Tales From The Trauma Ward

May 17, 2021 | Scott Mazza

Tales From The Trauma Ward

Even though they see dozens of patients day in and day out in their line of work, every doctor, nurse, and medical professional still has that one case that stays with them, whether it's hilarious, tragic, or somewhere in between. Well, button up those lab coats people, because these Redditors have shared their most outrageous stories below.

1. A Fly On The Wall

The doctor didn’t know I was awake, and what I experienced during the surgery sent a chill down my spine. He was drilling and started to vent his frustrations, loudly complaining about how much he dislikes the drill he was using compared to another brand. He was stuck with it because it was the only one available and he didn’t want to delay the procedure. Not a great start, honestly.

Then, once the screw was inserted, he casually told to his team to close up. When someone questioned whether the screw was protruding too much, his first response was, “No, but it should be fine, and removing and replacing a screw can wear out the bone.” After a short pause and some wrist maneuvering that I could feel, he decided, "Actually, we should use a smaller screw."

In recovery, the surgeon seemed taken aback at how quickly I was alert and was even more surprised when I informed him I was only under local anesthesia. His next words were, "The surgery went well..."

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2. Spick And Span

I work as a surgical tech, and during a skin graft procedure for a burn patient, things got a bit hectic very quick. In such surgeries, especially when we take the skin graft from the patient instead of using donor skin, there are two separate operative sites. This translates to me, just one person, running back and forth between two surgical teams, assisting both.

Now, this happened in a university hospital, which means I was working with a mix of attending surgeons, residents, and medical students. Anyone who works in surgery knows that no one, except the tech, should touch their table or anything on it. While we were harvesting the skin, it needs to be kept moist until it’s transplanted, so I wrapped it in a wet sponge and placed it on my table. You might guess what happened next. I turned back, and the sponge - with the SKIN - was gone.

I halted everything, asking who took the wet sponge from my table. A resident confessed, saying my table was "too cluttered," so he tossed the sponge in the bin. I was furious.

I had to severely reprimand a doctor, which I’d never done before. He not only touched my table but also discarded an item that we must account for post-surgery, and it contained a specimen! Since the skin was now unsterile, we had to resort to using cadaver skin, and guess who gets billed for that? The PATIENT. So, a little advice to all upcoming doctors: don’t touch your surgical tech’s table unless you have permission.

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3. What An Old Wind Bag

I'm a dental hygienist, not a doctor, and I had a memorably embarrassing moment early in my career. I was working with a lovely elderly lady, so full of vitality and joy, cleaning her teeth, a process we dental pros call "scaling". It involves removing plaque and can be a bit uncomfortable for the patient.

In the midst of the appointment, my stomach began to churn menacingly. The lady noticed, teased me a bit, and we shared a laugh. But soon, the rumblings moved downward, and I was fighting the urgent need to pass gas while I worked, with her head just there between my knees. Eventually, it became unbearable.

I thought I could discreetly release it, so I subtly shifted toward my instrument tray, pretending to reach for a new tool. But my plan for a silent escape failed dramatically, resulting in a quite noticeable sound.

The lady gazed at me, a mix of surprise and humor in her eyes, and remarked, "There you go, dear! Now I don't feel so bad for letting a few slip in the waiting room!" She’s remained one of my favorite clients ever since.

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4. Measure Twice, Cut Once

I work in a pathology lab, where we analyze all the hospital's specimens. One day, a difficult situation unfolded after a surgeon performed a double mastectomy based on another hospital’s pathology report. The report indicated the woman had a type of breast cancer that necessitated removing both breasts. But when we inspected her specimens, we made a shocking discovery.

There was no cancer in either breast. The surgeon, understandably distraught, insisted we examine every bit of the tissue, which is quite unusual, desperately searching for any trace of cancer. He watched the pathologist intensely, something I'd never witnessed before. We all felt a profound sympathy for him and, obviously, the patient.

He was visibly shaken, swearing and continuously expressing, “this is why I never trust outside pathology reports!” As it turned out, the other lab had mislabeled her tissue. So, another woman, who did have cancer, received an all-clear, while this patient had lost both her breasts unnecessarily. It was a heart-wrenching situation, and the surgeon was deeply affected by the entire ordeal.

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5. Epiphany Moment

During my time in medical school, one of my professors would often share a particular story. He was conducting a standard exam on an 18-year-old girl who was college-bound. Notably, she had an athletic physique and a healthy appearance. Reviewing her medical history, he noticed she wasn’t on birth control.

Given her attractiveness and impending college life, he inquired about it. Surprisingly, she'd never had a period. In her adolescence, doctors attributed this to her low body fat percentage and told her to wait. That's when my professor had an light-bulb moment.

He suggested a pelvic exam, to which she agreed. During the exam, he found a "nub," which clarified things; she was biologically male, with high estrogen levels and inverted genitalia.

Instead of delivering this shocking news himself, my professor referred her to a more empathetic, female doctor. I can only imagine how that conversation might have gone. “Actually, you’re biologically male, and it’s advisable to address your inverted genitalia surgically to prevent potential cancer. Also, perhaps delaying college for a bit might be a good idea."

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6. Cut Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

A patient came in with an abdominal bleed while the doctor was in surgery with another patient, whose vitals were stable. So, we kept an eye on her until he was done. Two hours later, when the OR was ready for her, she refused to go. Her reasoning was baffling: she felt that if the doctor could make her wait, she could make him wait, almost treating it like a spiteful game.

Despite numerous attempts by doctors and nurses to explain and persuade her, she remained stubborn. Eventually, the surgeon himself talked with her, emerging later to instruct, "Keep an eye on her and no food—she’ll agree to it eventually." Several hours afterward, while I was taking her vitals and chatting, she flatlined mid-sentence.

Fortunately, we were able to revive her immediately. The experience thoroughly rattled her. Once she’d recovered somewhat, she apologized extensively and gave consent for her surgery, which we then hurriedly proceeded with. It was astounding that her grudge nearly led her to a tragic outcome. Sometimes, it seems, bitterness can override common sense.

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7. A Swing And A Miss

My eight-year-old grandson recently went for what was supposed to be a simple cyst removal surgery on his thyroid gland. It was meant to be quick: go in the morning, return home by afternoon. But an hour later, a call from my son changed everything—something had gone drastically wrong. My grandson was being urgently transported to a hospital specializing in children’s care due to severe complications.

The initial surgery had gone horribly awry. The first surgeon had inadvertently cut his vocal cords and made a hole in his larynx, leaving the team at the new hospital puzzled about the next steps. They consulted experts at Seattle Children's Hospital while my grandson was sedated and on a ventilator.

The next day, doctors recommended moving my grandson to Seattle Children's Hospital. While his mom flew with him, my son drove there separately. The new surgeon worked a six-hour repair surgery from 5-11 pm on Friday. My grandson then spent a week sedated and on a ventilator, following which, upon examination, the surgeon was pleased to find his repair work looking even better than expected.

He had aimed to ensure three things: my grandson would breathe without needing a tracheotomy, he'd be able to eat and swallow independently, and that he’d retain his voice. The situation had been that dire. But two weeks later, they returned home with my grandson recovering wonderfully! He does require regular visits to Seattle for vocal cord scar tissue removal but, remarkably, he’s thriving and the surgeon achieved all his aims.

Adding a poignant note: since he was four, my grandson has dreamt of becoming a voice actor. But there was one more shocking revelation: the original surgeon confessed that what was presumed to be a cyst was a lymph node, but he proceeded with the surgery nonetheless. Consequently, my son and daughter-in-law are pursuing a malpractice suit against him.

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8. Forgive And Forget

When I was little, I had several surgeries because of a genetic condition I have, called osteochondromatosis. My surgeon, while not the friendliest guy, was known to be pretty top-notch. One time, I went in to get plates in both my knees to fix the way they were growing and to get a bone spur taken out of my left foot.

The surgery seemed to go well and I woke up in recovery with my parents there. But my mom spotted something was wrong. She asked the surgeon, “Weren’t you supposed to work on both knees?” I was too out of it to know his reply, but I guess he was super shocked. He’d fixed my right knee and left foot... but totally forgot about my left knee. So, that mistake meant I had to go through two extra surgeries later on.

Despite this, he was a decent surgeon. Although, I’m still a bit miffed about him kinda sugar-coating the chance of me getting cancer, but that’s a whole other story.

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9. Cutting Your Teeth

About six years ago, a woman in her late 20s came to us wanting a dental implant. We explained she needed a sinus lift to safely do the implant; otherwise, we might accidentally pierce her sinus. Despite our explanations, she firmly said no. So, we had her sign a consent form, essentially saying she's letting us go against our advice and if any issues pop up later, it’s not on us. She signed and even snapped a pic of it. The surgery, just one implant, went smoothly and took about 30 minutes. Back then, I didn’t know what I know now.

