Emergency rooms are a locale of terror and sadness. Patients forced to check in under emergency situations can lead to doctor's best stories.
Tales of life-saving brilliance and ingenious solutions to troubling diagnoses. Sometimes, however, there's times when patients decided they wanted all the glory, attempting to cure themselves with misguided homemade remedies.
Spoiler: They're all awful.
Reddit user, r/Shandrith, got all the horrific details when they asked:
Medical professionals of Reddit, what is the craziest DIY treatment you've seen a patient attempt?
50. It Actually Worked????!Giphy
I got this one - once upon a time, the blood thinner Coumodin® was still under patent and was crazy expensive. It's used to prevent blood clots in patients who have a history of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli, strokes, and other clot related fun. It's hard to get the dosage accurate, so patients on it get frequent follow up visits to make sure that their blood is thin enough that it doesn't clot too easily, but not so thin that it they'd be in danger of bleeding to death if they were to have an injury.
This is not just a theoretical danger; the same chemical was sold as a rodenticide because rats who ate lots of it would die of bleeding (often internal bleeding) and it was believed that as they overdosed they would become extremely thirsty and would often exit their dens in search of water. The advantage was that your rats would not only die, but they'd not die inside your wall and stink the house up.
So physician relative of mine was assigned to the Coumodin clinic where patients came in for routine monitoring. She was talking with a long term patient who confessed that the prescription was too expensive, so he had stopped filling it many months ago. His clotting times were perfectly in the middle of the theraputic range; right where they should be. She looked at his chart, and saw that for many months his clotting times were fine; he was doing much better than the average patient.
She asked him if he could explain it and he said that he routinely pricked his own finger at home with a sewing needle and carefully noticed how long it took the blood to get sticky and the puncture to stop bleeding. If it didn't take "long enough", he would eat a small pinch of rat poison that he had purchased at the hardware store; if it took too long, he would eat less rat poison.
Bonus fact: over the last 50 years, wild rats have evolved to be immune to warfarin (the generic name of the chemical), and modern rat poison uses a different anti-coagulent. Also, Coumodin is off patent, and is much cheaper now.
49. Prepare Yourself, This Is Horrible
I worked on an oncology unit in the early 2000's and we had a lady come in with a massive fungating tumor in her head. Per her husband she had found a small lesion on the roof of her mouth and rather than have radiation, she chose to 'treat' it with essential oils and frankincense. So a small patch of squamous cell carcinoma had become a huge tumor that had invaded her skull and eaten away her jaw and eye socket.
Her husband finally didn't listen to her wishes and brought her in for emergency treatment. When the Radiation Oncologist doc on duty tried to open her mouth, her remaining teeth fell plink plink plink into his hand. She died in agony a day or two later. Essential oils are for making your house smell nice, not for treating cancer.
48. It May Work In The Short Term But Let's Not Keep It Like This
I worked as a tech in an ER in rural Illinois that occasionally saw Amish patients. One day we had a kid, about 14, come in after getting his hand chewed up by a meat grinder. Apparently this is pretty common, because it was the 2nd time I had seen it in a matter of months. Anyways, when I went to irrigate his wound I noticed he wasn't bleeding at all but had chunks of dark red "crumbs" stuck in it. Turns out they put cayenne pepper on it to stop it from bleeding before heading to the hospital. Honestly, I was pretty impressed. The only problem is that it was so deeply lodged into the cuts that I couldn't get any of it out, so he had to go to the OR and get his hand amputated.
47. Please Don't Get Any Ideas Here
I'm not a medical professional, but I once impaled my hand on the top of a fence I was climbing when my feet slipped out while I had one hand on top. I wound up with 18 stitches total, 10 internal and 8 external. They told me to come back in two weeks to get the stitches out.
So two weeks go by, and I don't have insurance. I figured "how hard can it be to remove stitches?" The answer: Not hard... However, a doctor probably would have looked at my hand and said, "those aren't ready to come out." I did not have any such medical knowledge, so when I removed the stitches I ended up with just a big hole in my hand. I didn't know what to do and I definitely didn't wanna get more stitches in the raw skin I had just removed them from, so i crazy-glued my hand shut and kept reapplying the glue a couple times a day for two weeks. In the end, I peeled off the strip of dried glue and my hand was perfectly healed.
