There is a reason why shows like Gray's Anatomy and ER are so addictive: Hospital drama is insane, and not just on TV. It's wild in real life too. These stories prove that whether you're a patient, a doctor, or a nurse, being in the hospital means heading straight into a world of high-stakes drama.
So, I'm a therapist and I work with kids. The worst misdiagnosis was a family with a two-week-old who was convinced the baby had 1) anxiety—because he cries, 2) autism—little eye contact, and 3) bipolar disorder—because the baby would seem content then suddenly angry. I spent HOURS explaining child development, what these diagnoses mean, how they would present in kids.
I provided them with books, handouts, etc. Then they did something that made me furious. They insisted on going to see my co-worker and a psychiatrist as I was surely lying to them. Even after meeting with the other two professionals, they still weren't convinced. They requested psych meds from the doc.
When I was about four, I got diagnosed with child asthma. The doctor told my mum it was her fault because she decided to have a child despite having asthma herself...
I'm a nurse. One day, I overheard an old lady whisper this to her old husband dying of kidney problems. "You are going to beat this, you got away with murder, this is nothing".
When I was a nursing student, I was on surgery practicum. We had a guy in who needed an elbow repair. I was pretty useless in everything but emotional support, as I wasn't qualified, so was chatting to him before he went under. He admitted to having an (un)healthy substance habit. I informed the surgeon, who shrugged it off. This was a big mistake.
Apparently, I should have told the anesthetist, because this dude woke up mid-surgery and was trying to reach for his open arm that the surgeon was working on. Super "Oh God" moment as we scramble to contain this guy's arm and stop it from touching anything sterile.
I'm an apprentice funeral director. We went to a nursing home on a removal and as we were walking down the hall one of the patients got antsy and opened the door to his room and saw us walking with the stretcher. "I'll see you next week boys". And guess who we had to pick up the next week.
When I was an intern, we had a 22-year-old man with persistent abdominal pain. His symptoms were unexplained as all studies turned up negative. His mother was constantly at his bedside and detailed her son’s medical history, which included multiple hospital stays with no definitive diagnosis. I noticed that he would frequently take ill after meals, which his mother brought from outside the hospital.
It eventually became clear that he was a victim of Munchausen by proxy. His mother was purposely making him ill. I had a patient with Munchausen's when I was in medical school (she was injecting her own excrement into her IV), so I was particularly tuned in. Both cases were very sad.
I'm an RN, and while I was a student I was caring for a lady who had end-stage renal failure, had a DNAR, and was shutting down. We were having a little chat when she stopped, looked over my shoulder and said "Bill's here love, I've got to go," and swiftly stopped breathing. Read her old notes and Bill was her deceased husband.
My parents are nurses. They knew a doc who'd been on a 36-hour shift. The patient came in with a punctured lung (I think) and the doc had to collapse the lung to fix whatever was wrong with it. Through tiredness, the doctor accidentally collapsed the wrong lung, and the patient didn't make it. Doc ended up getting fired and ending his own life.
Used to work in a skilled nursing facility. I was usually assigned to the Alzheimer's ward. One night I'm in the linen room stocking my cart, and I heard someone shuffle up behind me, then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and there was no one else in the room. The door was still shut too. Another lady started to complain that a man was coming into her room at night (again, Alzheimer's so I didn't think much of it).
So to reassure her, I told her I'd check on her throughout the night. She complained of this man every single night for two more weeks when I asked her to describe him to me. "He's real handsome, and wears a black suit. Oh. He's right behind you now, honey". That freaked me the heck out. Of course, there was no one behind me. She passed on the next night in her sleep.
Three years ago, my grandmother was in the hospital to get her brain tumor removed. Nine hours later, we got to see her—only for the surgeon to say, "It went well, for the most part, dropped the top of her skull though". Just like that, he walked away eating his apple. We were all just standing there like ???????
Night nurse for four years now at an old folk's home. Had a palliative who couldn't sleep because of incredibly vivid hallucinations. She would describe voodoo people around her room that would just stare at her waiting for her to die. I didn't take it seriously until the lady across the hall (who rarely ever spoke) starting seeing them in her room too. Legitimate shivers.
I very nearly injected a premature baby that had Down Syndrome with ten times the amount of Lasix I was supposed to give him: I had put the decimal in the wrong place when I did the math on the dose. That baby would almost certainly have passed on if I'd given it to him. I had the liquid drawn up in the syringe and had the syringe actually in the port ready to push through before I looked inside the chamber and realised how uncharacteristically full it seemed.
Paediatric IV doses of anything are simply tiny. I was supposed to give him 0.1 mls, and nearly gave him 1.0mls.
I needed a very large cup of tea after that.
I was a fourth-year resident and I was on call that day. Around 5 pm, I went to do rounds and as I got to the first room, I came in to find the first-year resident on top of a patient who had very recently had neck surgery. As I came closer, my blood ran cold. The resident was kneeling next to the guy’s head with his hands and clothes completely covered in blood.
There was blood on the roof, on the sheets, on the bed, dripping onto the floor, you name it. I was instantly petrified. I knew his carotid artery was ruptured, and I’d never repaired one before. I am completely unqualified to help this guy! Someone, please HELP US! I was the senior resident, so I was the only one on call at the time.
Besides that, no one could get there in time to help this guy. He was bleeding out, so it was up to me alone to help him. So I took the guy to the OR as fast as we could and I opened him up, all of the time praying and telling myself "It's OK, I can do this, I can do this"! I was pooping my pants while everyone was looking at me to fix him.
I open him up and I see the freaking artery loose, spraying blood all over. I clamped it, put a knot around it, and that was it. We closed him up, bandage, and transfuse the poor guy, and I went to collapse on a stool.
I’m a biomedical scientist, and my officemate was a medical doctor working on his PhD. He once did an appendectomy and cut into this person’s abdomen—only to find no appendix. He started freaking out. The support nurses in the room, however, started snickering at him because they knew right away what the problem really was.
Occasionally, they see someone with a rare genetic disorder where all their left-right asymmetries are reversed. This patient’s appendix was on the other side.
I had a patient with a Hemoglobin A1C (a blood test for diabetes) result of 13, which is high. This guy believed that he could control his liver’s production of glucose with his mind. He believed himself to be very fit and active and felt that with his mental control he was a better athlete than most other people, because he could ramp up his glucose production when he needed to. He was in the hospital for a diabetic foot ulcer that required part of his foot to be removed.
I was in a coma for two and a half months in 2015 when I was 27, following a serious car accident. When I woke up, I still had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak. I don’t remember a thing from the time I was in a coma, but what blew my mind is when I woke up, my new boyfriend at the time was standing there with my parents.
They were chatting to each other like they knew each other. I am a super private and had made every effort for them to not even know of him, so I found this disturbing. I also had no recollection of the accident for months and for a week or two after waking up I had to be retold where I was and what had happened every time I dozed off and woke up.
I had no idea where I was and I thought I was 23, not 27, over a period of months. I also had a really hard time recognizing faces. Like I would see people I knew that I knew but I couldn’t remember why or their names or anything, they would just look familiar. One time, about a month after I had woken up, my parents took me in my hospital bed for a walk in the courtyard of the hospital.
We passed a large mirror in the lobby and I freaked out. I saw my reflection and I knew it was me because I recognized my parents pushing the bed, but I didn’t recognize my own face. There were no injuries to my face or anything, I just didn’t recognize myself. It also blew my mind that I had gone into the coma in late winter, and there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.
When I woke up it was spring, and there was no snow (I had a large window in my hospital room). The news that shocked me the most was the fact that my parents had gone in and packed up my entire apartment. Like I mentioned, I was super private and the idea that they went in there and boxed up all my stuff and gave up my lease was hard to grasp. Obviously, it made sense, but I was troubled by it all.