The operation was a success, and we made sure her sinus membrane was safe. We put a healing cap on the implant, gave her two weeks of antibiotics, and some dental hygiene instructions before her six-month check-up. However, a month later, she rang us, describing a severe, throbbing cheek pain—indicating either a nerve issue or a serious infection. So, we prescribed amoxicillin.

Two months later, she calls again, claiming her implant fell out and she was going to sue. She described an oozing greenish-yellow pus from the implant site, signaling peri-implantitis. But the infection should’ve been cleared up. Something was off, so we contacted the dental association and, despite our suspicions, offered free treatment for the infection and a free implant replacement. She went silent.

Three months after her expected check-up, she called us back, in tears. I was horrified to hear her news. An ophthalmologist told her she might go blind in one eye. Another doctor found a major infection affecting the nerves on one side of her face, a ton of pus in her nasal and optical sinus, pus even coming out of the corner of her eye, and perhaps an infection near the base of her brain. Then, she confessed: she never picked up any of the prescriptions. Full of regret and sobbing, she relayed everything.

We still wanted to help, but she hung up and we couldn’t reach her again. To this day, I hope she’s alright.

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10. Fatal Flaw

When I was in med school, a man in his late 60s came in with chest pain and turns out, he'd had a pretty big heart attack. However, he refused surgery because he wanted to drive his car home to avoid the $20-a-day parking fee in the ramp and said he’d take an ambulance back to the hospital afterward.

Shockingly, he did come back, but then my worst fear played out. He went into full cardiac arrest, had no pulse, and sadly, he died quickly. The tough part was when the doctor had to call his son and tell him what happened. His son just said, “Yeah, that sounds like dad, always trying to save a buck.”

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11. Dr. Feel Good

I'll never forget one particular patient who was in labor. Normally, checking a woman's cervical dilation involves a straightforward vaginal exam, where we estimate the dilation using a “V” shape with our fingers. It's typically pretty routine because, most of the time, the mom-to-be is way too focused on her contractions to be bothered by it.

But this one patient had a completely unexpected reaction to my check. She went from shouting in pain to making, well, much more pleased noises incredibly quickly. Keeping a straight face through that? It was a serious challenge, I’ll tell ya!

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12. You Know I’m No Good

When I was a fresh-faced nurse on a general surgery unit, I encountered an elderly diabetic lady who accidentally ran over her toe with her bedside table, yanking off the nail. Despite being gruff and rejecting any kind of touch, I tried to convey how serious this was, given her uncontrolled diabetes and already poor circulation in her feet.

She stubbornly waved away any treatment, only grudgingly allowing basic cleansing, antibiotic ointment, and sterile dressings after some persistence. Although she was sharp as a tack, she was firm in refusing everything else. Her wishes were respected, despite our concerns.

Her personal hygiene wasn’t great and she continued to resist any kind of in-depth care. Sadly, her choices eventually spiraled into a nightmare. The next time she rolled into the hospital, that toe had turned gangrenous and the only option was amputation below the knee. The doctor pointed out that this likely could’ve been avoided if she’d accepted earlier treatment.

Ironically, even after losing her leg, she still pushed away help. We did our absolute best, and after a while, she was sent back to her nursing home. Word got back to us that she kept thwarting her own healing by neglecting her wounds and causing new infections. A few weeks later, I spotted her obituary in the newspaper.

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13. Breathe Easy

So here's a story where I was the patient. I was just a kid, around 7 to 9 years old, when I got my first port - it's an IV catheter that goes into the main vessels near the heart. Waking up from that, I instantly felt something was off. My lungs were never great, but this was a whole new level of bad. Breathing was a struggle and the pain was intense. However, the doctor brushed it off, thinking I was just a kid not dealing well with post-op pain.

But my nurse, who knew my usual behavior pretty well, saw through my tears and my breathing struggle over the next few hours. She recognized this wasn’t my normal and managed to convince the doctor that something was genuinely wrong. He finally ordered an X-ray. Turns out, the surgeon had accidentally nicked my lung during the port installation, causing it to collapse.

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14. I Can See Clearly Now

Here’s a little tale from a visit to my optician. I was in for my yearly eye check-up, and aiming to snag a prescription for the next year's batch of contact lenses. I typically see the same optician each year, and this time was no different. He cheerfully ushered me to the hefty eye-testing machine and began the usual procedure, only to be completely taken aback by the results.

Bubbling with excitement, he rushed over, exclaiming, “Ma’am, I've only ever heard about this happening in theory! Your eyesight has completely corrected itself! No more glasses or contact lenses for you!” For a split second, I actually bought it, before timidly asking, “Are you sure you accounted for the contact lenses I’m currently wearing?”

Oops. I was supposed to have taken them out at least 30 minutes prior to the test. His face went blank. Not entirely sure who was more red-faced in the moment, him or me.

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15. The Failure Of The System

I used to visit various living facilities meant for adults with mental illnesses, helping them navigate through their mental health journey, finding jobs, and managing their medication when they couldn't do it themselves.

These facilities, designed like dorms, were intended for those considered stable enough to handle a semi-independent, shared living environment after leaving the hospital. But the reality was, many were inadequately supervised by the mental health staff present.

While some residents were truly progressing, others, especially the sicker and more isolated individuals, were unnoticed and struggled. They often didn’t take their critical medications consistently, despite it being a key requirement to live there.

I recall one quiet man with paranoid schizophrenia, visibly deteriorating over time. Even after urging staff to monitor him closely because he often neglected his meds, according to his logs, adequate action was never taken. Although I was assured they'd remind him of the importance of medication compliance and consult with his psychiatrist, this evidently didn't happen. The outcome was tragic.

He violently attacked his roommate while he was asleep, causing severe injuries. He believed his roommate was trying to poison him via the air conditioner. The survivor, already grappling with PTSD, was left physically scarred and further traumatized.

As for the attacker, with such a violent incident now on his medical history, his chances of being accepted into another rehabilitation house are practically nil. That day, the system tragically failed both men in a supposed place of safety and recovery.

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16. A Mistake Of Magnitude

I once treated a patient with throat cancer. We suggested a surgery to get rid of his tumor, and it was a pretty straightforward procedure. However, he decided to leave, not wanting a surgery he considered "mutilating." His daughter-in-law had been exploring magnet therapy and, in his words, was "quite proficient" at it. When he returned a year later, it was too late. His cancer had progressed so much that we couldn’t do anything to help him anymore.

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17. Just A Little Tinkle

I remember checking a patient's leg stitches once. She was wearing a skirt without any underwear, which didn’t faze me much, though it seemed a bit unhygienic. Then the worst-case scenario happens. Suddenly, she sneezed and, unfortunately, a bit of urine got on me due to the sneeze's force. Standing up, I met her awkward smile and soft admission, "I guess I did have to go." Internally agreeing but keeping my thoughts to myself, I silently excused myself, cleaned up, and let her doctor know she was ready without mentioning the incident.

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18. Built To Spill

A college student once dashed into the ER with a clear case of appendicitis, needing immediate surgery to prevent dangerous complications. When he called his parents to inform them, their icy reply was for him to decline the procedure due to a test later in the week. Despite our warnings about the potentially fatal risks if his appendix burst, he left the ER "Against Medical Advice." Luckily, he returned 10 hours later after it did rupture. Post-emergency surgery, his hospital stay likely doubled, meaning he probably missed his test after all.

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19. Faking It

I once had a regular patient during my medic days, who called us for severe shellfish allergic reactions every couple of months. Although her reactions were escalating, she'd always been tight-lipped about the cause. One day, after about a year of these recurrent incidents, my crew and I had a heart-to-heart with her in the ER, and she spilled the shocking truth. Coming from a patriarchal culture, her father would make a special seafood soup. Refusing it, perceived as rejecting his "gift" to the family, meant facing harsh penalties like losing her car or phone.

Despite our pleas for her to prove the deadliness of her allergy to her father and to always carry Epi-Pens, a few years later, now a nurse in that ER, I saw her again. Her face was swollen, following a visit to her parents’ house after some time away at college in another state. She had eaten the soup, and even after using her Epi-Pen when her throat began to swell, the reaction persisted. Her mom found her on the bathroom floor after she tried to eat quickly and hide her response. The medics struggled to tube her in the field and managed her as best they could en route to our ER.

A bedside tracheotomy by the doctor sent her to the ICU, and a week-long recovery followed. ICU nurses later told me her father finally accepted her allergy as a genuine, life-threatening medical condition after this incident.

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20. Sweep This Under The Rug

I'm not a doctor, but I've got a wild story from a doctor friend of mine. Usually, hospital staff often get asked, "What's the strangest thing you've seen on an X-ray?" But one older gentleman’s issue was crystal clear, no X-ray needed.