46. The Lengths Of A PhobiaGiphy
This isn't medical exactly, I'm in dental/ortho, but I had a patient come in with a mouth full of weird gloopy white mounds on his molars and some old caps on his teeth that were falling off.
He was phobic of the dentist and hadn't had insurance for 10 years. Turns out, his temporary healing caps from 10 years ago were falling off of his teeth (of course, they were temps!) so he was gluing them back in with plumbing cement!
Then he decided to just go for it and do his own fillings!
When the caps would come off while he was chewing (and they did) and he swallowed them, he would sort through his poop for them and glue them back in.
I know it's pretty mild compared to the other things in this thread, but I think about it every day. We need dental insurance for everyone. :/
45. Sounds Like A Taurus
My dad once developed a cyst in his forearm. It was maybe half an inch of diameter. Didn't look bad at all, probably just grease and just below the skin.
Now he's a stubborn, "It's never cold, don't need a jacket", "I'm not sick don't need the pill", "Didn't hurt" kind of guy. So we all knew it was going to be a pain to get him to see a doctor. Not that we were worried but it also hurt if he touched it... Which he did, constantly.
It's been a month since he noticed it. It had grown a bit by then, probably just swollen because he kept scratching it like the big toddler he is. When all of a sudden he shows up with some (really dirty) dressing around his forearm. And we just knew he didn't go to a doctor so we're just waiting for him to tell us what he did.
Well. He's a jeweler. So he has access to different tools, which he proved he's not afraid to use. First he took a blowtorch and burned the skin. Once the skin was open he grabbed a mini drill and used it around the cyst. For the "root" as he described it he used a frame saw and cut it out.
It healed remarkably well. He still has a hole.
44. Somehow I Feel Less Educated
Obligatory, I'm not a doctor, but...
My mom tells it so much better, but here's a try:
My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80's. She worked for an old WWII doctor that had gone into private practice (old school GP) when he returned back to the states. Well one afternoon she told me that they had a patient come in that was running a high fever and was complaining of pain in her pelvic area.
Mom also tells me that there was a stench coming from the woman's lap that could only be described as enough to Gag a maggot off a meat wagon. She begins to interview the patient who told her that her and her boyfriend had been sexually active and that she has been in pain since. She thought that the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her.
The doctor arrives and closes the door, only to re-open it a few seconds later mentioning about the need for fresh air. The doctor noticed that there was a vaginal discharge began to question the patient about her sex life, was it protected, non-protected, etc... According to mom, the patient told her "No doc, we always use a rubber." The doctor looked down then noticed that there was a small rubber band extending from the woman's vagina.
The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone's mouth... one rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes. Finally once they were all removed, the Doctor had "the talk" with the woman about sex education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by "wearing a rubber" and then wrote her a presecription for Abx.
43. Garlic And Olive Oil Do Not An Antibiotic Make
Not a medical professional but a patient. I made a garlic and olive oil "healing serum" for my ears back in my crunchy days. Put a few drops into both ears each night.
After one week my right ear felt sore. My GP said it was a regular ol' ear infection and gave me an antibiotic. I went to a wedding in Maine that weekend and the pain never went away. It increased. I spent the wedding with my right ear throbbing and I hallucinated hearing a sports radio station with no radio around.
On my way home, traffic delayed my second bus to New York. The next bus was in 3 hours. I screamed and cried in Boston's South Station. Police called an ambulance and the hospital said I had a fungal ear infection in both ears, cleared them out, and gave me oxycontin for the pain.
Back in New York I got treated, but doctors didn't notice that I also had a middle ear infection at the same time. The pressure built up so much, it tore a gaping hole in my eardrum. So while I put antifungal drops that I felt go into my middle ear, I got placed into an unholy mix with antibiotics.
