Code Blue: Stunned Doctors Reveal Their Most Dramatic Patients

November 19, 2020 | Paul Pitura

Code Blue: Stunned Doctors Reveal Their Most Dramatic Patients

WARNING: Some of these stories are pretty graphic! We all react differently to trauma, but ask anyone who has worked in an emergency room and you will realize there are cases that defy explanation. Some faint at the sight of a needle, while others calmly walk in carrying their own severed limbs! These doctors on Reddit have seen it all, and you won’t believe how calm, and how dramatic some patients are.

1. He Nailed it

There was a guy who attempted to take his own life by firing an automatic nailer into his ear. I took care of him in the ICU and he remembers everything. He’d been depressed for a long time and decided to end it. Nailed himself, sat around a while before deciding he didn’t want to die, drove himself to the ER, walked inside, and fainted. It was so weird how stoic he was about it all.

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2. No William Tell Here

We had a patient that worked in a circus. They did an act where the guy shoots an arrow to get the apple off her head. Well, it went in through her neck! She came to the ICU calm as a cucumber and was talking and answering questions appropriately with an arrow impaled in her neck.

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3. An Eye For An Eye

There was this gentleman we were taking from an ER to a specialty trauma center. He had been in a bar and witnessed a bar fight. He tried to break it up. One of the guys smashed a bottle over his head. The bottle was hard enough to break his skull, but it also broke the bottle. The way the impact hit it partially popped his eyeball out of the socket. However, that wasn’t the worst part.

Then, the broken bottle traveled down his face and sliced the eyeball in half! As an EMT, very few injuries bothered me but the second I saw his face my eyes just started watering. He was the calmest, most polite gentleman. He only spoke a little English but everything was "Si senor" or something of equal politeness. He didn’t utter a single complaint.

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4. Give This Man A Hand

My friend had to go to an emergency room, and while he was sitting there, a farmer and his son came in. The farmer told the nurse, “My son cut his arm.” The nurse asks where the cut was. My friend said the farmer held something up and said: “Here.” The arm wasn’t cut, it was cut off! My friend told me the nurses freaked right out!

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5. When Bovines Attack

A 60 to 70-year-old lady arrived at the trauma ER. Her story was crazy. She was being chased by a cow, and was running for her life, and fell off a 2-meter ledge. She had several fractures, but only really complained about her leg, and tried to get up and walk away several times telling us she was fine. Initially, we thought she had some head trauma and was completely disoriented.

On further examination, it turned out she was just that stubborn. She was hospitalized for a while and had a good recovery. I do wonder if the cow fell off the cliff as well.

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6. So A Pregnant Man Walks In…

I had a guy come in complaining of abdominal pain, but stated it was because he was pregnant. He was absolutely sure of it. His wife was in the room with him and fully vouched for the story—which is probably the craziest part to me. He said that he had seen this other doctor at this other hospital who had confirmed it on ultrasound and shown him the fetal heartbeat.

This was a small hospital so our ultrasound tech had to be called in when needed. Obviously, there was no way that would happen for this. We wanted to work him up for appendicitis because obviously, that could be a real thing, and if he's actually having this pain something could be wrong. Recommended a CT. The patient said he didn't want a CT, he just needed an ultrasound to check if his baby was okay.

We told him multiple times "Sir, it is impossible for you to be pregnant. You don't have a uterus." He didn't budge. We ordered the CT anyway, because we still want to see what's causing the pain, and sometimes you just have to put the orders in and hope for the best. This guy ended up leaving his room, followed a nurse taking a patient to radiology, and gate-crashed radiology, telling them that he badly needed this ultrasound. Security escorted him back.

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7. There’s Always An Explanation

Once a man came in and said he had a burning you-know-what. He thought he knew what was happening…and the story was absolutely hilarious. He actually thought someone was coming in and lighting a fire under it while he slept. This guy wanted a cure for burning when in reality…he had gonorrhea. He got offended when my dad told him this because he was married and his wife was fine, but 80 percent of women that have gonorrhea are asymptomatic.

It turns out the dude had a serious addiction to ladies of the night, which is where he and his wife got it from. Yikes.

