Autopsy Doctors Reveal The Strangest Causes Of Death They've Ever Seen

*I don't want to see dead people. Ever! Imagine if it was your career? And not only seeing them but having to dive into their bodies and figure out everything them went awry? Those are moments for vodka for sure. Autopsies and cadaver evaluation is mostly routine. But sometimes... not. *

Redditor _\d4nk3std4nk3r _**wondered **People who do autopsies, what's the strangest cause of death you've found out? Just when you think you've heard and seen it all... you learn you should be grateful for your own day job.


At Med school we have to spend a season in a pathology department and we were responsible of autopsies. One day I received a body of a woman who died by multiple shots (and that is the worst nightmare of an autopsy, because it's needed to measure and report every damn hole). Anyway, a classmate received a boy about 12 or 13 years old, still in his school uniform. We were all shocked to see the boy's body: no blood, no weird lesions, nothing. Anyway, we all started to work on our own cases and let our classmate to resolve the boy's cause of death. About 8 hours later, an exhausted me stopped by my partner place to see how was he going, and he was dumbfounded. He finished the autopsy and did not have a clue of what killed an otherwise healthy kid. It was a complete mystery. So I decided to read the police report. In summary the boy was involved in a school fight, all the kids screaming, other kid hit him on the face, he had a rush of blood to the head, yelled the other kid, suddenly stopped and fell dead. It was a chilling story. Anyway, it was late so I went home and left my classmate to solve the mystery. Next morning in the changing room I asked my classmate if they solved the case. They did, with the help of an experienced pathologist. Finally they found a congenital defect in his cervical bones that fused together some of them. Anyway, when the other boy hit him, the fused bones moved in an irregular way cutting his medulla and effectively separating his brain from his body. It terrified me: the boy who hit him actually killed him with the punch, but it wasn't his fault. The boy could have died in any other way that moved his head forcefully, even riding a car. Bad luck, I guess.


A man is found dead in hotel room. Coroner says it's a heart attack. Then said guy was beat up. Then realizes a fired bullet entered guy's scrotum & went thru heart. Drunk guys in next room over were playing with a gun. They eventually were caught.


My mom used to run as an EMT and was called to an unattended death at a camp. The guy had fallen from the lofted bed and died from that. The odd thing was that he didn't have pants on and there were erotic mags surrounding him. Dude died while masturbating. I'm hoping no one told his wife that.


A friend of mine processes death claims at a large insurance company. He has had two separate cases from people who worked for the same company, where they died from erotic asphyxiation.

The first one hung himself with the garage door opener. Daughter found him when she got home from school. Classic disturbing case.

Second one, just a couple weeks ago- guy hangs himself in his doorway off of a pull up bar. He had his Webcam on, and there was a blowup doll on his bed. Doll had a bag over its head. Gloves on its hands.

But my friend said that his boss and their higher ups all know about it, and it was hard for them to keep their composure while discussing the payout and logistics of the claim. I couldn't even imagine.


I did an autopsy on a 25 year old male involved in a car accident. He was fine, it was the autopsy that killed him.


I did a forensic pathology rotation in medical school in Florida. Was working there one day when they brought an old guy in who had been found in his apartment in the middle of the summer with no air conditioning after about a week (So he had decomposed pretty quickly). When bodies decompose the bacteria inside you eats the tissue and releases gas, so bodies tend to be bloated. So when they unzipped the body bag I wasn't surprised to see that. But I was surprised to see that his scrotum was about the size of a football (No exaggeration). This apparently occurred via the same bacteria process. Anyways, I was being keen, and I think they liked me, so they took a large bore needle and stuck it into the scrotum to let the gas escape. Then, they took a lighter and lit the end of the needle, so as the gas was escaping from the scrotum, it burned like a blowtorch. Lasted for about 20 seconds. They justified the process by saying it _"decreases the smell in the lab." _Talk about seeing things that very few other humans have. The scrotum blow-torch.


Maybe not so relevant, but when they made a full body x-ray of my grandma's identical twin sister, not only did it turn out all her organs were mirrored (her heart was on the right side etc) but she also had 4 kidneys... woman was 60+ at the time and they never knew before.


My friend is a pathologist. She said she threw up once after seeing a semi-liquid brain. Dude turned over his car into a lake in remote nowhere, it got pulled out, they opened his skull and a putty/liquid like mixture. I don't think anyone can blame her for vomiting.


A friend of mine picks up the bodies. She told me this story about how there was this older 400 lbs woman who passed away in her house. It was winter time and she didn't have many friends or family so her body remained undiscovered for 2 weeks. She passed away on a couch which was directly over a heater. When they went to move her, she split right in half long ways....


Current pathology fellow, board certified (not in forensics though). Participated in ~80 autopsies.

