".... Where's the rest of his skull?"
Doctors of Reddit were asked: "What is your "How the
No one believed in the first place
Well, this story has happened somewhere around the 70s to my uncle and even made it to the newspaper.
My uncle was driving on a scooter one afternoon on a country road when he was hit heavily by a car from the back. He fell off the scooter, flew through the windshield of the car and came to a halt on the backseat.
The driver of the car stepped on the break so that he flew from the backseat again through the windshield and ended lying on the road. Except for some bruises, he was unharmed.
When the police came both, my uncle and the Driver of the car told the same story (which they didn’t believe in the first place). However my uncle had lost a shoe in the back of the car so finally also the police got convinced.
My Grandma cut out the article from the newspaper and it is still in a Frame in her living room 🙂
He screams at the trauma team to leave him alone.
One time I had a patient who was walking in the street, got hit by a car, thrown into oncoming traffic, bounced off another car, and then got pinned under a third. Or so the EMS report said. He had a dislocated shoulder and a non- displaced femur fracture. He was on cocaine, which probably explained how he was able to scream at the trauma team to leave him alone.
I thought for sure he died.
20 something-year-old male, motorcycle vs SUV; SUV won. We arrived on scene to a man face down in a pool of blood, ~1L. We were told he was wearing a helmet, but it was nowhere to be found. He was about 30 ft from his bike and there was a clear trail of blood to the bike because he wasn’t wearing leathers. We rolled him onto the board and that was the first beating heart I ever saw. His road rash was so bad it eroded his chest wall and we were staring at his heart, a collapsed lung, his great vessels, and the branches of the brachial plexus. Amazingly, they were all intact. Of course, he had multiple injuries to his other extremities, mandible, zygomatic arches, etc. but we frankly didn’t care at the time. We were on scene for no more than 2 min before we sped off to the trauma center. I remember transferring the patient to the chief of trauma surgery whose first words when the trauma pad was removed were “Holy s**t!” I thought for sure he died.
Fast forward 2 years when I was at my primary care physician’s office for a checkup after my medical school interview and saw a collection bin for a veteran’s wedding. Guess who? Yup, it was him. They had taken his left arm to reconstruct his chest since the nerves were shot and he recovered.
“Yoooo be gentle!!!!”
When I was in trauma surgery in upstate by, got a notification about a man who was shot 3 times in the head. He comes in, literally one eye hanging out of the socket, blood everywhere, and he’s slumped forward. Apparently, he was shot in the temple, exited out his right eye socket, in the nose exited from the roof of the mouth, and in the cheek one with an exit from the side of the head. At this point, I’m thinking they just brought him in so we can pronounce him in the ER because he looked dead. I go to examine him and tilt his head back, and he says “Yoooo be gentle!!!!” I jump back and scream like a little boy, as did everyone in the room. Literally, the bullets missed his brain in every single shot.
Gomers don’t die
We have a homeless patient right now with active endocarditis, end-stage renal disease on dialysis, HIV, and a carcinoid tumor. Totally noncompliant with antibiotics even though he has a PICC line and shows up for dialysis once a week maximum. Never got chemo or surgery for cancer. Constantly shows up in the ED looking for pain meds or in a hypertensive emergency. After treatment, he just walks out again. Gomers don’t die.
He has diabetes and essentially refuses to take his insulin.
We have a patient we see at our hospital monthly. Young guy, early 20’s, absolute turd to take care off. He has diabetes and essentially refuses to take his insulin. He comes in every time with diabetic ketoacidosis, which is essentially your body going into a coma-like state due to your blood pH becoming acidotic and very elevated sugars.
The impressive part isn’t that he survives this, most people do. It’s that this is a recurring event EVERY month and each time someone manages to find him/get him to the hospital. If he was ever alone when this occurred and no one found him in a timely fashion, he’d be toast. Been seeing him regularly at the hospital for the last 18 months I’ve been here.
Because of her religion, she refused blood transfusions.