In the ER, about six months pregnant, with heavy spotting and no noticeable fetal movement. Idiot doctor is unable to find the baby’s heartbeat. Just looks up at me and says, "Yep, probably dead in there". He couldn’t possibly have said it in a more casual, offhand manner. Note: I delivered my son three months later, perfectly healthy.
We had something happen a few years ago where people were hearing mysterious noises back at my hospital, so I've heard. They ended up finding homeless people living in the walls or ducts or something since the adjacent part of the hospital was under construction.
My brother is a surgeon, and during part of his residency, he had to work in the pediatric unit. He was working with two newborns. One was getting much better and fighting for life. He was going to make it just fine. The other baby likely wasn't. He wasn't going to make it. My brother was in charge of informing the families. My brother realized about 15 minutes later that he had mixed up the families.
He told the family with the healthy baby that their baby wasn't going to make it, and he told the family with the dying baby that their baby was going to be just fine. He then had to go back out to the families and explain the situation to them. How devastating. To be given a glimmer of hope and have it ripped away from you not even an hour later. That was most upset I've heard my brother. He felt destroyed.
I got this from my friend, who is a doctor on the children's ward in a rural hospital. These parents bring in their child, whose hair is infested with lice. The lice were visible to the eye and could be seen crawling on the child's clothing. While the medical staff examined the kid in order to determine a course of action, they discovered the child was covered in a white powder and smelled heavily of chemicals.
They asked the parents what the substances and the smells emanating from the child were. The parents said, quite matter of factly, it was Sevin powder (a garden insecticide) and flea and tick spray they used on their dogs on the family's farm. Needless to say, social workers were notified about this case.
There was a 24-year-old patient who was brought in from a correctional facility in a rural county. He was working roadside cleanup when he found a bottle in a ditch that he thought contained something to drink and he quickly chugged it down. To be fair, it did look like a bottle of Jack. Unfortunately for this guy, it was the worst possible alternative. It turns out it was a substance that contained sulfuric acid. Its pH was less than 2.5...it just ate up the litmus paper. So shortly after he gets to the ICU he is in excruciating pain.
The gastroenterologist took him to do an EGD (basically a procedure where they can look at the esophagus, stomach and duodenum with a camera attached to a flexible tube) and the pictures were horrendous. You could literally see his stomach and esophageal mucosa eroding away.
He had to be sent off to another hospital where they had an esophageal surgeon who could repair the mess. He, of course, needed multiple surgeries and had a very long hospital stay. I saw him a few months later when he was admitted for another issue. He was down to 90 lbs. from about 150 and was getting fed through a PEG tube.
He was very lucky to be young and otherwise healthy—but obviously not very smart.
When I was a surgery intern, I was pulled to help out in a circus of a case. One of our older doctors was doing a simple liver biopsy on a patient and nicked her artery. Because the patient was already pretty sick, her tissue had the consistency of toilet paper—so every time they tried suturing the hole, the tissue just breaks apart, leaving a bigger, more leaky hole.
Pretty much all hands were on board. The chief residents were scrubbed in, the seniors were literally squeezing blood bags into the patient's veins, and us interns were runners, going back and forth from OR to the blood bank to transport blood and plasma. We ended up transfusing over 12 liters of blood, so the patient lost over two times her total blood volume during that surgery.
A vascular surgeon eventually swooped in and did a rather slick patchwork that fixed the problem. Then the surgery went straight into soap opera territory. It turned out that the patient was like a daughter to the surgeon. He literally saved this patient's life several times already, and they got really close over the years. She even named one of her kids after him. The poor guy broke down a few times during the surgery and was convinced that he had just lost his daughter.
The chief residents had to take over a few times when he was mentally not there. That was his last surgery...He retired the next day. Heck of a way to end a surgical career.
Not my personal story, but when my mom worked as an ER nurse, a guy came in from a car accident and was losing blood. In the midst of resuscitation, the man jolts awake and screams "Don't let me go back there! Please, please, please don't let me go back"! A few seconds later they lost him.
When my dad was a resident he had a guy come in with a GSW to the shoulder. The guy had been caught with another man's wife and had been shot while running away without a strip of clothing on. In addition to the shoulder, the patient kept saying he had been shot in the gut. Dad searched all over and couldn't find a wound.
But the guy kept complaining about excruciating pain in his lower abdomen. X-ray revealed that, indeed, there was a bullet in the abdomen. Took a while to find, but my dad finally found the entry wound... The guy had been shot directly in his behind. Like...where the sun don't shine. Crazy.
I had an older patient who kept every piece of paper from every hospital stay and was really aggressive about the treatments we were giving him, like he didn't trust anything we said and thought we were out to get him. His heart was in bad shape so I was desperately looking for anything to help our cardiologists out with.
While going through the papers, my jaw dropped. I finally found his records from when he had heart surgery. It was in Perris, CA in the 1980s. I was just reading a book about nurses who became serial killers, when sure enough I see records with the name Robert Diaz. I was the nurse for a man whose former nurse was a murderer.
I lost 2.5 liters of blood in childbirth. Midwives hadn’t realized, despite me telling them how unwell I felt and that I was going to be sick. It wasn’t until I sort of passed out and remember them saying blood pressure was something over zero. They hit the buzzers, a lot of people came rushing in and I just laid there for what felt like a long time feeling everything go quiet, but it wasn’t peaceful, just absolute sadness consumed me that my husband was about to be left without me and that my new son wouldn’t have a mummy.
A lot of oxygen, pills, and a couple packs of emergency blood transfusion later and thankfully, I was OK. Still very mentally scarred by the whole thing. But the main moral of the story is—please give blood if you can. It’s only thanks to the kindness of strangers my baby has a mamma and bleeding out during childbirth is a lot more common than I ever realized.
I went in after getting bit by a stupid cocker spaniel because the hand it bit was inflamed, and it looked infected to me. The doctor after looking at my hand just casually goes, "Oh by the way your haircut makes you look like a dude, if you didn't have [bosoms], I'd have asked you if the info you gave us was correct". I'd shaved my head a couple weeks before as a show of solidarity with my cousin who had cancer. I was too shocked to say anything, and he just left the room.
Patient comes in coding. We are working on him and getting nothing, so we bring in his wife to say goodbye and she starts yelling at him at the top of her lungs. He comes back so we arrange transfer to a tertiary hospital and he codes again, so she comes back and yells at him again, at which point he comes back again.
Cut to later on, they are loading him into the helicopter to be transferred and he codes again, so they bring him back into our ER after working on him for a bit on the helipad, his wife yells at him again and once again he immediately comes back. Eventually, they decide to have his wife ride in the helicopter with him to make sure she can scare him back to life if he were to code again. The guy ended up living, received a heart transplant and is still alive to this day—all thanks to his wife scaring the life back into him.
My friend had a horrible moment when he was going under for surgery. Two minutes into surgery, the doctors noticed his pupils dilating or something. He said it was horrible, he could feel the scalpel cutting into his flesh, the agonizing pain, and the oxygen thing only gave him air every few minutes. They noticed he wasn't under and fixed it. But then the dark truth came out.
Turns out, the anesthesiologist who put him under was his ex-girlfriend, though no one knew about it, and she likely did it on purpose. The surgery went well, the recovery was a bit longer than expected, but he's all good now.
I saw a new doctor who seemed a bit.... off. Not sure how to describe it, but he just seemed a bit less than completely there. But we get through the appointment, he prescribes me some meds, and I walk down to the pharmacy area. I'm called forward and the pharmacy tech asks me some basic questions. "Name," "Date of Birth," and "Allergies". I told her I was allergic to penicillin and sulfa.
