.

The old man said there was a boy living with him that week, and he was staying in his room with him. He said he didn't mind because he just sat there on the bed and didn't say anything. After about the third day of this boy staying with him, the old man began to get worried because the boy had not eaten or had anything to drink. So, the man dialed for an ambulance saying he was afraid the boy was going to collapse.

The ambulance staff turned up and the guy toured them around the house for 20 minutes trying to find the boy. They see his meds are untouched and take him away to hospital for treatment. Poor guy, but his caring for his imaginary friend may have saved his life!

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19. Zombie Pirate

I’m an activities director for an elderly home. One morning, I was delivering morning newspapers, when I heard a lady call from down the hall of resident apartments. She asked me, as sweet as could be, if any nurses were here yet. Before I looked up I said I wasn't sure but I could take a peek for her. Then I looked up.

The woman was holding onto a support beam that we have on the walls like a ballet bar but sturdier. Her left foot is attached only by ligaments and is dragging behind her. She is literally walking on her exposed bone. I tried my darndest not to react and scare her. I gingerly helped her sit on the floor, before running for emergency services and my boss.

I guess at some point in the night she had fallen out of bed and didn't think it was serious enough to bother a caregiver or someone about. She slept on the pad on the floor that is there in case anyone falls out of bed. Then, when morning came, and she heard me in the hall, she dragged herself up and asked for help.

I feel like a terrible person, but when I calmed down I had to admit for half a second I thought she was a zombie pirate.

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20. A Living Anatomy Lesson

I was working in a hospital in Nepal for a month. A lot of people ride motorcycles there for transportation, and they also have minimal road laws and enforcement. As a result, they see motorcycle accidents at a much higher prevalence. Anyways, during one of my shifts in the ER a man was brought in with bloody sheets covering his whole lower half.

I gathered from the family that he had been in a motorcycle accident. I lifted the sheets up expecting to see a partial amputation or a crush wound, only to see what the doctors would later describe to me as a "degloving". This is a fairly common injury in Kathmandu. Essentially his leg had got caught in a rotating tire. The torque of the tire and the friction it caused with his skin ripped his skin off and sent it hurling away. The rest of the leg was intact, just without the skin.

His leg was essentially a living anatomy lesson—till they amputated it.

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21. She Couldn’t Speak

I’m a medical student and the most distressing thing I've seen is a lady who had multiple strokes within days. These strokes left her with many neurological deficits. She had the classic hemiplegic stroke leaving her unable to move her entire right side. She had lost all sensation in her arm as well. The lady was also in constant pain.

The worst part is, she then had another stroke which made her lose her voice. She couldn't even tell anyone for two days that she was in so much pain.

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22. Oh, That’s Where I Left It

An obese lady came into the hospital and was complaining about a pain that she had in her lower stomach. We asked her where, and she gestured toward the area just above her crotch. We pulled up her shirt, and the pain was coming from below one of her folds of skin. When we started lifting the folds, we found a 20 cm (8 in) splinter stuck inside of one of the folds.

Not only was this piece of wood long, but it was wide too. The end was splintered on it, and that was the pain she was feeling. So, we carefully removed the thing and showed it to her. What she said next floored us. "Oh that's my plank! I use my plank to hold up my stomach so my husband and I can make love. It must have broken."

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23. He Wasn’t Licking His Own Wounds

I'm a social care worker and care for people in the comfort of their own homes. I went to a job about a month ago and was told in the description that he had a few bed sores. When me and my colleague rolled the service user over, the sores were about double the size of a tennis ball. Also, you could see all the way into his hip bone each side.

The sores were really fresh and still weeping. All I could smell in the air was rotting flesh, not only all this, but I turned up a week later to do my shift again to find the dog had got on his bed and was licking his wound! Poor bloke couldn't even move his arms. I blame the district nurses for neglecting him for so long.

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24. Driving With The Top Off

A man got in a freak accident driving a convertible. The top of his skull got completely cut off, exposing his somehow unharmed brain. When he arrived unconscious at the hospital, he was being treated by a mass of nurses and/or doctors. As he was lying on his back on the operation table, he started throwing up. Now, I'm sure all of you know how gravity works, but I'll explain what happened just in case.

He was lying on his back: face up. His brain was exposed. He started throwing up. The vomit traveled in trajectory landing on his brain. In short, he was vomiting on his own brain.

