Real-Life Medical Cases That Horrified Doctors

January 16, 2023 | Eul Basa

Real-Life Medical Cases That Horrified Doctors


Medical professionals study for years in pursuit of knowledge that can help them save lives—but no amount of schooling could have prepared these doctors for these shocking cases.  The following true stories prove two things: 1) doctors deserve every single cent they make, and 2) the human body is a scary, scary thing.


1. A Bad Prognosis

As a third-year medical student, I had a patient come in with four years of worsening balance issues and garbled speech. She had gotten a crazy work up at an outside hospital system with every sort of imaging possible, biopsies of random sites, and a number of very expensive tests. She was at our university hospital for the first time.

When I first entered the room, I reached out to shake her hand, and from her wheelchair she had to raise her head at me because she couldn't look up with her eyes. This was the first red flag. I also asked her if she had the sensation where one of her limbs would move without her controlling it, and she said yes, suggesting something called Alien Limb Phenomenon.

I diagnosed her with a very rare disease on the spectrum of Parkinson's plus syndromes, and my supervisors agreed. Unfortunately, it was a bad prognosis, but the family was consoled by the fact that at least they had a name for what was happening.

Doctors rare conditionsPixabay

2. And This Is Why We Wash Our Hands

Sometimes, surgeons are the ones in for an unpleasant surprise. My father is a physician and, although he's not a surgeon, he did some surgery while in medical school. He told me a story about a patient he had once who had necrotizing fasciitis—a.k.a. a really nasty flesh-eating disease. I almost wish that he hadn’t told me this story. It’s like something out of The Walking Dead.

The patient had gotten a cut while gardening and never cleaned the wound properly. My dad told us that he had to peel back layers just to get at it. First, he peeled off the bandages that the patient had self-applied. Then there was a layer of holy book pages that he also had to peel off. Layer upon layer, bandage upon bandage.

Finally, beneath all that, was the wound itself. No amount of med school training could have prepared my father for what he saw. The wound was covered in maggots. Apparently, they were eating the dead-tissue generated by the disease. He said that once they removed the maggots, they were able to begin the surgery to remove the infected areas.

Oddly enough, this patient had the maggots to thank for keeping his appendages intact. Because the maggots had eaten away the dead and infected flesh, my dad and his team didn't have to amputate the patient’s limb. After this operation, though, my dad decided to not pursue surgery and focus on becoming a specialist.

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3. Off Like A Rocket

I was doing a C-section for this poor mom who’d been in labor for hours. The baby wouldn’t come out of the hole we’d made, so we applied more pressure—and suddenly whoooooosh, baby zooms out like a torpedo, covered in lubrication. She zips over the surgical sheeting, which has the texture of a Slip n’ Slide, and almost rockets straight off the table.

The nurse caught the baby’s foot and whipped her up in the air upside down like in old cartoons, but almost dropped her again. Thankfully, the midwife was ready with the towel and caught the baby to wrap her up. Mom and dad seemed to think this was normal practice and didn’t notice, but me and my colleague just stared at each other with a look of absolute horror.

It still makes me shudder to think how close the baby was to hitting the floor headfirst. Never happened before or since.

Embarrassing kidsPxfuel

4. He’s Allergic To What?!

I was admitting a guy to the hospital. He was about 400 pounds, diabetic, had heart disease, and more. You name it, he had it. A few minutes in, he starts complaining that he's thirsty. He needs something to drink RIGHT NOW. So I call the nurse assistant and as her to bring in some ice water. As soon as the words are out of my mouth the whole family screams: "NOOOO! NO WATER! HES ALLERGIC TO WATER!"

Turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but Sprite and sweet tea for years because of his "water allergy.”

Weirdest Rich People FactsNeedpix

5. Welcome To The World

My dad is a pediatrician specializing in neurological issues. He was seeing one of his patients at the hospital and got dragged into the NICU unexpectedly by a nurse who insisted that a baby wasn't well. The attending doctor insisted the kid was fine, and that he was just tired from a difficult vacuum assist delivery. My dad could tell the baby wasn't okay and managed to talk the parents into a brain scan.

The NICU doctor insisted my dad was nuts to the parents. Little did he know his arrogance would cost him, big time. The kid had a brain bleed and was rushed to surgery. The baby would not have lived without the nurse bringing my dad in and the parents listening to him. The delay caused by the NICU doctor almost certainly cost the kid some brain function. I’m proud that my dad did the right thing.

Doctor's Second OpinionShutterstock

6. The Greatest Showman

One lady is convinced that magnets cure body ailments. She has magnets in her car and occasionally she'll make a big show of being unable to breathe–she is fine–and demanding no one call an ambulance. She will walk all the way outside to her car, bring the chintzy fridge magnets back inside. Then by rubbing the magnets on her chest through all of clothes, she is cured and doesn't need the paramedics or medical help.

And don't get her started on how oranges and vitamins are the cure for autism. Really, don't. I will smack your hand so hard.

Worst Teachers FactsShutterstock

7. I Don’t Scare Easy

My dad is an interventional and cardiovascular radiologist. Years ago, he was doing an operation on a prison inmate. The guards had the inmate handcuffed to the table and remained in the room during the operation. The inmate, in an effort to scare my father, told him that he was in jail for manslaughter. Well, my dad doesn’t scare easy.

Without missing a beat, my dad replied to this inmate with, "The last guy I did this operation on didn’t make it either." The security guard chuckled and the inmate didn’t say another word for the rest of the procedure.

Doctors awkwardUnsplash

8. That's No Scratch

I'm a nurse, but I was working in the ER when a guy came in for a scratch on his neck and "feeling drowsy." We start the usual workups and this dude's blood pressure TANKED. We scrambled, but he was dead within ten minutes of walking through the door. Turns out the "scratch" was an exit wound of a .22 caliber rifle round.

The guy didn't even know he'd been shot. When the coroner's report came back, we found that he'd been shot in the leg and the bullet tracked through his torso, shredding everything in between. There was really nothing we could've done, but that was a serious "what the heck just happened" moment, and for a good while we thought we had made a fatal error.

The Biggest Mistakes Made By Doctors factsGlutenDetect

9. It Hits The Fan

From the reverse perspective, my family tends to entertain the ER with emergencies nobody expects. One time, I gave myself a concussion and whiplash—from a ceiling fan. I broke it on my skull, knocked myself out for like 30 seconds, and then had migraines nonstop for eight days. Surprise, ER! So many people in the ER kept stopping by to ask me my story and laugh about it like, "Now I've seen everything!"

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10. Ain’t Gonna Happen, Bud

I'm an ICU nurse, the last two nights I've been taking care of a large strong man going through withdrawals. It involves four-point restraints. This morning I was trying to put elbow pads on him and he swung at me, but of course, the restraints prevented this. He was furious as I just stood there and slow blinked at him.

No Power Here factsPxhere

11. A Swing And A Miss

I had a biopsy done on my neck by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. It went horribly. He jabbed it in just below my ear, then wiggled the huge needle around, took it out, put it back in, wiggled it around...just awful. I was left with an enormous yellow and green bruise all over my neck. The results were inconclusive. But it gets worse.

A month later, I went to see a really old doctor. He pushed on the spot in question. "Is this the bump you're concerned about?" "Yes, that's it." "That's your second vertebrae. That guy tried to do a biopsy on it?" "What? Yeah..." "What an idiot, sorry."

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12. The Doctor Was Too Stunned To Speak

The most outrageous thing I've heard was from a boy who was something like 20-22 years old. He came from a very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsilitis and refused to take any medication because all he needed to do was "bite the sun.” I asked him to explain—but that didn't make it any better. Basically, at noon he had to look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and "bite" the sun several times.

This apparently would "burn" his tonsils and cure him over the course of a couple weeks. If that wouldn't work, Plan B was to do the same at night, but only under a full moon.

Queen Maria I of Portugal FactsGetty Images

13. I Can See Clearly Now

I was doing a corneal transplant when I had the "oh no" moment. During surgery, I cut off the patient's own cornea and replaced it with a new donor cornea. During that moment when the host cornea was off but before I could get the new one on, there's literally nothing on the front of the eye except a tear film. Anyway, the patient takes that moment to start vomiting.

The reason we tell everyone to skip food and drink is so they don't aspirate in case they throw up. This patient lied about eating breakfast and started throwing up everything. The eye is still "open sky" at this time. Everything inside of the eye can now become outside of the eye. And she's bucking and vomiting. It’s awful. I had to grab the new cornea and start stitching as fast as I could on a patient actively throwing up.  Don't lie about eating breakfast before surgery, folks.

Doctor oh God noNeedpix

14. Hard To Miss

A woman came in with severe opiate withdrawal and some shortness of breath. Because she was so insistent about how miserable she was, everyone sort of wrote her off as drug-seeking. The morning I rounded on her, I decided to do a thorough physical exam, just to be safe. I ended up so glad that I actually did the due diligence.

Lo and behold, I found a hard lymph node...it was so big that it was impossible to miss if you just did the exam. Immediately we got a chest X-ray and then a CT scan. After a biopsy, we learned it was lung cancer.

Doctors rare conditionsFlickr

15. Are You For Real?

A family friend of ours was diagnosed with fairly advanced uterine cancer at the relatively young age of 46. Now, with surgery and chemo, she could have at least had a chance at a decently painless few months, if not a cure. Instead, she and her husband chose to go to a naturopath who claimed they could cure the cancer by putting her on a diet of exclusively fruit and vegetable juices, in very small quantities.

She obviously lost a ton of weight within a month and became so weak that she was bedridden and barely conscious for the last week of her life. The day she passed, she started having severe vomiting to which the naturopath told her husband that it was a good sign "because it means the cancer cells are finally coming out of the body.”

My mom attended her funeral and said she couldn't even recognize the body as her friend, because all that was left of her was skin stretched over bones. But want to hear the worst part? The husband still says, "It's a shame she passed from some other cause after the cancer left her body" completely seriously.

Dieting FactsWikimedia Commons

16. How’s The Weather Down There?

This happened to me with a licensed practical nurse. She was going to measure my waist (measuring from the belly button) and calculate my BMI. I guess I was too tall for her because she started to pull my shorts down looking for my belly button. I’m about six feet and five inches tall and she may have been five feet or about there. It took her forever to get the measurements.

Doctors awkwardPexels

17. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Break It

Patient here. One time, one of my nurses didn’t know how to give me my new medication. It was an Epi-Pen, and honestly, they're not that hard to administer, but she and the other nurses were playing around with it outside trying to figure it out. That's when the worst happened. They accidentally set it off—a $1,500 pen of allergy medication.

The doctor was NOT too pleased, and the nurse even tried to lie her way out of it, saying the pen was “defective.” My dad had to tell the doctor the truth. I was sitting there, half finding it hilarious, and half super angry because I’d been waiting for the medication for four days and then had to wait even longer.

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18. Doing More Damage Than Good

My father is an ER doctor. One day, an old woman comes in with a headache. Attending sees her, sends her home with some Advil. You can tell where this is going. She comes back two days later with a stroke and chest pain. It is a massive stroke, so they get her on blood thinners right away. They send her in for a CAT scan, to check out her brain.

