Morgue workers, pathologists, and medical examiners on Reddit were asked: “What is the weirdest cause of death you have been able to diagnose? How did you diagnose it?” These are some of the best answers.
1/24 Had a patient who had not had a bowel movement for 14 days. Tried enemas, miralax, digital disimpaction, etc. Patient started having extreme anxiety and shortness of breath, doctors were aware. Hours later she ending up vomiting her own stool and choked to death on it. She was so full of poop it had no where to go but out her mouth.
2/24 A man with a very weird fetish put a LIVE EEL up his ass, and it tore a hole through his large intestine. Died.
3/24 Cause of death was gunshot to the chest, and ruled a homicide… except he had been shot 3 decades earlier. A small piece of shrapnel from the bullet wasn’t removed when he was shot, but he was completely fine for 30 years. Then it found its way into his circulatory system close to his heart, made its way into the man’s right ventricle and caused a heart attack. IIRC the man who had shot him was sent to prison for a few years and released, but was subsequently arrested and charged with murder.
4/24 Apparently it’s not uncommon for cats or small dogs to eat the hands and face off a dead or incapacitated owner. An elderly woman who was paralyzed, but not killed, by a stroke and her little dog ate all her exposed skin before she was found.
5/24 An elderly woman with schizophrenia came in after managing to swallow her severed right arm (from the elbow down) and getting halfway through swallowing the other severed arm(again, elbow down) before dying of blood loss. These injuries were self inflicted and there were no power tools in the room. It appeared she managed to tear off or chewed through her arms, but she would’ve died of blood loss far before managing to jam them down her throat, so to this day I wonder how she did it.
6/24 Did an internship at the office of the chief medical examiner. Guy committed suicide in a river by wearing a backpack of rocks. Was found soon and didn’t have much bloating etc due to the submersion. Upon examination, he had a lung infection where his right lung had disintegrated into green liquid. We removed 1.5 liters of green fluid from his chest cavity. His left lung was fine. It was determined after looking at his medical records that he had been to the doctors office five times before he committed suicide and that this infection had been going on for almost a year until it got this bad. Numerous doctors had overlooked it. Accounts from those who knew him suspected that he killed himself to stop the pain.
7/24 I’m a criminal defense attorney. Had a client charged with murder for essentially getting into a shoving match with a guy. No external bruising or scratching. No evidence of trauma anywhere. They opened his head and found a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Turned out he had a ton of booze and blow in the tox report. The coke had constricted the blood vessels and driven the blood pressure up and the booze had thinned the blood out. When he bumped his head slumping back that was all it took and he blew out and was dead in less than a minute. Really sad case.
8/24 I was a security guard at a hospital in Alaska. Get a radio call, that some patients wife wants her husband’s wedding ring back. I assumed it would be on a deceased person. I go to the morgue to look for it. I look all over, no gold ring. I even open the coolers, no bodies. I then look in the fridge. Body parts and a little Igloo cooler. I look inside that…
It looks like very old banana peels. I glove up and pull some out. Turns out this guy had gotten his hand shredded in machinery. I had to get the mangled ring off his mangled hand and clean it off and go give it to him
9/24 Guy put a shotgun in his mouth but must have flinched last minute and blew his face off. He was left with just a “screamhole” that was fluttering flaps of torn flesh not unlike a Predator mouth for a face. Only time I ever saw an ER nurse shriek at the site of it.
10/24 So, nurse practitioner is helping a doctor deliver a baby in India. Well when the baby was dropping into birth canal it’s shoulder and head got stuck. The doctor stuck his hand up to try and reposition the baby but it wouldn’t reposition. Baby died in birth canal. They still have to get the child out of the mother. Since the baby can’t come out vaginally, they opt for a caesarean. The mother gets opened up, and they still can’t get the baby’s head and shoulder unstuck. Try everything. They end up having to behead the child (remember child is already dead) while in the mother. Take the body out through caesarean and mother has to deliver baby’s head.
11/24 Work in a nursing home/rehab. Guy essentially died from pooping. He pushed too hard, blood pressure dropped and that was it for him.
12/24 Was a police officer and helped with a case where there was a guy in his 50s who died laying on his couch, he had told friends he wasnt feeling well for a couple days and figured it was some cardiac related event. Nope.
