Some medical recoveries are nothing short of miracles. Whether they enter the hospital due to a genuine health condition, or from doing something really freakin' stupid, you know those doctors are there to help. But there are times when even the doctors are stunned by their patients. Here are a few of their stories.

u/knightfall0 asked: Doctors of reddit, what patient made you go "How the f*** are you even alive"?

Depression can kill.

I was on home call for ER in a small town, got a call from the ER nurse one night and she was like "EMS brought someone in here and they think she might be dead?" I was like...."....well, IS she?!" She was like "I don't know."


This was a seasoned RN, by the way, so I was like, well, guess we're treating this is a Code Blue kind of situation, so without any further information, I jump into my car and rush over to the hospital. Once I got there, I realized why the triage nurse was so confused. In the trauma bay, lay what appeared to be skeletonized remains under a blanket. The person felt warm to touch, so I opened their eye, and a yellow, wrinkled, shrunken eyeball stared at me and then suddenly MOVED. Potassium of 1, for those familiar with lab values.

The backstory was extreme self-neglect/depression combined with caregiver neglect. Weighed in at 67 lbs at a height of about 5'5". We actually resuscitated her, very aggressively, and unbelievably, after about 8 litres of fluid, she started speaking a word or two at a time and recognized her daughter.


That's pretty metal.


My father's doctor couldn't believe a) he didn't need to amputate his feet and b) he was still alive.

Dad had "brittle diabetes". His pancreas would kick in & out due to a congenital deformity. At 82, he had significant heart issues, including angina enlarged heart & clogged arteries. One day, his feet went black. (Not just bluish, or grey; black as charcoal) rushed to emergency. We were told they would amputate, but "to say our goodbyes".

Dad refused surgery. Said he'd rather be dead, at his age. Hours later, his feet were pink. We took him home that morning. Doctor actually apologized for upsetting us, but said he'd never seen anything like it.


Wow. The dude just straight up refused to die and his body was like, "Alright, jeez, you win."


Well that's good.

I have a hospice patient that has been on our service for 4 years. I'm either really great at hospice, or really bad at it.


My great grandma went to hospice because she was no longer ambulatory, needed help using the restroom, losing weight, etc. A month in her nurse comes in to find her in the restroom on her own steam. This was paired with a marked weight gain. Turns out the nursing home food was sh*t so she just wasn't eating enough, but the hospice facility let her have salty, buttery pierogi and kielbasa again, so she started eating.


Excuse me, what?

Patient here. When I was two I was being treated for asthma due to wheezing, labored breathing, etc. One night it got exceptionally bad so my mom took me to the ER. They put me face down to do a CT scan (this was 1990) and when they were done, they turned me back over and I was blue, had stopped breathing.

CT revealed a volleyball-size mass in my chest. Emergency surgery revealed what was supposed to be my twin. It kept growing inside my rib cage and finally had nowhere to go in my toddler body so it cutoff my airway. It had fingernails, hair, appendages... everything but major organs.

I made a full recovery. I am a healthy 31 year old now. Zero asthma. Only remnant of that night is a scar that goes from the center of my chest to the center of my back.

Update: Definitely didn't expect this to blow up. Damn. Thanks for my first gold! This was a tera toma, so it was never a viable human. Edited the post to show that I am the healthy 31 year old. lol Anybody that quoted Dwight Schrute is my hero.


What a brave pup.


Veterinarian. Dog hit by a train. It severed the dog's leg and the dog carried its own leg home. Owner brought dog and leg to the ER. Edit: leg could not be re-attaches due to significant damage to limb. Dogs do great as tripods though.


A miracle recovery.

Currently in residency, but this was a patient I saw in medical school:

This one has more to do with a patient's past medical history instead of anything acute. Had one patient in one of my internal medicine rotations who was admitted for hip surgery who was one of the nicest sweetest people I've ever met. Her surgery was pretty routine and there were no complications.

In her past medical history, she was diagnosed with stage IV endometrial cancer that had spread to her brain. Apparently she had undergone chemo, radiation, primary tumor resection, and surgery to remove the brain met. She remained cancer free since that period. The fact that she had undergone that whole ordeal and appeared to be mostly healthy and was in remission from her cancer really blew my mind.



A couple pictures of me before and after brain surgeries were on the front page around this time last year. The mortality rate for acute subdural hematomas is 50-90%. Of those who live, approximately 20-30% regain any brain functioning. Due to the subdural hematoma, the bleeding in my skull was so severe that I also had cranial herniation. My brain tilted 5 millimeters, causing my brain stem to compress into my spinal cord.

That I not only lived, but woke up, and recovered well enough to go back to work/get married/travel the world/return to baseline physically is a straight up medical miracle. I'm still in touch with the neurosurgeon who was on call at the hospital that day, and he says the same thing.


Unsave him.


A guy I took care of during my residency...f*cking cyborg. I was the chief on trauma. Got a page about a patient en route with a stab wound to the chest. When the patient rolled into the trauma bay, he had no pulse. He had been stabbed in his left upper chest (3cm below clavicle).

He got an ER thoracotomy (if you want to feel like a badass, then do an ER thoracotomy!!); we were able to cross-clamp his aorta; we took him right to the OR. We oversewed one small artery below his rib, then transported him to the ICU still intubated. Eight hours later he was extubated and wanting breakfast. Seriously, dude?!! He was dead 10 hours before. He was also a complete a**hole. No wonder someone stabbed him...


Nurse turns to the doctor, "Can we unsave this one?"


What the hell?

Lady in her mid 30s was in the clinic for a 1 week follow up post foot amputation (diabetes), she was admitted straight from the clinic because her blood glucose was 600mg/dl (normal is 80-120) and the wound was severely infected. We used super concentrated doses of insulin to bring it back to the 200s. She was on strict diet restrictions and we couldn't figure out how it wouldn't drop any lower than 250.

Turns out her kids (teens) had been sneaking giant 64oz sodas and candy bars into the hospital, literally one week after we chopped her foot off because of uncontrolled diabetes. Not exactly a case of "how the f*ck did you survive that trauma/disease" but "how the f*ck do you even function on your own?"


Such a bummer that he had to leave the party.

Belligerent guy comes in, in a wheel chair. He doesn't want to be here, he's f*cking fine, the party was good (EMS) f*cked his evening up.

EMS brought him in from a bush party, the guy had a chainsaw stuck in his thigh and shin. Literally jammed in his leg. And severe burns after falling into the bon fire on half his body. Guy was hammered, didn't seemed bothered by the fact he was severely burned or had a chain saw in his leg.

He ended up losing the leg below his knee, and got a nasty infection from the burn.

But still. If his leg wasn't completely f*cked, I am convinced he'd have gotten up and tried to fight people.


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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