Doctors Share Their Best 'How The F**k Are You Not Dead?' Experiences
National Cancer Institute on Unspla

WARNING: graphic descriptions of illness and injuries

Doctors and caregivers perform miracles and, when things work in favor of patients, are praised for performing miracles.

Sometimes, however, those miracles have nothing to do with the medical professionals tending to a patient who narrowly escaped death.

Curious to hear from those in the medical field who were absolutely gobsmacked, Redditor Jonah_Boy_03 asked:

"Doctors/Nurses, what was the most 'how the f*ck are you not dead' patient you dealt with?"

These patients suffered horrific accidents but survived long enough to stump the doctors taking care of them.

The Fall

"We were the closest hospital so they brought a civilian in (former AF medic). His safety gear failed and this guy fell 128' from a communications tower. It had rained the night before and he fell into a marshy puddle of high grass, flat on his back; concussion and whiplash. No broken bones but the bruises that covered his body from head to heel were something to behold. He spent a week in the hospital before he could move comfortably."

– prpslydistracted


"We had a guy who'd lovingly crafted his own gladius sword and thrown himself on it, piercing the sternum and his heart, but he was alive and conscious and every time his heartbeat the handle of the sword vibrated."

– ComprehensiveBox4297

How He Started Working At The Hospital

"We once received a patient that was bitten by a rattle snake TWICE. He only managed to get to the emergency ward 3 hours after being bitten. Then to make things worst, we only managed to get the correct antivenom flown in 1hr after his arrival. He now works at our hospital as an admin clerk and is healthy as ever."


Road Accident Victim

"During my EM rotation,"

"Guy had a road accident, flesh wounds as deep as his intestines were out, around 40% of his face was scraped off, one eye was out of the socket, the right forearm had ripped off muscles and you could see the bone."

"Now the miracle is that the bleeding somehow had stopped and when I came in, I saw his chest moving and him holding his intestines, I was like, yeah wow this guy is alive."

"We helped him, stitched everything back, the face was reconstructed and now he is alive and well."

– Noligeko

Hitting The Slopes

"My ex boyfriend is a ski instructor. He told me that one day, all the slopes were extremely icy and many people were coming in with injuries. He had fallen badly and returned to the ski lodge. He was checked out and said he felt fine. Fortunately, a paramedic happened to be looking at him when his helmet swung open on the side because it was very badly cracked. They took a nine year old girl with a broken femur off a stretcher and put him on it and took him to the hospital immediately, where they found he had broken his neck and needed immediate surgery. Amazingly, he is mostly fine, except for now having acid reflux for some reason."

– Suspicious_Plantain4

His Smashed Pelvis

"While a student did a clinical placement at a major trauma hospital where they kept a collection of X-rays you never usually see because the injury would typically kill the patient instantly. Most interesting one was a smashed pelvis from a jockey in a horse racing accident. That kind of injury would usually also result in rupture of femoral arteries which means you bleed to death very quickly, but somehow this guy survived and made it to hospital and lived long enough to get xrayed. Don’t know if he recovered though."

– cfniva

There doesn't seem to be shortage of any medical mysteries in this day and age.

The "Everything Guy"

"As a lab tech, I had one I dubbed 'Everything Guy.'"

"He was complaining of a sore stomach after coming home from overseas, so got the usual 'what were you doing?' questions."

"He was in West Africa."
"Didn't bother to get anti-malarials."
"No vaccines."
"Admitted to eating bushmeat."
"Also said he thought it was undercooked."
"Drank water from a 'local source.'"
"Turns out this was directly from a river."
"Without filtering it."
"River was apparently badly polluted."

"He basically saw everything you shouldn't do on holiday and used it as a checklist."

– Nemisis_the_2nd

The Diabetic

"I had a patient that was already blind from diabetes, lost some toes, part of a foot. I check the blood sugar and it's 45 (this is canada so your normal range is 4 to 7), check it again, 45. This patient had no symptoms of hyperglycemia. He just took his insulin pen, cranked it, and self injected (home care). Had to wait around a bit to see what would happen but eventually we left, he ended up being totally fine. Most home glucometers don't go past 30. I was with my trainer nurse who was dumbfounded."

– mattttherman

Getting The Last Words Out

"My mom was a critical care nurse and said the freakiest thing she ever went through was having a fifteen minute conversation with a little old lady who had no pulse. As I recall said little old lady passed mid-sentence. Just stopped."