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25. I Heard Everything

A few years ago I was visiting a friend in the ER. He’d had some minor heart trouble and was resting in one of the rooms, which he shared with an elderly woman. Shortly after I got there, a nurse came in with a bedpan and pulled the curtain dividing the room in half. I wish the flimsy curtain had blocked out the sound of the old woman's mostly liquid bowel movement, or at least the nurse's comment.

"I know that feels like a bowel movement, but it's mostly blood."

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26. Car Crash Changes Life

I'm neither a doctor or a nurse, but at one time I was aspiring to go to med school. I loved biology and anatomy and had received the Boy Scout first aid merit badge and CPR certification. I was convinced that my calling was to heal people, and I was leaning toward becoming a surgeon. This changed after I came across a car-car-truck-motorcycle collision on a highway.

The accident was a long ways away from the closest city, so no emergency services had gotten there yet. Bodies were littered everywhere. Mostly the bodies were still. Some, as I later found out from a newspaper article, were already deceased. One woman will haunt me more than the others. She was being held down by three other motorists.

She was screaming and struggling to get away from them and stand up, which wouldn't have been too successful if they let her, as she was missing most of one of her legs. As much as I thought I was waiting for this kind of situation to prove my medical knowledge, I just couldn't handle getting involved. Some people helped, some people did a U-turn to avoid the accident.

I did the latter while weeping in shame and frustration. As a result, I ended up majoring in computer science.

Dodged A Bullet factsShutterstock

27. It Was The Size Of A Grapefruit

I’m not a doctor, but I worked at a hospital in the histology lab. I saw some slightly disgusting things (amputated leg of a morbidly obese person with clogged arteries, that the manager used as an anatomy lesson), but nothing rivaled the teratoma. Oh god, the teratoma. For those who don't know what it is, it’s a type of malignant tumor that accumulates genetic material from many different parts of the body, leading to some pretty nasty surprises.

So, I was working, filing slides and whatnot, and in came an entire ovary with the teratoma. For reference, the teratoma was the size of a grapefruit. The ovaries gave the impression of a pale small stocking. So yes, it looked like someone had attached a small pale stocking to a pale grapefruit. That should have been a warning as to what would follow next.

My lab manager went up to operate on it, and as soon as he made a scalpel incision into the teratoma, it literally exploded. There was literally fluid everywhere. He had to change everything: the scalpel blade, the tabletop mat, even his gown. He later drained everything into the sink, which took a total of about five minutes.

After opening it up, we saw that it had to have been containing some sort of secretory gland, as there was this grayish stuff lining the inside of the teratoma—complete with strands of hair. He went further, and found a round bony core at the center of the teratoma. We had to bring out a bonesaw to cut through it, while my lab manager told me about the times he's cut open teratomas and found fully developed eyeballs at the center.

Eventually, we cut through the dense core, and found a fully developed incisor tooth at the center. I was thoroughly disgusted by all that we had seen.

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28. Maybe Someone Needs To Define “Lucky”

I worked at a hospital for a few years. One night there was a five-year-old kid who came into the emergency room who had apparently been playing with one of those yard marker flags. Well he was running and tripped, and the metal pin went into his mouth and punctured all the way through the back of his throat and out the back side of his neck.

When the kid came in, we had to literally tie his hand together, so he wouldn't move the wire and possibly cause nerve damage. We ran all the tests and realized that this little kid was so lucky. You see, he had narrowly missed his spinal column. Basically, this meant that we were able to sedate him and just pull the wire out.

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29. It Feels A Little Dry Down There

A girl comes to the hospital, and she’s complaining that she's unusually smelly "down there". The doctor takes a look, and sure enough there is something not right there. Upon further inspection, the doctor notices that there is an object deep inside her. The doctor asks her if she knows why there is something stuck inside her. And also if she knows what it might be.

The patient says that she knows what’s up there. It’s the cap to her deodorant. The doctor doesn’t even ask why the cap is up there, but just tells the woman that he’s going to take it out. It was her answer that shocked both the doctor and me. She said: "No please don't touch that. I'm keeping it there as a contraceptive".

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30. I Had To Pick Them Up

I’m a nuclear medicine technician and last week I was performing a Lung V/Q scan on a man who had congestive heart failure. Due to the buildup of fluid caused by congestive heart failure, each testicle was literally the size of a grapefruit. The reason I know this is because I had to pick them up and set them on a pillow—because them sitting on the table was too painful.