The prescription was for Hyzaar. Any medical student can probably tell you how moronic this order was. Hyzaar specifically has side effects for people with allergies to penicillin or sulfa. I'm allergic to both. The tech actually said out loud "What in the actual heck"! She calls the doctor on the phone and starts chewing him out, screaming "Your pill popping is officially over. You could have lost this patient today because you're always too high to know what's going on around you".
After a lengthy court case, it turns out this doc was "trading scripts" with other doctors in the area for pain pills, was high nearly every waking moment, and could have actually hurt me. He received a sentence of over one year. I'm being a bit purposefully vague to prevent anyone from tracking me down personally (as I had to testify).
It was my wisdom teeth removal. All four were impacted, and they had to break out the heavy hardware. I'm knocked out, don't even know the dentist entered the room. I wake up, but not able to move, just eyes open awake but my limbs won't react to my brain. I can feel the dentist hammering a chisel into my tooth to break it for extraction.
My jaw is just coming undone on every hit. My eyes are wide open, jaw even wider with some evil metal contraption. I'm staring at the assistant begging for her to see me, and after about a dozen hammers to my jaw, she glances over and drops the suction, jumps up and shrieks. The dentist stops to look at her, then looks at me and I see him say "Oh God". Next thing I know, I'm waking up post-surgery. What nightmares are made of.
I worked on a ward once that had a patient who was a psychic/medium. We had a bit of a laugh with her as she was on the ward for a while because she'd had a stroke which affected her mobility, and she would do "readings" for the staff from time to time. I took it all as just a bit of fun until one chilling evening that I'll never forget. She pressed her nurse call buzzer and told us to go check on a patient in a side room. She said he had passed.
We went to check and sure enough, found that the gentleman had passed. Later on, we asked our psychic patient how she had known, and she told us she had seen him coming out of his room obviously distressed. She realized he had passed and had to explain to him what had happened and help him to go to the light...Now, I am not a believer, but that gave me the creeps.
My husband is a doctor. One night, he came home with a surreal look on his face. He had been seeing a patient and noticed that although he was in his mid-20s, he didn't seem to have gone through puberty. The patient didn't mind his state too much but my husband believes that medicine should improve your life, not just keep it going.
So, on a shot-in-the-dark hunch, my husband sent him for an MRI. The patient had a previously benign and now malignant brain tumor suppressing the part of the brain that controls puberty. The test led to a very early brain tumor detection.
Not a doctor but a gastro nurse. We had a recurring patient who was just a really very strange lady. She had a stoma (an artificial opening into an organ needed for certain medical problems) that absolutely stunk to high heavens because, for the last 20 years, she had not been cleaning it properly. Every single day her stoma would come off, because she was twisting the drain tube and wouldn't allow us to change it.
So this lady was really rude and would shout at us too, and one night shift I couldn't take it anymore and I snapped at her. I didn't yell, but I was overly stern about the fact that if she did not let me clean and treat her stoma then the MRSA bacterial infection that she wasn't able to get rid of would eat her alive. In hindsight, I didn't handle that very well, but she let me change the stoma.
Throughout this entire ordeal, she's yelling at me that her stoma bags are not cut to fit her stoma, that they are too small because her stoma is "50cm by 50cm," to which I corrected her, saying that's impossible. She was adamant that's how big her stoma was. When I was cleaning the stoma, she yelled at me because it was hurting, so she wanted to just pop the new one on.
I explained it was hurting because of infection, as she never cleans it. She proceeds to tell me that she knows better because she has had the stoma for nearly as long as I've been alive. I eventually ended up telling her to shut up and let me do my job, which seemed to work, and the stoma did not come off again that shift. When she was eventually discharged—she refused every placement in any nearby care facilities to the point where we almost considered a court order to evict her—one of our staff nearly cried with relief.
I’m an ultrasound tech and I did a third-trimester growth scan on a pregnant patient. The scan wasn’t needed, but she'd had a previous IUFD (baby passed in the womb—happens later than a regular miscarriage and is thankfully much rarer) and the doctors wanted to give her peace of mind that everything was ok. What I found was a baby with a belly full of fluid (hydrops).
That’s very, very bad. The fluid was surrounding all the abdominal organs and the heart. Our doctors sent the mother to a specialist and they gave the same diagnosis. Tragically, the baby was not expected to survive. The mother came back about two weeks later for a follow-up scan. My jaw dropped. The fluid around the baby was GONE. Totally normal scan. Normal looking baby.
If the office had not happened to schedule this woman’s ultrasound for that day, we would never have known it had been there in the first place. None of the doctors at my clinic have ever seen a case spontaneously resolve like that.
My uncle is a respirologist, and he was supervising lung surgery to remove a tumor. Well, when they opened the guy up, they all went white as a sheet. Turns out, the so-called "tumor" was actually a root ball. Some type of seed had gotten into the patient's lungs and started to grow. No one had ever seen anything like it before.
I suffocated during surgery due to a series of errors with the nitrous mask and monitors that had been removed and not immediately put back. As I was suffocating, I tried to signal. I realized I was under so much nitrous I couldn’t move. My ears were ringing. I thought about my husband, and if my daughter would be OK. I cursed the anesthesiologist because one of the nurses said I didn’t look good and he said no one could move until he finished this part.
I remember blacking out, then watching from a corner of the OR while everyone was rushing to work on a pink blob. I could see everyone clearly, but one thing was a blob. I realized the blob was me, and they were trying to resuscitate me. I intentionally did not go anywhere because I wanted to be there when I was resuscitated so I could be alive again.
I just existed in that corner watching the chaos. Then I woke up on the table, bruised but alive.
On one floor of the hospital, there is a room where different patients often complain of hearing noisy children playing between 1-4 am. This room is on the far end of the unit away from the nurses' station and next to only one other room. The TV is always off at the time. My hospital does not have a pediatric section and visiting hours are over at 2100.
When I was in middle school until 10th grade, I would get violent nausea anytime I got hungry. It felt like my stomach was on fire, and I would miss a lot of school from feeling bad (although I was a good student and wasn’t falling behind in any way). After a lot of fighting with my mother, who accused me of exaggerating, she agrees to take me to a gastroenterologist to be checked out.
Before agreeing to do an endoscopy, the gastro accused me of exaggerating because I was a teen girl and that’s just apparently what young women do, he suggested I was just making up these symptoms for attention, and then asked me point blank if I was lying about my pain level to skip school and suggested I had a mental health issue I was trying to cover for.
Oh, but I proved him wrong. After forcing him to give me an endoscopy, he finally admitted that I had freaking GERD and severe acid reflux. He had to admit that I had "the stomach of an 80-year-old man".
My doctor didn't actually speak, his reaction was worth a thousand words though: he literally rolled his eyes, threw his head back and sighed very loudly...I had been having a semi-regular pain in my abdomen for years, a terrible cramping pain (I'm a man so it wasn't menstrual in nature) that would double me over in pain and would last for a day or two and then go away. I had seen a few different doctors about it and none of them could figure it out.
I was seeing a gastroenterologist about another problem and mentioned my pain to him. He did some tests, tried a few things, did an endoscopy and told me he couldn't find anything wrong. The next time I got the cramping pains I went back to him and he performed his non-verbal routine mentioned above. It would have been less hurtful if he'd just told me I was a hypochondriac.
I gave up on figuring out the pain. Fast forward a few years and I'm having a bout of these cramps. Middle of the night I get up to go to the bathroom. I puke my guts out and proceed to pass out on the bathroom floor for a few seconds. I make it back to bed without waking my wife and somehow fall back asleep. In the morning I get up and need to puke again.
My wife goes with me out of concern and I pass out on the toilet. She calls 9-1-1 and I get whisked away to the hospital. Didn't take too long for the doctors to determine I had a bowel obstruction. After six hours of surgery and a subsequent week stay in the hospital I'm back home and feeling better than I have in years.