I once had a 20-something-year-old Jehovah’s Witness as a patient who kept bleeding and bleeding after childbirth. Because of her religion, she refused blood transfusions. After other measures failed, we finally took her to the operating room for an emergency hysterectomy that saved her life. In a pregnant woman, the normal hemoglobin (the protein in your blood that carries oxygen) count is between 9.5-15 g/dL. When we took her to the OR, her hemoglobin was 3.1 g/dL. In the ICU after, it was down to 2.6 g/dL.
I remember talking to her before going to the OR, and all she could do was lie flat in bed. If she did so much as lifting her head, her heart rate would jump from about 130 to 180 and she started having chest pain. I also had to tell her A) that I didn’t know if she would live through the surgery, and B) that I wasn’t sure how much of an anesthetic I would be able to give her, so there was the possibility she might remember some of the procedure. Fortunately, she did survive and didn’t have any recall. If she wasn’t otherwise young and healthy, I’m sure she would have died.
The moment his eyes became dull and his speech slurred to a stop.
In med school, I had a patient who got shot in the head a couple blocks away from the hospital. He was still able to talk for a few minutes after arrival, but it was clearly not a survivable injury. I stayed with him as his brain started to swell. I remember the moment his eyes became dull and his speech slurred to a stop.
Yeah I got a hard nugget
Paramedic here. I ran a call on a guy that was ejected out of a late 80’s mustang. The guy said the car rolled 2 times before pitching him out of the driver’s side window. He said he landed on his head and the 7 inch scalp avulsion seemed to corroborate his story. The car was completely crushed and sitting on its top. The guy wanted to refuse treatment and transport. GCS 15 and never lost consciousness. I insisted though that he be seen at the ER. He rode the whole way texting people. When I told him that he shouldn’t be alive he said “Yeah I got a hard nugget”
Guess the dose of Cipro kicked in.
A 92-year-old lady with urosepsis (bacterial infection in her blood from a urinary tract infection). Her initial gas had a pH of around 6.7, and a lactate of 12 (too acidic and too high for the nonmedical peeps – young patients would have a hard time surviving that let alone the very elderly). She was unconscious but had received one dose of Cipro (an antibiotic) by mouth from her family doctor before becoming altered.
The family agreed to a comfort (Do not resuscitate) level of care and said their goodbyes.
The next morning, the resident on call got pages asking if Mrs. Blahblahblah could eat – she was awake and hungry. Guess the dose of Cipro kicked in.
Call Neuro! Call trauma surgery!
Internal decapitation. Only saw it once, guy walked into the ER after a car wreck saying “I’m a little banged up, my neck kinda hurts, I thought I’d better get checked out”. We’re all laughing and joking with him, I stick a C collar on per protocol, and we take him to get a CT scan. No biggie. I’m thinking he’ll be walking out in a couple hours with a script for Norco and a couple days off work. Then the scan comes back. The attending MD ran into the room and starts barking orders. “Call Neuro! Call trauma surgery! Call spine! Don’t let this guy move another f*cking inch!” Needless to say, the patient was fairly alarmed.
A chunk of the brain about the size of a grapefruit which was hanging out of his head
I was working late one night and an ambulance brings in a guy that tried to commit suicide by lying on the train tracks and waiting for a train to hit him. He was in a really bad shape, which was made most clearly evident by a chunk of the brain about the size of a grapefruit which was hanging out of his head. He also had some pretty bad chest injuries and one arm had been ripped off. Turns out though his skull fracture was in several pieces which decompressed his head (released the pressure inside the skull), and the primary damage was only to one side, which meant the rest of his brain (including his brain stem) was OK and he ended up surviving.
He ended up getting 69 LITRES (not units!) of blood
I looked after this young guy who stumbled onto oncoming high-speed traffic drunk and got hit. We took him urgently to the theatre and started resuscitating him while he got his laparotomy. He ended up getting 69 LITRES (not units!) of blood products back in the one operation. We completely depleted the states’ blood stores and we had to call in supplies from the next state. He had torn both his abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava. At one stage we were giving saline whilst waiting for blood to be driven to our hospital and we were seeing the saline oozing out of him instead of blood (luckily not for longer than a few seconds before the blood came!). Still not sure how, but he made it out of the hospital.