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31. He Was Big But Also Small

I wasn't a doctor or a nurse, but I worked as a patient transporter for almost five years. One of the responsibilities of the job was taking deceased patients down to the morgue. One evening, I was called to the ER to take an expired patient to the morgue. Another transporter and I entered the room to find something very strange.

The patient was extremely obese, yet also extremely short. I don't know the exact numbers, but I would guess he was about 120 cm (4 ft) tall and 155 kilograms (350 lbs) which left him almost as wide as he was tall. There were pockets of air under his skin. I am guessing his tiny lungs collapsed under all the weight.

We couldn't fit him onto our morgue cart, so we ended up having to cover the body under blankets and take his bed all the way to the morgue, escorted by security. The problem was that the weight distribution/balance on the bed was so different that we had a hard time steering in the hallways.

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32. He Couldn’t Control Himself

I once did a wet-to-dry dressing, then placed a wound vac on a man that got flesh-eating disease on his thigh. In an emergency surgery he had received a fasciotomy from just above his knee to his hip and groin. It was rough at first but kinda like the body world exhibit so fairly manageable. I was able to dehumanize this portion of his leg.

That was when he lifted his leg up, so I could get to the underside. To my horror I saw that the thigh meat hung like an old person's tricep. At about the same time, the man was overcome with uncontrollable gas. So what had previously been more like an exhibit in Vegas, had just become a man who has been skinned from balls to knee and is now farting all over me.

If you’re having trouble imagining this, look down at your thigh and just imagine no skin. No fat. Just muscle, tendon, and a light layer of blood. No, it's not disgusting like some of the stuff I have read about, but there was just no way to compartmentalize that thigh. I was sweating profusely as I made my way through the long process. I kept my voice together and chatted with the guy, who was way cool, and got the job done.

Based on my limited experiences that was the worst thing I have seen yet on the job.

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33. He Kept A Chunk

So, my dad's a dentist, and one night we get a call at home from the local ER asking if my father is willing to come in and deal with a patient because…well…they have no idea what to do with this woman. My dad is a rather stand-up guy, so he goes and opens his practice to treat this woman. I go along with him and help set up the room.

An ambulance pulls up and wheels this elderly woman into the clinic. From the get-go, the first thing that hits us is the smell. Her face is bandaged up pretty well, and we can see blood seeping through the gauze and all down her shirt. We both put on the double gloves, and double masks and my dad dives in. He discovers that she has something penetrating her lip. It's mustard yellow, and has the consistency of rock candy.

My dad plays with it a little bit, and a large chunk breaks off. What's attached is four of this woman's teeth or rather, the decayed remains of her teeth. Apparently, this 78-year-old woman had never brushed her teeth a day in her life. What had penetrated her lip was an obelisk of plaque. My dad continued to clean away what he could, but the plaque buildup was so massive that she had literally rotten away all of her teeth and most of her gums. One spot was abscessed clear down to her jawbone.

To this day dad keeps the chunk in a jar in his office, and scares little children into brushing their teeth everyday.

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34. He Can’t Forget

I’m an MD here. While in residency I was rotating through two months in general/vascular surgery, where amputations were very common. I was assisting with a bilateral below-knee amputation on a poorly controlled type 1 diabetic. Basically we were severing both legs a little below the knee. The patient had terrible circulation and hardly bled during the procedure.

The staff surgeon commented that we'd likely have to perform another amputation higher up in the future as the poor circulation would not allow healing. After the surgery, the patient promptly had a massive heart attack and was sent for stenting and a trip to the ICU. Several days later we were following up as the wounds were not healing well as predicted.

In an attempt to examine the amputation sites, myself and the surgeon began to unwrap each bandage. As we lifted the upper leg to make this easier, the 10 cm (4 in) of lower limb below the knee on each leg clearly began to separate from the leg above it as each side was mostly gangrenous, lifeless tissue. I'll never forget the sound and smell.

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35. Scouring Pads Are For The Kitchen Only

I work in a community pharmacy, so I don't see the most disgusting stuff, but I do see the general public's stupidity now and then. A regular came in one day. He had been complaining of anal itch, a bit of blood in his stool, and painful defecation—all of which had lasted for a long time. I told him it was likely hemorrhoids that were bad enough he shouldn't self-treat it, but should have it looked at ASAP.