After three months, my ears finally cleared up. Six months post, my eardrum closed up. I have a cute scar there that marks my tumultuous ordeal. NEVER self medicate!
42. Proof We Need A Better Insurance System In This Country
When I was unemployed, I gored my shin in a gardening accident. I couldn't afford to go bankrupt until I could get insurance, so I cleaned out the 1" deep gash myself, and wondered what I could do to stitch it up. I didn't have floss or any sterile thread, so on a crazy hunch, I used crazy glue.
I can't believe it worked. I had to cut open the wound a few times to clean it out and prevent infection, and the scar is now just a dark pigmentation. I expected a horrible scar.
Pisses me off I had to resort to that, but I had no job for a 2 month period (laid off with no warning). Had to go off all my meds, too, and I have diabetes and a bad heart condition. Fucking miracle I didn't die.
0/10, even with rice. Would not do again.
41. Even The Medical Profession Itself Is WildGiphy
Former ER nurse here. I did the DIY for a homeless patient. Generally whenever we get a homeless person for medical treatment, as long as it's not life threatening, we don't go out of our way to treat them. Especially if they are self inflicted injury to obtain pain meds. Had a guy come in for severe constipation. He hasn't had a bowel movement in a month due to drug use.
We gave him laxatives and told him to drink lots of water and told him to be on his way. He kept on begging for help and refusing to leave without some treatment. It was a slow night and didn't want to have a scene, so I told the charge nurse I'll take care of it if it was ok and to ignore the medical items charges. She was cool with it since he WAS in actual pain given how stiff and distended his abdomen was.
So I took a urinary catheter and a 50cc syringe to the bathroom with him. Filled the sink with water. Had him strip down, some lube, and up the butt with the catheter. Took a good 20 flushes for him to finally have a bowel movement. He went from looking like he had 4 turkey dinners to a skinny featherweight.
The one thing I loved about working in the ER was, many times it comes down to DIY for things we don't have a procedure for.
40. Self Inflicted Heart Attack
Working in the ICU as a nurse I see plenty of crazy things but this patient of mine still takes the cake. The story goes that this gentleman wanted his Pacemaker taken out so he called his cardiologist and told him he wanted it removed. This patient was adamant it be removed as he had decided he could treat his heart rhythm problems medically.
His cardiologist stated that this was not a good idea and that his heart was reliant on his pacemaker to beat. This guy, who was probably not very mentally stable, decided fine my cardiologist won't remove it so I will. He drove himself to Walmart, purchased an Exacto blade and cut a long cut across his chest, he cute 2cm deep on his upper right chest where the pacemaker leads ran and he cuts right through them and his heart stopped beating.
Long story short he got his pacemaker removed! He infected the leads and it was contaminated so the surgeon had to remove it and he wouldn't give them permission to put a new one. It was a home remedy that actually worked for they guy to get what he wanted but can't say I would recommend it!
39. This Takes Going "Under The Knife" Too Far
Patient came in complaining of pain to her arm. I looked at where she points and it looked/felt like a cyst, but it was pretty deep. She said it was a recurring problem but it just kept coming back. I flipped through her chart and the first instance of that weird lump was nearly a year ago! I do some more reading and found out the patient would come in every few months for the same issue, but in-between, she would use a kitchen knife to dig it out despite being told multiple times not to, you know, do surgery on herself at home. That was probably why there was so much pain to the area and why it was so deep underneath the skin.
I phoned the doctor on-call who asked me a bunch of questions, and in the end, he said, "I don't even know what to tell you. I'm referring her to surgery. And tell her not to take a knife to it again!"
38. Take The Final Advice Here
Unfortunately, this is one I did myself. I suffer badly with kidney and bladder infections. I was sick of going to the drs for anti biotics so when I felt one coming on I would drink loads of cranberry juice but also drink 2 glasses (morning and night) of water with bicarbonate of soda in it (saw the home remedy online - it neutralises the acid in your urine)
Roll on 5 months later I get a kidney stone. Need surgery. Have surgery. But because I've been masking my raging infection (high pain threshold as well), my infection spreads. I become septic and rushed to ICU where I stay for weeks.