On the scan, they notice something odd. Do another scan: her aorta has almost completely dissected. This is the most blood-filled, high-pressure artery in the body, and blood thinners are the absolute last thing that an aortic dissection patient should be given. Commence freak out. They wheel her into emergency surgery to repair the aorta, but by then she's bleeding profusely.

Her heart stops shortly thereafter. Luckily, my father never personally prescribed the blood thinners, but apparently, that was a real "Oh, God" moment. Her condition was fatal either way, but it was not a good day.

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19. Seriously Serious Seafood

I had a repeat patient as a medic that would always call for a severe allergic reaction to shellfish every other month or so. She always had the allergy and knew her reactions were getting worse. After a year of this silliness, my crew and I stayed behind in the emergency room with her. We talked at length about the situation since she'd always stay silent about how it kept happening. Her explanation was mind-boggling.

She told us she comes from a patriarchal culture. Her father made an amazing seafood soup. If she didn't eat it and "force her body not to reject his gift to the family," she would lose her car, phone, or whatever punishment her father deemed necessary. We pleaded with her to do whatever it took to show him it was dangerous and carry her Epi-Pens with her.

Fast forward a few years when I went into nursing and joined that emergency room, I saw a familiar bloated face. Turns out, she had gone off to college in another state and hadn't been home for a while until visiting her folks for a holiday. Of course, she had the soup. But despite hitting herself with the Epi-Pen when her throat started tightening, the reaction continued. Her mom, who I had never seen before, told me she tried to eat it fast and rushed to the bathroom. They found her on the floor.

Medics couldn't tube her in the field and tried medical management until they could drive her to our emergency room. The doctor performed a tracheotomy at the bedside and she went to the intensive care unit. It took a week for her to recover and I was told by the nurses that her father "finally got it" that her allergy was a real medical condition.

Vegas factsPixabay

20. The Tell-Tale Signs

I heard an "Oh God" moment happen…when I was a patient on the operating table. A couple of years ago, I was in labor for 28 hours, pushing for six, when my child started showing signs of distress. The baby had a slightly elevated heart rate. My midwife at the hospital told me the doctor was coming in to check to see if a vacuum assist could help.

She checks me. Then I see a horrifying sight. She immediately stands up with blood on her hand and says “We're going to the operating room NOW.” At that time, I started feeling that zoomed-out tunnel vision I know is shock. I had anxiety, but I figured she knew what was best. She did. We got in the OR eight minutes later, and when they opened me up, I heard the surgeon say, "Oh God. Look at this."

They saw blood in my catheter bag, and upon fully opening me up found my son was actually trying to come through my uterus. He had ruptured it. They got my son out. Those moments where he was stunned and not crying were an eternity. Then he cried and he was born a completely healthy baby. After I woke up and was back in my room, the doctor came in and told me what happened. I knew a ruptured uterus sounded bad, but oh darn I googled and started having a massive anxiety attack.

A ruptured uterus is extremely rare and often fatal. I read from the time it happens, you have about 15 minutes before you bleed out and the baby is gone. When I went back for my follow-up, my midwife let me know she had never once encountered that, and it was such a big deal for them that a few days after my birth, they all got together to discuss my case.

I was so incredibly fortunate I chose to labor in a hospital, and that the doctor just knew from my vitals and baby's that something was off. They just didn't know exactly what until they got me open. I can't even tell you how grateful I am for Dr. S. You saved my life and my son's life and our family will forever be grateful.

Doctor oh God noUnsplash

21. Cradle To Grave

When I was a surgery intern, I was pulled to help out in a circus of a case. One of our older doctors was doing a simple liver biopsy on a patient and nicked her artery. Because the patient was already pretty sick, her tissue had the consistency of toilet paper—so every time they tried suturing the hole, the tissue just breaks apart, leaving a bigger, more leaky hole.

Pretty much all hands were on board. The chief residents were scrubbed in, the seniors were literally squeezing blood bags into the patient's veins, and us interns were runners, going back and forth from OR to the blood bank to transport blood and plasma. We ended up transfusing over 12 liters of blood, so the patient lost over two times her total blood volume during that surgery.

A vascular surgeon eventually swooped in and did a rather slick patchwork that fixed the problem. Even better: the patient was like a daughter to the surgeon. He literally saved this patient's life several times already, and they got really close over the years. She even named one of her kids after him. The poor guy broke down a few times during the surgery and was convinced that he had just killed his daughter.

The chief residents had to take over a few times when he was mentally not there. That was his last surgery...He retired the next day. Heck of a way to end a surgical career.

Doctor oh God noUnsplash

22. Oh To Be So Confident, Yet So Wrong

Not a doctor, but a woman I worked with. She was pretty sick for a few days with sinus problems and a headache. I told her it may have been a sinus infection, but she says no. Instead, she looks straight into my eyes and says "Have you ever seen those planes with the white trails that come out of them?" I reluctantly say yes. She said "they're harming us. Those are dangerous chemicals they're dropping onto all of us, that's why I'm so sick.”

She had a cold and was fine in a few days.

Plane Crashes factsShutterstock

23. Fly The Bird

This story is actually pretty cool and shows that my doctor was rad. I broke my middle finger in a metal door two years ago. I had to get my hand x-rayed. When I went in to get the x-ray, my doctor took one with my hand with all fingers out and another one me flipping the bird. I wish I had requested a copy of that birdie x-ray.

Doctors awkwardPexels

24. Words Of Wisdom

In hospice, if you whisper "It's OK, you can go. I will take care of your family" to someone who is "active" (actively passing), they pass a lot faster and more peacefully. Hugging the primary caregivers and telling them "You did such a good job" can also really help them positively process what’s happening.

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25. Dirty Little Secret

When I was a nursing student, I was on surgery practicum. We had a guy in who needed an elbow repair. I was pretty useless in everything but emotional support, as I wasn't qualified, so was chatting to him before he went under. He admitted to having an (un)healthy substance habit. I informed the surgeon, who shrugged it off. This was a big mistake.

Apparently, I should have told the anesthetist, because this dude woke up mid-surgery and was trying to reach for his open arm that the surgeon was working on. Super "Oh God" moment as we scramble to contain this guy's arm and stop it from touching anything sterile.

Doctor oh God noUnsplash

26. Silence Is Golden

I had a teen patient who lost speech for a couple days and got better. When I saw them again with their mom, I went over the tests and started discussing the possible causes. Mom interrupted me and said "Don't say anything else. I'm a firm believer that if you don't tell someone their diagnosis they can just heal on their own."

She literally didn't want me to tell her anything because she thought saying words out loud would give her kid diseases.

Meet The Parents FactsShutterstock

27. It All Comes Down

My dad had triple bypass surgery in 2011, and right when they were about to close him up, the vent fell out of the freaking ceiling, contaminating EVERYTHING. My dad looked like a Smurf when he finally came out of surgery because they had disinfected him so much. The surgeon was an ex-army surgeon and he came out SEETHING.

He basically told us that if my dad suffered any sort of post-op infection, we would own the hospital. Luckily, my dad was just fine and is still with us, healthier than he has been in a while. From what we have heard, the maintenance crew was epically chewed out, and the story is still told at the hospital.

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28. If It Isn’t The Consequences Of My Actions

We had a female patient in her late 20s who wanted to have a dental implant done on her. We told her she needed a sinus lift to accept the implant. We urged her to consider it since we can't perforate the sinus membrane with the implant, but she kept saying no to it, even after we explained everything to her. We even gave her discounts to convince her, but she insisted. I already knew this was going to be a disaster. 

We decided to get some help from our lawyer and dental association. They recommended using a waiver of responsibility. We had that done by the lawyer. On the day of surgery, we asked the patient to sign the document before we start. She got annoyed with us and said that she doesn't need to sign anything. But we said that we needed her to sign to perform this procedure against her best interests. Also if any problems arose in the future we would still help but are not liable in any way shape or form. After a bit she ended up signing the document and even took a picture of it.

We had the surgery done. It was a successful operation. Initial stability was achieved with no perforation of the sinus membrane, a healing cap was placed on it to prevent her from playing with it, and she was required to take antibiotics for two weeks as well as maintaining her dental hygiene. She had to return in six months for her abutment and crown.

A month later she called us up and said she was having a really sore throbbing pain on her cheek. This would either mean a pinched nerve or vein or a serious infection. We prescribed amoxicillin to her which is some strong stuff so this should have never happened. We decided to change the prescription and have it sent to her by email since she was abroad. Now, things were about to go REALLY wrong.

Two months later she called back and said that her implant fell off and she's intending to sue. Greenish yellow puss was oozing out of the failure site which indicated peri-implantitis as the cause. But the infection should have ceased by now. We started to get suspicious so we got the dental association involved. We offered to treat her infection, replace the implant, and rebuild the lost bone for free. But she didn't reply and instead of suing she went quiet and didn't reply until three months after her scheduled appointment.

She called back crying after she heard the news from her ophthalmologist. She was at risk of going blind in one eye. Other physicians say she had a major infection along all the major nerves on one side of her face, a massive amount of puss in her nasal and optical sinus, puss squirting out of the corners of her eye, and possibly even an infection at the lower parts of her brain.

She admitted that she never bought any of the prescriptions and didn't fly back because she was being too cheap. She regretted all of it. She couldn't stop crying over the phone. We wanted to help her, but she hung up and we couldn't call back.

Hospital Horror Stories FactsShutterstock

29. May We Join You?

This happened with my gynecologist. I needed a biopsy. The doctor started to open me up and all of a sudden there was a knock on the office door. Another doctor and two young-looking girls stepped in. "This is a teaching office," the other doctor said. "Do you mind if some students sit in on this?" At that point, I was pretty exposed anyway.

Jokingly, I said "Sure! The more, the merrier!" I had no idea that he was being very serious. They spent the next two minutes explaining my lady parts to these girls as they looked on curiously. Then the doctor took too much of a sample during the biopsy and had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop.

Doctors awkwardPexels

30. Things Fall Apart

Nurse here. You learn everything about the human body in school. Anatomically, physiologically, you know it all. However, you don't learn about the real emotional side of health care until you actually get out there. I had a patient who was depressed and got into a physical altercation. The county jail brought him to our hospital for complaints of chest pain.

He was a sweet guy. He was a lawyer many years ago, and during a case where gangs were involved, the group he was prosecuting shot up his law office and killed his assistant. He had a psychological break. He lost his law license and started hanging with the wrong crowd. He had no family, so he was basically all alone. The guy's lack of emotional stability resulted in him not being able to catch a break.

As it turned out, the chest pain was due to anxiety. His toxicology was clean, but he just couldn't get himself out of this hole. I really felt bad for him. He lost everything and struggled to get himself into a good place. I did everything I could to see if I could get him transferred to a behavioral unit so he could get the help he needed, but the admitting doctor said he didn't qualify.

I had to wake him up at three in the morning to tell him that he would be discharged and be going back behind bars. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. It was even harder than telling a family member their loved one wasn't going to make it and they should say goodbye.

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31. Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

Former medical student here. I remember one young patient, 22 years old, was re-visiting the ER, where he'd been seen six weeks prior for sustaining some abrasions and bruises after falling hard off a skateboard. He was all scraped up everywhere but had healed up OK. But now he's in the ER again, feeling awful sick and vomiting.

