Doctors are expensive and can be a real hassle to have to go to. So why not just try to fix whatever it is that’s ailing you at home? HERE’S WHY NOT. Medical professionals on Reddit shared stories of the weirdest, grossest, most wrong DIY treatments they’d ever seen patients do to themselves.
1. Maybe don’t use office supplies to take care of a wound.
A man who’d accidentally sliced his leg open at his workplace. He obviously figured that as surgeons use staples to close wounds, he’d cut out the trip to hospital and DIY. With an ordinary desk stapler. Arrived in ED with a pus filled wound with the odd discoloured staple hanging off it some days later.
2. Okay, but was she pregnant?
Had a patient come to the ER for a cough. We did a chest X-ray that caught a little something in the abdomen/pelvis. Did a pelvic X-ray. Long story short she stuck a shot glass up her vagina for “birth control” left it up there long enough for it to calcify and we had to surgically remove it.
Am a doctor, but didn’t see this first hand unfortunately. However, my friend in ED saw a young 17 year old boy that came in with “personal” trauma and mild blood loss. She triaged him, taking him to a room with his parents and asked what he’d come in with. His mom turned around and said, “ go on, tell the lady what you did”. He then proceeded to tell her that he tried to circumcise himself with scissors for religious reasons as he hadn’t been circumcised when he was younger, but had to stop half way due to pain. Eventually the shame had grown enough that he had to tell his parents who immediately took him to ED.
Some antibiotics and a revision by urology later and he was able to be sent home.
Another one I know slightly unrelated was an older man that came in with “penile swelling”. He’d used an elastic band as a make shift cock ring, but neglected to take it off (I have no idea why, he was a little odd to say the least). A week goes by and his penis starts to look literally like an aubergine. He then comes into the surgical assessment unit and we see him there and is booked for surgery the next day after we eventually picked our jaws off of the floor. He had literally killed all of the tissue in his penis to the point it was almost falling off. One full penectomy later and he now only sits to pee.
I’m not sure how he tolerated the first day, it must have hurt so much before the tissue died.
Edit: 1. a word
Revision surgery means they completed the job – his mom was Jewish; his dad was not If I recall. He was brought up secularly but wanted to take up his mom’s religion.
4. This guy fancied himself a real survivalist.
Had a patient come into the ER with a makeshift bandage on his shin. He had fallen on rocks while hiking and left a three inch long, half inch deep gash in his leg. I go to pull the bandage off and as I’m peeling it away I notice the skin is completely black and there’s dark chunks of fungus falling out of the wound. It looked necrotic, like it had been left alone for a week. I look at this guy like he’s crazy as he tells me the wound is only a few hours old. He’s pretty proud as he explains that he created a makeshift poultice by chewing up leaves and moss, mixing it with river mud and stuffing it into his leg. That’s what all the black mossy stuff was.
Hint. Don’t do this.
5. PSA for Parents
Parents sneaking essential oils onto their premature babies’ skin! They have central lines, these oils can wick onto the line and damage the line, cause infection, or interfere with medications. Infections in premies can mean death within hours. Premies have incomplete skin with much faster absorption rates than fully developed adult skin. These oils can cause burns and damage their insides. Your pyramid scheme company is not a reliable source for neonatology treatments. Please dear God keep oils off of any baby, but especially premies.
6. Lysol may kill germs but…
When I was in med school on my family medicine rotation I was sent in to see a middle-aged woman with complaints of sinus congestion. Sure enough, from the beginning I can tell she’s really stopped up with her nasally voice and my history and exam are consistent with your run of the mill viral upper respiratory infection. I begin educating her on symptomatic management and the following exchange ensues: Patient: “Do you think it might be the flu?” Me: “It’s possible but unlikely; it’s really out of the typical season (it was June)” Patient: “Yeah, I guess I wasn’t sure it was; I’ve been spraying Lysol everywhere and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good, and it says it kills the flu virus” Me: “Well, that’s something that could help disinfect the house and keep the virus from spreading” Patient: “I guess, I just wish it didn’t burn so much” Me: “…what do you mean, ‘it burns’?” Patient: “You know, when I spray it up my nose it burns so bad”
Yep. My patient thought that since Lysol kills influenza the best way to nip it in the bud was to flush her sinuses with it like a saline spray. It did not work, for the record. The fact that I didn’t immediately fall over laughing and instead seriously counseled her against ever doing that again is still the greatest feat of composure in my entire career.