Spoiler: didn't die. But also made HUGE changes to my lifestyle and haven't had an infection in over a year.
Go. To. The. Drs.
37. They Don't Teach This Lung In D.A.R.E.
Had a patient who came into the ER with chronic cough, not resolving. She subscribes to holistic medicine, and lives out in the bush (Northern Ontario). Struggling with this worsening cough and feeling unwell x 2 months. The whole time was making a homemade bovine lung extract. She made on their farm from when they butchered Bessie: she was proud that she dried the cow's lung herself.
I suspect she either inhaled bacteria or she aspirated some of it and had a huge lung abscess. She required a lung pneumonectomy (removal of her R upper lung). Pathology came back with some bizarre bacteria I never heard of, nor was taught in medicine.
She survived, has become my patient and I still never see her unless her home remedies fail. She never really learned her lesson, but has thankfully sworn off the bovine lung extract.
36. You People Really Do Not Seem To CareGiphy
A customer in the pharmacy I worked in asked for Plaster of Paris so he could do his own tooth fillings. When I told him we didn't have any, he left.
He came back later for painkillers after using pliers to rip out all of his teeth.
Another incident. Woman runs into the pharmacy with a plastic bag in her hand, screaming that a dog has bitten het father's nose off.
Sure as sh*t, the nose is in the bag. When we asked where her dad was, she informed us that he was outside the store having a cigarette.
35. So This DEFINITELY Does Not Work
This happened before I was a doctor: A neighbor kid had a small cut on his hand that became inflamed. He thought it was a good idea to douse it with hydrogen peroxide, and use an unsterile sewing needle to poke holes in and around the injury so the hydrogen peroxide could get in to where the "infection" was. Even as another dumb adolescent, this sounded stupid to me at the time.
34. Bacteria Volcano
Dentist here. A lot of people come in with that temporary filling material from Walmart packing into broken teeth. If you have an big cavity that is abcessing don't plug the drainage hole (the cavity) it's like plugging a volcano.
As a side note, I'm really surprised Walmart hasn't been sued for that.
33. Even Our Furry Friends
Vet student here. We once had a family that came in when their dog ate a bag of Easter chocolate. We had to induce vomiting, but first asked if they had tried anything at home. They said they read online to make the dog eat a bunch of salt to make it throw up. This poor dog had a bag of salt repeatedly poured down it's throat before he came in.
Pro-tip: If your dog ever eats chocolate and you panic, have him ingest about 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. He'll vomit out liquid/frothy chocolate, so put him in the bathtub immediately after. Save your dog. Save your carpet. Please take him to the vet also! The Hydrogen Peroxide is just in the event that you can't rush him in!
Edit: During my emergency rotation 2 weeks ago, we were told by the attending veterinarian that 30ml (2 tablespoons) of hydrogen peroxide is safe to administer orally in case of an emergency. I understand that there are contradictory opinions on this and not all vets may recommend it. Again, it's meant to be done in case of emergency; you should still take your dog to the vet! I'm not licensed to give medical advice, which I thought was clear when I said I was a vet student.
32. Didn't Our Parents Used To Threaten Us With These????
Had a dude try and pull out a rotted tooth with pliers. Kid had a drug test the following day so to "cleanse" his system he drank a jar of pickle juice and then busted open a bunch of niacin pills. Patient with festering leg wounds that wrapped them with tampons and duct tape. First time I saw maggots in a wound. Stuffing raw bacon in their nose to stop a nose bleed. (But it actually kind of worked??!) Waaaay to many people with big pus collections under their skin that get drunk and stab them with broken glass or something else sharp. Many YouTube videos can demonstrate.
31. What A Horrid Way To StartGiphy
I was a brand new nurse, starting my career in a small, Southern hospital. I had a patient who was admitted to my unit with sort of nonspecific complaints about a wound on her breast. She was a "Direct Admit", meaning that she was sent directly to the unit from a doctors office, rather than going through the emergency room. When someone is directly admitted, I don't get a full report. All I can see are lab results and notes from previous doctor's office visits. Basically, I'm flying blind. As I'm getting her settled into her room, I start asking a few background questions that will help me direct my assessment.