As the third year med student, I was dispatched to the bedside and hung up the CT films on the lightbox, to much finger-pointing and grunting among the surgeons. I had no idea how to read a CT at the time—I wasn't even really sure what part of the body had been scanned. So when the surgical resident barked "Prep him for surgery," I decided to disguise my ignorance and just go for it.

We got him gassed and prepped and I scrubbed in. The surgeon said "Open." That’s where it all started to go wrong. First, I had to be told what we were doing: The Kocher maneuver, where you basically move the intestines to expose what you want to get it. By now, everyone knows I’m not with it, but they watch me do it anyway.

I slid my gloved hand up, getting ready to grab the entire sack of intestines and move it up and over—but I met unexpected resistance. I peered up, seeing in my confusion that everyone was edging away from the table. "What's the trouble young man, get your hand up there and complete the maneuver! Push harder!" A spongy sort of barrier gave way with a sickening stench.

Suddenly, a gushing cascade of grey-brown, bloody pus roared out of the incision, soaking my gown, scrub pants, and shoes before splattering on the OR floor and walls. The guy had a splenic abscess, as I just found out. After that, the other doctors cleaned it up and mostly cured it. The attending finished up and the patient was good as new. I had to throw out my shoes.

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32. Dad Vs. Dentist

Dentist here. A dad brought his 16-year-old daughter down out of the hills of New Hampshire and told me to take out all of her perfectly sound teeth and make her a set of dentures. After I picked up MY jaw, I asked him why–he explained that she was engaged, and he was giving them a wedding present. By getting rid of her teeth, her husband wouldn't have to pay for dental bills for the next 50 years.

All attempts at educating him about the importance of natural dentition, the shortcomings of dentures, the fact that his daughter's teeth were near-perfect, and that removing them would be gross malpractice on my part–all met with blank stares and continued insistence. I told him he was flirting with a call to social services if he kept trying this, whereupon he stormed out with daughter in tow.

That was 20 years ago and I still facepalm over it.

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33. Don’t Go Empty-Handed

When I was a new nurse working in the ICU in a large teaching hospital, I came into work one morning to a patient who was admitted that night, sedated, intubated, and all. Long story short, by the end of the same shift his breathing tube was out and he was completely alert and oriented, so he was able to tell us what was going on.

He was an end-stage renal patient, meaning his kidneys didn't work and he needed dialysis, and he was only in his late 30s. He said he never made urine anymore and didn't need his catheter so he wanted it out because it was hurting. So I went to remove the catheter as I’d done about a thousand times on other patients. It was the start of a nightmare.

As soon as the catheter left, blood started pouring out of his you-know-what in a heavy stream. Turns out, the nurse who placed it on admission hadn't advanced it far enough, since there was no urine production to indicate correct placement. This had caused a massive amount of trauma. It would not stop bleeding. I had to hold this man's nether region "shut" to put pressure on it while my co-worker paged the resident.

The doctor came in, looked at me with pity, and told me to just keep holding this 30-something-year-old man's junk in my hands to staunch the blood flow until urology could get there to assess. It just kept gushing blood every time I eased up to check. For over an hour total, I held it and tried to make polite conversation until the urologist arrived.

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34. Do You Know Who You’re Talking To?

I'm an emergency doctor. A few months back, I had a patient who refused wear a mask. I calmly explained to him how it is hospital policy during the pandemic that everyone has to wear one to protect each other. He seemed to take it pretty well even though he kept trying to say that the mask makes it impossible for him to breathe.

At the same time he kept trying to tell me how he knows all the "science" and masks actually cannot stop the virus from transmission. He then gets super worked up, rips his mask off and starts screaming about two inches from my face about how freaking stupid I was for not knowing all the "facts". He literally said, "I can't believe the freaking hospital hires huge wimps like you to be a doctor. You need to man up it's not that big of a deal." He then stormed off coughing.

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35. Take It On The Chin

I had an ingrown hair on my chin that I tried to squeeze out. In the process of doing so, the puss around the hair must have backfired and erupted. Over the course of the next few hours, my chin began to swell as if I had an abundant amount of gum or a jawbreaker stuck in my lower lip. Seeing as something was wrong, I went to the doctor the next day.

It was my first time with that particular doctor mind you which made the whole thing even more awkward. I told her the story of how my chin came to be with the added blurb of, "But at least I got that sucker out!" After examining my chin, she called in what I assumed to be a resident to see the golf ball lump that had formed on my chin.

I reacted by exclaiming, "Gee, this doesn't make me feel showcased or awkward by any means.” Apologies and laughter ensued. The doctor prescribed me some pills and my lump infection was gone within two days.

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36. His Cup Spilleth Over

I was still in nursing school at the time this happened and I worked as a nurse’s aide overnights. I had been taking care of this really lovely old guy, and we had some great conversations. He was “with it” and doing well. In the morning, he had told me that he hadn’t slept well and was really looking forward to getting coffee from the cafeteria people.

Later that day, his call light went off and I went to check on him. When I opened the door, he said, “I think I spilled my coffee.” When I realized what it really was, the blood drained from my face. I turned on the light and there was poop everywhere. All over him, all over the walls, a bit on the ceiling, all over the bed, and on the floor. He was holding his cup of coffee, which also had poop all over it, and he was just looking at me.

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37. Lending A Hand

I was observing a hand surgery about a year ago at a teaching hospital. The surgeon was removing one of the carpals, which are the bones near the base of the hand, to be used later. A nurse was given the carpal to hold until it needed to be used. She ended up dropping the patient's bone right on the ground. The surgeon was not happy.

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38. Good Luck! You Need It

I had a patient come into the emergency department for what was essentially a cold. She kept requesting antibiotics. I kept explaining that they wouldn't help her viral symptoms. But I did then sit down and give her a basic tutorial on the differences between bacteria and viruses, and antibiotics and antivirals. Hopefully it was enough to help her in medical school finals the next week!

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39. Close But Not Quite

When I was in med school, there was an "Oh God" moment for everyone. They were prepping a patient for surgery and put him under and the nurse said "Ok, he's out" before they were about to start slicing him open. The patient just had enough strength to move his head from side to side and said "No, I'm not out yet." Everyone laughed it off, but if the patient didn't do that, it could have ended badly.

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40. They Fumbled The Ball

I jammed my finger playing football on the beach with my brother. Instant bruise perfectly around my finger and started swelling. My brothers are athletic sports trainers, both tell me I'm weak and they see that every day at work. I go four weeks banging it on everything at work. I finally see a doctor, and she tells me that my brothers and I are idiots my middle finger is shattered.

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41. Parting Gifts

I went for a physical when I was 14. At that point, I'd had my first period but it wasn't very regular yet. At school that day it just happened to start and it started with a vengeance. All I had with me was panty liners and that wasn't going to cut it so I ended up going into the bathroom and stuffing my underwear with toilet paper, like you do.

Of course, when I get to the doctor she said, "Since you're a teenager and you're going through a lot of changes, I’d like to do a check of your stuff down there just to make sure everything looks ok. Nothing internal, just external." So, I pulled my underwear down and a ton of bloody bunched-up toilet paper fell out. I tried to pick it up before she noticed but she definitely did.

She was cool about it though. Before she left the room, she gave me a "goody bag" (just a little bag with a sample of acne cream, candy, and random little toys she gave kids before they left) and slipped a pad into the bag as well. What a pal.

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42. Sic Transit Gloria

Actually, pretty much everything I saw and did when working in oncology was new to me after medical school. It was the most amazing, rewarding, messed up, and emotional thing I've ever done. One day, I was leaving work for two weeks of holidays and said goodbye to my patient who I'd been looking after for the last week.

Both of us knew it was the last time we would see each other, as he wouldn't last two weeks. I can't even explain how much it affected me. He didn't want to pass and he was an absolute legend. That was four years ago. I think of him all the time; he was stopping treatment a few days after my holidays and going home to have a party with his buddies from the soccer club.

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43. The Neighbors

An elderly lady came into my practice asking if there was anything she could be given to help her sleep, as the Irish terrorists in the flat below were keeping her awake at night. She was reassured that terrorists were not planning to blow her up, or Cannock, a small inconsequential town in the West Midlands, for that matter.

On the second visit, she insisted that they were going to blow something up soon and expressed paranoid thoughts. A full mental health review was conducted by the GP and the community psychiatrist. She came up clean. That's when we contacted the authorities, a couple of days later the flat below our patient was raided and found to be full of explosive equipment and real IRA members.

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44. A Seed Of Truth

My uncle is a respirologist, and he was supervising lung surgery to remove a tumor. Well, when they opened the guy up, they all went white as a sheet. Turns out, the so-called “tumor” was actually a root ball. Some type of seed had gotten into the patient's lungs and started to grow. No one had ever seen anything like it before.

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45. Denial Isn’t Just A River In Egypt

We recently had a married couple come in and the wife had late-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that had been undiagnosed for years. My boss diagnosed her and told her she had it. He told her husband, too. Her husband kicked up a major fuss because he was sure because the Internet said she had borreliosis. He refused to let himself or her accept the disease.

Turns out, before they came to us, they'd been to THE Mayo Clinic where they‘d also been told she had ALS. And he‘d kicked up a major fuss there, too. So this woman is dying of a disease she refuses to believe she has.

King Hussein of Jordan facts Wikimedia Commons

46. Never A Dull Moment

I was a fourth-year resident and I was on call that day. Around 5 pm, I went to do rounds and as I got to the first room, I came in to find the first-year resident on top of a patient who had very recently had neck surgery. As I came closer, my blood ran cold. The resident was kneeling next to the guy’s head with his hands and clothes completely covered in blood.

There was blood on the roof, on the sheets, on the bed, dripping onto the floor, you name it. I was instantly petrified. I knew his carotid artery was ruptured, and I’d never repaired one before. I am completely unqualified to help this guy! Someone, please HELP US! I was the senior resident, so I was the only one on call at the time.

Besides that, no one could get there in time to help this guy. He was bleeding out, so it was up to me alone to help him. So I took the guy to the OR as fast as we could and I opened him up, all of the time praying and telling myself “It's OK, I can do this, I can do this!” I was pooping my pants while everyone was looking at me to fix him.

I open him up and I see the freaking artery loose, spraying blood all over. I clamped it, put a knot around it, and that was it. We closed him up, bandage, and transfuse the poor guy, and I went to collapse on a stool.

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47. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

My dad had a heart attack and went to the emergency room. While he was there he coded EIGHT TIMES. His heart stopped and he had to be revived. He survived and they admitted him. He had a lot of damage. After a couple of weeks he checked himself out because “them freaking jerks don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.”

He was found lifeless from heart failure about three weeks later.

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48. Lights Out, Pants Off

I was seeing a urologist in a hospital once. During my visit, there were a couple of power cuts. The lights dipped out but the generators kicked in, thankfully. As the urologist was finishing the examination, mid-sentence, the lights went out again. This time, however, the generator did not kick in right away. The urologist got up and walked out to check on things.

15 minutes later, the lights came back on. I was still sitting on the bed with my old chap out and pants around my ankles. A nurse walked past the open door and does one of those comedy double-takes. “Do…do you have an appointment?" she asked. Turns out, the urologist had actually finished the examination and returned to the ward a while ago.

To the nurse, I was just some guy who had walked in and pulled his pants down and left the door open. Awkward.