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8. Testing His Patience

There was a patient demanding a heavy Percocet prescription—far more than I would prescribe even post-surgery—after having a nasal swab test completed. I get that it's temporarily uncomfortable, as I've had it done several times myself, but no way was I buying him writhing around screeching about how much pain he was in.

When the patient eventually realized I wasn't budging it was as if someone had flipped a switch and he "miraculously" recovered.

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9. It’s Just The Way He’s Wired

I had a broken jaw, so I went to the doctor to get the wires removed. He insisted I should be out for it. I had no one to drive me home, so I refused. He argued and I insisted. He removed wires, very nervously, and told me that I am the only person that he ever had done this to without being sedated. I don't know if it was rare, but I wasn’t going to let it hurt. Happy customer.

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10. No Butts About It

Farmers are notorious for being under dramatic. We had a farmer a while ago who was up a tree for some reason and fell out. As bad luck would have it, someone had left a dirty meat hook at the bottom of the tree and he landed on it, impaling his behind on one cheek. He proceeded to pull it out, finish what he was doing, drive himself home, and go to bed.

The only reason he came to the hospital was that his wife woke up to a bed full of blood and insisted he gets it looked at.

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11. A Grandpa’s Concern

My rancher grandfather convinced me I was dying once. I fell off the back of the four-wheeler and got run over. I made it back to the house complaining about my ankle. He picked me up and threw me in the car and tore out to the hospital 30 minutes away, calling my folks at the same time. I was afraid to look at my ankle because of the way my grandfather was reacting I was sure it was facing the wrong way.

I was fine. It was just a bad sprain. Evidently, he had a much lower tolerance for his grandkids than he did himself or his own kids.

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12. Her Brain Was A Water Balloon

A woman in her mid-70s, who was generally healthy, presented herself to an outpatient neurology clinic with an altered gait. She was dragging feet more than usual and said she felt like she was tripping when walking up steps. The family had noticed she had a tendency to repeat herself more often. The neurological examination is normal other than a slightly odd, slow and dragging gait.

It honestly looks like she’s faking an odd gait, but it may be malingering but above average amounts of liquid in the areas surrounding the brain giving her these types of symptoms. We CT scan the brain, and we were absolutely stunned. Almost half of her brain was smashed to the other side and had filled up with water. It was a massive subarachnoid cyst, think intracranial water balloon, and it had probably been growing for years.

She had no other symptoms, and she only came into our clinic since her daughters were worried about her memory. She made a full recovery by draining the fluid, and it still makes me wonder how many people out there are walking around with half a squashed brain without knowing about it.

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13. Cardiac Calm

Paramedic here. We had an alarm for a heart attack. So, we drive out to the patient's address and are greeted by a middle-aged gentleman with a patient's chart and a suitcase. Of course, one would suspect a family member of a patient with known problems. But no, he said he is the patient. He is having a heart attack right now.

His only symptoms were a slight itch on the spine. We were understandably annoyed and disbelieving. In the ambulance on the ECG however, we realized just how serious it was. That guy, talking with my colleague, while I fixed the meds, had such a massive heart attack that it should have taken him to the grave. He was chill all the time, joking and telling stories, right up to the CPU.

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14. Guilt Trip (To The Hospital)

When I was seven years old I was quite overly sensitive as a child. So when I told my parents my left hip was hurting, they put a hot water bottle on it and left it at that. But then I got a fever, and it didn't go down, and at a certain point, I could not move my leg at all anymore because my hip hurt so bad. So my parents finally conceded that this might be a problem and took me to the hospital.

It turned out I had a severe infection in my hip joint and had sepsis. I spent two weeks in the hospital and 14 years harassing my parents about it afterward.

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15. A Slippery Slope

My stepson broke his leg on a jump while skiing. He put his skis back on and came down the mountain. He told his dad he had fallen pretty hard but wasn’t in much pain. So he kept on skiing. The next day he said his leg was clicking when he walked. Sure enough, he had fractured both bones in the lower leg. I guess he loved skiing so much that a couple of broken bones couldn’t keep him away!