So, I see that you were admitted because you have a wound. Did you have an accident? "Oh no. It just kind of showed up." How long ago? "Oh, it's been a while now. Maybe a few years?". Oh. Okay. Well, if you've had it for years, what brought you in today? Has something changed? Is the wound draining? Changing color? "Well... it fell off" What did? "My breast"
I help her get settled in the bed and move her shirt to take a look. Her breast, well, what was left of it, looked like this.The entire portion below her nipple had totally eroded away. She explained that she'd been putting triple antibiotic cream on it and had started wrapping it in a baby diaper when it developed an odor.
I kept my face very still, tried not to be visibly horrified, and listened to her talk about how she wanted to show it to her doctor at her yearly physicals but, for the last two years, her female doctor had been out of the office on the day of her exams. She didn't feel comfortable showing her breasts to a male doctor, so she let it go.
I nod, excuse myself from the room, and basically fly down the hall to the Hospitalists' office. I tell him that he needs to call his female NP down to this patient's room immediately "because she's old and scared and she won't show you her boob but it is falling off and looks like rotten cauliflower and no part of nursing school taught me how to make this better".
It took them all of 5 minutes to diagnose her with a very advanced funginating breast tumor. She was totally unsurprised and said that she "figured it was something like cancer". She placed herself on hospice and died less than two weeks later.
30. The Idaho Pessary
Background info for those who don't know: a pessary is a device that women (usually older) can use to place inside their vagina and help support it. Sometimes with age and history of many child births, the ligaments that support the walls of the vagina within the body can become loose leading to prolapse (meaning it starts to fall down into itself like a telescope). The pessary acts to hold it up and keep this from happening.
Anyway, I'm an ENT surgeon, but my buddy told me the story of an experience in the ER where a lady came in with the chief complaint of "roots coming from vagina". Turns out she had lost her pessary and decided to use a potato. It stayed in there for so long that it started to sprout.
This story made me ever so happy with my career decision to choose the opposite end of the body.
29. This Is What Darwin Meant By "Natural Selection"
Finally, something I can add to! 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.
28. This Is Sad. Just Sad.
I wouldn't call it a "treatment" per se, but the patient did. I work in a home health care system. Patients have long term iv accesses placed and are able to infuse sterile medications intravenously at home.
Well, this patient kept getting really bad blood/iv line infections almost weekly and having his line replaced. No one could figure out why and line infections aren't very common. He also was running out of saline flushes a little quicker than he should with no explanation. So the line was being maintained appropriately at least.
Finally, while a nurse was there to get labs, change his dressing, and check for infection things finally clicked. He had been crushing pain pills, mixing with saline, and injecting it directly into his line. When asked directly he didn't deny it... The response was "well, no one told me not to."
Yes, yes we did. We told not to put anything we didn't provide in there. And the pharmacy providing the pain meds put "take by mouth" on the little bottle. He got repeated painful infections, MRSA, and thousands of dollars in unnecessary hospital bills. Idiot.
27. If You're Not A HUMAN Doctor, Why Would You Try To Be A Dog Doctor?
Had a patient try and buy syringes from my Pharmacy for injecting the dog. With what, you ask? Gatorade.
"My wife's dog has been really lethargic the last couple of days so we were going to try and give it some fluids in case it's dehydrated."
The instinct for some would be that it was just an IV drug user seeking clean needles but I can assure you this gentleman thought his logic was sound and in fact intended to murder his wife's dog injecting it with sugary Powerade.
26. These Things Really Shouldn't Work
I'm not a medical pro, but here's a story...my friend's dad got skin cancer on his right bicep. And at the time he was a large muscular man who ran a horse farm. HUGE ARMS. And so instead of going through all the normal bs of one getting skin cancer he caught it early and thought he could stop it at the source...so he heated up a railroad tie/stake with a massive torch he had on his farm, till past red hot, and shoved it into his arm where the skin cancer began...he did this TWICE. To himself, and wrapped up his insane burn/hole in his arm.