Turns out that I had a 99% bowel obstruction caused by adhesions that had been slowly developing on my intestines since an appendectomy that I had in 1980. The surgeon told me that it was so bad in a few places that my intestines had been twisted on themselves. He referred to it as a "rat’s nest". The surgery was in March, 2017, and not only have the cramps not come back once, I haven't felt this great in decades!
I work in the ER. We had a very pregnant patient come in needing stitches in her nether regions. Turns out she was a realtor and didn’t want her water to break while she was showing a house, so she put a glass cup in her pants to catch the water. Instead of using a pad or an adult diaper, she went for a GLASS CUP. She sat down while showing a house and sure enough, it broke and cut her up pretty bad.
I had my doctor at the time chew me out because I was leaving my newborn son with his dad while I went to a different state due to work for a few months...I just remember her raising her voice a bit and asking me who was going to watch the child while I was gone...I gave her a confused look and just pointed to my son's dad who was sitting right next to me.
She looked shocked and almost repulsed. Still pisses me off to this day...and she was also acting really confused why I was the one that wanted to work and not the dad. The doctor was an old woman who seemed very old fashioned. I was gone for three months but made enough money to where me nor the dad had to work for a while after that. I think being able to afford a roof over our heads is better than breastfeeding and not having rent money.
When I was an intern in the Emergency Room, a 30-something-year-old guy came in with simple URTI symptoms, essentially coughs and flulike stuff. However, the paramedics at triage found that the oxygen concentration in his blood was low and that there were some crepitations in his left lung. Pretty standard, early-stage pneumonia.
I didn't like the sound of his crepitations, however. It was way too loud, but the patient was very comfortable so we sent him off to get some x-rays. I got my answer and the shock of my life when he came back. His left chest cavity was filled with bowels. The crepitations that I heard were bowel sounds.
The guy had no left lung, and his intestines had moved into the empty area. Judging from his comfort level and his own shock, we suspected it was congenital. We diagnosed him with a simple throat infection and sent him home after routine observation.
Ugh, a dentist. I went in for a cleaning, and had another appointment to take care of a wisdom tooth "You're fat, you know that? Your teeth wouldn't be so bad if you weren't so fat. God you Native Americans are all so fat". Let's discuss what's worse. Her visibly uncomfortable dental technicians, who are all Natives. The fact the clinic was EXCLUSIVELY for my tribe. The way off-color remarks she made later about tribal members being poor, and how she was better than this. Or perhaps the fact she just insulted the medical director's grandson.
It's really sad because they had trouble finding a dentist (because we are a disgusting people I guess) but she magically "found a job in Florida" the second time I was there. She wouldn't shut up about how she was leaving for this great job in Florida. She bragged so much it seemed almost unbelievable. Almost like it was a total lie and a prejudiced jerk was losing her job. I should have called her out, but I'm sure her techs already knew.
My dad flatlined with a failing heart. When they brought him back the doctor asked where he had been. My dad said he was picking blueberries with his long-deceased mother and his sister. 1,000 miles away, that sister woke up in the middle of the night, woke her husband, and said something was wrong with her brother.
She had been dreaming that she was picking blueberries with my dad and their mom. I get teary-eyed every time I tell that story. He passed on a few months later. Miss ya, Dad.
This lady came in and literally half of her face had been basically eaten up by basal cell carcinoma. One of her eyes was completely missing. According to her, it had been this way for years. And here’s the kicker, that's not even the problem she came into the hospital for!
She had come in for an umbilical hernia as big as a basketball that had been there for months, and she'd started vomiting over the past week so she finally went to the emergency department.
When I was 16 and dealing with partial deafness: "Sometimes being a teenage girl is hard, but it's hard to parent them too so there's no need to exaggerate things to make things harder for your parents. Knock it off, there's nothing wrong with you". Two tumors, nine surgeries, and a CSF leak later, yes doctor. There really was something wrong.
A few years ago I worked for a medical device company and got to observe a surgical procedure that involves drilling into a person's brain. My coworker who had observed 30+ times recommended to the surgeon to increase the patient's posture angle to 60 degrees rather than 45. The surgeon, like many, thought he knew everything and just ignored his advice.
Fast forward about 50 minutes to the drilling phase, and the surgeon makes a bad drill angle and pulls the drill out too soon before the brain's internal pressures can even out naturally. CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) comes gushing out of the patient's head, onto the floor, everywhere.
Not only is this a chemical hazard nightmare, and completely disgusting, but this is a procedure where the patient is AWAKE. The patient starts noticeably freaking out only they can't move because they are strapped down and their head is head completely still by the machinery. They must have thought they got abducted by aliens. Darn surgeons.
Dr.: *Glances at my nether regions* You have Herpes.
Me: But I'm a virgin!
Dr.: Oh, stop crying. I diagnose this all the time. It's pretty common.
Me: But aren't you going to at least do a test.
Dr.: Fine, but it's going to hurt and it's going to show herpes.
[Indeed, it was an allergic reaction to a medication.]
Ob-Gyn doctor here, 40 years experience. About once a year would take care of someone in full blown labor, full term, who did not know she was pregnant. Very hard to wrap my head around, I guess the denial power of the mind is substantial.
Guy in the ED for an infection caused by injecting illicit substances into his hand said he had never had surgery. Then when I was examining him and saw his large abdominal surgical scar and asked about it, he told me he had liver surgery for cancer but never finished the chemo treatments.
I was a naïve intern at the time, so this caused me great concern, and I asked him where he'd had the surgery/incomplete treatment, so I could get the records. He told me, signed the waiver, I faxed them, and they faxed me his record. He had never had cancer but what he did have was maybe worse. We had to do exploratory abdominal surgery to remove the shampoo bottle that got lost in his behind.
He was the stupidest patient not for the shampoo bottle in the behind, or the illicit substances, or for lying about cancer, but because out of the many hospitals in the city, for some reason, he directed me to the ACTUAL PLACE where he had his bottle removal done.
Dentist here. I was performing a simple extraction and preparing for the case when I didn't realize that I had the X-ray flipped the wrong way the whole time. I was viewing the film backwards, and pulled out the wrong tooth. When I realized my mistake I started freaking out, only to find out that by some dumb luck, the tooth I extracted had to go as well.
For the record, this happened in dental school, so safe to say it was a learning experience. It was my first and very last time to make that mistake.
I'm a nurse, but I was working in the ER when a guy came in for a scratch on his neck and "feeling drowsy". We start the usual workups and this dude's blood pressure TANKED. We scrambled, but he was gone within ten minutes of walking through the door. Turns out the "scratch" was an exit wound of a .22 caliber round.
The guy didn't even know he'd been shot. When the coroner's report came back, we found that he'd been shot in the leg and the shot tracked through his torso shredding everything in between. There was really nothing we could've done, but that was a serious "what the heck just happened" moment.
When I was in EMT school, we were told about a paramedic student (the instructor was a paramedic as well) who observed a stabbing call. They arrive at the bar and see a dude with a knife in his abdomen. Medic student takes lead and pulls the blade out, something you never do, as I’m sure you know. Senior medic loses his freaking mind at this dumbass, asking him what the heck he was thinking.
Student freaks out and, you guessed it, puts the freaking thing back in. The patient passed on as a result, student lost any chance of having a good job (not even just in EMS) and was charged with the death of the patient (might’ve been manslaughter I don’t remember). His entire life was ruined because he freaked out and made a mistake on a call, not a rookie mistake or a common slip-up, but in about half a minute, he ruined his life.
My dad had an interesting misdiagnosis a few years back. Since my dad was about 20 or so, he noticed that two of his ribs (opposite each other) stuck out slightly more than the others. He thought nothing of it, and his doctors always told him not to worry about it. It was especially pronounced when he was lying on his back—the two ribs stuck out about an inch above the others.