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49. Choose Your Words

We are taught to explain to patients exactly what we are doing, as we are doing it, so delicate wording becomes important during female pelvic exams. Instead of, "Okay, I am going to place the speculum inside now, so you'll just feel some warm pressure," my buddy—who was new at this—ended up saying "Okay, I'm going inside you now."

The female patient responds, "No thanks, I already have three children."

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50. No Laughing Matter

I had an ingrown toenail, and it was supposed to be a quick fix. I was 14 and had my mom in with me. They let an apprentice do the surgery, and suddenly he goes “Oh God.” The doctor in charge just laughed and said "No risk, no fun." Turns out they messed up my toe, and I had to have four more surgeries to correct it. I cried.

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51. Dad Doesn’t Know Best

When I was in seventh grade I hurt my pinky finger playing softball, but my dad being the assistant coach that he is told me I "just jammed it." I told him I think I did more than that since my finger was completely numb, yet in excruciating pain. I picked up the softball after it happened and it felt like there was a hole in the ball where my finger was supposed to be.

Disregarding everything I was sobbing to him, he decided to pull my finger since it was "jammed." For the next couple months I continued to play softball. Thank God for Icy Hot and Advil. My dad said “Maybe it wasn't jammed. Since it still hurts you probably just got a bone bruise.” Eventually, my finger also developed a very solid bump on the side of my joint—it’s still there—and the pain never really went away.

When softball season ended we finally went to the doctor and had X-rays taken. When the doctor saw them he was amazed I still played since my bone was completely shattered into at least six pieces. He said he couldn't give an exact number because of the healing and the angle of the X-rays. The bump on my finger was a calcium buildup from the healing which could have been avoided if I had gone to the doctors when it happened. The only good thing was that I didn't need to have my finger rebroken to fix the placement of any of the fragments since my dad pulled it initially. Gotta love coach dads!

Told you soFlickr

52. It’s Getting Hot In Here

I was working in obstetrics during a heatwave. This is important, as maternity wards are kept quite warm since newborn babies aren't good at regulating their temperatures. Mid-emergency cesarean, the scrub nurse assisting the operation starts feeling faint. This is unusual, as this scrub nurse worked in these theaters full-time, so this was her bread and butter.

I can only conclude it was the heat that did it. Anyway, she has to step out and someone far more junior had to take her place, it was the nurse’s first section ever. They were trying to assist with the instruments in the uterus when they fainted. I had to jump in and grab the back of their gown to stop them face-planting the open uterus, and then sort of gently tug backward to let them fall into me while someone else took over. Thank God the baby was already out.

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53. You Had One Job

We were operating on the carotid artery of a patient. Mid-surgery, there was a gaping hole in his neck, and suddenly the patient woke up. “Easy fix,” I think to myself, and I start shouting at the anesthesiologist to put him back under…only he’d gone out for a moment. I had to hold the guy’s head with my elbow so he wouldn't move too much and hurt himself until the guy came back.

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54. That Really Grinds His Gears

I was walking through the hallway to the toilet mid-lesson, and tripped over some kid's bag who had left it in the middle of the corridor. Wrist locks up, can't move it at all. Parents say it's probably just a sprain—I can't move it for two months. When it does ease up, there is a horrible grinding noise. Ten years later, and on the morning of a motor race, my wrist locks up completely. I can't move it.

I go to a doctor and get an MRI. He tells me that it fractured with two tendons or ligament tears. Since nothing was done back then, they have subsequently disintegrated rather than healed—so I only have ten of the 12 I should have. My wrist can "slide" sideways now. An arthroscopy to remove bone fragments later, and I’m now ten years further down the line heading for a second as more bone fragments get ground away every decade or so apparently!

Also...still comes as a surprise to my parents when I tell them my wrist is messed up.

Worst Mistakes FactsNeedpix

55. This Promise I Keep

During a yearly check-up, my doctor was concerned about my weight. I promised him I'd do better and that next year I would be back down to a healthy weight. Maybe a week or so later my doctor saw me at a local pub with a plate of hot wings in front of me and a pint of ale. He was a bro about it and didn't say anything but I could see the look of disappointment in his eyes.

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56. A Real Tear-Jerker

I'm not a doctor, but a pharmacy technician. About a year ago, a young woman who came in was very upset. She turned in a prescription for a bunch of anti-anxiety and anti-psychosis medications. All was going well until I realized we were out of one of them. I had to tell her that I needed to order it for the next day. She was OK with it at first, but then I saw the rage flooding her eyes.

I asked her if she was OK and she said yes, so I continued typing up the prescriptions. The next thing I knew, she began crying. She started telling me that she was just released from a psych ward and she had tried to harm herself a couple of weeks back. She rolled up her sleeves and her arms were covered in deep cuts. She began to ask me if I thought she would ever get re-accepted to nursing school.

Apparently, they kick you out if you get admitted to the hospital for psychological symptoms. I had no idea what to tell her except that I hoped she got in and that if she worked hard, they should give her a chance. I know this all may sound shallow, but I was not prepared for this. Nothing in pharmacy tech training told me how to react.

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57. A Win For Once

Fifth-year resident here. There are lots of bad moments throughout training, but I do have one positive “Oh God” moment. This patient had a kidney tumor. We made a big incision, and my attending and I are dancing around the aorta and vena cava. I was expecting that we'd need to cut and clamp the vena cava to get all the cancer out.

But my attending literally squeezes the tumor out of the vena cava and back into the renal vein and then has me tie it off. It was incredible, and incredibly rare to be able to do. The patient went home in like four days and is still doing great. First time I felt like “Oh man, I'm a surgeon."

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58. Double The Trouble

My boss was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer after a lump grew on the side of his neck, and it bloomed like something out of a movie. His doctor wanted to start chemotherapy and radiation immediately, but my boss decided against it. He wants to cure it naturally by drinking freshly squeezed juice and doing foot baths to cleanse his body of toxins. He now has a second lump growing on his neck.

DIY Medical Hacks Gone WrongPixabay

59. Small Cut, Big Consequences

I was the patient. I had a liver transplant and was having surgery to get a new bile duct stent. Well apparently, my anatomy is different than normal, and my lungs go more down my sides. So the doctor accidentally caused a nick. It had devastating consequences. When I woke up, I couldn't breathe. They did an X-ray and had to do a chest tube.

Apparently, he cried he felt so bad about it all. But it wasn't him being malicious or negligent, it was simply an accident.

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60. Well That Didn’t End Well

My father saw a patient who was convinced that hospitals were a sham. She had cancer. She winds up on chemo for a bit but very quickly tells my father she isn't going to be taking her medication anymore because "she knows when she's being duped" and the side effects of her medication were "proof". Apparently, the chemo my father was prescribing was a ploy by Big Pharma. Apparently, that was what was actually causing the "cancer" in the first place.

Well, she decides to go off her medication for a bit and starts feeling better since no chemo means no side effects. She takes this as further proof that hospitals are a sham and starts blogging about it. She posts online about how she's living proof that hospitals are fraudulent and telling people to stop buying Big Pharma's lies.

She was then sent back to my father, via ambulance, sometime later. The test results were back and, surprise surprise, stage four cancer. She passed in the hospital later that week.

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61. Pearl Of Wisdom

This isn’t really an embarrassing story because my doctor is amazing but anyway. I went to the doctor when I was around 16. I'd started developing allergies for the first time and wanted to get it checked out. She checked my nose and throat. Yup, sure enough, it was allergies. Then she checked my right ear and literally said, "What the heck is that?"

I was like, "Oh, sorry. Yeah, I get a lot of ear wax." And she was like, "No. It's shiny." Backtrack to four days before that. I was a rebellious teen and wanted to stretch my ears without my mom knowing. So, being the smart kid that I was, I had hot glued some pearls to the plugs so they looked like earrings. One morning I woke up and one was missing and I couldn't find it.

I had to tell my doctor that my "earring" broke and I'd been looking for that pearl for days. She laughed, I laughed, she tried to get it out and couldn't. She eventually had to call an ENT doctor instead. I ended up getting it out at home later.

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62. Cat’s Cradle

When you have to euthanize a 91-year-old woman’s ancient cat who belonged to her husband; then, when you set the cat on the hospital blanket, you ask the sweet old woman who lost her husband and daughter in the same month, “Would you like your blanket back?” And she answers with tears in her eyes, “I just want my family back.” No, it doesn’t get easier.

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63. A Rude Awakening

I was having surgery on my breast to remove what they suspected was cancer. I woke up during the surgery and I looked up and saw four people with scrub caps on, staring down at me. I looked at my boob in pure horror, and that is all I remember because they knocked me back out. Still makes me want to vomit thinking about it.

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64. Half-Baked Health Hack

My mother believes that if you make food from scratch then it's healthier for you. For instance, she thinks that making a chocolate cake from scratch, including milling her own flour, is a healthier alternative to a store-bought cake with identical ingredients. She is diabetic. Her doctors have said in as many ways as they can think of that she has to reduce her carb intake.

What my mother thinks is, “gosh, maybe I should grow the sugarcane myself instead of buying sugar at the store and my bloodwork will finally be in the normal range.” Her liver and pancreas have failed multiple times. Each time, the doctors manage to restore organ function by restricting her carb intake. They explain that she has to continue to follow a low-carb diet at home. She does not, because she's convinced that she's already on a healthy diet. Rinse and repeat.

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65. You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

One day, I got called into a long, six-hour cardiac procedure to ensure a laparoscopic camera was working and able to record. The surgery was nearing the end, so I knew I was about to see something good—they wanted to record something big. Suddenly, the surgeon pulls out some kind of growth from inside this guy's heart.

This thing was the size of a chicken wing. It was growing through his valve, and I'm honestly amazed the patient was alive. Supposedly the only symptoms were shortness of breath.

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66. Too Little, Too Late

I have treated a young male in our ICU with critical COVID19 with severe diabetic ketoacidosis. He did not believe in insulin or other antidiabetics. Yes, you are reading this right. Even though insulin is inexpensive in our country, he tried to treat his Type Two diabetes with herbs. His test results were off the roof. He did not vaccinate and he was offered. He did not wear a mask, did not social distance, and did not believe in coronavirus.

Most of this information was obtained from his 20-year-old daughter, as he was quite disoriented at presentation and was intubated urgently. She was sobbing through the phone every day for one-and-a-half months until he passed. I held the phone with his daughter on call to his ears multiple times when he was still intubated but his mind cleared up and his sedation was optimal.

I was quite convinced that he realized his mistake on the ventilator—with lines and tubes inserted into his body everywhere—in his last clear moments.

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67. Wait Until You See This…

I went to the dermatologist when I was 18 just before heading off to college. I had a few red spots on my chest and she wanted to check "down below" to ensure there was no internal bleeding. While my pants were down and she was checking everything out, the nurse walked in without knocking. She got a nice view…along with half the waiting room.

The nurse backed out quickly and I received a profuse apology from the dermatologist. The doctor had to go prepare a treatment and I got to hear her tear the nurse a new one in the next room.

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68. Cruel To Be Kind

Before practicing, I use to think death was the worst possible outcome. After working in the ICU for 10 years, I feel as though the staff is sometimes forced to prolong life despite the morality of it. I would even go as far as to say we put patients through long, arduous torment and suffering. For example, I took care of this patient in a neurosurgical ICU that had a massive brain aneurysm that ruptured.