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16. Life On The Edge

I once cared for a repeat self-harmer that put a knife into his neck, and then must have regretted it, so he taped it in place and bicycled to the hospital. It was a journey of a few miles, past dozens of vehicles. The passengers in those cars must have freaked out when they passed a cyclist with a giant knife sticking out of his neck!

So this guy parked the bike, walked in to triage to check-in. He walked through the waiting room full of grannies and kids and men with chest pain with a kitchen paring knife duct-taped in place sticking straight out. However, that’s not even the craziest part. The CT scan later showed that the tip of the blade was 2 mm from the carotid artery.

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17. A Man And His Horse

There was this one patient who fell off a horse in the middle of nowhere and blacked out. He came to and thankfully the horse hadn’t bolted, so he rode home. He noticed his ribs were moving as he rode home. He taped them up. He noticed they were still moving six months later and finally went in for an X-ray. He’d separated seven ribs from his spine.

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18. Apology Accepted

In my OBGYN clerkship, this woman came in pretty hesitantly at the urging of her girlfriend for pelvic pain. She apologized if she was wasting our time and said it was probably nothing. This poor lady had a cyst the size of my head on her ovary that caused torsion, a twisting and cutting off of the blood supply. She was rushed into surgery but lost that ovary. People say it’s more painful than childbirth…yet here she was, apologizing to us.

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19. Was This a Reality TV Show?

We were doing paternity testing for an apparently extremely acrimonious case of "Your son impregnated my daughter!" "No, he didn't, your daughter sleeps with lots of other boys!" Each side sent a lawyer to the appointment. Each lawyer had a phone out recording everything, and followed the blood and cheek swabs from the collection, through the lab for DNA extraction, performing the test in our PCR room, and watching me analyze the data files…which is exactly as boring as it sounds.

It's like dude, we're the neutral third-party lab here. We have literally zero interest in the outcome of the case, you don't need to be so dramatic. All the chain of custody stuff is documented. We have a second observer signing off on sample IDs. We're not going to risk losing our license by accepting a payoff from either set of parents.

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20. Fighting Tooth N’ Nail

A patient tried extracting his own tooth and inadvertently pushed it up through the abscess and into his right sinus cavity. To my surprise, he adamantly declined even local anesthesia no matter how much my staff was pleading with him. Patient autonomy is a grey area in the US, given how insanely litigious everything is.

So after receiving written consent to proceed with the treatment I figured he'd just have to learn the hard way. I warned him several times beforehand that it would hurt like crazy. The guy never even flinched. I was able to complete the procedure without incident. Go figure.

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21. A Delicate Situation

I was in my last week of school as a radiologic technologist student and a patient came in through the ER for a series of X-rays. He claimed to have fallen down some stairs and we basically had to X-ray both legs from the knee down. Well, I have never met a bigger, whinier baby. He moaned and groaned and flinched at the lightest touch.

This guy refused to hold still, would not straighten his legs, complained about the table and X-ray cassette being too hard. There were no visible injuries aside from a few scrapes and nothing obvious on the X-rays. He was still convinced that he would never walk again and had broken both legs irreparably. The funniest part was that we had a different patient come in on the same day with a similar complaint.

He actually had fractures in both legs and feet and was very calm and co-operative for the X-rays despite his injuries.

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22. A Brave Kid

I had a young trauma patient, a 17-year-old who was T-boned by a garbage truck. Moving him on to the CT table he said "Ow," and silent tears trickled down his face. Then he apologized for complaining and thanked us profusely. Turns out he had a few broken vertebrae, broke half his ribs, and had a fractured hip and clavicle. Kid whimpered a few times during the CTs, and again apologized when we came back in. Like dude, you could scream in my face and I'd understand.

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23. A Surprise Ending…

I was dispatched with law enforcement for an assault with injuries. We get near the scene and was cleared that the scene was safe while they were actively searching for the assailant. We were told our patient was sitting on the bench of the bus stop. The guy was about 30 years old with a decent laceration on his face but nothing major. This was his story:

He told us he was jumped by some guy in the bushes out of nowhere and had to fight him off. He didn't really complain about his laceration too much and stated his back was a little sore and that he felt fine and didn't want to go to the hospital. Vitals all looked good and he appeared fine. Just to be safe I wanted to give his whole body a look over. What I found absolutely shocked me.