The moment he walked into the hospital, it was evident: a huge broomstick handle was stuck in his backside. Now, typically in these embarrassing scenarios, people spin all sorts of stories to explain. But this guy? He didn’t bother crafting some elaborate yarn.

He simply began, "Well, I was really going at it with this broomstick, using the washing machine for support. After I finished, my knee buckled. I slipped, and it went right up there. I tried to get it out but couldn’t get a good grip with both hands, so figured I'd better come to you folks since my knee needs checking too."

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21. An Unclean Cut

I'm not in the medical field, but I have an aunt who is, and her terrifying story is worth sharing. She once treated a guy in his early 20s, notorious for his bad hygiene - seldom showering, never brushing his teeth, and wearing the same outfit for days. One day, he showed up with an ugly, seemingly infected rash on his lower belly.

My aunt gave him antibiotics and hammered home the importance of better hygiene to prevent a recurrence. But, alas, he didn’t get the prescription and just slathered A&D Gold ointment on the rash instead. This decision, he'd profoundly regret. Later, my aunt heard he landed in the ER, going into shock at his job.

The horrifying part? He developed gangrene in the rash area, which spread to his scrotum, necessitating its removal.

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22. Mistaken Identity

A number of years ago, I had a slightly awkward moment with a doctor that left me chuckling and him quite red-faced. I had undergone a suction lipectomy on my neck to get rid of some extra fat, and I was back for a routine post-surgery check. The doctor asked me to take off my blouse and bra, which, thinking it was needed to assess my neck in context, I did without hesitation—I've never been particularly shy around healthcare pros.

Standing there, fully exposed, it dawned on him that he'd mixed me up with another patient—a woman in for a post-op check on an implant surgery. With a calm demeanor, but a beet-red face, he apologized for the mix-up and asked me to get dressed again. I found it quite amusing, but oh, the embarrassment on that doctor’s face!

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23. Keep Calm And Carry On

I'm a nurse and one time, a super polite patient of mine, still quite out of it from pain meds and a head injury from a motorcycle accident, managed to give us all quite the shock. He'd been hooked up to chest tubes and IVs but somehow, while I was on my lunch break (having left him in my co-worker's care), he wandered past the breakroom, leaving a trail of blood behind him. He'd somehow pulled out all his tubes himself, aiming to get to the bathroom, before collapsing.

After putting him back to bed—this time in the ICU with extra sedation—we managed to get everything back under control, although his self-removal action did delay his recovery a few weeks. In the end, he was discharged and even swung by to give cheerful thanks and greetings on his way out. Despite the blood and chaos, he was possibly the most upbeat delirious patient I've ever cared for. He was quite the champ.

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24. The Mad Surgeon

When I was about nine, I tagged along with my dad, a surgeon, to help an elderly lady in an assisted living facility. She needed her cast removed but couldn't get to the hospital due to her age, so my dad kind of did a house call. He brought a little saw to take the cast off.

Despite being loud and a bit scary-looking, he demonstrated on himself to assure the lady it wasn’t harmful. But once it touched her cast, she started screaming loudly, convinced he was cutting her arm off. It was pretty terrifying to witness - she was so genuinely frightened.

My dad, however, kept going and managed to get the cast off. On our drive home, he burst into laughter, finding the situation funny. I didn’t share the amusement. It seemed like the poor woman was close to having a heart attack back there.

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25. Use Your Head

Back in my school days, my instructor, who'd worked as a Vice President of patient care at a major US hospital, shared a heart-wrenching patient story. There was a patient who'd stayed in the unit for a year, with the hospital absorbing the costs. The reason? During his brain surgery, where they removed a sizable portion of his skull to access the brain, it accidentally fell and hit the floor.

Despite their attempts to clean it and administer ample post-operative antibiotics, he ultimately developed a serious infection - possibly encephalitis or meningitis, basically an infection throughout his whole head. It was one of the worst incidents I’ve ever heard about in a medical scenario.

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26. Knock, Knock

I once put my surgeon in a pretty uncomfortable spot without meaning to. At 21, I had a severe back surgery due to a car accident - think fused vertebrae, rods, and pins in my spine. Recovery meant regular visits to my surgeon, which I didn’t mind since the receptionist at his office was seriously cute.

Each check-up, I felt like she might be interested in me. But I was too shy to make a move, so instead, I subtly asked the doctor if he knew whether she was single. He kept it professional, not delving into her personal life, which I totally understood.

A few weeks later, I bumped into her at a bar. We chatted, swapped numbers, and eventually went on a beach date. Things went well, and she invited me to her dad’s for a steak grill. I was in for a shock when I got there. Opening the door was none other than my surgeon – her dad. Yeah, awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it for both of us.

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27. Didn’t Get The Memo

After my heart surgery, which involved going through my femoral artery, a critical detail got missed: no one outside the operating room knew I was given blood thinners. So, when I was back in my room and my parents came to visit, they walked into a nightmare. Two doctors and two nurses were there, blood was everywhere, and even the back wall was splattered with it.

I was supposed to be in a special tourniquet for at least 12 hours post-surgery, but it was removed and I was asked to move around after just four. The scene was horrific. The first nurse, who took off the tourniquet, turned ghostly pale. When she hit the emergency button, help didn’t come for what felt like an eternity—10-15 minutes maybe.

While panicking, she kept repeating, "You are bleeding out!" to me. Strangely, I stayed calm, even offering her suggestions, likely due to shock making me analytical instead of fearful. Although, my advice wasn’t exactly useful. I said, "Do you want me to hold that while you get help?" Her response? "You'll be dead before I return." I just replied, "Ah, ok, better you keep hold of it then."

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28. Cracking Up

I experienced a super awkward moment during a routine checkup once. The doctor was doing that back-tapping thing, checking for soreness since I have a history with kidney stones. As he moved towards my sides, he hit my "tickle zone". I'm ridiculously ticklish but was trying so hard not to dissolve into a fit of giggles right there.

I held back the laughter for as long as I could, but eventually, I couldn’t contain it anymore and unleashed a weird, screechy laugh, unlike any sound I’d ever made. The doctor didn’t react. The rest of the checkup continued in a painfully silent and awkward manner.

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29. Starved For Sense

This patient was supposed to fast for eight hours before her scheduled morning breast surgery. But during the operation, something truly disgusting happened—she threw up what looked like a half-digested English breakfast, complete with sausages, eggs, beans, and maybe black pudding, all right into her open airway as she tried to breathe it in.

We managed to keep most of it from getting into her lungs, but she needed an extra day or so of care to help her lungs recover from the stomach acid.

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30. There’s A 50% Chance It’s Raining

Before medical school, I worked as an orderly in an ER. Back then, our hospital usually dealt with the regular stuff while the university hospital got all the exciting trauma cases. Some younger nurses, perhaps a bit too keen, were always itching for some action, like the high-drama stuff you see in movies.

One day, an elderly man walked into the triage office and when a nurse asked what brought him in, he began, "I was shot—,” but couldn't finish before the nurse hit the panic button. She called a trauma code over the speaker, ordered a stretcher, and in a flash, everyone zoomed in, plunked the guy on the stretcher, and began sprinting to the trauma room.

It was like a scene from a TV show. The nurse started slicing through his shirt, shouting, "Sir, where were you shot?" Bewildered, the man yelled back, "In Korea!" Everyone froze, turning slowly to look at the nurse, who was now quite red-faced. The man glanced around and added, "My knee hurts when it's gonna rain.”

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31. You Make My Heart Skip A Beat

A few months back, I landed in the hospital with chest pains. Given my heart condition, I was put through a slew of scans and tests, even getting special meds to slow my heart for a CAT scan. But one specialist was, unintentionally, not making things easy for me, all because he was embarrassingly handsome.

Each time he stepped into the room, my heart rate would shoot up! Eventually, the other specialists had to shoo him away. We all got a good chuckle out of that.

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32. It Could Happen To You

Although I'm not a doctor, I used to get weekly allergy shots due to my many allergies, intending to strengthen my immune system. Both my family doctor and allergist always told me to stick around for 30 minutes post-shot just in case of a reaction.

However, one day, feeling overconfident after months without any adverse effects, I skipped the wait and left right after the shot. Turned out to be a terrible call. Within 10 minutes, I was in anaphylactic shock and, to make things scarier, I had no clue how to use an Epi-Pen. It was a wild, frightening moment, especially since I didn’t understand what was happening at first.

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33. Hold Your Own

I visited the doctor to have an X-ray taken of my back. The lady operating the machine told me to "Hold your breasts," just as she was about to press the button. In a panic, I clutched at my chest, baffled about what the X-ray might do to my breasts. Suddenly, she burst into laughter. "Oh no, dear!" she clarified, "I said breath, hold your breath!" I felt so silly.