A while later he went to the doc, who said the burn he inflicted was the craziest sh*t he's ever seen. But all signs of the cancer were gone, he f*cking killed that shit and it never returned. His arm and burn healed months later and he remains cancer-free to this day.
25. Spritz Away
I had a guy come in for coughing and shortness of breath for the past few months. His lungs sounded awful. 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 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.
24. When Life Gives You Lemons...Giphy
Paramedic here. Once had to explain to a family that putting lemon juice in the eyes of an unconscious patient isn't an approved treatment method.
And no, it didn't work. (It was an interesting moment when I had to explain why his eyes hurt)
23. Super Glue Fixes Everything
I work in dental and years ago had a patient attempt to super glue her front tooth back on after it broke in half.
She screwed up and ended up gluing the chunk to her upper lip.
22. Maybe Put The Cap Back On...Giphy
This happened when I was still a med student doing a rotation in the ED. Patient comes in and is pretty vague about his actual complaint, something about head pain but he looks just fine sitting waiting to be seen.
When I finally get to see him and ask him what actually happened. This guy managed to basically scalp himself, and apparently it had been like that for 3 days. According to him it was caused by falling in his bathroom and hitting his head on the toilet. He had been previously duct taping it down or using the hat to hold the skin on, but it wasn't sticking well and that's when his wife convinced him to come to the hospital.
21. Puff It Out
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.
20. Dogs Are Worthless
An old lady told me the rain hurt her arthritis. That's reasonable.
She also swore that dog spit had healing properties so she let her dogs lick her feet when she felt it coming on. She then wanted to show me a video of said dogs licking said feet.
I swiftly and politely declined.
19. All Good Stories Start With, "Get The Fish Hook"Giphy
A fifty year old man swallowed a chicken bone while eating, and it got stuck down his throat (upper oesophagus). Unable to take it out with his fingers or coughing, he got a fisher hook with a line and tried to rescue the bone with it.
He ended in an emergency department with both the bone and the hook in his oesophagus.
18. What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Sicker
He had a guy come in with an abscess on his right thumb. When I asked him what happened to his hand, he told me about his recent deep sea fishing trip and was given the responsibility of cutting the fish with an open wound in his hand. A sliver of fish got in there and became infected as it healed, so this guy gets the bright idea of doing a little DIY wound drainage by grabbing his pocket knife and cutting it open, leading to a greater infection.
17. Put A Sock In It
In nursing school while I was on clinical rotation in urology, there was a man who ended up having his penis removed. It turned out he had an infection brewing for quite a while and thought the best course of action was placing a sock over his penis in hope that it would heal. He was generally confused and upset as to why this didn't work to heal the issue
16. Betrayed By Vick'sGiphy
My mom once melted Vick's Vapor Rub into my tea because she thought that would help my cold.
15. Super Man Potion
One of my first clinic patients was a dude who was injecting a mixture of testosterone, "human growth hormone," sesame oil, and sunflower oil into the base of his penis as a DIY penile enlargement therapy.
Well, it got infected so he ended up going to the ED for incision and drainage. I saw him as a post-ED visit and at that time, he figured that he shouldn't be injecting into his penis while it was healing. So instead, he was injecting his oil + sketchy hormones off the internet concoction everywhere else into his body (arms, legs, butt, shoulders, etc) because he figured it would still have some effect.
14. Making It Worse
As a child I got really bad sunburn.
The person looking after me coated my sunburn in baby oil to help it heal, and sent me back out into the sun.
I realised when I was older why my mum went nuts.
13. Okay MacGyverGiphy
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 discolored staple hanging off it some days later.
12. Somehow I Can Do Science Faster
Anesthesiologist here; we had a patient come in for I&D of bilateral deltoid abscesses. He apparently had thoughts of being a body builder, but instead of lifting weights or knowing someone who could hook him up with some quality steroids, he decided to bulk up by using some protein powder at GNC...