As I pulled this guy's large coat off (it was winter at night) I see a knife protruding from his lower right back with a slow but steady stream of blood coming out. The guy was as shocked as I was.

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24. A Private Problem

A woman walked into the ER very bow-legged. She seems calm and explains that she has some swelling on the right side of her hoo-hah. She thought she may have had an infected cyst and she drove herself, hoping for help draining it and antibiotics. We didn't think much of it, it clearly wasn't a rush to the front of the emergency line.

So an hour or so later they bring her into a room. She has a fever and high blood pressure but still calm and stoic. So the nurse practitioner gets her story and has her remove her pants and underwear and covered her with a sheet. She is apologizing profusely about not being able to clean herself very well before coming in.

When the NP pulls up the sheet her labia is swollen to the size of a coconut. She had an abscess that was starting to cause sepsis. The only emotion she showed was being embarrassed about not being able to clean herself because of the pain and a single tear down her face when they wheeled her to the ER.

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25. Some People Don’t Show Pain

My dad was skiing and had a bit of a fall. He was fine the rest of the day, woke up the next morning and felt something wasn’t right, then woke me up. We drove 10 hours home to find out he broke two bones in his right foot and had done some damage to his Achilles tendon. We drove home like it was nothing and his only response when they told him that was "That means I need surgery, doesn't it? Well, I guess I'm not working for a few weeks."

That was that. I still have no idea how he wasn't showing his pain.

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26. When The Daughter Is A “Hotshot” Lawyer

I'm a nurse, and we had a patient recently who was palliative, AKA expected to pass on from natural causes in the near future. His body functions were only at about 10%, he wasn’t eating or drinking, and he wasn’t urinating or defecating any more. He just laid in bed with his eyes closed breathing. When people get to this point usually the only care we provide is for comfort.

We don’t give people food or water because they are usually unconscious and more likely to choke and be harmed. Well, this patient's daughter was some big shot lawyer from the US and when she saw that we weren’t feeding her dad she started recording everything we did and said and then phoned law enforcement. I remember an officer coming to the unit, asking to speak to me.

He asked me why I was withholding food. I explained that I had the physician’s orders are to withhold food and that the patient was at a severe aspiration risk. The officer was like "Cool, case closed", and left. The daughter was unfortunately banned from the hospital premises by management for interfering with patient care.

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27. Cleanup In Aisle Six

I tended to a very under-dramatic patient during my nursing placement. The doctor was talking to the patient while I was inserting an IV. Then, without warning, the patient projectile vomits all over the place and onto the doctor and me. The doctor asked him if he was alright. The patient just calmly said he vomits like that a few times a day, and that it has been happened for at least three years!

My friend didn't see that patient after that so we never really found out what it was. It was so long ago that I can't even remember what he was in for but I know it was for something completely different!

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28. A Difficult Way Out

We had a dude who had compound fractures in both lower legs. He was pretty chill until the ketamine hit and he didn't react well. His story was that he was arguing with his girlfriend and he tried to leave. The girlfriend stood in front of the door and said something along the lines of "Either go through me or off the balcony." You can guess what happened next.

He chose the balcony, 40 feet up. That's my first and so far only time seeing bones stick out of someone.

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29. A Bloody Mess

As a med student, I was helping a patient with gastrointestinal bleeding. People who have end-stage liver disease don't clot well, and also have difficulty that leads to big, ropy vulnerable blood vessels in the stomach that are at risk to bleed. And when people bleed inside the stomach you can't hold pressure, you simply must get them stable enough to have life-saving endoscopy.

This guy was Exorcist-level vomiting bright red blood, he was bleeding into his stomach and we couldn't get his blood pressure to stabilize enough to get a scope into him for a while. There were runners bringing us coolers of emergency release blood, and the splatters and pools of blood he had vomited reached across the hall.

When we finally got him packed up to go to the endo suite, the family next door quietly apologized for taking our time for their chronic non-emergent issue and could they go home now?