I guess he didn't listen to my advice. He came back a week later and was asking for 90 or 99% isopropyl alcohol. I decided to ask why he needed it. It turned out, to deal with his anal itch/hemorrhoids, he was using a wire scouring pad to his entire anus. He was worried it might be infected so he wanted to kill off the germs with 90% isopropyl. I just pray I kept the horror off my face.

He then went on to say that the Crown Royal he was using was too painful and not working, so he needed stronger stuff. I told him NOPE!! NOPE!! As he walked away, I noticed the back of his sweat pants were stained with what looked like blood/pus/excrement. I called him back and told him to wait while I called an ambulance.

I later found out he had the beginnings of cellulitis, which is an early form of a bad skin infection that can progress to flesh-eating disease, on his anus/bum skin and a bacterial infection of the blood was beginning.

Stopped Caring FactsShutterstock

36. There Were Two Snakes On That Picnic

There was a couple who were having a romantic picnic out in a field and things got a and heavy. So, while they were occupied, they failed to notice a large red-belly black snake (rarely fatal, but intimidating-looking thing) coming closer. Well, this snake isn't without a sense of humor and decides to go for a strike. But wait! Where do you think it bit him?

Yep, right on the poor guy's shaft. So the guy and his girlfriend run all the way into the emergency ward. He’s got his junk in his hand, and both of them are naturally freaking out. The nurses treated him quickly and, thankfully, all was fine. I’ll tell you one thing: there wasn't a straight face in the whole hospital for a week after.

Sweetest Revenge factsShutterstock

37. He Was The Creepiest Creep

I won't say it's the worst thing I have ever seen on the job, but when I was a medical assistant, I assisted my boss, a doctor, in an autopsy. He was looking for the cause of a patient’s passing because another doctor made a diagnosis my boss wasn't comfortable with. The entire procedure was quite a shocker at first seeing the woman I had known as a patient lying there completely opened up.

To start with, there wasn’t any blood, because she had already been drained. Also, she was morbidly obese and the amount of fat under her skin was amazing to see. When my boss began exploring her intestines, he tied off the ends. You can imagine what it would have smelled like if he hadn't. He took samples and placed them in plastic containers.

I think the worst part for me was having to look at the mortician who was there working on other people. I swear, he was the creepiest dude I’d ever seen in person. He was very nice, but he reminded me of leather face from that horror movie. He had very bad acne scars, dark, dark eyes, dark hair, and was wearing a thick, white rubber apron with blood all over it. Gawd!!!!

Another thing that freaked me out was when I asked him who the person was covered up close by and he told me. It was my dentist! I didn't even know he was deceased!

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

38. It Was Moving

This story is creepy: about a dude I saw on neurology when I was an intern. He was from Southeast Asia with altered mental status and abdominal pain, and altered liver function tests. The pictures of his belly on plain films, CT scan, and MRI showed a mass, but the mass kept looking blurry and like it was changing shape and size.

We sent him for an ultrasound and the tech nearly had a heart attack, because the "tumor" was moving. Turns out the guy had picked up some nasty parasite on his last trip back to visit the family. We finally saw the 8 cm (3 in) worm moving and swimming around inside its little ball of goo on the recording of the exam. The whole team almost blew chunks that morning.

Medical Horror StoriesPexels

39. Tires Would Have Saved Him

I’m not a doctor, but I'm a firefighter so I see my fair share of trauma. About a year ago, we responded to a call that went out as an "individual who had a car fall on his face". He was hotboxing in his garage while working underneath his car that was supported by scissor jacks. Something to note, the car didn't have any tires on the front end where he was working.

One of the scissor jacks had slipped out from underneath the car, and the whole weight of the car landed directly onto the side of his head with no tires to stop the fall. We got our rubber airbags out, lifted the car, pulled him out, and got him onto a stretcher. After taking over a thousand kg (2,500 lbs) of weight to the head, he somehow got out of it with only a fractured orbital and a laceration on his cheek.

Strangest Last Words Ever HeardPexels

40. He Couldn’t Stop It

The first year of my core surgical training, I was on call in a very small rural hospital. This hospital only had two doctors on at night, me and a medical trainee, and no emergency doctors.

It was about 11 pm and this guy, about 26 years old, came in after being in a fight. Blood was pumping from his nose, which was clearly fractured.

I suspected he probably had other facial fractures underneath, but he was awake and talking to me. Otherwise he seemed fine. I spent about 45 minutes trying to stop the blood, using all sorts of nose packs, pressure, and even tried a catheter balloon to try and tamponade it. Nothing was working, and he was starting to go into shock. I was getting really scared at this point.