Anyway, one day he was forced to see a different doctor for his checkup for one reason or another. The doctor noticed his ribs and asked a few questions. He then strongly recommended that my dad get an MRI done on his brain, as he suspected something might be affecting the bone growth. Sure enough, they found a golf-ball sized tumor. They removed it without issue and he's been doing fine since. He switched to that doctor permanently.
When I was about 12 years old or so, my doctor knew that I really didn't like needles. So, he put a shot that I needed in his pocket with his pens so that I wouldn't notice it and get my guard up. In the middle of a sentence, he pulls it out and comes at me. Terrified, I punched him directly in the face and broke his glasses.
It wasn't intentional, per se. The dude was coming at me with a sharp object. I didn’t even have time to process what was going on. It was all instinct and reflex. He ended up grabbing me by the shoulders, pinning me down, and doing the injection. I can only imagine what he must have been thinking. For years afterward, I couldn't bear to face him.
One day, I got called into a long, six-hour cardiac procedure to ensure a laparoscopic camera was working and able to record. The surgery was nearing the end, so I knew I was about to see something good—they wanted to record something big. Suddenly, the surgeon pulls out some kind of growth from inside this guy's heart.
This thing was the size of a chicken wing. It was growing through his valve, and I'm honestly amazed the patient was alive. Supposedly the only symptoms were shortness of breath.
Was having digestive issues I eventually learned were a result of my undiagnosed cancer. My useless doctor suggested I should wipe better.
When I went to the hospital, a doctor said the most terrifying thing I’ll ever hear... "We’re going to have to defibrillate you and we don’t have time to sedate you". They rolled the crash cart with paddles into my room and I said, "Get that thing away from me"! and almost cried. My mom was in the room with me and was absolutely losing it.
Thankfully a cardiologist was able to look at my EKG in the nick of time and determined my heart rhythm was stable enough for me to just be transferred to a room for further evaluation without defibrillation.
Patient had been in CCU (where I worked at the time) for a long period of time (six months). We had finally been transferred to med/surg floor and he coded. We worked on him for 45 min to an hour and he had no pulse or heart rhythm the entire time. The docs had decided to call it. His family walks in the room, leans over him, rubs his chest lightly and says his name. He immediately regains a pulse and regains consciousness. How do you explain that one?
So I was like 11 or 12 years old when this happened. I had a hundred acres of woods behind my house, and I loved to play in them. Unfortunately, I am also very allergic to poison ivy. Well, I go out and roam the forest gayly for a few hours. Nothing weird. I eventually come home and go to bed. I then wake up in the middle of the night with an itchy leg.
Now, when I say itchy, I really mean itchy! After a bunch of scratching, I finally pull the blankets down. I immediately do a double-take and go, "What the heck"? My leg is looking like what I imagine the final stages of leprosy to be like! There are huge raised patches of red disgusting bleeding, pusing atrocities. Needless to say, I started screaming in horror.
That escalated quickly. Well, time to go to the Emergency Room decides my mom. After a wait, I'm shown to a room connected to the waiting room. After a quick look, a nurse comes back with a needle the size of a baby's arm. Good news, it's for my behind. Now, I did not want that needle in my behind. I didn't care what angle, which cheek, or for how long.
All I knew was I did not want that needle in my behind. But screw it, I'm a brave man! So, I dropped my pants and prepared for the inevitable. Well, as soon as she bent down to shove the needle in, I panicked and completely lost all the courage I had just built up. I immediately started running for the door, and ran straight into the populated ER waiting room.
Two nurses, one with a needle in her hand, and my mom were chasing me like a football player in front of this whole crowd. All the while, my lonely pants were lying back on the floor of the examination room. My behind was flailing about for everyone to see. I managed to outlast my pursuers for a few minutes, but was eventually pinned down and pricked, screaming and crying for all the world to see.
On the bright side, my itch went away!
Former medical student here. I remember one young patient, 22 years old, was re-visiting the ER, where he'd been seen six weeks prior for sustaining some abrasions and bruises after falling hard off a skateboard. He was all scraped up everywhere but had healed up OK. But now he's in the ER again, feeling awful sick and vomiting.
As the third year med student, I was dispatched to the bedside and hung up the CT films on the lightbox, to much finger-pointing and grunting among the surgeons. I had no idea how to read a CT at the time—I wasn't even really sure what part of the body had been scanned. So when the surgical resident barked "Prep him for surgery," I decided to disguise my ignorance and just go for it.
We got him gassed and prepped and I scrubbed in. The surgeon said "Open". That’s where it all started to go wrong. First, I had to be told what we were doing: The Kocher maneuver, where you basically move the intestines to expose what you want to get it. By now, everyone knows I’m not with it, but they watch me do it anyway.
I slid my gloved hand up, getting ready to grab the entire sack of intestines and move it up and over—but I met unexpected resistance. I peered up, seeing in my confusion that everyone was edging away from the table. "What's the trouble young man, get your hand up there and complete the maneuver! Push harder"! A spongy sort of barrier gave way with a sickening stench.
Suddenly, a gushing cascade of grey-brown, bloody pus roared out of the incision, soaking my gown, scrub pants, and shoes before splattering on the OR floor and walls. The guy had a splenic abscess, as I just found out. After that, the other doctors cleaned it up and mostly cured it. The attending finished up and the patient was good as new. I had to throw out my shoes.
This is a story from my mom, who was a nurse in the ER for 20 years. She helped care for a patient that had massive gangrene that began as diabetic ulcers. They went untreated and she had already gone through a double amputation at the mid-thigh, but the gangrene continued to spread, leading to her ER visit. My mom distinctly described seeing this woman’s stump of a femur moving amidst a mass of rotting tissue, its end wiggling like a trapped pencil when they changed her bandages.
One nurse had the task of standing in the corner with a bottle of air freshener. My mom said the smell was something straight out of a nightmare. Unfortunately, this woman’s gangrene spread to her abdomen and there was no saving her. Now I realize why my mom, after being diagnosed with diabetes herself years later, was so darn protective of her feet!
A patient had been involved in a major car accident, leading him into my hospital's private Emergency Room with just a nurse, his girlfriend, and himself. We had the man's girlfriend remove the patient's pants. But first, she had to remove everything from the pockets. I never saw anything like it. She pulled more than thirty ribbons of rubbers out of the man's pocket. I swear, it looked like a magic trick. They just wouldn't stop coming out. Safe to say that lady was tiiiicked.
I heard an "Oh God" moment happen…when I was a patient on the operating table. A couple of years ago, I was in labor for 28 hours, pushing for six, when my child started showing signs of distress. The baby had a slightly elevated heart rate. My midwife at the hospital told me the doctor was coming in to check to see if a vacuum assist could help.
She checks me. Then I see a horrifying sight. She immediately stands up with blood on her hand and says "We're going to the operating room NOW". At that time, I started feeling that zoomed-out tunnel vision I know is shock. I had anxiety, but I figured she knew what was best. She did. We got in the OR eight minutes later, and when they opened me up, I heard the surgeon say, "Oh God. Look at this".
They saw blood in my catheter bag, and upon fully opening me up found my son was actually trying to come through my uterus. He had ruptured it. They got my son out. Those moments where he was stunned and not crying were an eternity. Then he cried and he was born a completely healthy baby. After I woke up and was back in my room, the doctor came in and told me what happened. I knew a ruptured uterus sounded bad, but oh darn I googled and started having a massive anxiety attack.
A ruptured uterus is extremely rare and often fatal. I read from the time it happens, you have about 15 minutes before you bleed out and the baby is gone. When I went back for my follow-up, my midwife let me know she had never once encountered that, and it was such a big deal for them that a few days after my birth, they all got together to discuss my case.
