Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what makes us human. However, some mistakes can cost us more than others. When a writer makes a mistake, they have auto-correct and editors to cover their backs.

When a medical professional makes a mistake, it could cause someone their life. We took to AskReddit to find some real life horror stories as told by the medical professionals who caused them.

Photo Credit: Kyle Law Firm

Photo Credit: Kyle Law Firm

1. Missed GSW

“I missed a gunshot wound once. A guy was dumped off at the ER covered in blood after a rap concert. We were all focused on a gunshot wound with an arterial bleed that was distracting. The nurse placed the blood pressure cuff over the gun shot wound on the arm. We all missed it because the blood pressure cuff slowed the bleeding.

I was doing the secondary assessment when we rolled the patient, and I still missed it.

We didn’t find it till the chest x-ray. The bullet came to rest in the posterior portion of the thoracic wall without significant trauma to major organs.

The patient lived. But I still feel like I fucked up big time.”

2. Face Palm

“Not a big mistake but definitely awkward at the time. I was gluing up a laceration on a 14-year-old girl’s forehead. Anyone who has used Dermabond before knows that stuff can be runny and bonds very quickly. I glued my glove to her face. Her mum was in the room, and I had to turn to her and say “Im sorry, I’ve just glued my glove to her face”.”


3. Almost Got HIV From A Dead Guy

“Pathologist here. 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 dead.)”


4. ‘Tis But A Scratch

“I’m a nurse, but I was working in the ER when a guy came in for a scratch on his neck and “feeling drowsy”. We start the usual workups and this dude’s blood pressure TANKED. We scrambled, but he was dead within 10 minutes of walking through the door. Turns out the “scratch” was an exit wound of a .22 caliber rifle round. The guy didn’t even know he’d been shot. When the coroner’s report came back, we found that he’d been shot in the leg and the bullet tracked through his torso shredding everything in between. There was really nothing we could’ve done, but that was a serious “what the fuck just happened” moment.”


5. Caught In The Nick Of Time

“A few months ago, I accidentally ran a creatinine test on a patient when a comprehensive metabolic wasn’t ordered. It turns out that the guy was in renal failure, and no one knew. He was about to go in for surgery ( I believe it was a bypass, but could be wrong), but I got the results in time to stop them from putting him under. Shit could have been messy. I’m glad I screwed up, and I’m sure he has no idea that he could have died.”