Based on his vitals I'd estimated he'd lost almost 1.5 liters (50 oz) of blood so far. The nearest proper surgical hospital was 45 minutes away, and my consultant was at home, which was 25 minutes from the hospital. Eventually, I got four bags of O neg from the lab (the lab tech happened to be in, which was very lucky), put this guy in the back of an ambulance, still bleeding, and sent him blue lighting to the surgical center in the city.

I got a phone call about three hours later from a surgeon at the other hospital, saying he had brought the patient to the theater and was able to control the situation. He was probably 15 minutes from dying. If you come into that kind of small hospital with that much bleeding, all stats say you're in trouble. The guy was very lucky his friends got him in so quickly.

The Craziest RoommatesPexels

41. He Carried Him In

I was a junior doc on the trauma team. One day the doors to the emergency ward fly open to reveal a man carrying a second blood-soaked man in his arms. We get him onto a stretcher and it is clear he has been shot in his chest and has gone into cardiac arrest. Chest compressions start, and within minutes the senior doctor is cutting into the guy’s chest in order to start cardiac massage.

Cardiothoracics join us quickly and get to work on the heart, where a hole in the right ventricle is identified and plugged with a Foley catheter. All the while, bag after bag of O Neg is being pushed into the patient in an attempt to replace everything that had pumped out of his heart and into his chest cavity.

After 15-20 minutes of this the impossible happens: the heart starts beating on its own. The patient is taken directly to the theater, where the hole is definitively repaired and bilateral chest drains are inserted to drain the blood filling his lungs. Somehow his heart continued beating and after a couple weeks on ITU, the patient is returned to the trauma ward awake and alert.

Several weeks, some mild hypoxic brain injury, and a gnarly chest scar later, and he walks off the ward with his dad, the man who carried him in.

Insane CasesShutterstock

42. They Used Her As A Case Study

I'm a researcher rather than a doctor, but during my undergrad my anatomy tutor told us of an interesting case study. A woman in the same department had been in a car accident going at a considerable speed. The seat belt failed to lock, and her face flew into the steering wheel. Her mouth, nose, cheekbones and forehead were shattered, yet she suffered no brain damage.

Apparently, the front of her face acted as a crumple zone, and the fact that her skull shattered meant the cranial swelling didn't cause any damage because the brain had more space to swell into. Of course, she needed significant reconstructive surgery, but a year later she and my tutor teamed up in a research project.

They used her case as the basis for looking into new ways to treat severe head injuries and developed new treatment protocols depending on where the skull had taken damage. They basically found out that, if you're going to have a head injury, try and get hit in the face and not the temples because you're much more likely to survive.

Medical Horror StoriesPexels

43. He Just Had To Squeeze By

I worked in the kitchen, so I was the lowly peon delivering food trays. I delivered to one guy who had a horrendously infected foot. Most of the toes were necrotic and black, and the rest of the foot wasn't doing much better. I wouldn't be surprised if he was waiting for an amputation. His dietary requirements were diabetic, so it was likely. The room smelled awful.

Anyway, these rooms are small, with typically two beds in them. Because of the smell from his infection, the other bed is empty. I still have to squeeze by the foot of his bed, and as I'm paying attention to the tray, so I don't knock it into equipment, I accidentally brush my leg against his infected foot that he has sticking out of the covers and hanging off the bed.

To my horror, his big toenail—with bonus flesh—comes off onto my leg. It's just stuck to my leg. We look at each other in horror. I clear my throat, ask my usual questions, clear and adjust his table, give him his tray and wish him a good day. I leave calmly, and then run to the nurse's station and ask for help getting this dude's entire necrotic toenail off my leg.

The nurse who got it off soaked that portion of my pant leg in some disinfectant liquid that smelled like it could take the paint off a car.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

44. Don’t Be A Baby

A woman came into the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain. She wouldn't stop screaming: "My baby's gone! My baby's gone!" There was one really weird thing though: her record showed absolutely nothing about even being pregnant. After having her change into a gown, the most ungodly stench filled the room.

My doctor began a pelvic exam, with me as a standby. I will never forget his face as he removed a pinkish-brown clotted mass: it was a huge chicken leg. It turns out that what she was calling her 'baby' was actually an uncooked chicken she had chopped up and inserted into her hoo-ha. She may not have lost a baby, but she did gain a chicken.