...and mixing it with water, drawing it up into a syringe, and injecting 20-40cc daily directly into the muscle. If bulk was what he was going for, it definitely worked, temporarily. A rip-roaring localized infection makes you look plenty swole. They got almost a liter of pus mixed with liquified protein powder out of each deltoid.
This also wasn't the first time he'd been in for this problem.
11. In No Way Is White Bread Good For YouGiphy
White bread soaked in milk placed on an armpit abscess to draw out the infection. Needed an I&D and a couple weeks of IV antibiotics by the time he got to us.
Either that or the guy who crashed his motorbike, scraped his leg all to hell, and then decided the best course of action was to self-cauterize it on the tailpipe.
10. Building Up Pain Tolerance
Dental student here.
We had a patient who declined a much needed cleaning saying he could do it just as well a home with a scalpel. Didn't brush his teeth but every few weeks he would go at the accumulated plaque and tartar with a scalpel.
Same patient also insisted we do a procedure without local anesthetic. He was an amateur boxer and was « building up his pain tolerance.
9. Bleach BlondGiphy
Pharmacist here. Worked in a shop where a woman asked for some advice about potential UTI or STI. Told me she had bathed her vagina in bleach for 5 mins to try and kill any bacteria. Miraculously, she hadn't done any lasting damage.
8. Take The Hint
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. 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.
7. Cool Down
There's a myth that lowering someone's core temperature will save them from an opiate overdose.
As a result, many first responders have arrived on scenes to find friends/fellow users inserting ice into someone's rectum.
Sometimes they don't have ice around though. Which leads to getting inventive. Popsicles, frozen hot dogs. My personal favorite (which regrettably I didn't witness myself, it was told to me by another medic) was a bag of frozen French fries.
Cold will do nothing to help someone who is overdosing on heroin or other opiates. What they need is respiratory support (oxygen and/or artificial ventilation) and naloxone (Narcan). If you're a user or know one, and somebody ODs, call 9-1-1, perform mouth-to-mouth and give narcan if you have it, but leave the popsicles in the freezer.
6. Seriously, Go To The DoctorGiphy
I work in the er at a trauma center. This guy comes in with his little girl and says that she was bit in the face by the family German shepherd. I immediately take her back assuming that I need to control bleeding. What I encounter is a little girl with a laceration going all the way from over her left eye crossing her nose and mouth. It is not bleeding whatsoever and it seems to have a odd looking substance inside. So I obviously ask the dad what she got inside it.
He responds very proudly with, " Ah yes, I packed the wound with tobacco and super glue. "
My dad had an abscess on his face. It was huge, about the size of a golf ball and horribly red. It kept getting bigger. My mom (a nurse) kept telling him to go to the doctor, but my dad was a ridiculously cheap.
One day when she was gone, we noticed that a big white head had formed on the abscess, and it was apparently ready to bust. My dad went out to the garage, got his shop vac, placed it over the white head, and proceeded to suck out the abscess. It worked surprisingly well and healed up after that nicely.
Mom was still furious, though.
4. Don't Trust SommersGiphy
I work in oncology pharmacy. I had a patient die of totally treatable breast cancer because they decided to treat it with mistletoe instead of chemo. All because Suzanne Sommers did. Yeah. The thighmaster lady. Don't take medical advice from the thighmaster lady.
3. Tooth Fairy
I had a dental patient with a dead front tooth that had turned black so she painted it with white nail polish daily.
2. Toxic Shocker
A mentally-delayed woman came in septic to the ED. Did xrays, blood cultures, urine cultures, the works. Finally found this weird image on her pelvis film, and we had GYN come do a pelvic exam. They pulled out this blob with bones in it.
Y'all, I swear to God ....
It was a decomposing frog.
She put it in her vagina for "safekeeping".
She got toxic shock syndrome from a FROG.
1. Well...What Happened?Giphy
Patient came into the pharmacy and asked if they could use a plastic bag secured with a rubber band instead of condoms