TL;DR When the label on Lysol says “not for internal use”, they mean it.
7. This man should not be allowed to procreate. Ever. Who knows, maybe he can’t now.
One time, when I was in nursing school, I was doing ER clinical and a guy came in with “penile pain”. Long story short, several days prior, he decided he wanted a penile texture implant to help enhance pleasure during intercourse for his lady friend. He and his buddy got drunk (of course) and decided to do it themselves. So they went in his garage and took a box cutter to slice open the skin on the dorsal (top) side of his penis, made some room between the skin and underlying muscle, and put a small porcelain heart underneath. Then he superglued it shut. To make matters worse, the guy didn’t wait for it to heal and decided to take it for a test run. He ended up with a major infection and presented several days later. I unfortunately don’t know the outcome, I was just there for the porcelain heart extraction. Can’t make this shit up. I’ve now worked in a surgical/trauma ICU as an RN for two years, and people never cease to amaze me.
I had a guy come in for coughing and shortness of breath for the past few months. His lungs sounded like absolute shit. Got a chest xray that looked horrible, so I did a CT scan. Radiologist called it the worst case of necrotizing pneumonia he’d ever seen. Dude had like a 15% functional lung tissue left. The patient then mentioned things had been worse after he started using a new “breath freshener” spray….
He whipped out one of those BluntEffects concentrated air freshener bottles, supposed to cover up weed smell. Labeled Not For Internal Use. Apparently he had been using it like Binaca spray, and had already gone through 3 bottles.
9. Turns out the spasms were a little more serious than black beans could handle.
My grandpa thought a “leg discrepancy was causing my back pain, which was causing spasms.” He put several pieces of cardboard in my shoes to try to even out my legs which were already even.
He also thinks black beans cure everything
My dad thought those pesky spasms was a pinched nerve, so he would take me to the chiropractor (his girlfriend) to get my neck cracked when it happened.
Seizures, people. They were seizures.
10. But they’re so delicious!
Am a dental student where we see mouths in pretty awful condition. One guy came into the emergency clinic with teeth half rotted off from decay and told me he has been putting gummy bears in the holes to make it less sharp on his tongue….
11. Seemed like a good idea on paper.
Adult patient had gas and poked a hole in his belly button with basically a knitting needle to release it.
Edit: it didn’t work, he actually came in for the ensuing infection in his belly button.
12. Mmm, who wants pancakes?!
So sugar can be used to help heal certain types of wounds. A patient I saw had missed an appointment with part of their care team where they get their bandage changed. I noticed what appeared to be oozing around the edges of the bandage. Asked my patient about it, offered to change it for them (we didn’t typically do that in our clinic), they said yes. I go get fresh bandages and what not, take the old one off and it’s just sticky and stringy (picture the slo-mo shots of caramel being pulled apart) and it smelled.
To be fair, most wounds smell, but this was different. I finally asked them what they used to change their bandage since I knew it wasn’t discharge. Maple syrup… They used maple syrup.
13. We’re all animals, right?
Not me, but my mom. Had a gentleman walk himself into the ED one day after he tried to give himself a vasectomy with an animal neutering kit he bought on the internet. When she asked him why, he told her that his wife wanted to have a sixth kid and it was too expensive to pay a doctor to do it and how hard could it be to DIY.
Edit: I now know that it’s relatively cheap to get a vasectomy, which makes this guy even dumber. I also now know there’s more than one way to neuter an animal, thanks guys. Edit 2: I feel I should share, he tried to cut his testicles out essentially. And yes, they did indeed put them back in the sack and he could still make babies.
14. At least he wasn’t using Q-tips. Doctors hate when you do that.
When I worked in ER my colleague had to see a guy with an ear problem. He had something stuck in his ear and had been trying to get it out. This wasn’t a new thing, he’d been trying for some time.
Turned out, he had completely removed his tympanic membrane, and the “bits” that were stuck in his ear and that he was trying to pick out with cotton buds and hair clips were his ossicles.
15. Wow, yet another use for duct tape.
Worked in pediatrics for a few years and we had this one family come in with a kid who was burned by one of those microwave ramen soups. They put duct tape on the now blistered skin to keep it from popping in the car.
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