I was so incredibly fortunate I chose to labor in a hospital, and that the doctor just knew from my vitals and baby's that something was off. They just didn't know exactly what until they got me open. I can't even tell you how grateful I am for Dr. S. You saved my life and my son's life and our family will forever be grateful.
My wife took our two-year-old daughter to the doctor because she was sick and her behavior seemed to be changing. She couldn't eat or drink. Our local doctor said that's how kids are sometimes and told us to just monitor her behavior. As we were pretty sure there was something definitely wrong, we kept seeing different doctors.
The last one said we were acting hysterically, and our behavior was a problem. Five days later, our daughter seemed to have a seizure, so we went to the hospital. Our daughter had a brain tumor and the doctor at the hospital said this should have been recognized sooner. He was astounded that we'd seen five doctors all blaming us as parents to "just be acting up over nothing".
I was doing a corneal transplant when I had the "oh no" moment. During surgery, I cut off the patient's own cornea and replaced it with a new donor cornea. During that moment when the host cornea was off but before I could get the new one on, there's literally nothing on the front of the eye except a tear film. Anyway, the patient takes that moment to start vomiting.
The reason we tell everyone to skip food and drink is so they don't aspirate in case they throw up. This patient lied about eating breakfast and started throwing up everything. The eye is still "open sky" at this time. Everything inside of the eye can now become outside of the eye. And she's bucking and vomiting. It’s awful. I had to grab the new cornea and start stitching as fast as I could on a patient actively throwing up. Don't lie about eating breakfast before surgery, folks.
This happened to a respiratory therapist that I used to work with. She was working at an old hospital and had finished her rounds on mother-baby. As she got in the elevator to leave, a red-haired nurse on the elevator said to her, "Go back. They need you". She didn't really think about it, she just hopped back off the elevator and returned. A baby had coded and they needed respiratory. Of course, she had no explanation for how that nurse knew what was going on or even who she was.
I don't believe in ghosts, really, but every time I tell this story, I get goosebumps. That same therapist would swear that she had seen a large cat on the roof of the nursing home we worked at. No one believed her. Months later, local news reported a bobcat was caught in the city limits near a creek that passed by the nursing home. Suddenly her story was totally plausible so part of me wants to believe this one is too.
I had gained a lot of weight around my mid-section a few years back, and my periods stopped. I was scared, young, and thought I was pregnant, but the tests came back negative. I went to a doctor to have myself checked out and she did some basic tests before telling me. "There is nothing wrong with you, you're just fat".
I already had some body confidence issues, but hearing it from my doctor, when I was trying really hard to get in shape, really hurt. I worked hard to lose weight, but my belly wouldn't shrink. I was starting to feel really sick, and went back to the doctor, who again told me it was that I was just fat. I was crushed.
A year later I went to the hospital for something unrelated, and it was discovered that I had a giant Ovarian Cyst, about the size of a newborn. It was throwing off my hormones, making me gain weight, among many other issues. I have since lost weight and am feeling super confident now, but that doctor really messed me up for a long time.
Worked security through college at a local hospital. The only "creepy" thing I remember is when a man's lifeless body moaned. One of my duties was to help wheel in patients who had expired down to the in-house morgue. Once we were wheeling and older man from the E.R. down, and halfway down the hallway he let out this low moan. I started to panic, thinking that he was coming back to life, but the RN explained to me (newbie) that sometimes the air in the lungs doesn't come out until sometime later, or is delayed for a bit.
Surgical resident here. Had a man in his 60s who came in because he'd inserted a plastic jar full of supplement pills into his behind. This was already unusual, but when I looked at his chart, I was in for an even bigger surprise. It turned out that a few years prior, he had done the same thing, it had perforated his bowel, and he ended up requiring an emergency surgery that left him with a colostomy bag for 2 years, and then another procedure to reverse it.
So all that happened...and then he went and did it all over again.
One patient came in for something—can't remember what—and when we ran tests we found that he had a pH of 6.97! That is on the border of what the body can have and still have any function at all. Honestly, he should have been a goner. But he was awake and clear. We wanted to admit him to the ICU and adjust it with utmost care. But he needed to go home to eat a shrimp sandwich.
Yes, a shrimp sandwich. We sat down and talked to him and his mother for 30 minutes, telling them that no shrimp sandwich in the world is worth your life, and if there is something else you need to get help with we can help him. But nope, he left. He came back a couple of hours later and we cured his acidosis. But that must have been a mean shrimp sandwich.
We put a very expensive implanted device in a patient with government-funded care. She came to the follow-up appointment with a gaping wide infected wound. Said she thought it would help with healing if she had her dog lick it. The device had to be removed and discarded.
I had a fella come into the ER who was stone sober, but only because he had spilled all of his rubbing alcohol onto his pants, which meant he couldn't drink it. The reason why he was in the ER if the first place was because he tried to burn the liquid off of his jeans by lighting the stuff on fire, thinking the liquid would burn and not his pants.
He had some pretty rowdy burns from the calves down because he couldn't get his pants off of his shoes. To be honest, pretty nice guy… absolutely the kind you'd expect to light themselves on fire, but he was very pleasant considering the circumstances.
I work at a gynecologist’s office. One time, this young lady came in to get this stinky smell checked out. As we were checking her, we discovered the source of the smell—and it was worse than I had ever imagined. We found a feminine hygiene product still up there in her body from the previous month. The poor girl looked mortified and the smell was horrendous.
I work in intensive care at a small community hospital. We have a nine-bed unit that is completely closed off from the medical floor via two doorways. Two nights ago, we were all sitting at our station and charting when we all heard footsteps coming down the hall. It’s a completely open unit where you can see every room from everywhere.
No one was in the unit with us. CT is below us and they close at five (unless an emergency comes in) and we only have people on the second floor, the third is used as storage, so no one was above us. It happened two or three times.
Then last night cupboard doors kept opening and shutting in the two empty rooms. I finally asked my coworker what the heck was going on and she just told me that it usually happens after someone passes, especially if it was sudden. We had two codes last week that we lost and I guess everyone has had weird stuff happening for a couple days.
For months, I was going to the doctor every Wednesday, because after running just a mile I couldn't breathe. They checked my lungs and my heart and everything. Yet I still couldn't run the mile without collapsing at the end. All of my doctors told my mom that I was just doing it for attention and they saw this kind of behavior all the time.
I had a physical scheduled and my mom thought about canceling it. I had seen so many doctors already, why waste the time? She finally decided I should go, just to keep on schedule. My normal doctor wasn't there. He was sick and called in someone to take his shifts. She pushed on my stomach and asked if I was "active". My response made her panic. I said I was 11 and hadn't even started my period, and she rushed me to the hospital.
After a sonogram, they said they saw something. That night, I was having surgery. When I woke up, they told me they took out a three-pound, malignant teratoma. I'd have to start chemo right away. Being the sassy 11-year-old I was, I just smiled smugly at my doctor and said "I told you I wasn't lying"! I saw him recently, 15 years later. He still remembers me and apologized profusely for not catching it sooner.
Not mine, but a fellow nurse that I know. We were talking about patients' hallucinations when he told me about this time he was walking past a patient's room, an elderly woman with dementia, and she was chatting up a storm with someone. He asked her who she was talking to, and the woman replied "that nice man in the black and white striped shirt". A while later he went into another patient with dementia’s room, and she asked where the man with the striped shirt had gone.
Pathologist here. The biggest mistake I ever made was cutting myself during an autopsy on an HIV patient. Lucky for me, I did not acquire the virus, so everything had a happy ending (For me, anyway. That guy was still a goner.)