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34. Don’t Go Alone

I once worked as an assistant manager at a group home, where one resident, who also had epilepsy, was notably private and would become distressed if we intruded on his space. Nevertheless, due to his medical condition, our policy mandated 30-minute checks, which, I realized, were being neglected. When I raised this with the manager, she acknowledged it but justified bending the rules to avoid upsetting him.

Even though her response didn’t sit right with me, being young, I presumed her experience outweighed my concern. Nonetheless, when it was my shift, I adhered to the policy, enduring his protests during each check without taking it to heart.

After moving to another group home six months later, heartbreaking news reached me: he had a seizure alone in his room and was found, tragically, lifeless the next day. Now, with more life and work experience, I stand firm when identifying issues like this, ensuring they’re addressed, and not easily swayed by others. The memory of that resident remains, a solemn reminder that he deserved better. May he rest in peace.

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35. Doctor Handsy

I was the patient in a quite awkward situation for everyone involved. I went to the hospital to have a cyst removed from my armpit, and I guess since armpits are near the chest, a breast examination was needed to ensure there were no issues there. I didn’t fuss about it.

So there I was, wearing one of those unflattering hospital gowns. A young male doctor and a female nurse entered (I assume because male doctors can't examine female patients alone). The nurse tried to ease my embarrassment by holding my hand and making small talk, but it was still a bit awkward.

Things got even more uncomfortable when my nipples conspicuously perked up. I was blushing all over. The doctor, perhaps inexperienced with younger women, misspoke, saying, "You have lovely breasts. Uh…healthy breasts." I felt the nurse, who seemed like she didn’t put up with much, tighten her grip on my hand.

She shot him a stern, silent glare that made time stand still. He turned as red as me. It might have been even more awkward for him than for me. Later, the nurse told me I'd be moved to a different ward and encouraged me to relax.

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36. Behind Door Number One…

I'm an ER doctor and encountered a wild situation during my training. I grabbed a chart for a psychiatric evaluation, and suddenly the seasoned nurses around began to chuckle. My confusion cleared up when I pulled back the patient’s curtain. A seemingly average woman in her 20s sat before me.

Her answers to my basic questions were oddly off-kilter, signaling something wasn't right. Unexpectedly, she reached under her blanket and gown, bringing up a handful of feces and moving it towards her mouth. I was so stunned, I laughed, exited the room quickly, and dialed the on-call psychiatrist.

Turns out, the nurses had laughed because this wasn’t her first visit for similar antics.

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37. Your Own Worst Enemy

I once had a patient handed off to me by another ER doctor at shift change, pending a chest X-ray. The results showed an aortic dissection, meaning it was a miracle he was still alive. Given we were at a small, remote hospital, we arranged a transfer to the nearest large hospital.

But things took an unexpected turn when the ambulance arrived for the transfer — the guy flat out refused to go. He was convinced enemies in that city would find and harm him. A tense standoff ensued in the ER hallway, involving security, police, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and me, a pretty frightened scribe, until eventually, he agreed to the transfer.

Later, we learned from the EMTs that he attempted to jump out of the moving ambulance. When he did get to the other hospital, he promptly left against medical advice. I never learned what happened to him, but wow, that dissection was CRAZY.

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38. Inside Out

While working in ER admissions during college, a teenager and his parents once came in after a bike mishap — he’d flown over the handlebars. Despite the staff's insistence on keeping him for overnight observation, his parents declined, even when offered a normally day-use-only recovery room near the ER.

Shockingly, they returned the next day and he was pale as a sheet. It turned out his fall had punctured something in his digestive system, causing, I believe, internal bleeding. It was the only time in my four years there that I saw staff literally run a patient to the OR for emergency surgery. Remarkably, he survived.

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39. Attaboy

I'm an ophthalmic assistant, not a doctor, and part of my work involves using a tiny ultrasound "pen" (a tonometer) to test eye pressures, which means gently poking people in the eye. Some folks faint during the test due to a common fear of eye-poking, or sometimes from holding their breath.

One day, I was testing an 18-year-old guy while his dad, who was paying for upcoming laser eye surgery, was in the room for support. The young man was trying to act tough, but he ended up fainting—right into my chest, which was quite prominent since I was three months pregnant.

Normally I’d catch and assist a patient in such cases, but he fell forward so quickly that I only managed to drop my pen and push him back into the chair by his shoulders. He moaned, swayed his head, his face nestled into my lab coat, all while his dad watched, utterly shocked and wide-eyed.

Once the young man came to (with a little help from his dad, who eventually assisted in getting his head between his knees), he was somewhat dazed. His dad simply said "Attaboy," leaving me, in turn, nearly fainting from embarrassment.

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40. A Little Tickle

I'm no doctor, but when my dad developed a serious cough, I insisted he see one. He shrugged it off for weeks until he began coughing up blood, at which point I practically dragged him to get medical attention. Turns out, it was tuberculosis. What’s scarier was learning just how close he came to a dire outcome if he’d waited any longer to seek help.

He’d been coughing throughout his overseas work trips in places like India, China, and Korea. We’d FaceTime often, so thankfully I wasn’t exposed to him much during his coughing spells, especially when he might’ve first contracted it. It was about a day after he returned from being abroad that the blood appeared in his cough.

Later, I realized just how lucky I was to not have been around him much, as I could’ve easily caught it, too.

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41. Bet Your Life

I'm an eye doctor. Once, a patient came to me, and after examining her retinas, it was clear her diabetes was dangerously uncontrolled, demanding urgent action. I promptly sent her to a retina specialist who arranged for immediate surgery. However, she chose not to attend due to work commitments in house cleaning, a job she couldn’t afford to miss.

Then, while working with household sprays, a sneeze triggered massive hemorrhages in her already weakened eyes, causing instant blindness and forcing her into emergency surgery that very day. Remarkably, after months of recovery and injections, she regained functional vision years later.

In a startling revelation, her kidneys were also found to be failing, something she was completely unaware of. This eye exam kicked off a life-altering shift in her lifestyle and a series of doctor visits that ultimately saved her life. I totally get that she skipped her surgery for economic reasons—it was a terrible predicament. But it was a stark choice: face blindness or miss work.

Even when the specialist offered to reduce the costs due to her difficult situation, she chose the path that initially led to blindness. Modern medicine came to the rescue, but in retrospect, her decision was clearly detrimental. After all, being blind also greatly limits earning potential...

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42. Approach The Roach

My doctor buddy shared this wild story with me about a patient he once had. The patient was super overweight and needed an operation for some health issue. While they were getting him ready for the surgery, cleaning his skin and all, they found something totally gross in the folds of his skin—a dead cockroach! Luckily, the man was already asleep for the surgery, so he didn’t know about the creepy discovery and didn’t get embarrassed.

They had no idea how long the bug had been there, but it must’ve been quite a while because it couldn’t breathe and died. It seems even cockroaches can’t survive everything.

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43. Know Thyself

So, I once took a quick trip to Batam, Indonesia, and our place had its own pool. I pretty much lived in that pool for the whole 48 hours we were there. When I wasn’t swimming, I was chilling in our super cool, air-conditioned room, still wearing my wet T-shirt over my swimsuit. The weather was crazy hot in the day and really windy at night since we were close to the sea.

Now, I have asthma, but it’s usually okay. However, I do get this tight feeling in my chest when I'm not well. After the trip, I got sick—runny nose, coughing, all that stuff. Since I work in healthcare and studied life sciences and diagnostic testing, I'm not really freaked out when I get sick because I know how to take care of myself. After a bit, everything cleared up except a persistent cough.

A week after the trip, I still had that cough but didn’t think much of it. Then, one day we went to play paintball and I ran myself ragged. Afterwards, we went to a buddy’s house to eat and hang out. I fell asleep but woke up with a crazy cough and felt like something was stuck in my throat.

Thinking it was just phlegm, I tried to cough it up in the bathroom...but it just wasn’t working. I was there coughing for like 30 minutes when my friends checked on me. I just said, “Yeah, it's just a cough. I think I’m trying to cough up some phlegm.” I wasn’t really thinking clearly, honestly.

I saw a doctor the next day and whoa, turns out, I was actually having a major asthma attack. I didn’t recognize it since it had been years since my last one. And ironically, this was the doctor who’d told me to always carry my inhaler, which I didn’t. Now, whenever I cough or sneeze, even a little, my friends mock me with, "IT'S JUST A COUGH, I’M FINE.".

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44. It's Not What You Think

One day, a couple visited the hospital. The woman, who was quite overweight, was dealing with intense stomach pains. Since it didn’t appear to be an emergency, the doctor performed a standard check-up. However, the results were astonishing. The doctor discovered she was pregnant and actually in labor!

The woman was completely shocked. She exclaimed, "But I take the pills every day!"