Weirdest/scariest case: housefire, one body recovered after 1+ hour of burning. Body completely char-broiled, rigid, limbs curled up against the torso. We xrayed the chest, abdomen, and head to see if there is anything of interest before dissection. Metal fragments in the chest. Hmm. Do the autopsy. The internal organs are largely intact despite the significant heat damage to the skin and soft tissue (this is not unexpected, I learn). There is a large (>1L) hematoma in the chest. There is about a 2cm jagged opening in the posterior wall of the right ventricle and in the anterior left lateral wall of the right ventricle. Metal fragments embedded in the left lung. Tracing backwards from the heart, a path is found through the posterior thorax with an possible entrance wound in the upper back. Yikes, he was shot? Detectives arrive to morgue. Say they've got the homeowner/roommate in custody. They're interrogating him right now. He owns a gun. He's been having frequent noisy arguments with the dead guy/tenant that have been observed by neighbors and reported to the police. He was away from home when the fire was happening, claims no knowledge of any of this, has no idea what happened to either his house or the dead guy. Detectives high-five each other when we tell them he's been shot and it's definitely homicide. We find out later after they fully interrogate the homeowner, he confesses to shooting the roommate in the back while he is sleeping and then torching his own house to try to hide the evidence (!) The roommate was actually his tenant and he wouldn't move out, so he killed him (!!!) Scary stuff.


I shadowed a medical examiner several times but the weirdest thing I ever saw still kind of haunts me. There was a woman that died suddenly and had all these bruises on her body. There were detectives and cops all around us because they thought it was a case of domestic violence. However, she was schizophrenic and was not on any meds. During one of her episodes, she would beat herself violently and self-inflict all of these bruises and wounds on her. But the way she died was crazy.

She beat herself so much that these bruises developed huge blood clots and broke off into the blood stream. They eventually ended up in her lungs (pulmonary embolism). We opened up her lungs and they were just full of blood clots. Her legs were full of them too.

She basically beat herself so much that she suffocated. It was so odd.


My grandmother had a friend who was attending medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. She and her fellow classmates were scheduled for cadaver class where donated bodies were used. My grandmother's friend and her partner were assigned a body at the end of the rather large class room. When removing the sheet from their assigned cadaver she discovered that this was her aunt who had died two weeks previous. Yikes.


A very large butt plug still inside of the man. He died while having sex.


I'm probably way too late to the game but... I interned at our county coroner's office for a summer for college credit. Saw several dozen autopsies. The first and most haunting one was of a child who had set some things on fire in his grandmother's trailer and then hidden under the bed to keep from getting in trouble. The pathologist had to verify whether he had died of the resulting fire or if he had died of smoke inhalation. He was curled into basically the fetal position kind of hugging his knees. The waistband of his jeans and the tops of his socks had semi-protected his legs so you could see some severely burned skin there but it was the only humanesqe looking part of him. As soon as the first incision was made revealing the body cavety the coroner stated 'carbon monoxide' and exited the room while the pathologist continued. Apparently when you inhale large amounts of carbon monoxide your blood and organs turn this crazy cherry pink color. The body's position with the knees to chest is another indication. He was unconscious and died before any flames ever came in contact with his body. The smell was insane. It looked so incredibly fake that if the actual body were to be used as a hollywood prop no one would have found it to be believable. Most interesting and horrifying summer of my life.


One of my bestfriends is an autopsy tech at a hospital that allows her to actually cut into the person. One day she was called in for an autopsy on an older woman. She said that when she walked into the room, the other techs asked her if the woman looked strange to her. My friend responded that she looked a bit too thin but nothing else seemed off. The other techs told her to roll the older woman over to see something. When she did, the woman's back was completely gone as well as a bunch of organs. Turns out the old lady had died in a chair and slumped over when she passed. She had a couple dogs and after a few days the dogs got a bit hungry and ate out her back and some organs.


Had a gig at a hospital one where the guards had to help move bodies from the hospital rooms to the hospital morgue.

One night me and a nurse are lifting the body of an obese woman who had already been placed in a bag to a gurney for transport. As we lifted the body up, it moaned. We dropped her back on the bed, got the bag unzipped, and checked for a pulse- nothing. The lifting action had expelled air from her lungs, through her vocal cords.

The nurse told me, " Sometimes that happens."


Eh. To be honest when you're in that field not much shocks you. I guess what gave me a chuckle was one guy who had a quarter stuck in his trachea. It wasn't what killed him, it was just... hangin' out. When I left that company I was tempted to take it with me.

Honestly, what's most shocking to me is sometimes how much fat covers some people's hearts or how huge some peoples can grow to be. Also, how small some people's brains are. Oh, and the sheer spikiness of some of the kidney stones I've seen. We found one that was the exact size and shape of those stupid spikey balls that fall off of some trees.


I do autopsies.

Strangest - Several giant egg shaped fecaliths with multiple large clots inside the wall of the bowel completely obstructing the already hugely dilated lumen.

Worst smell - 10 day post mortem large bowel that was inflated like a balloon and filled with rather unpleasant orange goop.

Worst thing - 3 year old Munchausen by proxy victim.

Most interesting - I cut up and examine brains every Thursday. Brains are awesome.

Favorite related story - On a date with a girl and said "I like to listen to Slayer and cut up dead people."

"That's hot."

Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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