He tried to make drugs in his kitchen after doing some googling.
A while ago now, I looked after this guy who decided he would try to make drugs in his kitchen after doing some googling. He read that some of the substances were volatile, so decided to wear a welders mask whilst cooking his drugs – however he was wearing a singlet top, shorts and flip flops. Long story short, his lab blew up and he got burns to his whole body apart from his face / head. He was pretty high when it happened, as were his friends who came in and saved him, at which point they all legged it and decided he needed to get to hospital fast.. but not before he told them to stop so he could smoke a cigarette… which they had to buy from the petrol station first… That genius break meant he came in peri-arrest and spent about 30 days in ICU in really bad shape.
The helmet saved his life.
I was EMS for a few years and one day we came upon an accident on the highway involving a motorcyclist and a minivan, usually, that is not good, at all…it’s always a mess.. We get there and find out he hit the minivan at 80 MPH while it was stopped on the side of the road and flew through the back window, through to the front and survived without a scratch on him, no broken bone no AMS (altered mental status aka blunt head trauma)… he even got himself out the van and asked if the people inside were okay. He was wearing a helmet and I think that saved his life.
Blew my f*cking mind.
As the old saying goes, you’re not dead until you’re warm and dead
I did a medical rotation where my consultant was an endocrinologist. We had a young man with type 1 diabetes who would present almost weekly in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA – actually a medical emergency as can cause coma and death) from not taking his insulin and just eating whatever he wanted. Always self-discharged once he felt better.
In my last week of the rotation, he came in after overdosing on IV opioids – found by his family after no one had any contact for about 24 hours.
His temperature was 24 degrees Celsius in the ambulance and the pH of his blood was 6.76 (7.35-7.45 is normal, less than about 6.8 is not generally compatible with life). The paramedics (who all knew him) genuinely thought this was it for him, as did all the ICU. But as the old saying goes, you’re not dead until you’re warm and dead (in that at cold temperatures, your metabolic rate can be slowed to the point where it appears you’re deceased however on warming, your body resumes more normal metabolic function).
Warmed him up in the ICU, treated his DKA and he survived. I rotated away to another hospital before he was discharged but he was out of ICU when I left – awake and interactive.
Due to cancer and a previous surgery he had a fistula (a hole) in his neck.
Had a patient once with throat cancer and his tumor ate through his carotid artery. Due to cancer and a previous surgery he had a fistula (a hole) in his neck. He and his wife were at home… he was dozing in the sunroom. Wife goes to the kitchen and comes back to see him covered in blood and bloody handprints on the glass door where he tried to open it and get help. He had preferred his carotid artery and the blood was pouring (spurting?) out of his fistula. This tiny little old lady pulled the drapes from the window, jumped on his neck, and pushed her life alert button. Somehow she held pressure enough to keep him from bleeding out, and we actually save the man with very little neuro deficit. People perf carotids in the ICU and don’t survive the run to surgery… and he survived until EMSA got to him and got him to the hospital, all because his wife thought quick and was remarkably strong.
It was amazing the cat could even stand on its own.
CVT here! I had a cat come in with SEVERE renal failure. At least 95% of the kidneys were completely dead and blood was barely circulating through them. The blood toxicity levels were the highest I have ever seen while I’ve been in practice. It was amazing the cat could even stand on its own. It didn’t make it very long, but I still found it amazing.
You’ve had 20 heart attacks!?
This happened in med school. I was taking the history of a guy in the clinic and I asked about his past medical problems, including if he had had any heart attacks.
He responded, “oh yeah, I’ve had about 20 of those.”
“…you’ve had 20 heart attacks??”
“Which doctor(s) did you see about them? Do you have a cardiologist?”