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45. Fresh Produce

I'm a doctor who works exclusively with baby stuff (an OB-GYN). One day, a friendly flight attendant who flies all around the world, and who I see often, urgently called me for a special appointment. She was a bit embarrassed and worried because she kept finding what she thought were stamps from Costa Rica inside her private area. In my 24 years of being a doctor, I had never heard of anything like this!

After checking her thoroughly, she was happy to find out that they were just stickers from bananas.

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46. I Don’t Scare Easy

My dad works in a specialized medical field where he deals with heart and blood vessel issues using advanced imaging techniques. A while back, he was performing a procedure on a prisoner. The guards kept the inmate handcuffed to the operating table and stayed in the room the whole time. Trying to intimidate my dad, the inmate shared that he was in jail for killing someone. But, my dad is not someone who gets scared easily.

Quickly and unphased, my dad responded, "You know, the last person I did this operation on didn’t survive." The security guard let out a little laugh, and the inmate kept quiet for the rest of the procedure.

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47. Take It On The Chin

I had this pesky ingrown hair on my chin, and I tried to squeeze it out. Well, things didn't go as planned, and the area around the hair kind of exploded. My chin started puffing up like I had a huge wad of gum or a jawbreaker stuck in my lower lip over the next few hours. Realizing something was definitely wrong, I decided to see a doctor the next day.

Now, here's the twist - it was my first time meeting this doctor, which made the whole situation even more awkward. I had to tell her the story of how my chin got all swollen, adding in a proud, "But hey, at least I got that ingrown hair out!" After checking my chin, she brought in what I thought was a new doctor to take a look at the golf ball-sized lump on my chin.

My response was something like, "Wow, this doesn't make me feel embarrassed or anything." We all had a good laugh about it. The doctor gave me some pills, and within two days, the infection causing the lump was gone.

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48. You Are What You Eat

I once had a patient who couldn't eat because of a blocked bowel. He didn't like that, so secretly, he called Papa John's and got some garlic knots. He ate them all, but then things went very wrong. He threw up, breathed in his vomit, and his breathing stopped.

We had to do CPR to bring him back. Because of his existing lung problems, we couldn't get him off the ventilator. He spent a month in the ICU and then had to go to a special care place with a tracheotomy and the ventilator to help him breathe.

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49. Lights Out, Pants Off

I had an appointment with a urologist at the hospital once. During my visit, there were a couple of power outages. The lights went off, but luckily, the backup generators kicked in to keep things going. While the urologist was wrapping up the examination, the lights went out again, and this time, the backup power didn't kick in right away. The urologist left to check on it.

After about 15 minutes, the lights came back on. I was still sitting on the bed with my pants down. Then, a nurse walked past the open door and did a funny double-take. She asked, "Um... do you have an appointment?" It turns out that the urologist had actually finished the exam and had come back to the ward a while ago.

To the nurse, I looked like some guy who had just walked in, pulled down his pants, and left the door wide open. Super awkward!

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50. A Long Way Down

I used to work as an EMT, and one day, I got called to a highway car accident. The guy involved was in pretty bad shape. He really didn't want any help and insisted on leaving. So, he signed a paper to say he didn't want our treatment and just started walking down a small slope from where his wrecked car was. Well, that turned out to be a really bad move.

He only got about 10 feet away from the ambulance before he suddenly passed out and rolled down the slope. What began as a bump on his head and a few cuts turned into a broken left arm, a bad concussion, and a nasty head wound.

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51. You’re Not My Doctor

I’m a doctor, and I’ve got this wild story from my great uncle, who was also a doctor out in a small town in Australia. He shared a practice with another doc, Dr. Snow. Now, Snow had a son with some intellectual disabilities, but the way family stories go, they kinda exaggerated his challenges.

One day, while Dr. Snow was with patients, his mid-20s son was hanging around the office. At some point, Dr. Snow stepped away and his son thought it'd be fun to play doctor. So, he throws on a white coat, ushers in the next patient - a pregnant lady. He asks her to undress, politely looks away, and then when he looks back and sees her without clothes, he’s baffled and goes, “What, no Johnson?” Both he and the woman bolted, screaming, out of different doors. Talk about an awkward day for everyone.

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52. Delicious, Not Nutritious

This patient, who was significantly overweight and also diabetic, struggled with swallowing due to his weight. So, while he was in the hospital, we had him on a strict diet. But at night, his family would sneak in and feed him all sorts of things he wasn’t supposed to have - KFC, chips, cakes, you name it.

Tragically, the patient stopped breathing one night. During CPR, he actually choked on the fried chicken they'd given him just an hour earlier, and we couldn’t revive him. What was even more heartbreaking and disturbing was that, while we were desperately trying to save him, his family was nonchalantly having a “picnic” in the waiting room. It was such a tough day for all of us involved.

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53. Hard To Accept Help

I'm an ambulance medic, and one day we got a call about a woman in her 50s or 60s who was struggling to breathe. Her oxygen levels were way low, just 60%, when a healthy level is 95% or more. We gave her oxygen and were ready to take her to the hospital, but strangely, she refused to go.

Despite us trying everything and warning her that she might not survive without immediate care, she just wouldn’t budge. So, with heavy hearts, we took off the oxygen and left. Two hours later, another team was dispatched for someone not breathing - it was her. Sadly, they couldn't get her pulse back.

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54. What A Nut

A man came to me after having an allergic reaction to peanuts. I warned him sternly: avoid peanuts at all costs as each reaction can become progressively worse. I gave him a prescription for an Epi-Pen in case of accidental exposure and recommended seeing an allergist for further advice. However, the very next day, things took a terrifying turn.

He returned, barely able to breathe, his vital signs terribly low. His wife, visibly shaken, shared that despite my clear warning and her pleas, he had injected himself with the Epi-Pen and then eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. His reasoning defied our earnest warnings.

His allergy advanced aggressively. We had to insert a breathing tube and place chest tubes on both sides due to the severity of the reaction. A two-week intensive care stay followed, as his body battled and struggled to breathe without a ventilator. Last update: he’s living with permanent lung damage and relies on numerous medications daily. All this, tragically, for a sandwich.

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55. Not Worth It

My grandma, despite having a broken hip and emphysema, was unyieldingly committed to her smoking habit. After a hip repair, she was recovering in a nursing facility, where they made it clear: there was just one designated outdoor area for smoking due to the serious risks, especially considering she was on oxygen.

But one dreadful night, she didn’t adhere to those rules. Sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom, she lit it while on oxygen and inadvertently caused an explosion. The incident left her with third-degree burns covering a quarter of her body, necessitating multiple skin grafts. She endured a lengthy stay in the ICU’s burn unit until, unexpectedly, her heart just gave out.

Visiting her, witnessing her pain and suffering, was deeply traumatic. It’s been about 15 years. Her memory is missed daily.

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56. Self Care Is Important

My friend's relative didn't manage his diabetes well. Though insulin is a wonderful tool to control blood sugar, he misused it, indulging in whatever he wanted to eat and then just upping his insulin when his levels spiked. But here's a cautionary tale – his body eventually lost its own ability to regulate blood sugar at all. He let his once-controllable diabetes spiral into a dangerous cycle of consuming too much sugar, administering insulin to compensate, and then eating more sugar to counteract excessive insulin.

At times, he was so debilitated he would ask others to fetch him a Gatorade or candy bar because he couldn’t even get off the sofa. His story ended tragically a few weeks ago, after he called an ambulance from his car, having been to a fried chicken restaurant alone. Sadly, he passed away 10 minutes before help arrived.

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57. A Pregnant Pause

My mom, a nurse practitioner, once had a patient who was adamant she was pregnant and wanted a lab test, despite numerous negative home tests. The woman believed she'd conceived during a trip to El Salvador six months prior, following an unprotected intimate encounter. Mom tried to assure her that, given the time that had passed and clear lack of a six-month pregnancy, a clinical test was unnecessary and would be costly to boot.

However, the woman was unshakable in her belief. So, my mom collected saliva, feigning a send-off to the lab. The following day, she assured the woman she wasn’t pregnant, providing her much relief. Here’s the astonishing part - the patient was 90 years old.

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58. Cast Away

A patient once came to me, complaining he couldn't bend his knee. When he pulled up his pants for the exam, I was nearly taken aback: there was a plaster cast around his knee! A quick dive into his records showed multiple letters sent to him, urging him to come in to have it removed. 

Since he never showed up at the outpatient clinics, the hospital had just assumed he'd taken it off himself. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.

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59. Young At Heart

My cousin, despite having cystic fibrosis, yearned to experience life just like her friends did. Often, she’d sidestep her doctor’s advice on medications and resist new procedures to dodge lengthy hospital stays. She was incredibly intelligent, yet sadly, her health deteriorated. She peacefully passed away at 22, potentially a decade earlier than necessary.