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30. You Know It’s Bad When…

A guy I did construction with accidentally hit himself in the lower abdomen with an automatic nailer. He had fluid leaking out from around the nail. He takes it out and even more starts coming out. We were pretty sure it was pee. He went to the hospital, very calmly holding his finger over the hole. He told them he thought he might have punctured his bladder or something.

The nurse said that wasn't very likely, so he took the finger off to show her the fluid leaking out. Once again, a solid stream of what was most likely urine came pouring out. Much like he was peeing through a hole in his abdomen. She fainted. They had to do some minor surgery to close the hole.

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31. He’s All Thumbs

My uncle was a carpenter and is pretty laid back. He got the job done, no fuss. One day he comes up and says "I need to go to a doctor." He's clutching his left thumb very tightly in his right hand. Everyone paused and then my other uncle volunteered to take him to the hospital just down the road. Uncle has a pretty strong stomach but said even he felt a bit queasy after what happened next. 

He was led into the examination area and the nurse asked him to release his thumb. He did so and blood came pouring out of it and then started spurting everywhere. Turns out he'd slipped and put the drill through the top section of his thumb. He'd missed the joint and no major damage other than puncturing the artery. Surgery sorted that out, and he was back on deck a few days later.

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32. A Parental Problem

Anyone who has treated kids knows that the parents can be worse to deal with than the patient. The dental clinic pediatrician was on vacay and my wife was on call for emergencies that week. While we were eating dinner, my wife gets called in saying there was a young child who messed up her tooth when playing and was in severe pain.

When my wife arrives she finds that the child is pretty chill, but the mom was red in the face with anger. She yelled at my wife for taking so long—we live five minutes from the clinic—while her baby is in so much pain. My wife glances at the adorable little girl who then smiles and waves at my wife. She then looks back at the mom who started yelling again "SEE!! MY BABY IS IN SO MUCH PAIN!"

My wife calmly lets the mom know she is here now and will take a look. I'll spare you the long tedious details and cut to the chase. The little girl just knocked out a baby tooth and there was no actual damage anywhere else, and wasn't in any pain. After my wife is done, she says to the little girl that she will be okay and that it wasn't anything major.

The little girl was all happy and smiles and says thank you. The mom then steps up and starts up with the shouting again, berating my wife for not doing enough. My wife was beyond frustrated with the mom's outbursts by this point, but before she could say anything, a little voice spoke up. "Mommy, the nice lady says I will get a new tooth, we can go home now." It was obvious that this wasn't the first time the mother did stuff like this.

The mom sputters and eventually relents. My wife does the usual spiel about taking pain meds as needed and to come back if the pain returns. The little girl turned around to say bye to my wife and left. My wife turned to her assistant and just sighed. The young assistant, who had been completely silent up to now, whispered, "Wow, that mom was annoying."

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33. Don’t Push It

The one that stands out was on an OB/GYN rotation when I was in school. This stoic Eastern European lady went into labor while she was at work earlier in the day. Apparently, she never called her husband to tell him. So there she is, about to start pushing, and her husband calls her. She just says “I’m having the baby.” Then there is some pause where he says something.

She replies, “No, you stay there with [other child’s name]. I’ll be home tomorrow.” Then she hung up and pushed out a baby.

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34. It’s Always A Farmer

I work as a physician assistant in the ER. A farmer came in for hand injuries by private vehicle. His hands were wrapped in towels. He calmly told us that he was helping a birth a calf by wrapping twine around the protruding legs and pulling. Mommy cow decided to take off and the twine became tangled around his hands.

He is covered in manure because the cow dragged him a bit face down. He unwrapped his hands and he still has the twine embedded to the bone in three of his fingers. We unwrapped the twine and there was nothing but bone still intact underneath. Still, he was completely chill. Started on IV antibiotics and began to wash the wounds.

This was the point where I called a hand surgeon and transferred him.

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35. Babies On A Tight Schedule

I was told a story by my midwife about a woman who had come in and given birth in the reception. On being taken up to the ward afterward, the midwife was trying to be comforting and told her that sometimes it happens, that a few years previously a woman had given birth in the car park. The new mom’s reaction was incredible. She looked down at her baby and up at the midwife and said, "Yeah, that was me."

At least this time she made it into the building.