Ready for an irrational fear? Guy had undiagnosed hemochromatosis (high iron) that destroyed his liver, his ongoing cirrhosis and the livers inability to process blood as fast as it was being pumped cause varicose veins in the lining of his esophagus. This was a decades long process. One day one or more of the esophageal varices ruptures and the guy slowly bleeds to death through his digestive system while thinking he had a stomach bug or something only to die taking a nap. Get regular physicals folks.
13/24 Male, mid 50’s presented with jaundice and other signs of alcoholism but supposedly no history of drinking. During preliminary observation techs noted a red liquid coming from the anal area. Assuming blood it was tested. Came back as red wine and blood. Turns out the deceased was a closet alcoholic who would give himself enemas with whatever alcohol he had, in this case red wine, the doctors concluded he pierced part of his colon/rectum with whatever he enema’d himself with and led to a bleed.
14/24 I worked briefly as a morgue assistant a few years back. . By far the most WTF worthy death I saw was a guy who had been working in a factory, getting himself off by rubbing his cock on the underside of the high speed conveyor belt he was meant to be operating. He got caught and it tore off most of his crotch. Ruled as death by misadventure, he had bled out (torn femoral artery) before the paramedics even made it to the scene.
15/24 A man went to hang himself and when he jumped off of his apartment balcony he left so much slack that it took his head off. His head was on one lady’s balcony and his body was on the ground. When we were there, we couldn’t find the head so we had to knock on a couple doors where the rope was hanging to in order to find it.
16/24 A man was sitting on the railroad tracks at a railroad crossing to commit suicide by train (where is very messy and annoying to have to pick up, mind you) but a drunk driver was “trying to catch air” over the tracks and killed the guy but threw his body off of the tracks before the train came a couple of minutes later.
17/24 The weirdest one was from early last century, a white man in his 40’s who died from sepsis from multiple arm fractures that he got in an arm wrestling contest. Why multiple fractures? Because even after cracking his humerus (upper arm bone) a bit, he couldn’t bear losing, so he just wrapped it up with some kind of splint, had some guy hold the fracture (just a crack at that point) and went for best 2 out of 3, whereupon he snapped the humerus all the way through, and broke his radius and ulna when he slammed his arm down on the edge of the table in anger (the preserved bones came with the whole story recounted in the coroner’s notes). One of the lower arm bones, (radius or ulna, I can’t remember which) protruded through the skin, and being too cheap/too stupid to see a doctor, the wound became gangrenous, and the infection entered his bloodstream. He died of septicemia a few weeks later.
18/24 I’m a nurse and this 80yro man had anal fissures and was admitted to the ICU because he shoved an entire frozen D-cell sized mag light up his ass and perforated his bowel. He went to surgery to have it removed and later died from septic shock. The mag light however survived.
19/24 I had a hypersexual client who would masterbate with a urinary catheter in place. Ended up getting a UTI and died due to complications associated with it. We would joke that he died doing what he loved.
20/24 Found a guy dead in his laundry room. Glass bottle taped to the agitator on the washing machine. Broke when the guy attempted to pleasure himself by sitting on it. End result: all his guts were in the wash tub.
21/24 Worked at a funeral home for a few years. First ever house call I took was to pick up a guy who died at home. Heard from his son that he hadn’t been to the doctors in 20 years. We take him to the medical examiner and discover he had a hernia on his scrotum causing it to be the size of a football. Not sure how he lived with that thing, but he was wearing jeans and a jockstrap to keep that thing in. His toenails looked like dragon toenails as he obviously couldn’t bend over to clip them. You know it’s fucked up when the medical examiner calls another medical examiner on duty to say “hey dude, come check this out.”
22/24 Man died from endometrial cancer. Man had a transplant prior, woman who gave transplant had metastatic cancer that had spread to said organ unknowingly. Man survived transplant but cancer cells from the transplanted organ populated and he ending up dying from HER cancer.
23/24 Someone driving on a country road in Oklahoma noticed a car out in the field, and a young girl (16/17) crying and screaming hysterically. Anyways the car was a T-top firebird or something similar. There was a headless body in the driver’s seat, a head in the backseat along with another boy who had been split in half at the abdomen. This girl was hysterical, so they couldn’t figure out what the hell had taken place here.
Turns out the driver had been sticking his head up out the top of the car while driving, and the other boy almost sitting up out of the open t-top. They lost control and went off the road, through a barbed wire fence. One or two of the wires went up over the top of the car and cleanly severed the driver’s head and the boy passenger in half.
24/24 Bee sting to the inside of the lung. A woman accidentally inhaled a bee and it stung her. Apparently she was allergic. Took a week to figure it out.