Witnessing advances in CF treatments in the subsequent years brings me hope for today’s kids managing the condition. A plea to all: heed your doctor’s advice. Enduring days or weeks of inconvenience is vastly preferable to losing decades of life down the road. I miss her each and every day.

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60. A Head Case

An older gentleman in his late 60s came to us after a fall where he hit his head. Given that he was taking anti-platelet medications for an irregular heartbeat, we emphasized the critical risk of internal bleeding and recommended a CT scan immediately.

Despite our advice, he declined and even formally rejected our medical guidance. A few hours later, his family frantically called us back - he was unresponsive. Regrettably, we were pretty sure he was experiencing significant bleeding inside his skull. He passed away that same night, a situation that might have been entirely preventable with some careful action and responsibility.

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61. Joy Ride

My middle-aged neighbor downstairs was always on oxygen due to severe COPD and had significant memory issues, causing him to grumble about everything. His "girlfriend" - and I use that term lightly because it seemed she was more interested in his wallet than him - was a heavy smoker.

One day, while I was gardening, he zoomed into the garage, barely made it a few steps from his car, and tossed me his keys, urgently asking for a new oxygen tank. Then it suddenly clicked - he'd been out test-driving a car and ran out of air.

About six weeks later, social services moved him into a care facility. I hope they also deemed him unfit to drive. I never saw him again.

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62. The Difference A Letter Makes

A nurse in the imaging center needed to give a patient with claustrophobia an anti-anxiety medication, Versed, for an MRI. To find the drug, she used a machine where she had to type in the medication name, but things took a terrible turn.

She typed in "Ve" and without verifying, selected the first medication that appeared. Almost instantly, the patient suffocated and died right there. The devastating mistake was discovered afterward.

Instead of Versed, the first drug that popped up alphabetically was Vecuronium, which is not an anti-anxiety medication but a paralytic. It paralyzed the patient while they were fully conscious, causing them to suffocate.

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63. Parental Advisory

I once worked in mental health, on a unit that served as an alternative to hospital admission. A teen girl was admitted after attempting suicide in a bathtub. Shortly after, she persuaded her parents to take her home early, even though she could only leave with parental approval. Despite my warnings, they took her out of the unit prematurely and tragically realized the gravity of their error soon after.

A few weeks later, she succeeded in taking her own life, this time in a bustling area of the city. Her story was widely covered in local newspapers, which is how I learned of the heartbreaking outcome.

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64. Lend A Hand

A patient, who had just undergone significant head and neck cancer surgery, assured me he would have a safe home and family support after being discharged, especially crucial due to his new medications and wound care needs. But a few days later, a TV news report shocked me. He was found unconscious in a shed, without electricity or running water, in his cousin's backyard. It was heartbreaking. Sometimes, people can be so disappointing.

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65. Free And Clear

I’m undergoing dialysis, and a nurse shared stories with me about previous patients who, following kidney transplants, chose to stop taking their anti-rejection meds after a few years, thinking they were no longer necessary. It’s incredibly frustrating for the nursing staff to see patients do this because it essentially negates their second shot at a healthy life and places them right back where they started.

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66. Pearl Of Wisdom

When I was about 16, I visited the doctor because I started experiencing allergies and wanted it looked into. The doctor confirmed that it was indeed allergies after checking my nose and throat. But things took a weird turn when she checked my right ear and exclaimed, "What the heck is that?" I initially thought she was commenting on my earwax, but she noted something "shiny" in there.

A little context: four days prior, in my rebellious teenage phase, I had tried to secretly stretch my ears by hot-gluing pearls to some plugs to make them look like regular earrings. One morning, I woke up with one pearl missing and couldn't locate it anywhere. I sheepishly had to inform the doctor that my "earring" had broken and that lost pearl? It had been in my ear for days.

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67. The Girl Can’t Help It

My friend shared a story about a woman struggling with substance abuse who came into the hospital with sepsis and a necrotic spot on her buttock. Surprisingly, she was talking and upright despite what seemed like nearly total organ failure. She survived that ordeal, albeit with lasting physical changes. Two years later, she returned with a rotting foot, which they amputated, and again, she survived.

However, a mere two weeks later, she came back, practically unconscious from an overdose. Now a familiar face to the staff, including my friend, she was placed in the ICU and her long-estranged son visited. He tried to persuade her to get clean for her grandchildren and she promised to try. But tragically, less than a day later, she overdosed again in the hospital bathroom, having secretly brought in her substance kit. Her struggles reflect the unyielding hold of addiction.

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68. Parting Gifts

I had a physical exam when I was 14, during a time when my periods were still pretty irregular. On that particular school day, it unexpectedly started and it was heavy. With only panty liners in hand, I resorted to the classic move of stuffing my underwear with toilet paper to get through it.

Fast forward to the doctor's office, where she mentioned wanting to do an external genital check due to my teenage status and all the accompanying changes. When I pulled down my underwear, a messy bundle of bloody toilet paper tumbled out. I tried to swiftly pick it up unnoticed, but she definitely saw.

However, she was super understanding about it. On her way out, she handed me a small "goody bag" she typically gave to kids - usually filled with acne cream samples, candy, and little toys - but this time, she discreetly added a pad to it. She was a real friend in that moment.

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69. Release The Floodgates

I regularly got prostate exams from a doctor who was also a family friend. After one check, I cheekily told him, "Usually people buy me dinner first," and he burst out laughing. His nurse, however, looked utterly surprised. I always aimed to lighten the mood with a joke during my visits.

But one time, things got a bit awkward. As a joke, I made exaggerated moaning sounds and locked eyes with the nurse. She seemed quite annoyed, while the doctor found it hilarious. Suddenly, his hand began to tremble while it was still, well, doing the exam.

Unexpectedly, due to his shaking hand, my bowels gave way, and it turned into a messy situation for both of us.

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70. Let’s See Your Ink

My dad, who's a doctor, shared this story from about 30 years ago. He had a patient who would weird out all the female nurses by claiming, "I have your name tattooed on my private parts." One day, a particularly bold and curious nurse took a chance to sneak a peek while he was asleep. To everyone's surprise, he actually had "Your Name" tattooed on his anatomy.

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71. Baring It All

One time, my dad visited the doctor and after an initial check-up, a nurse informed him she'd be back to give him a shot. Misunderstanding, he took off his pants entirely and perched on the exam table. When the nurse walked back in, she was undoubtedly puzzled but stayed professional, administering the shot where it was actually meant to go - in his shoulder. We chuckle about it now, but it must have been quite a moment for that nurse back then.

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72. Kiss And Tell

A mom in the NICU was consistently kissing her premature baby on the lips, even after several nurses explained the risks, especially during cold season. When she showed up with a cough and congestion but kept kissing the baby, everyone became more concerned. The baby, nearly ready to go home, got severely ill and ended up needing a ventilator, resulting in a prolonged stay and numerous critical moments.

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73. Nothing Hurts Like Family

I've seen family members dangerously un-restrain a patient with a breathing tube, even after being warned about the risks when nurses weren't watching. In one instance, a patient, encouraged by his family, removed his own tube, but tragically, he was too weak to survive without it. Essentially, their discomfort with the restraints contributed to their loved one's demise.

I've also witnessed a family member cough directly into the face of a patient with a weakened immune system, likely prolonging their intensive care stay by about a month. It was a sad situation for that poor woman.

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74. Eat Your Vitamins

My wife works as a labor and delivery nurse. After babies are born, they're given a vitamin—Vitamin K, I believe—that they can't produce for the first six months of their lives, which assists with blood clotting. Without this, they can potentially bleed internally, which can be lethal. Unfortunately, one mother decided against having her child receive the vitamin, a decision she'd soon find devastating.

The baby tragically passed away in the NICU due to issues related to bleeding. While it's not absolutely certain, the lack of Vitamin K might have been a contributing factor. I don’t remember the exact cause of the bleeding or the specific issues involved, but many medical professionals believe that not having the vitamin likely played a role.

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75. It’s Just A Flesh Wound

My grandpa experienced a significant health decline due to a series of unfortunate events. He was advised by the hospital to return immediately if he felt any chest pain, but he didn’t, and it cost him dearly. A blood clot in his brain led to three strokes, hemorrhaging, additional minor strokes, a paralyzed left arm, and Broca's Aphasia. His life took a drastic, challenging turn.

He was a vibrant man before this; working as a school crossing guard, growing his own veggies, building tables, biking, walking, and even playing darts with notably poor eyesight. But post-stroke, he moved into a care home, losing his ability to speak.

Still, his stubbornness remains intact. He refuses to participate in rehabilitation that could potentially improve his speech. He finds using communication cards demeaning, leaving us to interpret his needs and wants through eyebrow movements. His stubbornness, potent and frustrating, is a familial trait. Even his brother, my uncle, exhibits it, avoiding the hospital until he was found in distress on his bedroom floor, suffering from sepsis.