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36. A Small Town Story

We had a Jane Doe trauma code, a pedestrian hit by a car. Polytrauma with clearly non-survivable injuries to the head and neck obscuring her features, but as we cut her clothes off the nurses exclaimed, "It's her!” She recognized her jewelry. She was one of our frequent flyers, a lady with severe schizoaffective disorder and chronic depression whom we all knew very well.

By the EMS report, she had jumped out onto a state highway right in front of a car, while wearing dark clothing at night. It's hard feeling like we were in a sense her only family. We were gentle with her and genuinely grieved. Then EMS brings us a patient having a panic attack. When we realized who he was, we were stunned.

He told us that he had been driving on a local state highway at night when someone jumped out in front of his car, and he was terribly afraid the person was badly hurt. I don't work in a large place, and there were some delicate logistics involved in keeping her body, and the State authorities photoing her away from him.

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37. Everything Was Fine Until...

I was doing a ride-along in an ambulance and we picked up a guy that fell off a skateboard ramp. He'd landed on his forehead. I can't remember if he had a helmet or not, probably not. He was in good spirits when we arrived, never lost consciousness, and could walk. He looked a little bruised, but was talking. This was before concussions were as well understood and we figured he probably had a moderate concussion and a black eye and that was it.

He almost turned down the ride to the ER but we convinced him not to mess around with possible head/neck injuries and he should get checked out just in case. Good thing he didn't, because on the way he started losing consciousness, blood pressure, vomiting huge amounts of blood. He was unconscious and had very low vitals by the time we got there. It was crazy how quickly he went downhill, this was only like a 10-minute drive.

Turned out that the whole quadrant of his face/skull was crushed but instead of bleeding outside, the blood was draining down the back of his throat into his stomach so it didn't seem that bad at first glance. We made a crucial mistake by deliberately not touching his obviously banged up forehead to not cause him more pain—normally you would do this as part of an assessment.

Had we done that his forehead and eyebrow ridge would have felt soft and spongy, a very clear indicator he needed to get to the ER pronto with sirens/lights and have the ER surgery ready. He ended up with massive brain swelling and emergency brain surgery. The silver lining? The surgery went well, and they found a previously unknown brain tumor that they then removed. He made a full recovery.

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38. Stick A Needle In Your Eye

One time I was driving down the road and some debris flew in my eye. Well, I figured it would work itself out. I went to the doctor when it didn't a couple of days later. He said no problem he could get that out. He proceeded to give me numbing eye drops and proceeded to dig out the debris with a needle.

Now, I don't know if any of you have ever gotten anything dug out of your eye before, but you can't close your eye and you have to watch this needle come at your eye until it disappears and is nothing more than a ghost moving around in the jelly of your eye. This whole time I'm freaking out, cussing, being very vocal about the entire experience.

Then, he hits the object, and the way your brain registers that vibration in your eye, it sounds like metal hitting on a rock when he makes contact, a high pining noise every time. The whole experience was awful.  I wouldn't do it again.

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39. Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

I’m a community pharmacist. An older man came in with chest pain that he described as indigestion. I asked him if he has any history of cardiac troubles, he says no, had a checkup last week and all was well. He's sweating like mad and looks genuinely unwell so we do a blood pressure and heart rate reading just in case and it's through the roof.

He very calmly continues to protest to me, his wife, the first aiders, and eventually the ambulance crew that he really does feel fine. He says the young pharmacist is probably just overreacting. They take him in, just in case. A few tests and it turns out he's on the cusp of a huge cardiac event. He was getting a stent in his coronary artery merely a couple of hours after I see him in the pharmacy.

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40. Tummy Troubles

So we're in this small treatment center on a small island in Greece, it was the night shift, and this guy comes in through the ER door. Now I want you to imagine the most typical bulky Russian guy. Two meters tall, wide as a bull, and just straight-up menacing. This is the kind of guy you see in movies bouncing at a mob club.

So he's walking slowly towards us, and in broken Greek, he says "Tummy hurt" with the thickest Russian accent. He's holding his abdomen and has a sour face, looking like he has some gastro-intestinal issues, so we point him to the internal medicine room after he does the paperwork. He takes his time, reaches the bed, and just sits there, chilling.