He came to the hospital and went straight to the operating room to remove large parts of the skull to allow for his brain swelling. Weeks went by and the patient never recovered. The patient only had some minimal reflexes. He was basically unresponsive—he couldn't move any of his extremities. However, the patient was not clinically brain dead.

Despite many meetings between the healthcare staff and the family about the severity of the injury and the 0% chance of the patient having a meaningful recovery, the family decided that they wanted us to do all that we could to sustain his life. It all went wrong in the worst ways. Over three months of being in the ICU, the patient developed huge bed sores from not being able to be turned due to his critical injuries.

He also developed necrotic appendages in his feet, ears, hands, and nose as well as worsening swelling of the brain. It became so prominent that the patient's head incisions started to split open. Eventually, multi-organ failure set in and he ended up passing via a slow, painful end. Such a horrible situation, and one that I regret to this day.

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69. Caught Red-Handed

My husband went in for a routine colonoscopy and as they were prepping him, the anesthetist asks him if he's a ginger. My husband tells him, “Yeah.” When he was a kid growing up, he had fire engine red hair, though it's faded to a more strawberry blonde now. The anesthetist laughs and says, “Okay, I gotcha, we'll give you the redhead dosage.”

He then winks. Well, my husband thinks it's funny…until he wakes up at the tail end of the procedure and the doctors are just chatting it up. Turns out, it's not a joke and redheads have some type of natural block to anesthesia. The doctor had given him the maximum allowable dosage and he still woke up. It could have gone so much worse.

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70. I Didn’t Get It From My Papa

My father was a stubborn idiot and was adamant about not following doctor's orders. He was a long-time smoker and drinker. So dear old father goes in and has a mole excised from his privates. Uh oh. Biopsy comes back and it's not malignant. Great, except he didn't follow the doctor's order on how to take care of it after the fact. Gangrene.

Yep. They lopped it off. I only found out about that in my late teens. It was a mind-shattering reveal from my mother and older sister.

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71. The Swamps Of Dagobah

I’m a nurse. I was on call one night and woke up at two in the morning for a "general surgery" call. Pretty vague, but at the time, I lived in a town that had large populations of young military guys and avid substance users, so late-night emergencies were common. Got to the hospital, where a few more details awaited me: "anal abscess."

Needless to say, our entire crew was less than thrilled. I went down to the Emergency Room to transport the patient, and the only thing the ER nurse said as she handed me the chart was "Have fun with this one." Amongst healthcare professionals, vague statements like that are a bad sign. My patient was a 314 lb. woman who barely fit on the stretcher I was transporting her on.

She was rolling frantically side-to-side and moaning in pain, pulling at her clothes and muttering Hail Marys. I could barely get her name out of her after a few minutes of questioning, so after I confirmed her identity and what we were working on, I figured it was best just to get her to the anaesthesiologist so we could knock her out and get this circus started.

She continued her theatrics the entire 10-minute ride to the O.R., nearly falling off the surgical table as we were trying to put her under. We see patients like this a lot, though, chronic users who don't handle pain well and who have used so much that even increased levels of pain medication don't touch simply because of high tolerance levels.

We got the lady off to sleep, put her into the stirrups, and I began washing off the rectal area. It was red and inflamed, a little bit of pus was seeping through, but it was all pretty standard. Her chart had noted that she'd been injecting IV substances through her bottom, so this was obviously an infection from dirty needles, but overall, it didn't seem to me to warrant her repeated cries of "Oh Jesus." I soon discovered how wrong I was.

The surgeon steps up with a scalpel, sinks just the tip in, and at the exact same moment, the patient had a muscle twitch in her diaphragm, and just like that, all heck broke loose. Unbeknownst to us, the infection had actually tunneled nearly a foot into her abdomen, creating a vast cavern full of pus, rotten tissue, and fecal matter that had seeped outside of her colon.

This godforsaken mixture came rocketing out of that little incision. We all wear waterproof gowns, face masks, gloves, hats, the works—all of which were as helpful was rain boots against a fire hose. The bed was in the middle of the room, an easy seven feet from the nearest wall, but by the time we were done, I was still finding bits of rotten flesh pasted against the back wall.

As the surgeon continued to advance his blade, the deluge just continued. The patient kept seizing against the ventilator, and with every muscle contraction, she shot more of this brackish gray-brown fluid out onto the floor until, within minutes, it was seeping into the other nurse's shoes. I was nearly twelve feet away, jaw dropped open within my surgical mask, watching the second nurse dry-heaving and the surgeon standing on tip-toes to keep this stuff from soaking his socks any further.

The smell hit them first. "Oh god, I just threw up in my mask!" The other nurse was out, she tore off her mask and sprinted out of the room, shoulders still heaving. Then it hit me, mouth still wide open, not able to believe the volume of fluid this woman's body contained. It was like getting a great big bite of the despair and apathy that permeated this woman's life.

I couldn't breathe, my lungs simply refused to pull any more of that stuff in. The anesthesiologist went down next, his six-foot-two frame shaking as he threw open the door to the OR suite in an attempt to get more air in, letting me glimpse the second nurse still throwing up in the sinks outside the door. Another geyser of pus splashed across the front of the surgeon.

The YouTube clip of "David at the dentist" keeps playing in my head—"Is this real life?" In all operating rooms, everywhere in the world, regardless of socialized or privatized, secular or religious, big or small, there is one thing the same: Somewhere, there is a bottle of peppermint concentrate. Everyone in the department knows where it is, everyone knows what it is for, and everyone prays to the gods that they never have to use it.

In times like this, we rub it on the inside of our masks to keep the outside smells at bay long enough to finish the procedure and shower off. I sprinted to our central supply, ripping open the drawer where this vial of ambrosia was kept and was greeted by—an empty box. The bottle had been emptied and not replaced.

Somewhere out there was a godless person who had used the last of the peppermint oil, and not replaced a single drop of it. To this day, if I figure out who it was, I'll hurt them with my bare hands. I darted back into the room with the next best thing I can find, a vial of Mastisol, which is an adhesive rub we use sometimes for bandaging.

It's not as good as peppermint, but considering that over one-third of the floor was now thoroughly coated in what could easily be mistaken for a combination of bovine after-birth and maple syrup, we were out of options. I started rubbing as much of the Mastisol as I could get on the inside of my mask, just glad to be smelling anything except whatever slimy demon spawn we'd just cut out of this woman.

The anesthesiologist grabbed the vial next, dowsing the front of his mask in it so he could stand next to his machines long enough to make sure this woman didn't expire on the table. It wasn't until later that we realized that Mastisol can give you a mild high from huffing it like this, but in retrospect, that's probably what got us through.

By this time, the smell had permeated out of our OR suite, and down the 40-foot hallway to the front desk, where the other nurse still sat, eyes bloodshot and watery, clenching her stomach desperately. Our suite looked like the underground river of ooze from Ghostbusters II, except dirty. Oh so dirty. I stepped back into the OR suite, not wanting to leave the surgeon by himself in case he genuinely needed help.

It was like one of those overly-artistic representations of a zombie apocalypse you see on fan forums. Here's this one guy, in blue surgical garb, standing nearly ankle-deep in lumps of dead tissue, fecal matter, and several liters of syrupy infection. He was performing surgery in the swamps of Dagobah, except the swamps had just come out of this woman's behind and there was no Yoda.

He and I didn't say a word for the next 10 minutes as he scraped the inside of the abscess until all the dead tissue was out, the front of his gown a gruesome mixture of brown and red, his eyes squinted against the stinging vapors originating directly in front of him. I finished my required paperwork as quickly as I could, helped him stuff the recently-vacated opening full of gauze, taped this woman's buttocks closed to hold the dressing for as long as possible, woke her up, and immediately shipped off to the recovery ward.

Until then, I'd only heard of "alcohol showers." Turns out 70% isopropyl is about the only thing that can even touch a scent like that once it’s soaked into your skin. It takes four or five bottles to get really clean, but it's worth it. It's probably the only scenario I can honestly endorse drinking a little of it, too.

As we left the locker room, the surgeon and I looked at each other, and he said the only negative sentence I heard him utter in two and a half years of working together: "That was bad." The next morning, the entire department still smelled. The housekeepers told me later that it took them nearly an hour to suction up all of the fluid and debris left behind. The OR suite itself was closed off and quarantined for two more days just to let the smell finally clear out.

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72. Why Am I Even Here?

Paramedic here. A few months back I got called to a church. Guy had an episode of syncope and had some other stuff going on. As I was working as a first responder, I was the first one to make patient contact. When I approached the patient who was semi-responsive and was shaking slightly, the wife put her arm out and blocked me from approaching any further. She said, “Don't touch him, Jesus is healing him.”

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73. You’re Not My Doctor

Although I am a doctor this story happened to my great uncle, who was also a doctor. He practiced in a rural town in Australia. So, my great uncle had a practice with another doctor named Dr. Snow. Snow had a son who had some form of intellectual disability. The way the story has been passed down, they make it sound like he was an imbecile.

I know it’s politically incorrect but that’s how they described him (different times). Anyway, one day Dr. Snow was seeing some patients and his son, aged in his mid-20s, was hanging around the practice. Dr. Snow went off to do something and in the meantime, his son decided to play doctor. He put on the white coat and opened the door and the next patient came in.

It was a pregnant woman. He asked her to undress and turned his back. When he turned back around he looked her up and down and said, “What, no Johnson?” The woman ran screaming out one door and he ran screaming out another. I think they were both pretty embarrassed.

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74. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

I was a psych nurse for nearly two years, and honestly, we learn very little about psychology in school. The clinical lessons were basically useless, so there was a lot I had to learn as I went...like how to stay calm when you’re cutting a pillowcase off someone’s neck that they tried to hang themselves with, or how to deal with a psychotic teenager who’s bigger than you punching holes in the drywall and then using the pieces as weapons.

Or what to do when you walk into the dark day room at 3 am to find your patient perched on top of the giant TV near the ceiling like he’s schizophrenic Batman. Yeah, there was never a dull day.

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75. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

I had a hysterectomy a week ago, and I begged the nurse for four hours while in recovery to please take the catheter out because it was painful and I felt like I had to pee. She kept telling me it was a normal catheter sensation, and I know that that's at least part of what was going on, but it felt like my bladder was going to burst. I just didn’t know how bad it would get.

About 10 minutes after she obviously begrudgingly took it out, I paged another nurse to help me go to the bathroom. She was in the middle of telling me it might take 20 minutes or multiple trips to pee because it's usually just sensation from the catheter making you think you have to pee—when I unleashed an absolute waterfall of urine.

I don't know if it was clogged, not put in right, or if I'm just weird and somehow my body wasn't going to relax enough to let me urinate through the catheter. I really wished she would have pulled it without making me wait four hours.

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76. That’ll Show Them!

This patient was being treated for her diabetes. She had long been non-compliant with her diet and medications. We had tried everything and the patient was just not doing anything about her disease. The doctor being fed up basically told her what was going to happen to her if she doesn't start caring for herself. The patient's reaction was beyond nuts.

The patient got mad at the doctor and drove to the store and came back with a bag full of candy bars and decided to sit outside in the waiting room and eat her candy to spite the doctor.