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76. Too Little, Too Late

The patient came in with unclear stomach issues, leading me to suggest a CT scan. However, he turned it down due to radiation fears and also opted out of a colonoscopy. We ended up doing an ultrasound, but it didn’t reveal anything, partly because his body size made the abdominal exam tricky and inconclusive. When he came back a year later, we couldn’t avoid doing a CT scan, and unfortunately, it showed extensive colon cancer. It's likely he may not be with us now.

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77. Hello, Operator?

I used to manage the phones at a big hospital, usually handling pretty standard calls. But one lady once called with a bizarre claim: she thought spinal fluid was leaking from her nose. I found myself in the odd position of having to gently explain to her that it was just mucus. It made for an awkward conversation for both of us..

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78. Please Set My Alarm

My grandpa, the only doctor in a sprawling countryside area, wore many hats: general practitioner, surgeon, and OB-GYN, adapting to whatever his patients needed. This meant extremely long days and minimal sleep, especially since he was the sole medical provider for miles. Back in the day without cell phones, my grandma fielded calls, often informing him of another patient immediately upon returning home.

One late night, after an already exhaustive day, a pregnant woman living quite a distance away called. Her baby was nearly due and she needed him. Despite his fatigue, he went. Once there, he laid beside her in bed, instructing her to nudge him awake when labor began. It must have seemed odd to her, though he was confident her labor screams would stir him when needed.

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79. Shrinkage?

My nurse friend, quite good-looking and new to the job, was tasked with bathing an elderly gentleman in his 80s on just her second day. Feeling a bit uneasy about the situation, an experienced nurse tried to soothe her nerves, assuring her that everything “down there” would be shriveled and she'd adapt to such tasks with time.

Taking the veteran nurse’s word, my friend bravely proceeded to undress the old man, preparing him for his bath. But to her surprise, when the robe came off, let's just say the gentleman was quite well-endowed and seemed quite pleased with the unexpected shock he gave her, judging by the broad smile on his face.

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80. A Leg Down

A friend of my grandfather had to have his leg amputated. But a mix-up between leaving his hospital bed and heading into surgery led to a catastrophic error: they removed the wrong leg. The poor man, quite elderly and frail, had to undergo surgery again three days later — a risky move considering his age — to amputate the correct leg.

I was skeptical of this story until I met him and saw that he indeed had both legs amputated, all due to a regrettable oversight.

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81. Better Safe Than Sorry

One time, I was the solo doctor in a remote village named Shinafiyah in southern Iraq, where medical supplies were scarce. A little four-year-old boy was brought into our makeshift ER, struggling with diarrhea and showing signs of dehydration. The village lacked tap water, so folks drank directly from a river nearby.

I suspected the boy had cholera. Without getting into the unsettling details about this disease, I urged his father to let him stay for further observation. His father declined. Hours later, they were back; the boy was gravely dehydrated and terrifyingly ill, resembling a frail, elderly figure more than a young child.

Finding a vein for IV fluids was a challenge due to his severe condition and, without a central line set available, I had to access a large vein in his neck. The boy just barely pulled through. Cholera was uncommon there, so after stabilizing him, I had to arrange for tests to be conducted 200 miles away and ensured he was sent there, stable, by ambulance.

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82. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

I’m a psychotherapist and have worked a lot with addicts. Often, they don’t follow advice to quit their addictions, and one case specifically stands out to me. Despite firm warnings from me, his psychiatrist, and his primary care physician (PCP) about the critical need to quit drinking, one man just wouldn't listen. His PCP eventually had to let him go as a patient because of it.

The man was visibly unwell, jaundiced, and suffering from liver failure - a stark image of impending doom. Surprisingly, he lived longer than any of us anticipated but did eventually succumb last year due to the extensive damage from his persistent heavy drinking. I should note, during the time I treated him at an inpatient behavioral health hospital, we utilized detox therapies and medications to help him.

He was admitted approximately once a month over my four-year tenure there. We did more than just instruct him to stop; we provided thorough support and utilized all available resources to assist him in every way possible.

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83. A Dry Spell

I had my second C-section, and since my surgeon had to leave before I was discharged, another surgeon handled my discharge orders. He had just returned from re-stitching a woman's abdomen because she broke a crucial rule: she stood up and picked up her 5-year-old on the same day she left the hospital.

He firmly warned me, in no uncertain terms, that I must not pick up anything over 8 lbs or stand while holding anything, or we'd have a serious talk. He was quite intimidating, but considering he just had to put a woman's insides back together and witnessed her scared child covered in his mom's blood, his stern manner seemed warranted. So, I diligently followed the rule and didn’t lift anything heavier than my baby for two weeks until I got the green light.

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84. I’ve Got A Bright Idea

A buddy of mine, fresh out of nursing school, landed a job in a hospital and encountered a rather unusual situation one night. A man came in having inserted a regular lightbulb into his backside. I'm not exactly sure what his thought process was—maybe he figured if the sun doesn’t shine there, a bulb might?

Then things took a turn; the bulb broke. My friend spent hours assisting the doctor, using a light to illuminate the area, held open with spreaders, as they meticulously removed every shard of broken lightbulb.

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85. To Be Taken Orally

My friend, who was in medical school and doing a rotation in the ER, shared a story about an especially unusual patient encounter she had. One evening, a man, wearing only blood-soaked underwear and draped in a blanket, was brought into the hospital by police. Despite the startling appearance, he was surprisingly calm and didn't reveal much to my friend.

Before examining him, she spoke with the officers to understand what had transpired. The story was beyond horrific. He removed his own thing...and swallowed it.

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86. Come Again?

I'm not a doctor, but I once had a super uncomfortable moment with one. I'd given myself a hernia lifting a really heavy gate and ended up at the hospital where they decided to do an ultrasound on my testicles. The doctor was a woman, which was cool with me - I figured we're both adults, she's a professional, no big deal.

But when she applied the gel, I mentioned, "That feels weird," just thinking it might be relevant info. She abruptly stopped and asked, "Did you just say that feels good?" My face must’ve turned all shades of red as I hastily clarified, "No, weird! It feels weird." The silent moment that followed was probably the most awkward one I've ever experienced.

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87. Some Like It Rough

I once had a lady visit my clinic, troubled by pelvic pain. She was accompanied by her boyfriend, who noticeably squirmed in his seat when I inquired about when her pain began. She mentioned it kicked in about a week prior, during an intimate moment with him. Clearly, it was time for a pelvic exam.

When I began the exam, her boyfriend darted out of the room, which caught my attention. As it turns out, the patient had a vulvar hematoma (and if you're squeamish, maybe avoid looking that up). It’s an injury you’d usually associate with a harsh bump to a bike seat. The truly awkward part? Having to gently tell the boyfriend to be a bit more gentle in the future.

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88. Hide And Seek

I was once an off-service resident working in obstetrics. One day, I went to check on a lady in labor who'd just arrived. She was significantly overweight, and I needed to lift a large fat fold to check her cervical dilatation. When I did, a terrible odor and a good amount of black material greeted me. It didn't resemble necrotic tissue, so I began gently cleaning it with saline.

Suddenly, the patient called her husband over excitedly, saying, "He found it!" To my surprise, they'd been playing a home game where they hid chocolate ho-ho's in each other's fat folds. This particular treat had been lost for three days before she came to the hospital in labor.

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89. Action And Reaction

I'm a resident doctor, and during a stint in coronary care, I witnessed quite a bit. There was this one patient to whom I said, “Your heart attack is a warning sign. Quitting smoking is crucial, even with the meds we give you. It’s tough, but we’re here to help you through it.” His response? “Yeah, I’m gonna think about it.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.

He returned a few years later, experiencing another heart attack. This became a recurring event. Sadly, unless someone genuinely desires to quit, it’s tough to kick the habit. It often takes facing even graver consequences than a heart attack to truly grasp the dangers, it seems.

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90. Bargaining With Fate

As a paramedic student, I encountered a patient who was morbidly obese and trapped in his own home. After enduring chest pain for about four days, he finally called for help. When we arrived, the signs of an imminent heart attack were clear, but he refused our help and asked us to leave. Just 45 minutes later, we were called back to his building, a message that sent shivers down our spine.

Arriving back at the scene, we found him experiencing a full-blown cardiac arrest. His extreme obesity prevented us from moving him through the door. Ultimately, we had to remove a wall and use a lift to get him down from the second story, all while my paramedic lead and I worked to keep him breathing through a tube. That call, filled with many first-time experiences, is one I'll always remember.