We ask what's wrong, again, same answer, just a small "Tummy hurt." Yeah, he was shot three times. I'm pretty sure he walked it off, came here on his own and the only thing he figured he should say is a chill "tummy hurt" like it's a Tuesday and he had some indigestion.

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41. A Bone To Pick

I stepped down wrong on a stair and rolled my ankle, or so I thought. I was 22 and in good shape and figured after a few days it would be fine. Apparently, I had a small break in the bone on the outside of my ankle that was grinding together as I started walking on it. It was uncomfortable but I could walk around on it so I figured it was fine, just a slow healing sprain.

One day, a week or so later I step down, and all of a sudden I hear this terrible crunching noise. Apparently, the small break had continued to slowly get worse and the bone basically slid over and completely severed the tendon. It rolled up into my calf (like Curt Schilling) and the crunching sound was my bone just grinding into a total mess of a very bad fracture.

Since this has been going on for a few weeks, I didn’t go to the hospital, but I call and make an appointment with a doctor for X-rays. I will never forget the tech’s face. They wouldn’t even do the X-ray and went for the nurse who went for the doctor who immediately scheduled me for surgery. They could not believe I was walking on it.

I still maintain it hurt less than a broken toe up until everything turned really bad. I just figured it would heal. Anyway, they had to reassemble my ankle and then drill holes in my leg bone to tie my tendon back into place. And it was my right ankle so I couldn’t drive for ages. Total nightmare. Just always get X-rays, even if you think it’s minor.

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42. Kid Turned Inside Out

We had a call for a trauma for a child who was accidentally run over by a riding lawnmower. Reports were that the patient was essentially eviscerated. The paramedics roll the child in and I’m expecting this kid to be unconscious and unresponsive. But this kid was wide awake, his innards hanging out of his abdominal cavity. Not crying at all.

The only time he showed distress was when the nurse tried to insert an IV. We got that kid straight to the OR as soon as we could and he ended up okay in the end. But I’ll never forget how “calm” he was considering I could see his kidney when he got rolled in.


Over and under dramatic patientsPexels

43. A Patient’s Regret

When I was 8 I fell and cracked my head open. I got two stitches and five staples. That was no big deal, I’ve had stitches in my head a few times before, but never staples. They gave my mom a staple remover and told her to pull them out in two weeks. I wouldn’t let her do it when the time came, so we went to the ER. Long story short, two nurses had to do it, with one holding me down and the other pulling them out.

It’s been a decade so I don’t remember their names, but I’m really sorry!

Over and under dramatic patientsShutterstock

44. A Dream Diagnosis

A patient strolled casually into the ER because his dead grandfather appeared to him in a dream and said, "Go to the hospital as soon as you wake up." He told this to the doctors and nurses who admitted him, and insisted that they check on his brain. He didn't even feel sick at all. Very calm about the whole thing. However, the truth was absolutely disturbing.

A scan revealed his heart had basically torn open down the side and he had maybe a few hours before he completely bled out internally. So the dead grandpa vision was a bit overdramatic. The guy's demeanor was under-dramatic. The actual medical issue was truly dramatic.

Over and under dramatic patientsPexels

45. A Blistering Attack

One of my patients is currently going through the long road of substance misuse recovery, and as a result, is seen every day for related care. One day he comes in with an absolutely enormous burn on his ankle/lower leg. He's barefoot because it hurts too much to put shoes on. But that’s not the worst part. That would be the huge sac of fluid, a blister of impressive size, hanging from it, dragging on the floor.

Calmly, he limps over, before asking me solemnly, "Do you think I need to go to the hospital about this? Yes, I say. Yes, you should.

Over and under dramatic patientsPexels

46. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I was in Emergency Medical Services for a while. We had a guy who fell off his roof. Had an open fracture to his leg and a broken hip. He asked us if we needed any snacks or beverages while waiting for the medevac. Mind you, he refused pain meds due to being a former addict. It seems that patients with serious injuries are the quietest and nicest, while the ones who call emergency lines for nonsense are the worst.