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77. The Water Cure

When I had mono, I was getting incredibly overheated and was drinking lots of water. I still felt incredibly dehydrated, so I contacted a nurse on call and told them that despite drinking liters upon liters I was still feeling dehydrated and my headache was getting worse. She told me to just keep drinking more water. This turned out to be near-fatal advice.

My symptoms kept getting worse, so I finally went to the doctor—who told me I almost passed from over-hydration. A few Gatorades later, I felt a million times better.

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78. Game, Set, Match

When I was in pharmacy school, I was doing my internal medicine rotation in my final year. My supervisor and I were doing med reviews in the ICU when one of the doctors said "Hey, you wanna see something cool?" They were trying to extract a foreign object from a guy's lung in one of the rooms. So we go in and watch for a bit.

There were about six people in the room. A tube was down the guy's throat. Little grippers at the end. Two doctors are watching a monitor and trying to control the grabbers and get it like a claw game. I watched for a bit, then after a while, I lost interest and went back out to what I was doing. A few minutes later I hear: "Got it!" *Cheers from the room* "Oh it's a tooth!"

The dude aspirated his own molar. The doctor walks out with his trophy in a jar, and it's a completely intact tooth, root and all.

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79. Is It His Will Or Are You Witless?

We had a case in the news here recently. A little boy broke his arm playing, his mother took him to a local healer instead of a hospital. I'm not sure exactly what he did to the arm, set it wrong maybe or just sprinkled some herbs on it, but after a while the boy complained that he was in pain and the limb was turning blue. Finally, the mom takes him to a real doctor. At this point, it got so bad that they had to amputate the arm.

The worst thing about it is that the mother didn't feel any remorse, didn't even blame the healer. No. She said that it must have been God's will for her son to become an amputee at such a young age

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80. A Curious Stranger

I’m an ER doctor. I was interviewing a fairly attractive young lady about a pelvic complaint. She answered all of my questions quite comfortably with some guy in the room. I hand her a gown so she could change for the pelvic exam, and she said, "Can you ask this guy to leave first? He just followed me in here from triage."

That’s the last time I neglected to establish the relationship of all the people in the room.

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81. Ice Cold

A resident at my nursing home had hemorrhoids, and they were reportedly bleeding at the beginning of my shift. I called in some medicine for her, but it didn’t come in that night. When I checked on her, she seemed fine, so I assumed she could wait. I passed the information about the situation to the next shift and went home. That was a big mistake, apparently.

I got called into the office the next day and my boss yelled at me about it. I followed protocol and charted the situation accurately, so I was super confused about what the problem was. They then asked me, “Why didn't you just put an ice cube in her?”...WHAT. “An ice cube?” I exclaimed. “Yes,” they said, “Didn't you learn that in school?” Ummm no...

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82. Pobody’s Nerfect

I have a coronary heart issue. I once watched a video of my surgery, as they are used as teaching tools at Baylor, and I convinced someone to let me see. At one point the surgeon, while holding my half-heart in his hand, says "Oops!" I couldn't pick out the mistake, but it certainly freaked me out at the time. I still think about that.

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83. You’re Missing The Key Ingredient

Patient came in speaking very arrogantly about how they knew exactly what was wrong and they’ve been “in the medical industry” for over a decade and weren’t going to be duped and duped by doctors. They were only there as a formality from her company to provide that they were sick so they could get unemployment, worker's compensation, leave, or whatever.

The patient was absolutely certain they suffered from sickle-cell anemia. They had claimed all the right symptoms and seemed to mimic them when asked. The patient was stunned when my sister diagnosed them with dehydration and suggested an inner ear disorder, and recommended her to a specialist. The patient was pretty frustrated with my sister and even became irate.

My sister stopped her and asked them why they were so certain they had sickle cell in the first place? Again patient said they were well versed in the medical field, blah blah... my sister said “Well just see the specialist." My sister told her to make sure she double-checks that selects all of the correct information when using the symptom checker on WebMD before self-diagnosing anything. Specifically, she was missing One Key Factor in why she could absolutely not have sickle-cell anemia…she was white.

These Poor Idiots Take Stupid To The Next Level

84. What Lies Beneath

My mom had to have a kidney removed due to her waiting for almost two years to go to the doctor about her pain in her back. The doctors found out it was a large kidney stone and that her kidney was infected and had lots of gross pus shutting it down. After draining the fluids through tubes, she was finally ready for surgery.

Cue last Wednesday, the day of the surgery, and she was ready to finally be done with it. They removed the stent and put in the tubes no problem, next was the kidney. Here comes the “Oh God” moment. As they get ready to remove the kidney, they realized the kidney’s infection had spread to a portion of her lung and a major artery, making them fragile as toilet paper.

As the surgeon removed the kidney, he tore a hole in the lung, and even worse, he severed the artery. At that point, it was a race to save her life and stabilize her. I don’t remember much about how they fixed her up there, but they had to fly her to a different hospital and have a heart surgeon fix the severed artery in a more permanent fashion.

Anyway, the heart doctor saw the grave situation and said she’s got a 1% chance to make it. But he did such an excellent job that my mom is still alive and getting stronger each day. The moral of this story is: If you have insurance and are experiencing pain, go to a doctor as soon as you realize it. You may save your life, and also save some doctors from an “Oh God” moment like this.

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85. Thanks For The Lesson…Or Not

When I was a medical student, this middle-aged male patient from a rural area got it in his head that I knew absolutely nothing and he was doing me a service, teaching and talking to me. He was in the colorectal clinic for something unrelated and started telling me about the "gland" on the back of his neck that would drain every so often. When he saw that I was unfamiliar with this particular "gland," he gave me this knowing look, laughed and started instructing me, the dumb little medical student, about this "gland."

Apparently, everybody has this gland for the immune system, but that his would drain when he was "stressed." No sir, I was being polite but you have a nasty abscess on the back of your neck.

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86. Sounds Like A Cool Dude

While working in the hospital, a very attractive female in her mid-20s came in with her boyfriend complaining of abdominal pain. Part of the work-up required a pelvic exam and bimanual exam (that meant putting two fingers into the patient’s cervix). I offered to have a female perform the exam but she said it was ok if I did it.

A chaperone was present but her boyfriend demanded to watch as well. Now, I’m a professional but the whole situation got really weird. The patient’s boyfriend stood across the foot of the bed from me. He stared me directly in the eyes with a scowl the entire time I performed the bimanual exam. It made for a very uncomfortable situation for all—but it wasn't even over.

After the exam, the boyfriend pulled me aside and told me that he thought he knew why his girlfriend was in pain. He claimed to have "[bedded] her harder than ever” the previous night. I have no idea why he felt the need to say that but I assume it was because he was trying to prove something. It was the strangest encounter I’ve had with a patient or their family.

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87. The Rear View

Nurse here. A very panicked nursing assistant came running to the desk one day, saying, “You have to see this! I don’t know what this is!” She then brought me into a private room where she was giving the patient a bath. She pointed to an area on the patient’s buttocks. “What is that?” I leaned in for a closer inspection, and my face went white.

The patient then started to turn back around and said, “IS THAT MY EYE?!” Sure enough, my patient had a prosthetic eye that came out of the socket at some point and it became suction-cupped to her buttock. I left the room and had never laughed so hard in my life. Truly one of the most bizarre and hilarious moments in my career.

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88. Odd Anatomy

I’m a biomedical scientist, and my officemate was a medical doctor working on his PhD. He once did an appendectomy and cut into this person’s abdomen—only to find no appendix. He started freaking out. The support nurses in the room, however, started snickering at him because they knew right away what the problem really was.

Occasionally, they see someone with a rare genetic disorder where all their left-right asymmetries are reversed. This patient’s appendix was on the other side.

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89. There’s No Cure For Stupidity

I've seen some really stupid people over the years. A few weeks ago a patient's family member got into a verbal altercation with me over the fact that I was trying to "freeze his mother." He kept pointing to the digital thermostat displaying a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. When I gently explained to him that 23 Celsius is not at all cold, he just kept pointing to the display and shouting, "You don't think 23 degrees is cold?! It's 23 FREAKING DEGREES IN HERE!" and acting insane.

After multiple attempts to explain to him what Celsius is by myself, the charge nurse, house supervisor, and security, we finally gave up and had him escorted out. He was a man in at least his late-30s who graduated high school and had never heard of Celsius and Fahrenheit. He literally thought we were making it up in an attempt to conceal my efforts to freeze his intubated, critically ill mother.

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90. An Honest Mistake

I have a friend who is a doctor. He was doing a rectal examination using a camera, and all he could see was crazy psychedelic colors in this patient's rear. He was completely freaked out…Then he looked down and saw he'd pushed his tie in with the camera.

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91. Nightmare Fuel

It was my wisdom teeth removal. All four were impacted, and they had to break out the heavy hardware. I'm knocked out, don't even know the dentist entered the room. I wake up, but not able to move, just eyes open awake but my limbs won't react to my brain. I can feel the dentist hammering a chisel into my tooth to break it for extraction.

My jaw is just coming undone on every hit. My eyes are wide open, jaw even wider with some evil metal contraption. I'm staring at the assistant begging for her to see me, and after about a dozen hammers to my jaw, she glances over and drops the suction, jumps up and shrieks. The dentist stops to look at her, then looks at me and I see him say "Oh God.” Next thing I know, I'm waking up post-surgery. What nightmares are made of.

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92. Lights Out

When I was in nursing school, I was observing a tonsillectomy and the power went out. Everything switched over to the backup generators, except for the suction—which is incredibly important for any surgery but particularly in the throat. They ended up having to connect a giant syringe to a length of suction tubing to suction manually while someone went to the other side of the building to find portable suction.

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93. Seeing Things

I work in a dementia ward, so you must know how creepy it can be there at night. It’s around 3 am and it’s pouring rain. POURING rain. Thunder, all that jazz. My partner is on break and I'm sitting at the nursing desk. I hear a moan and assume it’s a patient getting agitated by the rain. Well, from the corner of my eye I see a figure in a white dress.

There are only men down that hall. So I look again, and there's this frail woman standing there just staring at me. It took me a second to register that one of the female patients snuck by me while I was doing rounds and was walking back to her room.

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94. The Potato Famine

I worked as an ER nurse. The most awkward story I have comes from this one crazy old lady. One day this little hermit of an old lady who never leaves her house came into the ER. Her chief complaint was, "I've got the greens." Now, we had no idea what that meant so I had to interview her to find out more. It was the craziest thing.

Turned out that she had a problem with uterine prolapse. That can happen a lot with older women who have had a bunch of kids—their uterus literally sags partway out of them. Apparently, she got tired of her saggy uterus so she used a potato—a Yukon Gold to be specific—like a cork. Yup, stuck the thing right up in there.

As if that wasn’t weird enough, she forgot all about her Yukon Gold and, well, potatoes like to sprout in dark, moist environments. So, she pulled down her pants to reveal that she literally had shrubbery growing down there. I mean, she was giving new meaning to “bush.” The doctor had to go in after that thing to get it out.

I'll tell you; I've never smelled something that horrible in my life.

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95. Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Some people talk while under anesthesia. Some people even scream. Honestly, it gets so bad sometimes that I used to go home in tears, especially after treating very vocal patients. The only thing that helped was when patients would wake up and tell us, “Thank you so much. That went so fast.” Post-operative checks a week later when I could see the patients were still doing well helped too.