“Nah, I never went to a doctor. My wife is a massage therapist, and whenever a heart attack hits, she starts to massage some pressure points and it stops.”
“……Uhhhhh, ok……What does it feel like when you have a heart attack?”
“I don’t ever remember them. My wife tells me that I fall onto the floor and my arms and legs start jerking. She says it takes about a minute of her massaging before it stops. I then get really confused and tired afterward, and I can’t remember much of anything that happens to me until I take a nice long nap.”
The dude was having seizures and thought that they were heart attacks. They normally stop on their own after a few minutes (at the most), and his wife thought that her messages were curing him.
His refusal of treatment for the giant infected wounds on both feet.
I’ve had a patient claim that amputations run in his family.
He said that was the only reason he needed both legs taken off above the knee. He was adamant that it was not actually due to his uncontrolled diabetes, his enormous and continual sugar intake, his refusal to use insulin, or his refusal of treatment for the giant infected wounds on both feet.
She had a withdrawal seizure.
Just finished med school, so not too much experience, but had an elderly woman come to the ER with new onset seizure. The patient’s daughter was convinced her mother had a brain tumor. On review of the medications, turns out the patient had been out of her Xanax prescription for 4 days and had a withdrawal seizure.
A patient is diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, confirmed with a biopsy. Surgery prepped for two weeks time.
The patient goes to an outside facility and does a mammogram. Radiologist states it is benign.
Patient writes an email to her primary doctor (my attending), “PRAYER WORKS. Please find attached report stating I no longer have breast cancer. Please tell Dr. X (Surgeon) that I will be no longer needing surgery.”
Cue furious emails to the surgeon with a sense of impending doom.
He was actually self-treating what he thought was a parasite infestation
Seizures from a parasite. He was actually self-treating what he thought was a parasite infestation by drinking household cleaning agents. When he started seizing afterward, this reconfirmed his parasite diagnosis in his mind, so he drank more.
She didn’t seem to get it.
Had a 19-year-old girl come in asking for anti-fungal medication because she was convinced she had oral thrush.
She and her boyfriend had Googled her symptoms, and at 19 you’re never wrong. When I suggested that perhaps we check an EBV antibody to rule out mono, she looked at me like I was actively drooling on myself and refused, because there was, “No way I can have mono.”
Eventually I convinced her to have some diagnostic testing done, and sure enough, she had mono. I tried to explain that having oral thrush as a 19-year-old could possibly be much more concerning than mononucleosis, but she didn’t seem to get it.
I thought I had a really bad muscle spasm.
I was the person self-diagnosing.
I thought I had a really bad muscle spasm.
I actually had cancer.
During my time as an intern, a patient was admitted for anemia (hematocrit of 16) requiring blood transfusions. Turns out that at some point in the past, after she was diagnosed with an in-born error of metabolism, her primary care physician prescribed her vitamin B12 injections (your body requires B12 to make hemoglobin).
Instead of going back for refills after she ran out, however, she headed over to her local pharmacy, bought vitamin B6 tablets, and proceeded to take two per day, and went on to explain how, you know doc, it’s the same thing!
“Fireballs of the Eucharist.”
My dad worked as an ER doc for 30 years, and started practicing in Alabama way back. He was taking one woman’s medical history on a visit and she told him she had “Fireballs of the Eucharist.”
Translation: fibroids of the uterus.
Doing great now.
Not a doctor, but my PCP told me that I had a sinus infection when I actually needed a heart transplant. Got my transplant 3 years later. Doing great now.
My boyfriend was born in a teaching hospital. Because of the size of his head, a bunch of doctors informed his parents that they believed it to be a brain tumor just days after he was born.
It ended up being that he just has a huge head.
Wait for the doctor to get back.
It was the summer of 2008. I was at work with a massive headache. I decided to head home early. Thinking my eyes were acting up again. (I’d suffered from severe light sensitivity since I was 12. This wasn’t entirely uncommon.)