Medical Nightmares factsShutterstock

45. Our Jaded Jaws Dropped

I was working at an emergency room in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. This is a resort area, with pristine white beaches, sport fishing—you know the drill. I was taking a body down to the morgue with another medic, and the shift supervisor, who had the drawer assignment and paperwork responsibility. We pulled open the huge metal drawer, expecting there to be nothing—or maybe a body—and saw something that made our very jaded jaws drop.

Inside the drawer, there was a monstrously large sailfish. This thing was so huge that it could hardly fit without its body curved and sail pushed down. We stood there in surprise wondering what our procedure should be. We had no idea. The NCO said, "It would be a very good idea not to remember this. I'll deal with it in the morning.” He then moved on to the next drawer.

Later it was rumored it belonged to one of the senior surgeons.

Law Enforcement Creepy Calls FactsNeedpix

46. It Was The Size Of A Bagel

About thirteen years ago, when I was in medical school, I saw a lady who had flown in from South America to have US doctors help with her breast cancer. She was pretty well off but apparently her family had been picky and choosy about her treatment. By the time they got her to the states, the situation had turned horrific.

So what we discovered was that she had a metastatic tumor on her arm that was the size of a bagel. Also it smelled of necrotic tissue. Even worse was the fact that her chest wall was replaced by a tumor. In fact, you could actually see her rib cage. Her family got mad that we couldn't just cut the tumor off her arm. The whole ER smelled like rotten flesh.

Nurses Worst Work FactsShutterstock

47. Get Back In There

There was a primary care physician, PCP, who went to some part of Africa—I don't remember where specifically—for the Peace Corps. When he came back, he found he was always more tired than he was when he left for Africa. The cause was straight out of a nightmare. One day he felt a pulsation in his eye and went to the ER. Once there, the doctor found a small worm wriggling around in his eye.

Apparently, this kind of worm normally lives near the brain, but had somehow made its way out from there and into his eye. The emergency room doctor hadn't seen anything like it, and so he called in another doctor to come and look at it. By the time the other doctor got there, the worm had made its way back out of the eye.

Cut to about a month later and the PCP feels the pulsation again, but instead of returning to the hospital, he decides to take care of it himself. He takes a needle and heats it up using the stove. He then puts it into his own eye in order to remove the parasite. Over the course of the next year or two, he removes—if I remember correctly—around five of the worms this way before feeling better.

Medical Horror StoriesPexels

48. Not Your Ordinary Blackhead

I was working at an old folks center near our house, and I was with this one older gentleman. On his hip, was a blackhead the size of a dime, on top of a decent-sized lump, about 5 cm (2 in) long. So, I threw on some gloves, made sure I had the permission of the man of course, and squeezed the black head. To my shock, out popped this roll of gauze that was left over from his hip surgery 10 years prior that he never bothered to get removed.

The smell was horrid and I will never forget it.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

49. A Repeat Offender

So there is a homeless guy that comes to my emergency room regularly. Apparently this guy had a major surgery in the last 10 years where they removed something from his stomach, or that general area. After the surgery, he woke up and just left the hospital without letting himself heal. He proceeded with his drug habit, and his body was never able to heal properly.

The guy comes to the ER about once every week to get his intestines re-bandaged. The nurses have to rinse and sanitize the intestines and re-bandage him up every time he comes in. They simply take a large bandage and wrap it around his midsection. He has been seen many times outside the hospital holding his intestines with a plastic bag pressed to his stomach—having a smoke.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

50. This Experiment Went Very Wrong

A kid, about 13 years old, and his mom came into the emergency room. The mom had dragged the kid in because he was complaining of real bad 'digestive' problems. The kid had convinced her he was fine, until he couldn't hide the bleeding coming from his rear end. We take him in for X-rays—but never in a million years was I prepared for what we found. There on the X-ray, clear as day, is a 14-inch black rubber phallus.

Of course, we didn't know it was black then, but we found out later, obviously. This thing had wedged itself up far—most likely due to his efforts to remove it. It was pushing on the walls of his intestine and had three days' worth of excrement piled on top of it. We take him into a private room and ask if there is anything he wants to tell us before they discuss specifics with his mother.

The kid didn’t want to say anything, so we told him that whatever is up there had to be removed surgically. The kid said no, and that he just felt sick. We then asked him again, what could possibly be in his lower intestine. His response almost made me laugh out loud. He said he may have sat on a marker.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock



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