I remember asking the doctor over and over when I first started, “Are you sure they’re under, are you sure they’re numb?” Now, after a few years’ experience, I understand how much local anesthetic he used. The patients were likely numb for a few hours post-treatment.

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96. A Bad Bridge To Cross

In dental school, I had an emergency patient come in complaining of sore gums. Upon examination, I found a massive calculus bridge behind her lower front teeth. She only had about 3 remaining lower teeth, but they were all connected with a whitish brown mineral deposit that was about the size of a golf ball. She had never had her teeth cleaned and she was probably 55 years old or so.

I basically performed an emergency cleaning. She could speak so much better afterward. Of course, I had to play it off like it was normal, but in my years of practice, I still haven’t seen a case that bad again. Get your teeth cleaned people. Even if you can’t afford every 6 months, once a year, or every other year is a heck of a lot better than never.

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49. All Eyes On Me

Medical school didn’t teach me how to put a fake eye back in. A patient came in from a not-so-nice nursing home with a multitude of problems, one of which was a disgusting, draining fake eye that had to be removed for treatment. Upon discharge, we had to put it back in. Simple enough…or so we thought. We had no idea how to do it and struggled to figure it out.

I suppose that is why the nursing home staff never took it out to clean it in the first place. This was decades ago, though. Fake eye technology is probably much better today.

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97. The Saga Of Private Idiot

I was a combat medic in the Army. After basic schooling, I showed up to my first duty assignment. Now, as a fresh little private, I expected my job to be more oriented towards combat medicine, hence the job title. That's when I got my first taste of "Don't get your hopes up." There I was, expecting to settle in when they told me I'd be pulling medical coverage for a 15-mile ruck march.

At that point, I had a couple of thoughts: 1. Do people really walk 15 miles? 2. What the heck is medical coverage? 3. I don't even have an aid bag, how do I treat people? I got the typical response of "figure it out." I basically started looking for the friendliest faces in my medic platoon, but mind you—most of this platoon got back from Afghanistan a few months prior and they were already exposed to live combat casualties.

That meant there were no friendly faces. When you are the new private, you are underneath the bottom of the barrel, so NO ONE likes you. Long story short, after a few push-ups and stuff, I got the aid bag. I went over my notes, trying to prepare myself for gore and broken limbs. But no, this is where I truly got in over my head. It turns out, the main casualty any medic will see is a heat casualty. Apparently, the one thing these soldiers just didn't do...was drink water. Not one person drank water and because of this, guys would drop like flies.

So let's fast forward a bit. The ruck was happening, and a few miles in, I finally got my first casualty. I hopped out like Captain America with my little cool guy shades on and my helmet unbuckled, thinking I looked cooler than I actually was. In school, they covered heat casualties in about five minutes and I was asleep in class for most of the time.

So there I was, freaking out on the inside. I still tried to treat my casualty as best I can. I brought out the ice sheets, placed him in the shade, the whole shebang. I eventually got him in the truck, removed his clothes, and performed an exam. Naturally, at that point, I was feeling good about myself. "He's still alive so we good." And then I got to the one question that messed me up more than anything.

“Did you get a core temperature?" No, no I did not. This process is simple, but in training, you don't really get the full experience. See, this task requires you to spread their cheeks, maintain steady eye contact with the eye of Sauron, and insert a thermometer while holding back your own vomit.

We called it biting the silver bullet. Everyone knew about the notoriety of the silver bullet, but I was the one who had to bite it. As I was gliding it down the booty crack, I felt it give in. In my limited experience, I thought this was the bootyhole. Wrong. It was not. It was rather, what I call, a phantom hole. Everyone looked at me like I was the dumbest man to ever exist. "THERE’S ONLY ONE...HOW DO YOU MISS?"

As this exchange was occurring, the casualty was just writhing back and forth in pain because I kind of forced it in there pretty hard. I was trying to convince him that I had to go for round two, and after a fruitful conversation, I tried again. I finally got it in the right place. I just left it there for a bit while I started to do paperwork. After about five minutes, my NCO was yelling at me again.

"WHY THE HECK IS THE THERMOMETER STILL IN THERE?", I sputtered out, "SARGE, I THOUGHT WE HAD TO CONSTANTLY REASSESS!" Yeah, Private Idiot, you don’t have to leave it in there. Needless to say, I had to write an apology letter for tormenting this innocent victim. For God’s sake...they never taught THAT in school.

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98. A Warm Bedside Manner

I’m a female med student, and my first-ever patient had an inguinal hernia. I examined his lower abdomen and balls, and then I had to feel for the hernia. Except I was so nervous, I just started playing with his balls with my fingertips. Well, the obvious happened: He started to get “excited,” and I got so embarrassed I immediately left.

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99. A Slip Of The Hand

I was the patient, and it was a kidney biopsy. I was pretty out of it, but still awake so they could talk to me, laying on my stomach as my kidney doctor worked behind me. He warned me, “You’re going to hear a click and it will feel like Mike Tyson punched you in the back.” “Ooookayy?” I hear, click, feel the punch, then hear, “Oh, GOD. Get on the phone now.”

A nurse came up near my face to calm me, and maybe keep an eye on me. I don’t really remember everything. Apparently, the doctor had nicked a blood vessel, and I was bleeding internally at an alarming rate. I got to spend the night in the hospital and peed what seemed like pure blood for about 24 hours. Never try to fit your kidney biopsy in on a Friday before the doctor leaves for vacation.

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100. A Twist Of Fate

Sometimes, even when you do everything you're told to do, tragedy happens. You are going to have an elderly patient who you know won't make it, but there is little you can do about it other than lessen the damage. There is going to be a patient’s family member you get a little too close to and you will feel hurt when they blame you for something.

You will trust your superiors and possibly get thrown under the bus for it. I had an instance where I had a new patient who arrived on my day off. The nurse gave me a very quick report about him when I came back and I was told that although he would be a little resistant, he wasn't combative. In fact, he was purposefully placed with me because I was pretty calm and often chatted with my patients.

We were short-staffed, as always. I had another nurse assisting me to transfer him, but the nurse had to leave to get an oxygen canister for him…and she never made it back. My patient got a little restless as we were waiting. I couldn't move him in his wheelchair as he was hooked up to a mounted canister, and I also couldn't leave him alone.

While I was standing there, he pulled a shocking move on me. I wound up getting punched in the eye without any warning. My glasses broke and I was stunned. I pulled the call light, but...nothing. I looked out the door but there was nobody there. I wound up using a phone to call the front desk and beg the nurse to come down because he hit me and I didn't want to be there alone.

It still took her 15 minutes. At that time, I started to realize something was seriously wrong. At some point, I went to the doctor myself. It turned out, I had a concussion, a minor cartilage break in my nose, plus a black eye and vision issues. It’s been a few months now and I've lost central vision in that eye and I have started getting spots and floaters in the opposite eye.

They're going to probably take my license soon. I’ve seen several doctors and specialists who are at a loss and don't think they can do anything. I've been told surgery wouldn't do anything because the rods and cones are pretty much gone in that eye. Plus, I have migraines daily now. I wanted to go to school to be a nurse. I'm not even 30 and now I have to give up on my dream.

Protect yourself. Little things can change your entire life.

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101. Take It Easy

I had a patient who had just gotten a below-knee amputation. We gave him the prosthesis shortly after surgery, as soon as the surgeon signed off. We told him several times to take it easy. He was very excited and we knew he was not going to listen. To stress the issue, we had the owner of the company and several coworkers who are also amputees talk to the patient. Being a new amputee the limb goes through a lot of changes and is still healing.

After he took his new leg home we hadn't heard from him in a few weeks, he even canceled his follow-up appointment since he was "doing great" A week after that one of our coworkers calls us and tells us that he was at the surgeon's office. He saw said patient waiting to be seen since his limb was scabbed over, with several lesions and extremely discolored.

After asking what happened he told her that he was feeling so good with the prosthesis he decided to run a marathon and obstacle course. He ended up getting a major infection due to the mud. He is extremely lucky that he did not need a revision making him an above-knee amputee.

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102. A Hairy Situation

This one was actually from back when I was a medical student, but it’s still the weirdest thing I’ve seen. It was my last rotation in medical school before graduating and starting residency. I had completed all my requirements and just wanted to take a few interesting electives of things I hadn’t seen yet. This was a dermatology rotation at the VA.

The rotation had been interesting and chill, and I was seeing my third-to-last patient as a medical student. The guy came in and the resident asked him why he was there. He said, “I have hair coming out of my hand.” I figured he meant a weird mole with some hair coming out, but this guy (who was probably in his late thirties or early forties) said, “No, the hair is coming out from under the skin.”

The resident asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a barber. Apparently, it’s not too uncommon for hair to poke through the skin, especially for barbers who cut men’s hair. It’s short, thin, and can be kinda pokey after all. It was sort of like getting a sliver, but with hair. But the guy said, “No, it’s a lot of hair, look!”

He held up his hand, making a fist, and there were several hairs poking out from between the knuckles of his pointer and middle finger. I stared in confusion, and the resident grabbed some tweezers to pull out maybe a half dozen short black hairs. The guy said, “Yeah, I already pulled out like 50.” That's when the resident's face dropped.

We numbed up the backside of his hand between the first and second knuckle and made a little incision. We were shocked at the mass of hair that we uncovered. We started pulling out GOBS of short black hair. A chunk of 20, a chunk of 30, etc. At some point, she got the magnifying glasses out with an attached light and said, “Oh my gosh, there are still more in there! Sir, do you know how all this hair got into your hand?” His answer was so disturbing, it’s unforgettable.

The guy said, “Oh it probably came in through there!” He flipped his hand over to reveal a HOLE in the palmar aspect of his hand’s skin. It turns out, the dude had cut himself like TWO YEARS before this, and it had never healed properly (he was diabetic), so he just kept cutting hair with this open wound on his hand. Probably every day, a few hairs got stuck in his hand. For two years.

Now those hairs had tunneled through the webbing between his first and second fingers from the front of his hand and out the backside. We spent like 30 minutes MILKING his hand and fingers while more and more hair came out. She said, “There’s no way I got it all out, so you have to come back every two weeks for a few months for us to keep removing more hair from your hand."

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103. It Is What It Is

I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman came in with his entire family, none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him. He had shortness of breath. We insisted on doing tests to look for COVID, but he and his wife refused. They said that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection.

The more we talked with him the more agitated he got, to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment. They accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees. They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics.

I knew what was coming, but it was still heartbreaking. 24 hours later, we get a call from a neighboring hospital next telling us they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% lung damage. He passed on Monday morning.

Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate. Before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!.” I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am.”

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104. The Woman Who Knew Too Much

My twin sister is a nurse. She most definitely didn't learn how to care for her own dying mother in nursing college. Our mother passed from cancer, and we nursed her until the very end at home. I was very thankful that my sister is a nurse and knew what to do, but the minute my mom passed, my sister could not be in the same room.

She had already seen so much tragedy as a nurse before, but nothing could prepare her for her own mother’s passing. I think my sister questioned her choice of being a nurse after that. To me, I was seeing my mom finally being released from all the pain she was feeling. For my sister, she knew what was happening below the surface.