In the lobby of the building, I pass out as I’m nodding to the security guard. I wake up in the hospital, the doctor is talking with a nurse insisting I get another set of X-rays “There’s no way this is right, have a different tech take another set of images.” Then he walks out.
I’m asking what’s up. No one is explaining anything. I have another set of X-rays done. A bunch of other scans of which I still don’t understand the differences. And eventually, the doctor comes in. Still, no one has explained anything to me, no matter how much I ask “Wait for the doctor to get back.”
Finally, the doctor comes in and tells me they’re going to need to prep me for surgery. I immediately ask about my eyes. He seems confused. “Did no one tell you what’s going on?”
Doctor gets all upset “You’re missing 1/3 of your skull. Or more appropriately, the bone marrow inside the entire right side of your head is necrotic. It’s just sitting there between slivers of bone. When’s the last time you’ve been to the dentist?”
“I don’t know, 10-15 years ago? I was planning on going next month now that I finally have insurance for the first time.”
“Well, we’re not sure how it is you’re alive. But this has been building for at least 10 years. An abscess in your gums has burrowed up into your bone.”
A week later, after a bunch of specialists are consulted, I had my teeth, gums, soft palate, and entire right side of my skull drained of fluid and removed. I was awake through most of it, and no amount of pain medication was enough to deal with the worst of it. Everything was replaced by mostly a plastic polymer, with some metal studs to snap everything together.
How are you alive?
Not a doctor, but I self-checked into a psych center because I was going through some stuff. They monitor all your vitals and stuff
My blood pressure was 220/180. I didn’t even know because I didn’t look. This was at 10 PM so they had to call the on-call doctor and checked it three times. Apparently, me saying I felt normal was really weird. Handed me pills and said, ” this is the dose I give people with heart failure.”
Shot yet yelling
Not a doc, but I’m a paramedic. I had a patient shot 6 times in the chest with a 9mm @ point blank range. Homie was still yelling at the other dude (now in custody) how he was gonna get outta the hospital and find him. I was pretty dumbfounded at how lucky this bastard was considering most people don’t yell after 6 shots in the chest.
MY great grandmother and grandfather both scared doctors.
My great grandmother did so by having a blood pressure of 240/190 for 3 months straight including being on a no salt diet for 3 months minus 1 day of it until one day it just dropped back to normal. There was no damage to her body anywhere including with the blood vessels.
My grandfather had polio when he was a kid (think between WW1 and WW2) and they thought he would die since it took out his ability to move anything below his lungs. He ended up being that bad and then it was as if polio decided to just retreat. It was gone within a couple of weeks and the only long-term damage after everything was minimal He just had his growth plates inactive for a while so he ended up fairly shorter than his dad and my dad.
I was on my back with this 95-pound wolf trying to rip out my throat.
Back in ’75 we lived in the country and we had two wolves and several other dogs. One morning after my mother had taken the kids to the bus stop the male wolf got it into his head to attack me. I was on my back with this 95-pound wolf trying to rip out my throat. I’m fighting for all I’m worth, I’m prying his mouth off, I’m hitting him with my fist. My Black Lab broke her chain and came to the rescue and saved my life. My shirt was torn to shreds, I had puncture wounds in my throat, my fingers were torn. Had it not been for my Lab, I’d have died. A week later dad took the wolf off and shot him. The Lab was a rescue dog, dad had found her on the side of the road and brought her home. Never knew who to thank, the bad guy for dumping that dog on the road, or dad for saving her. Of course, I thanked the dog and she always got special treats.
Not a doctor, but once I read this story about this guy who came across this incredibly powerful narcotic. This narcotic slowly warped and twisted his mind, but always kept him physically strong and vigorous. Eventually, he started getting intense delusions, experiencing extreme light sensitivity and began to shy away from people to a point that he became a recluse living in a cave. He still lived for decades by using and subsisting off a wild game. He eventually burnt to death in some sort of drug-induced state of euphoria.