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91. The Price Of Freedom

I'm not a doctor, but here’s a story about my fiancée’s grandmother's hospital roommate. He had a tube in his stomach for some reason and was really determined to remove it, despite the medical team warning him, "If you take out that tube, you'll die." But he didn’t listen and left the hospital of his own accord. I don’t know what ended up happening to him, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn’t good.

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92. It’s All Fun And Games Until…

A 20-year-old guy with serious diabetic issues had surgery to clear blood and scar tissue from his eye. We told him to relax and take it easy for a bit. However, he went to Six Flags amusement park and, spoiler alert, roller coasters aren’t great for healing eyes. Unfortunately, his retina fully detached and his eye softened, so it had to be removed.

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93. I Do What I Want

We urgently advised a patient, "Don't try to stand up by yourself!" But he didn't heed our advice. He stood up and accidentally yanked out the line inserted into his jugular vein, which was connected straight to his heart. It was a dire scene—blood was everywhere, and he fainted from the loss. That day, he nearly lost his life.

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94. Eerie Premonition

My dad shares a story about a very overweight woman who visited his clinic. After examining her, he straightforwardly told her: "You need to significantly change your lifestyle and diet to lose weight, or things will end badly for you.” She didn’t take it seriously, but tragically, she passed away within a week. Her family, upset, tried to sue, accusing my dad of being "a witch doctor" who had cursed her. It was a heart-wrenching situation for everyone involved.

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95. A Curious Stranger

I work in the ER. One time, I was talking to a young woman about a pelvic issue. She easily answered all my questions, even with a man present in the room. When I handed her a gown to get ready for the exam, she asked, "Can you ask this guy to leave first? He just followed me in here from triage." That was the moment I learned to always confirm the relationships of everyone in the room.

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96. Sounds Like A Cool Dude

While working at the hospital, a young woman in her mid-20s arrived with her boyfriend, seeking help for abdominal pain. She needed a pelvic and bimanual exam, which involves checking internally for issues. Although I offered a female practitioner for the exam, she was comfortable with me conducting it.

A chaperone was in the room for the procedure, yet her boyfriend insisted on observing too. Adhering to professionalism, I proceeded, despite his intimidating, continuous stare from the foot of the bed, making the environment quite tense. The situation was strange but didn't end there.

Post-exam, the boyfriend privately suggested to me that her pain might be due to their intense bedroom activity the night before. Why he chose to share this remains unclear, possibly an attempt to assert himself. Certainly, this stands out as one of my oddest interactions with a patient or their relative.

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97. The Potato Famine

I used to work as an ER nurse, and I've got quite a wild story from my time there. One day, a reclusive elderly woman who rarely left her home showed up at the ER. Her main complaint was, "I've got the greens," which left us puzzled. So, I had to talk to her to figure out what she meant, and what I learned was truly bizarre.

It turns out she was dealing with uterine prolapse, a common issue in older women who've had multiple children. In her case, her uterus was partially descending. In an attempt to address this, she did something rather unusual. She used a specific type of potato, a Yukon Gold, as a makeshift cork to hold things in place. Yes, she inserted it into herself.

But that's not the end of the story. She completely forgot about the potato, and as it turns out, potatoes tend to sprout in dark, moist environments. So, when she lowered her pants, we were greeted by the sight of actual vegetation growing down there. It was like she redefined the term "bush." The doctor had to intervene to remove the potato, and I can tell you, the smell was absolutely horrendous – the worst I've ever encountered.

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98. Let’s See Those Pearly Whites

Here's a somewhat uncomfortable and sad story. My mom worked as a dental hygienist, and she had this elderly patient who enjoyed napping while she cleaned his teeth. Surprisingly, she didn't find it bothersome; it was actually quite a soothing experience for her.

However, one day, something unexpected happened. While he was in her chair, he had a silent heart attack. My mom continued cleaning his teeth, completely unaware that he had passed away during the process.

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99. The Rear View

I'm a nurse, and I've got a pretty funny and bizarre story for you. One day, a really anxious nursing assistant rushed up to the desk, saying, "You have to see this! I have no idea what's going on!" She then took me into a private room where she was giving a patient a bath. She pointed at a spot on the patient's buttocks and asked, "What's that?" I leaned in for a closer look, and my face turned pale.

Just as I was inspecting it, the patient turned around and exclaimed, "IS THAT MY EYE?!" Believe it or not, the patient had a prosthetic eye that had somehow popped out of its socket and ended up suctioned onto her buttock. I couldn't contain my laughter and had to leave the room. It's definitely one of the most peculiar and amusing moments in my career.

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100. The Milk Is For The Baby

I had a patient who was worried because she was still producing breast milk even though she had stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She shared, "Sometimes, my husband sucks on my breasts at night, thinking he's helping to get rid of the milk." I had to clarify that her husband's actions were actually contributing to her ongoing lactation.

 Adult Patients Believed This factsMadamsabi

101. Worse Than Crying Over Spilt Milk

Once, I had a patient who was producing breast milk even though she wasn't pregnant or breastfeeding. Another doctor had suggested it was lingering from her baby, who had stopped nursing 14 months prior. I didn't take any chances and sent her for a brain scan. As it turned out, she had a brain tumor. Thankfully, she underwent surgery a week later and is recovering remarkably well.

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102. Close To The Chest

When I started my first job at the local hospital after college, my first week was pretty standard—dealing with stitches and broken bones. However, during my second week, around midnight, a severely overweight woman arrived, complaining of chest pains. We quickly brought her in, checked her vital signs, conducted an EKG and blood tests, and everything appeared normal, or so we thought.

The issue was, she was still in pain. So, my supervisor and I asked if we could perform a comprehensive examination from head to toe. Now, when she first came in, there was a noticeable unpleasant odor, but I brushed it off, considering the hygiene in the area wasn't always the best. We focused on her chest.

While examining her, I noticed that her left breast was red and swollen. I explained that I needed to lift her breast to rule out any skin infections. As I did that, an overpowering, awful smell filled the room. As I continued, I saw what appeared to be decaying tissue extending into her chest.

My supervisor couldn't handle it and rushed out of the room to vomit in the nearest trash can. I turned to the lady and asked why she hadn't sought help sooner, given the massive skin infection under her breast. She explained she didn't have insurance and didn't consider it a big issue.

I called in some nurses and the doctor to help clean the wound. While cleaning, one nurse noticed something unusual—fur and bones. That's when we made a horrifying discovery: a small animal had somehow ended up inside her chest. We collected a sample and sent it to pathology. Removing it revealed that it had decayed so extensively that her ribs were visible.

In the end, it turned out to be her missing kitten. She spent four months in the hospital due to severe sepsis and related complications.

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103. Photo Finish

When I was about 12 years old, I had a pretty serious accident. I fell from a significant height into the water, landing on my back and getting trapped momentarily. Afterward, I began experiencing strange and excruciating leg pain. It would creep through my legs, causing burning and tingling sensations. These episodes could last for hours or even a whole day before gradually fading away.

My mom took me to the hospital once when it happened at school because the pain was so intense. However, the ER doctors dismissed it as leg cramps, and my mom thought it might be due to me crossing my legs too much. Fast forward seven years, and I finally decided to see a specialist.

This specialist ordered CT scans, but they didn't reveal anything unusual. So, he referred me to a neurologist, who wasted no time sending me for an MRI. During the MRI, they discovered that I had actually torn my spinal cord during that initial accident, and the intense nerve pain was a result of fluid building up in the gap within the cord. It's an uncommon condition, though not extremely rare. Witnessing doctors search the internet for information on my condition right in front of me, with perplexed expressions on their faces, was quite unsettling.

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104. Sleep Tight

This story isn't about a patient but rather a patient's family member. I had a patient in the ICU due to respiratory problems. He already had chronic pain and some mental health issues, but what made things even more challenging was his girlfriend, who was overly involved and constantly by his bedside.

She was always concerned that he wasn't getting enough pain relief or sleep. We repeatedly reassured her that he was receiving the prescribed medications and that there was no need to worry. Then, on a night shift, I heard a code blue called for him as he had gone into respiratory arrest.

Fortunately, he was discovered promptly, intubated, and revived. He returned to the ICU. After some investigation, we uncovered a truly alarming revelation. It turned out that his girlfriend, worried about his sleep, had bought some Seroquel on the street and administered it to him.

He was already on his prescribed dose of Seroquel and opioids, along with extra opioids for his acute pain. The added Seroquel, combined with his other medications, caused severe sedation. When he woke up, he was horrified and requested that his girlfriend no longer be allowed to visit him.

This created a different issue. I had to call her and explain that she was no longer permitted to visit him, and hospital security had been notified. She did not take the news well. The lesson here is that when someone is hospitalized, we will provide the necessary medications. There's no need to bring in extra drugs; we've got it covered.

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Sources: 1, 2, 3, ,5, 6, 7

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