She knew how my mom's lungs were giving in, and that her heart was failing. The thought that she knew that hurt me inside as much as my mom's passing did. I have a lot of love and respect for my sister.

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105. Hidden Agenda

I’m a paramedic...so many to tell, but this one will stick with me forever. Rainy afternoon in the spring. The call was for a tipsy person randomly pounding on house doors. Normally, it would be an officer response, but they were swamped. We pull up to the house, no lights, no siren. Heck, I'm so burnt out at the time, I don't even get out of the passenger seat.

I just power the window down. "Hey!" I snap at the older gentleman on the porch, "What are you doing?" He turns from pounding at the stranger’s door and begins shuffling down the walkway toward our ambulance. I can see the elderly woman close the curtains, her nuisance addressed. "Man, I just got to lay down!" The guy says to me.

I look at my partner, and she at I. Henry Ford Hospital is six blocks away. Surely we can take the guy there? "Get in the back!" I snap at him. "And if you puke in my bus, I'll mop it up with your clothes." "But I got chest pains,” He says, holding his hand closed against the pelting rain. I roll my eyes, "Man, I do too. So let's go to Ford and both get checked."

The guy begins fiddling with his buttons, and I reach over from my seat to dial up the heater. When I look back, he's got his trench coat open, to show me exactly where it hurts. What I saw still haunts me to this day. Right in the middle of his sternum, vividly defined against his white sweatshirt, is a star-shaped POWDER BURN.

A big one. Point-blank-to-the-chest, hole-punched GSW. Oh my God. The next four or so minutes were a blur. Rushing out the door to grab the man as he was about to fall. My partner yanking the stretcher out, loading the patient, and loading him in the back. Scissors cutting clothes, oxygen mask going on. Yelling, "Go, go, go!!!" to my partner as she raced the six blocks to the hospital.

I really only managed to get one IV started during the three minute ride. He was gone 25 minutes later. When we rolled him in the trauma room, you could see an exit wound the size of a fist. The doctors assured us that the only thing that could have helped this man was if he fell into the OR after being shot. But that didn't bring me any peace.

We probably spent 10 minutes talking to the man as he stood in the rain. For me, that was my out cue. I took a week off work, and resigned two weeks later.

Doctor oh God noPexels

106. The Family Jewels

My 13-year-old son complained to me that he was unbearably itchy down there. I figured probably sweat, so I told him to wash the area thoroughly and make sure to dry well. A couple of days later, he said it was still itchy and getting bigger. Bigger? He said there was no pain or anything, but it was still itchy and swollen. I still didn't think it was anything more than a sweat rash that maybe needed some ointment.

But when we went to the doctor, we were sent off for an ultrasound. The scan showed zero blood flow to the area, so he was immediately transferred to the emergency room. He went in for emergency surgery where the urologist removes one necrotic mass. It had become randomly twisted and passed at least a week prior. The swelling was a major infection setting in, which also caused the itchiness and swelling.

He had no pain whatsoever and the doctor said that was amazing. For most boys, torsion feels like being kicked in the nuts continuously, and by the infected stage he was in, he should have been screaming and crying from the pain. If we had waited any longer, he could have developed sepsis. He had a follow-up surgery a month later to insert a replacement part and to stitch his remaining one in place so it doesn't happen again.

Doctors not normalPexels

107. Picking Up The Pieces

Nurse here. They don't teach you how to maintain honesty when your doctor skirts around a cancer diagnosis. I've had a few cases where a physician avoids questions and instead just tells the patients and families to wait and see what pathology shows. The doctor will then usually spend 30 seconds in the room giving vague information, then immediately leave me to pick up the pieces.

Patients often ask, “In your opinion, what did the doctor mean when he or she said this?” And my response is almost always straightforward—that when it presents like that, it usually means cancer. I want to be honest with them. I make sure to spend the next 30 minutes educating the patient and offering resources on what the next steps would be.

Not In Medical SchoolShutterstock

108. Three’s Already A Crowd

My worst experience was when a two-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother brought him with fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated. We had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised for the parents to get tested.

Her defense was "The child never left the house. It’s just I and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house?” She called her husband who came with 10-15 relatives in a car. They broke a few chairs and left with the baby.

Bad DoctorsShutterstock

109. Feel My Pain

My friend had a horrible moment when he was going under the knife. Two minutes into surgery, the doctors noticed his pupils dilating or something. He said it was horrible, he could feel the scalpel cutting into his flesh, the agonizing pain, and the oxygen thing only gave him air every few minutes. They noticed he wasn't under and fixed it. But then the dark truth came out.

Turns out, the anesthesiologist who put him under was his ex-girlfriend, though no one knew about it, and she likely did it on purpose. The surgery went well, the recovery was a bit longer than expected, but he's all good now.

Doctor oh God noUnsplash

110. Not A Way To Go

A man had agreed to be "mummified" in a rather extreme “intimate” bedroom practice. Essentially, he was placed in a full body plaster cast covering even his face, and was given breathing tubes through the cast. Other than that, he was fully encased in the cast with the exception of his toes and intimate areas. To him, this extreme degree of helplessness turned him on.

The normal practice was to use a cattle prod or some similar device. But in his case, either through ignorance or malice, he was directly connected to 220 volts with one probe. He had third degree burns over his entire area down there, deep burns on his foot and, from the smell,  severe burns elsewhere. We tried removing the cast to see if any degree of resuscitation was possible, but by the time it was even partially off, it was clear he was quite gone.

All of us just stood there with our mouths open, utterly unable to say anything. The authorities came and they too were mute. I volunteered to remove the entire cast and render some level of post-mortem care. I found deep lacerations over much of his body, deep bruising, and quite a few other burns. We sent the body to the medical examiner, and I spent the rest of the shift trembling.

Burial Customs FactsShutterstock

111. A Rash Of Problems

I had a small rash that wouldn't go away, so I went to see the doctor after a long while of hoping that it would just disappear on its own. He said it was ringworm and gave me an antifungal, but the rash got worse. I went back and he gave me an even stronger antifungal. Still, the rash spread, and this time it was all down my arms. I went back to the doctor to get a referral to a dermatologist.

The dermatologist took one look at the rash and said, "That is contact dermatitis." I had changed soaps and it irritated my skin, giving me a little rash. The doctor's stupid antifungals, in the meanwhile, were making my skin go crazy. I just stopped using soap for like a week and it was fine, but I had skin discoloration for like a year.

Medical MistakesShutterstock

112. The Living Dead

I had a lady come into the ER listed as “Multiple Medical Problems”. This usually means diabetes and the issues stemming from it, or maybe bleeding issues from another issue or maybe odd blood tests results at a clinic. I hadn’t seen the patient yet, but the doctor came to the nurse’s station asking who had room 15. I jumped up and followed him into the room.

I walked in and saw what I thought was a corpse. Then the patient’s eye swiveled over to look at me. She truly looked like one of the people they found in a concentration camp. I could see every bone, and her body was twisted in a decorticate position with her jaw locked open. Then the smell hit me: rotting flesh and body fluids. I struggled to keep a neutral face and not gag.

I tried to place a blood pressure cuff on her arm and her skin just started flaking off in my hands. I gagged. The doctor started removing her clothes to examine her. Her feet were black to the ankles. Her hip bones were poking through her skin and were black. The skin around her ribs was worn away to oozing muscle fibers.

Her calves were incredibly swollen and the skin was splitting like ripped pants. I removed her Depends, and there was excrement coating her entire genital area. Then the doctor went to remove a large bandage on her lower back. Her entire sacrum was exposed and the bones were BLACK! The skin around it was a black liquified mass.

It smelled like nothing I’ve ever smelled. I can’t even describe it. The doctor told her family I would clean up her ulcers and wounds in preparation for surgery (liar, no surgeon would operate on her). I had no idea how to clean dead bone tissue and liquified skin (they don’t cover that in nursing school). When I went to clean her sacral area, all the liquified skin separated and oozed all over the bed. I really struggled to keep myself together.

Afterward, I needed a moment in the supply closet to cry it out for a second. I had no idea the human body could break down so much without dying. I still think about that woman sometimes, and what led to her living like that. It still breaks my heart. My guess is that she had some sort of traumatic brain issue or a stroke.

Family members were taking care of her, and I think they were treating her absolutely horribly. I think as her skin deteriorated, she developed terrible pressure ulcers that never healed. The swelling was probably due to starvation and a lack of protein in her diet. I’ve had nightmares about her face since then. Once, I dreamed she crawled into bed with me.

I freaked the heck out and ran into the hallway. My toddler walked out after me, rubbing his eyes, asking why I ran away.

Doctors rare conditionsPexels

113. He Was Itching For Some Help

I was in the hospital following a motorcycle accident. My hospital roommate, who was beside me, had been in an 18-wheeler accident. He was complaining that his back itched and someone finally came in and rolled him on his side. When they turned him over, their faces dropped—his back had pieces of glass stuck all over it. I still don't know how that was overlooked.

Heartbreaking HospitalShutterstock

114. Doing Things The Old Fashioned Way

I was at the doctor's office for a physical exam before my freshman year of college. The doctor was this assertive and intimidating female, and it came time for the hernia check. Now, for my whole life, this procedure has always involved the doctor cupping my private area and asking me to cough. However, I guess they only need to feel just above the private area these days as opposed to the area itself.

I was not aware of this fact at the time—and it led to the most mortifying experience of my life. So, I'm sitting on the exam table, and the doctor asks me to unbutton my pants for the hernia exam. I was completely ignorant to the fact that they didn't need to actually come down. She then turned away to go get a glove. At this point, I pulled my pants down to my knees. She walks over with a perfect poker face and calmly places her hand on my lower stomach and asks me to cough.

She checked both sides twice. The entire time, my privates were needlessly exposed. She never said a word about it or even acknowledged that fact. I guess I got lucky to have that particular doctor on that particular day. If someone a little more emotive had been the one checking me, I might never have lived down the embarrassment.

Awkward Visits To The Doctor facts Canva

115. Seeing Green

When I was in my early twenties, I took someone to the emergency room one time with a badly infected wound. When I told the middle-aged doctor that it was an infection, he chuckled and said, “don’t be silly. I’m sure you just mean that it’s inflamed.” I said yes, but it was also infected. He just rolled his eyes at me.

The nurses and other doctors chuckled. But then when the doctor looked at the wound, he said, “oh man. That is really badly infected.” After that, he wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I didn’t know why he had to argue with me and make me feel dumb in front of everyone.

Self diagnosisShutterstock

116. Let’s See Those Pearly Whites

This is kind of awkward and kind of sad. My mom was a hygienist and she had an older patient that liked to nap while she cleaned his teeth. She really didn’t mind it—it was kind of a relaxing process. Anyhow, one day he suffered a silent heart attack while in her chair. She'd been cleaning his teeth through it all and had no idea that he had passed away.

Doctors awkwardUnsplash

117. The Milk Is For The Baby

I saw a patient who was concerned because she was still lactating, despite the fact that she stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She said: "sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my husband sucking on the breasts. He says he's trying to drain the milk for me." I had to explain to her that breastfeeding her husband will lead to continued Lactation.

 Adult Patients Believed This factsMadamsabi

Sources: , , , , , , , 8


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