Found after several hours in a sewage canal
An opioid addict who was found after several hours in a sewage canal. He was in his 50s, barely breathing, had a broken femur but after naloxone, he miraculously recovered enough to actually try escaping the ER( he walked to the entrance, ‘walked’ with a broken femur).
Military sea story
I worked on Ejection Seats (job is called AME). There was a legend in my trade of a guy at Norfolk Naval Air Base that was working on a Martin Baker ejection seat that didn’t have a properly disarmed drogue gun (see diagram, drogue gun at 2 o’clock position. Since the drogue gun wasn’t properly disarmed, when he went through the timer checks the component fired. Unfortunately, his head was hovering above the large heavy piece of steel that fires from the drogue gun to pull the drogue chute out (see huge steel bar in the diagram). Apparently, it went through his chin and out of the top of his head. It cleanly pulled 20 feet of cord through his head, then the drogue chute. The chute went half way into his head then got stuck. It was so firmly planted in the 2″ diameter hole going through his grape that it stopped any bleeding. They cut him out of the cables and took him to the hospital for surgery. Other than the 2″ hole in his chin and the top of his head he was completely fine and was back to work two weeks later.
A 45 yr old painter, hypertensive, diabetic and a heavy smoker of 30 years
A 45 yr old painter, hypertensive(high blood pressure), diabetic heavy smoker of 30 years with a history of multiple heart attacks (two which were triple vessel). Was casually chain smoking in front of me as he explained his history.
We all fall
The Pakistani politician Imran Khan’s fall from a 10-12 m height, on his back and head at the age of 60.
I still have doctors give me weird looks when they look at my medical files.
I was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia while in boot camp. It started as a cold that got really bad, really quick. Coughing up blood, shortness of breath, etc. When I finally went to medical I had a 103-degree fever and O2 sat of 65ish. Went to the hospital on base where they x-ray me. I knew something was really bad when every person in the place was huddled around the picture pointing and giving me weird looks. Turns out about 80% of my lungs had filled up with fluid. I was eventually transported off base to an ICU where I spent 5 days getting my lungs drained and recovering. I still have doctors give me weird looks when they look at my medical files.
The abortion worked
A boyfriend and girlfriend came in because they tried an in-home abortion. By running her pelvis over with a car… Abortion worked but I hope they actually never reproduce.A boyfriend and girlfriend came in because they tried an in-home abortion. By running her pelvis over with a car… Abortion worked but I hope they actually never reproduce.
Her boobs were rotting.
My brother’s girlfriend is a medical student, on her second year she had a course on nursing, she had to help examine a woman who came for chest pain. She noticed an awful smell from the woman The woman had stage IV breast cancer, treated herself with homeopathy and her boobs were rotting.
Now, optometry isn’t crazy exciting, but listen.
Patient is a rather elderly Hispanic woman, presents with complaints about her near visual acuity and slight headaches. I take her to the back to refract her and take her IOP… weird. Can’t get a reading for the AR/K. So now comes the tonometer: right eye: 27. Uh-oh. Double check? 24. Hmmmm…. I check the left eye? 49. 49. I double check it, 48. This lady’s got full blown glaucoma. Doc gets her in the chair, turns out she’s got glaucoma from a leaking cataract in OS, and early diabetic retinopathy in both eyes. Her visual acuity is 20/400.
This lady can’t see shit.
The kicker? She drove herself 24 miles to our office.
I went through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at 9 months old. The doctors told my parents I had a 9% possibility of surviving, and if I did, I would be severely mentally disabled and would suffer from medically induced dwarfism.
18 years later, I’m fine. I box regularly, am doing well in college, pretty normal kid stuff. Can’t begin to imagine what my parents went through. Working on focusing less on the negatives and more on being thankful for being here.
I’ll just kill the tapeworm
This one dude had a stomach ache and thought it meant there was a tapeworm in his belly eating him alive, so he drank bleach AND ammonia trying to “smoke it out”.
Note: Comments have been edited for clarity.