– dscottj

Grown Beyond Expectation

"I was born extremely premature. Parents got told i was going to have major health complications, f'ked up lungs and stunted growth and such. 26 now, 6'1" and extremely fit, basically never been sick . Mum always jokes that if i had of gone full term i wouldve been an Olympian"

– slightlyburntsnags

These patients had no idea of the chaos taking inside their bodies. Fortunately, they sought help at the right time.

The Reason For The Back-Up

"I'm not a doctor or nurse, but the doctor who saw my mom said he had no idea how she was alive."

"Years ago, my mom was having gastrointestinal problems. She had incessant stomach aches and was bound up something awful. After 3 days of not being able to poop, she went to the doctor to get checked out. After a thorough examination, the doctor determined that her gall bladder needed to be removed immediately."

"The next day, after the surgery, my mom comes to and sees the doctor standing over... and he wasn't happy."

"'Your gall bladder was dead,' he said. 'Like, dead dead. In fact, it was completely gangrenous. Had you waited another day to see me, you would've died. Had it ruptured during surgery, you would've died. That was the worst, most stress-inducing surgery I ever had to perform in my 20-year career. No offense, but I hope I never see you again.' And he walked out of the room.

– Boon3hams


"A friend of mine was feeling crappy for days. He'd go to work, feel exhausted, come home, sleep 13 hours, repeat. Finally he got to feeling so bad he decided to go to the ER. He drove himself, around 3 AM."

"He got out of the car and the security guard said 'OH MY GOD' and ran to get him a wheelchair. ER admissions said 'OH MY GOD' and got the ER doc. ER doc noted my friend was quite yellow. They ordered blood work, when it came back the ER doc didn't believe it and had it done again."

"When the second round came back the doc asked my friend for next of kin information. My friend said 'you can't call my mom, it's 4 AM' and the doc said 'Your kidneys have completely failed. We are going to send you upstairs and give you a pint of blood and an hour of dialysis and we need to know who to call if you still don't make it. You should have been dead a month ago.'"

"He got a kidney from his sister and is still doing well today. Apparently the kidney was as close a match as one can get and he should live an essentially normal lifespan."

– NovaRunner

Temperature Of A Corpse

"Had a patient with an internal temp of 75 f. He was drowsy, but fully alert and oriented. He was found in a river embankment in the middle of winter. He had been lying there overnight before he was found by a dog walker. We didn’t believe the equipment when it told us 75 degrees, so we repeated with a rectal thermometer, then a different rectal thermometer, and then a rectal probe attached to the bedside and medi-therm system. They were all consistent and after several hours of heating measures we got their internal temp up to 90 degrees before they went to ICU."

"The second 'how the f*ck are you not dead' patient was a person who had a blood sugar of 1,800. They weren’t in a coma. Just a woman who walked in to complain about abdominal pain."

– jujapee

The Discovery In The Spine

"18 years ago I went into the ER to get a cyst lanced open. 3 weeks later I felt pain in my back. I went back to the er and they found nothing. Only did xrays. I felt weak leaving so went home and crashed on my couch. I woke hours later and tried to get up and fell. I went down fast. I called an ambulance and went to the hospital. I sat for 6 hours until finally someone came to check me out. I had a 105.0 fever! They immediately rushed me into a MRI and lo and behold I have MRSA inside my spine. I was rushed into surgery and now live from a wheelchair. T5 to T11 im fused. The doctors said if I waited one more day I wouldn't be here. I did 16 weeks of Vancomycin thru IV. 3 hours twice a day! Im truly lucky to be alive today."

– Particular_Clue_4074

Buried Nail

"We had a patient come in after mowing the lawn. Patient said something was kicked up by the lawn mower and hit him in the head. Didn't think much of it, finished cutting the grass. Still had a headache a few hours later so came to the ER. We CAT scanned his head and there is an entire nail embedded in his brain. He had the tiniest abrasion to his forehead and no neuro deficits. He had no idea. Everyone was absolutely dumbfounded."

– luv_pup88

That "Funny Feeling"

"NAD but my potassium dropped to 1.2 which is very critically low. I was 19 and drove myself to the ER and my complaint was that my chest felt 'funny.' Doctor called for a psych consult for my “anxiety” but ran blood work in the meantime. I knew the second the bloodwork came back and was read because my room was swarmed. Spend the next 8 days in the ICU."

– emani_with_a_plan

Even doctors can't come up with an explanation for everything.

This just goes to show you how complex the human body is and how stubborn it can be if it knows it's not your time to leave this crazy world.

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