When I was a patient care technician in the emergency department, I often worked closely with a specific doctor. She had a habit of thinking that there was always more to symptoms than there were, so no one ever took her seriously. She paid especially close attention to young patients and always ordered way more tests than the other physicians.
There was a 12-year-old boy whose parents brought him because he kept talking about how he hated himself, wanted to die, hated his parents and siblings and often thought of hurting them. Before this, he had no history of being mentally ill, but everything he described was typical for a depressed pre-teen. However, when the doctor spoke to him, he mentioned having frequent headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
The doc thought something more might be going on, so she got a CT on his brain. It turns out, the kid actually had an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), which is INCREDIBLY rare, like less than 1% of childhood brain tumors kind of rare. It’s honestly amazing that the child lived long enough for the tumor to spread so far.
I will never forget that a doctor always looked further into things than people thought "necessary". If it weren’t for that specific doctor being on, he’d be toast right now. Eventually, he will live a normal and long, healthy life.
My great-grandmother was 94 and just started suffering with dementia. She told the home nurses and me that there was a little boy in the corner of the living room who would taunt and tease my great-grandmother while laughing at her telling her she was going to die.
Well at first it was a little disturbing and we all shrugged it off because of her dementia. But then everything got real when my best friend came over with his little boy who is about 3 or 4. The little guy pointed over to the same corner and yelled: "I'm going to beat you up"! When we asked him what that was about, he told us that he saw another little boy in the corner and he is not nice! We flipped out! I got shivers just typing this. Maybe Nana wasn't hallucinating.
My dad works in an emergency room. He once had someone come in who was shot point-blank in the head. They gave him a ton of antibiotics, and the surgeons were able to remove the casing and skull fragments from his brain. He walked out later that week.
This is sad, but also creepy, and I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it. Had a 20-year-old kid, gang member, who was dying of primary liver cancer. Super unusual, aggressive, and terminal. He was angry at the universe. His family was there to comfort him, but he literally spat in their faces. Every ounce of energy he had left was angry and mean and ugly.
His mom would beg him to lighten up and accept Jesus into his heart. He would swing at her and tell her to screw herself. The family remained beside, in hopes he would chill out at the end. His last day, hours, moments, he was angry. The family called me into the room, and told me they thought he was going (he wasn't responding, Cheyne-Stokes breaths, eyes glossy and skin cold, the end was imminent).
His lovely mother, in her dearest attempt, whispered to him to go towards the light, to her Jesus. With his dying breath, he opened his eyes, looked at her and said: "Screw your Jesus"! A second or two later, he slowly turned his head to the to the left, and got the most horrific look on his face as if he was looking at something we couldn't see, and horrified, like in a bad movie, his face contorted. But the worst was yet to come.
Then he screamed with his last breath, eyes wide, "OH NOOOOOOO"! then made a guttural noise and promptly fell back into the bed and passed on. Every family member was shaking and too frightened to speak, and I left the room and took two days off. I don't care if I never find out what he saw.
I was the patient, and it was a kidney biopsy. I was pretty out of it, but still awake so they could talk to me, laying on my stomach as my kidney doctor worked behind me. He warned me, "You’re going to hear a click and it will feel like Mike Tyson punched you in the back". "Ooookayy"? I hear, click, feel the punch, then hear, "Oh, GOD. Get on the phone now".
A nurse came up near my face to calm me, and maybe keep an eye on me. I don’t really remember everything. Apparently, the doctor had nicked a blood vessel, and I was bleeding internally at an alarming rate. I got to spend the night in the hospital and peed what seemed like pure blood for about 24 hours. Never try to fit your kidney biopsy in on a Friday before the doctor leaves for vacation.
Not a doctor, but I have a story about one that screwed up and one that saved the day. My grandmother was seeing this physician because she had multiple issues with heart disease and high blood pressure. He prescribed about a dozen different medications to fix all her problems. Soon after she started to speak strangely. She would start accusing people of being in the Mafia, and wanted to kill her and the rest of us. This kind of talk became more frequent as time went on, until finally she just stayed in bed because if she left she would be a goner. None of us knew what to do, because who really wants to have their grandmother committed.
During this time, my uncle (my grandmother's son) goes to the supermarket to do some shopping. While there he meets her old physician, who just happened to ask how she was doing. My uncle goes into all the details on what we were going through. The doctor then says he wants to look into the case since she was a good patient of his, and asks for the phone number to the house.
The very next morning he calls and says he found what the problem was. The concoction of medications she was given had severely depleted the salt in the body causing her brain to swell. He was shocked that the other doctor had not realized this before over medicating her. His short-term solution was for us to give her one tablespoon of salt. The long term solution, of course, was to change her medications.
I have never seen such a change in a person before. We gave her the salt in a drink, and within the hour she was completely normal again. It really was an incredible moment for us. One hour before we thought we were going to lose grandma to some institution, and then the next moment she is downstairs in the kitchen making herself a cup of tea. That doctor saved my grandmother, and I can't express enough gratitude to him.
I was working as a helicopter retrieval doctor in Australia last year. Called at 2am to a car crash in the middle of nowhere. Patient was 150 kg (330lbs.) and 5-feet tall. So inebriated you could smell it in her blood. Had been ejected from the front passenger seat of a car through the front windscreen. Wearing no seatbelt.
She had lain undiscovered for three hours on the side of the road. The temperature that night was 2 degrees centigrade. Her entire right scalp had been degloved. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation were unrecordable at all times on transfer due to shock, hypothermia, and body habitus. Carotid pulse only. GCS 3 (completely unconscious).
Due to her ENORMOUS obesity any movement of her head from the position she happened to land in obstructed her airway. If she had landed in any other position she would have had no way to breathe and passed on. Two hour flight from nearest trauma center. Unable to intubate her without anesthesia due to muscle tone. It was the scariest moment of my life.
Gave her stuff to paralyze then intubate in the middle of a paddock, on ambulance stretcher, under lights, with patient placed in RAMP position. With best rewarming we could do in the helicopter core temperature was 29 centigrade on arrival in ER. We didn't carry blood on the helicopter at that time. Survived and discharged neurologically intact.
I had a pregnant woman whose ultrasound showed the baby had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. It means the baby has half a heart, and it’s 100% fatal without surgery. She stopped seeing her obstetrician so she could have the baby in the forest and bathe it in breastmilk to cure him.
About thirteen years ago, when I was in medical school, I saw a lady who had flown in from South America to have US doctors help with her cancer. She was pretty well off but apparently her family had been picky and choosy about her treatment. By the time they got her to the states, the situation had turned horrific.
So what we discovered was that she had a metastatic tumor on her arm that was the size of a bagel. Also it smelled of necrotic tissue. Even worse was the fact that her chest wall was replaced by a tumor. In fact, you could actually see her rib cage. Her family got mad that we couldn't just cut the tumor off her arm. The whole ER smelled like rotten flesh.
There was a primary care physician, PCP, who went to some part of Africa—I don't remember where specifically—for the Peace Corps. When he came back, he found he was always more tired than he was when he left for Africa. The cause was straight out of a nightmare. One day he felt a pulsation in his eye and went to the ER. Once there, the doctor found a small worm wriggling around in his eye.
Apparently, this kind of worm normally lives near the brain, but had somehow made its way out from there and into his eye. The emergency room doctor hadn't seen anything like it, and so he called in another doctor to come and look at it. By the time the other doctor got there, the worm had made its way back out of the eye.
Cut to about a month later and the PCP feels the pulsation again, but instead of returning to the hospital, he decides to take care of it himself. He takes a needle and heats it up using the stove. He then puts it into his own eye in order to remove the parasite. Over the course of the next year or two, he removes—if I remember correctly—around five of the worms this way before feeling better.