For example, a 32-year-old man stubbed his toe. We asked why he called emergency. I couldn’t believe his answer. "I know that calling emergency gets you to the hospital faster and I have an important round of golf with the boys." I was internally screaming. Mind you, I was cursed out by him in the back for not telling our "driver" to go with lights and sirens. Later, this man went straight to triage, so joke’s on him.

Over and under dramatic patientsPexels

47. A “Miracle” She Survived

I am a nurse. We had an 89-year-old woman, who had no dementia and was living independently, come to the ER after a minor fall at home a couple of hours earlier. Her daughter insisted she come in even though the woman said “It doesn’t hurt much. I just want to take an Aspirin, have a warm bath, and go to bed.” We did a CT scan as a precaution. It saved her life.

She was rushed into emergency surgery almost straight from radiology. She had a ruptured spleen and almost two liters of free blood in her abdomen. How that didn’t hurt like the dickens and how she wasn’t dead already was a miracle! She survived and went back home to live independently. If she would have taken that Aspirin and went to bed she would have never woke up. One tough old lady for sure!!

Over and under dramatic patientsUnsplash

48. A Shocking Story

As an X-ray technician, we had a young woman come at about 7 AM with a bullet wound to the face. She was about to graduate medical school and had an interview at the children's hospital down the road from our trauma center. As she got out of her car, a man came up to rob her. She gave him everything and he still shot her point-blank.

Luckily for her, she put her hand up and it went through her hand first before lodging directly in front of her spine. When she first arrived, she was awake and very alert. She explained all of this to us and in the end, she finished with, "I am about to black out, please intubate me."

Over and under dramatic patientsShutterstock

49. A Grating Patient

I am an Army medic and was approached by a soldier who thought he had an STD, based on a rash, and wanted to keep it quiet. My buddy goes to check. The dude was just chafed. I just want to know how he made it that far in life without ever having been chafed.

Over and under dramatic patientsShutterstock

50. Nothing To See Here

A patient once presented to the ER with an 18-inch machete blade firmly implanted across the top of his skull. He was driven to the hospital by a friend—who was the possible assailant/owner of said machete—walked on his own into the ER, had totally normal vital signs in triage, and a slight steady trickle of blood from the wound. He denied he was in pain, and was in no apparent distress.

The ER was insanely busy, so it took us a while to get him a bed. In the meantime, he calmly sat in the waiting area, nearest to the triage station so we could keep an eye on him and watched TV, as the staff was running around like crazy, phones ringing nonstop, patients complaining about the wait time and exhibiting other types of tomfoolery.

The machete man just sat there calmly exhibiting his true Zen mastery of machete head wounds. All these years later, I can still see him with that machete lodged in his skull. He had the machete removed with no complications and suffered no impairment from the injury. He was cooperative and nice to all his caregivers. He also profusely thanked us for caring for him. Probably one of the few that did that night!

Over and under dramatic patientsUnsplash

51. A Maternity Mystery

A pregnant woman came into a gynecology practice and she was clearly already very far along; by visual, she was at least eight months. She supposedly hadn’t seen any doctors up until this point, so ignoring the extreme irresponsibility of this woman, the doctors proceeded with care. They ran some tests on her and she checked off all the boxes for the most part. Everything seemed right as rain.

They finished up with an ultrasound, and this is where things got weird. They had trouble making out a picture of the fetus, which on its own is not that unusual. High levels of gas can disrupt the ultrasound machine. What really concerned the doctors was that they couldn’t detect a heartbeat. The woman insisted that she should be induced so that the doctors can maybe save the child if something is wrong that they can’t see.

The doctors agree and send her over to the hospital. After hours upon hours of attempts to induce labor with no results, the doctor suggests a C-section. The woman agrees, so they begin the process. They popped her with an epidural and begin the operation. They delicately cut into the uterus and…There was no baby. She wasn’t pregnant!

How? She had a full baby belly. She passed pregnancy tests. She showed all of the hormones that pregnant women produce. It made no sense. It is a very very rare condition called pseudocyesis. It is essentially a phantom pregnancy. You show all of the real symptoms of pregnancy but you’re not pregnant. So weird!

Over and under dramatic patinetsUnsplash

Sources: Reddit,

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