Doctors see a lot of insane stuff on a daily basis, so you know they have some crazy stories.
And now we get to reap the benefits! Doctors of AskReddit share the stories they’ve seen where patients shouldn’t have survived.
1. Holy sh*t!
“I had a guy with a Bowie knife sticking out of his chest. The knife was pulsating. I could literally count his pulse from across the room.”
2. Tough cookies
“I used to do elder care and was constantly amazed at some of the tough cookies I took care of.
Man – 99 – Once ate dinner with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Made sure to serve me ice cream as his wife of 73 years lay dying (I was caring for her, she was in a coma and on her last journey), because it was a warm afternoon and manners must be followed, regardless of circumstances. I tried to refuse, but…he’s 99 with a dying wife. It was strawberry.
Woman – 96 – Was in the Nursing Corps in the Navy/Marines in WWII. She married a Marine. She told me, “I always like ’em rough and ready!” Her lecherous grin spread its icy fingers into my soul, and I had to laugh.
Woman – 101 – Tried to attack me with a clothes iron because dementia can change people into superheroes when they think the care aide is a stranger breaking into their house.
Woman – 96 – An atheist Jew from New Jersey, with the accent to boot. WWII Navy nurse. She would threaten spam callers. Graphically. It was hilarious.”
3. Quite a life
“Simply meeting someone who was 110 years old. (Wow!)”
“Guy comes in with a bit of chest pain. tells me the big coronary artery on the front of the heart was 100% blocked. I tell him “who told you that?” he says his doctor did about 10 years ago. I don’t believe him since patients never ever get any of the stuff their doctor tells them right. I let the cardiac surgeon know what this guy said and he too goes “haha 100%? so he’s dead?”
If the biggest coronary artery is totally occluded and for 10 years no less, you are a dead man. Lo and behold…we get an angiogram and it was 100% occluded. The artery on the back of the heart made a connection with the front of the heart to pick up the slack. It was some lucky stuff.”
5. Get that looked at
“Haemoglobin of 35 (3.5)! In a 35 year old guy with a chronic rectal bleed he refused to have looked into for months because he didn’t want anyone lookin’ at his bum hole. Finally brought to the ER by ambulance when he fainted (aka “started dying”) in a grocery store.”
6. Right in the neck
“Patient stabbed himself in the neck with a thermometer that pierced his trachea. Missed all the important arteries (carotids, vertebrals); just hit some minor nerves.
Good guy patient provided his own temperature reads until they removed the thermometer.”
“My best friends brother-in-law during the Superbowl was acting totally normal until about halfway through and started talking gibberish, walking into walls, taking all his clothes off, and generally being NOT himself.
It took about 5 EMT’s to even get him in the ambulance because he was fighting them all off, and he continued to do so until they took him to the local hospital where he was put into a medically induced coma and airlifted to ‘The S*** Is Real Hospital’. Turns out he had bacterial meningitis and he had been acting like that because his brain was had gotten so swollen.
Everyone was convinced he was going to die because of how severe it had gotten before he presented any symptoms. It took him weeks to recover, relearn how to talk, understand where he was, etc…but he did. He completely 100% recovered. Doctors think it was caused by a dog bite. Which I’ve never heard of… his wife and kids also tested negative thankfully.”
8. Chainsaw massacre
“I’m an ER nurse. Had a guy walk up to the front desk after hitting himself in the throat with a chainsaw.
All the flesh of his neck was flayed open. I could see his trachea and his right jugular vein. If he had cut in just a tiny bit deeper, he would have sliced right into both.
The only thing that saved him was that he was a big fat guy with a huge neck. A skinnier man would have died very unpleasantly.”
9. That should be on the inside
“I was in school to be a paramedic and I was doing my externship in an ER. A guy came in happily complaining about a sore on his belly that wouldn’t heal. He was really pleasant and didn’t seem to be in much pain. When he lifted his shirt, we could see his liver.”
10. Not good at conflict resolution
“Guy had an argument with his girlfriend, wanted to leave the apartment. Instead of taking the door, was real angry and jumped off the balcony, fell down 40 feet directly on his heels on cement.
He ended up having an ankle sprain. I wondered how he managed previous issues in his life.”
11. Still kickin’
“Not a doctor: My grandfather had a heart attack. He went in for a simple stent in his heart. Hours go by and we hear code blue over the intercom. Doctor comes out to tell us his left ventricle has an inch and half tear in it. They had to transport him to another hospital ASAP. He died three times that night and went through 11 pints of blood. The surgeon successfully repaired the torn ventricle.
They woke him up on my birthday and he sung me happy birthday. 3 weeks in Cardiac ICU my grandfather walked out. The surgeon told us for a man of 75 years to have lived through a left ventricle tear is unheard of. The doctor wrote a Journal on him as well. He’s still alive today. He even got his hip replaced a year after.”
“Saw a guy with a machete lodged up into his skull. Asked him if he was OK (not sarcastically, just threw a generic question to check his ability to respond), he said “yup!” “
“A patient I took care of had a car fall on his face. He was underneath it working when it slid off of the jack. The only reason he survived was because he broke every bone in his face (he had a Lefort III) which allowed for his brain to swell (he also needed an additional surgery to relieve the pressure of cerebral edema, but the facial fractures did allow for a great deal of “give” in his skull).
I was rotating through ICU so I first saw him just a day after the accident. His head was so swollen, he didn’t even look human. Fast forward a few weeks later… I was rotating through a different unit in the hospital and came across the same patient. He was quickly recovering and had minimal neural deficits.”
“Pathologist here: Had a guy who had died suddenly and unexpectedly. I soon learned he was the recipient of a lung transplant about 15 years prior.
When I opened the man up, his transplanted lung was upside down. I flipped the lung into the proper position, and bloop. It flipped right back to upside down. That was quite alarming. The surgeons who originally performed the transplant incorrectly attached the organ. When he by chance entered the correct position, the lung flipped over, causing his pulmonary artery to seal shut, resulting in his death.
The man lived for 15 years with a lung that was dying to flip upside down. And it was only by sheer chance he didn’t move in such a way that allowed it to do so until the fateful day of his death. It is one of the most fascinating cases I have ever witnessed.”
15. A miracle
“Not a doctor but… encountered a woman that was shot blank in the head by her boyfriend. Bullet entered one of her eye sockets and exited above her and ear on the same side. She called 911 on her own and survived, was in ICU for weeks, and testified against the guy who is now thankfully in prison!”