I was working at an old folks center near our house, and I was with this one older gentleman. On his hip, was a blackhead the size of a dime, on top of a decent-sized lump, about 5 cm (2 in) long. So, I threw on some gloves, made sure I had the permission of the man of course, and squeezed the black head. To my shock, out popped this roll of gauze that was left over from his hip surgery 10 years prior that he never bothered to get removed.
The smell was horrid and I will never forget it.
So there is a homeless guy that comes to my emergency room regularly. Apparently this guy had a major surgery in the last 10 years where they removed something from his stomach, or that general area. After the surgery, he woke up and just left the hospital without letting himself heal. He proceeded with his drug habit, and his body was never able to heal properly.
The guy comes to the ER about once every week to get his intestines re-bandaged. The nurses have to rinse and sanitize the intestines and re-bandage him up every time he comes in. They simply take a large bandage and wrap it around his midsection. He has been seen many times outside the hospital holding his intestines with a plastic bag pressed to his stomach—having a smoke.
A kid, about 13 years old, and his mom came into the emergency room. The mom had dragged the kid in because he was complaining of real bad 'digestive' problems. The kid had convinced her he was fine, until he couldn't hide the bleeding coming from his rear end. We take him in for X-rays—but never in a million years was I prepared for what we found. There on the X-ray, clear as day, is a 14-inch black rubber phallus.
Of course, we didn't know it was black then, but we found out later, obviously. This thing had wedged itself up far—most likely due to his efforts to remove it. It was pushing on the walls of his intestine and had three days' worth of excrement piled on top of it. We take him into a private room and ask if there is anything he wants to tell us before they discuss specifics with his mother.
The kid didn’t want to say anything, so we told him that whatever is up there had to be removed surgically. The kid said no, and that he just felt sick. We then asked him again, what could possibly be in his lower intestine. His response almost made me laugh out loud. He said he may have sat on a marker.
I got a fast bleep one night to a side room on the ward. A fast bleep means "drop everything you’re doing and attend to this emergency please". When I entered the room, I found no patient in the bed. Not anywhere in the room. I was just about to leave the room and go back out to the nurses station, where there had been a bit of a hubbub when I’d dashed past the first time, when something caught my eye.
I looked up at the ceiling—and couldn't stop myself from screaming. It was a face with wide, slightly wild "psych eyes" peering down at me. She was a lady waiting for a bed in the psych hospital who’d clearly thought the ceiling was the best place to hide from the people trying to poison her. Honestly, I can’t think of another occasion that I’ve been quite so terrified.
Worst thing was that I had to walk—well, dash—back out underneath her to get help from the nurses and security to get her down.
While I was in training at an army hospital, the doctors would provide free medical attention to civilians that couldn't afford it on their own. One story was about a woman in her seventies who came in complaining about a problem with her anus. And that's not even the bizarre part. When the doctors went to roll her onto her side, one of the guys grabbed her arm, and it just flopped freely like it was just hanging on by skin.
They freaked out and asked her if she was okay and if her arm hurt. She said that it was no big deal, and that it was just her bad arm. As it turns out, when she was 16 years old, she fell down and completely dislocated her shoulder. They didn't have access to medical attention, so she just lived with it like that for over 50 years.
She just conceded that she would never use that arm. He said that it could have been reset very easily without surgery, if they would have taken care of it when it happened. This story makes me so sad every time I think of it.
One of my students was a nurse. She was a really pretty girl, about 30 years old, and quite conservative. So when I asked her about horrible things she'd seen on the job, I thought she would share a pretty tame story—especially considering there were three other students in the class, two of them 22. I couldn't have been more wrong. She started by telling me that a guy came into the hospital and he was "swollen" down there.
Was his scrotum inflamed, I asked? "No, no, not swollen," she said. "My mistake. More like..". and here she made a hand gesture which I will never forget. First, the hand raised, perfectly straight, as if to initiate a karate chop. Next, the hand folded in the middle. 90-degree angle. At this moment I began making horrified expressions and the other students, all women, began laughing hysterically.
The best part? His mistress did it to him, not his wife. He ended up telling his wife that he had been riding a bicycle after work and had fallen off and done this horrible thing to himself. His wife, crying and agonized, pleaded with the doctors to save her poor man's little man. However, he told the real story to the stone-faced doctors and nurses, who proceeded to inform the wife of the truth.
I work at a hospital, and one day I got a script for a dewormer with a ridiculously high dose. Higher than I had ever seen before. I thought for sure it was a mistake, so I called the doctor just to be sure. He said that it was no mistake, and then told me what was up. I must say, this is the most disturbing thing I can remember in recent history.
It turned out the patient was someone with Cysticercosis, which is a tapeworm infection. While this isn’t that unusual, what was unusual was the location. The tapeworm infection was in her brain. The doctor and I both agreed there was very little chance of it working, but he said there were absolutely no other alternatives.
I’m a student psychiatric nurse. While on a ward for the elderly suffering from dementia, I had one experience I will never forget. I was helping a client eat, when I got a call from one of the rooms in the corridor. The client I was helping was pretty much done, so I went to investigate, hoping that it wasn't a fall as the call was from a room belonging to a very unsteady lady. Oh god, how I wish it were just a fall.
The lady who called—let's call her Betty—was in the corridor outside her room. The first thing I noticed were her hands. They were covered in what could only be excrement. I asked her if she’d had some trouble in the bathroom. Hey, it happens, sometimes when you're older you may be a bit shaky or confused, and I'm not one to judge the unwell.
So, I move into her bedroom to help her clean up: that’s when the smell hits me. For a second I just stare and try to take in what has happened. What follows is how my brain tried to process what I saw. There were traces of excrement everywhere: on the walls, on the wardrobe, on her clean clothes, on her bed, on the door. I think: that's okay, we can clean this. But there was something strange.
The thing is, I can't see any major, er, "movement," from which it would have come. Then I notice there's something on the floor. As if someone had defecated on the floor and...picked it up? Yes, there's slide marks from someone obviously moving…Oh my god. She has taken a dump on her dinner plate. I saw, on her bedside table, a plate piled high with excrement.
And I just stood there. I stared for what felt like an eternity—more like five seconds in reality. Eventually, I called someone to give me a hand. Perhaps it was a political statement about the state of the food in the hospital, I don't know. Regardless, I now have the best dinner table story.
I saw a patient who was concerned because she was still lactating, despite the fact that she stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She said: "Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my husband sucking on me. He says he's trying to drain the milk for me". I had to explain to her that breastfeeding her husband will lead to continued lactation.
I worked for a doctor who was unbelievably cruel to his patients. I had to sit by and watch him deny medication to people who clearly needed it—but one dark day, he took it too far, and I knew I needed to act. Because he assumed that everyone who claimed to be in pain was clearly faking it to get pain killers, he never treated them properly. Then one day, a senior director from Microsoft came in, but this doctor assumed, as always, he was faking it. The man passed on from a heart attack soon after. Finally, I stepped in and went to management. I wish I’d done it sooner, but at least he can’t hurt anyone else.
We had a forty-three-year-old woman who had a very rare form of cancer that spread incredibly fast to just about everywhere in her body. From diagnosis to the end was about twelve weeks. The medications and therapies and the general lack of mobility caused her to become swollen and obese. She was a terribly sweet lady. They took her down to Radiology for a scan and the technician made a bunch of really mean comments about her weight because she was too large for our machines.
They had to arrange for a transfer to another hospital for her scans and then have her transferred back. The technician thought that because Miss Jeannie was dying and sick that she was deaf or didn't understand English any longer, and so while they were alone, she made so many mean comments. Miss Jeannie waited until she was back in her room waiting for her transfer before, she started crying. I'll never understand people who feel the need to make others feel less than or badly.
My mom never told me how her best friend passed. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to email@example.com. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: