Oh the mysteries of life that can be discovered after the last breath. It is amazing the things that can find it's way into the human body. Remember one of life's best pieces of advice that grandmothers always tell... "always wear clean underwear, because if you drop dead suddenly you don't want the doctors to think you're unhygienic." Now imagine what doctors will think when they discover some of the surprises we have in our bodies.Redditor u/braxton10169 couldn't wait to hear from medical experts out there about the effects and causes of death or not by asking.... [Serious] People that do autopsies, whats the weirdest thing that you have found that didn't have anything to do with the person's death?
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I worked as a pathology assistant. My boss once found a 6 inch builders nail in a chap's thigh. He'd died on site after an accident but the nail was all healed over, even where it had nicked the bone so it must've been there a few years.
Work Post Mortem
Back in the 90s, I worked for the company that was contracted to move bodies for the coroner. We picked up the body of a lady who had worked as a tailor in her youth. When they did the post mortem, there were several dressmaking pins and needles under her skin (mainly in her legs). There was also a pin lodged in her lung. Coroner thought she must have inhaled it.
She'd suffered a pulmonary embolism back in the 60s which had forced her to retire. Maybe the pin was the cause of it. How she hadn't felt the pins or that none of them had been picked up on x-rays or scans she'd had in later life, I don't know. Cause of death was a stroke.
I was once in a mental health facility for only a short amount of time, and I met a women who's daughter passed away from a drug overdose and had been upset at her for selling her grandmother's necklace for what she thought was drugs, but when the autopsy came back it was found in her stomach.
Apparently she was swallowing the same necklace for years and I can imagine why someone would do that.
Sooner than Later
When I was a student I saw an autopsy of a man who had hanged himself. When we checked the main arteries in the heart he had a huge blockage. He was basically just about to have a huge heart attack so probably would have died anyway! Sorry pretty grim.
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I'm late to the party here. I used to take X-rays in the morgue for suspicious deaths, murders etc.
One time we were doing an abdomen X-ray on a guy that was found in a golf course pond. After rolling him on his side to gather the plate, a live frog wriggled out of his butt.
The morgue tech caught him and put him into a specimen jar. He took some debris from the bag and put it in the jar and poked holes in the lid.
One of my coworkers googled the type of frog and confirmed that he was native to the area. He then biked him back and released him into his pond at the end of the day.
I doubt any of his frog friends believed his story.
I worked in a cadaver lab. People would donate their bodies to science, we would essentially "cut them up" into different cuts depending on what hospitals, med schools or researchers wanted. Most of the tissue went for surgical practice. A torso would be sent out for spinal surgery practice, a leg for knee replacement practice.
Once we had a donor who died during surgery. We found a very large pair of scissors inside of him.
We also had lots of donors with evidence of cancer (like tumors all over their lungs) with no medical history of cancer.
We found a lot of abnormal or enlarged organs. We once removed a 50lb liver from a guy and also we found horseshoe kidneys (two kidneys fused together) in a person.
Rolls of dollar bills inside the vaginal cavity. Removed it and let her "property" dry and then returned to the family with the rest of her belongings. so wash your hands after handling money!
Edit: Maybe 50 bills, but can't remember if they were singles or large bills..... Cause of death was an Overdose. I think but not sure.
There are the normal abnormal things like extra spleens, extra ureters, surprise tumors, and swallowed foreign bodies (the record holder was $6.25 in assorted change).
The one that wins is the sharpie in the bladder, with the cap on. I was the one that got to explain what sounding was to the resident and lab assistant.
I wouldn't necessarily say this is a "weird" thing, but once during an autopsy, I had just put the body on to the table on their stomach and the person had explosive poop! Luckily, the doc who was standing right beside them moved in time or else they would have been shot with poop! We didn't think it was ever going to stop.
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While completing the post-autopsy repair for a gentlemen, I found a plastic ladle tucked under the ribs. It was probably left by some poor autopsy technician who got yelled at for losing the good ladle. I offered to send it back to the coroner, but they never returned my calls.
Uk gang members mother died of a heart attack during a home invasion (aggregated burglary) 87 years old. Gang had burst in looking for drugs and money.
No signs of assault but the circumstances required a full examination to be sure nothing suspicious had occurred. During the post mortem 2 ounces of smack found in her anus.
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I was volunteering at the coroner's office and the doc pulled a very large, intact avocado pit out of a man's stomach. We all kind of looked at it and went, "Huh." Cause of death was a heart attack.
Wow, I've got a lot of stories for this one....
We once had a homeless dude who OD'd on opiates (this comes in a LOT). During the external exam, we removed his pants and they were just FULL of bacon. Like, at least 40 packs of bacon. Turns out he had shoplifted a ton of it then shot up in some run down house and died with it all in his pants. It was pretty shocking.
We also had a guy who took a bullet to the back of his head, execution style and after the x-rays determined the bullet was not in his head anymore, we couldn't find the exit wound anywhere. Once we took out the brain, we discovered it exited perfectly out of one of his nostrils leaving no trace of an external exit wound.
5 years ago an autopsy I viewed the patient was put down to have died from post surgical complications from a colostomy (infection lead to sepsis and ended with MOF). When they began the examination and looked they found some surgical tweezers left behind which was attributed to being cause of the infection because of how tucked away they were. I am unaware of what happened afterwards but it was definitely referred higher.
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Incidental finding of a toothpick lodged in the small intestine.
One of the cadavers we learned from in med school had his sciatic nerve somehow passing through the middle of his piriformis muscle. It wasn't fused to the side of the muscle via scarring, it ran right through the middle of the muscle. His medical history was unknown, but we expected that sciatic nerve pain was probably on the list.
I think of him when a patient doesn't respond to typical treatments for things. Sometimes people are built differently than everyone else and you have to think outside the box to figure out what's going on.
Edit: Apparently this isn't all that uncommon a phenomenon, which we might have learned at the time. But I definitely do remember looking down at the nerve passing through the middle of the muscle and thinking, "what the hell?" That was not something I thought was possible before seeing it for myself. Shout out to everyone who has gifted their bodies to science!
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Ok, this isn't an autopsy, but I work in a pathology lab and we get all the parts that are removed from a human during surgery. Tumors, moles, appendages, stones (kidney, bladder, gall bladder etc).
One day a large, long, cylindrical stone was removed from a man's penis. We have to break the stone down to it's chemical components so we can tell what it's predominantly made from, ie calcium. So we put this stone in solution, and as it dissolved we realized something was in the centre. It was a Bic pen cap! There's no way it came from above.
Spoke with a pathologist at a conference, during her training at the medical examiners office, they were doing an autopsy on a body that was found by a river. They did a CT and something looked funny about his gut. When they opened him up, his stomach moved, it was a snake that had burrowed inside his body, it struck and bit one of the techs before they realized what was going on.
"Nur für Damen"
My forensic medicine lectures took place in the department's "museum of oddities". There are plenty of interesting items on display, but one particularly strange display caught my eye. It was an unlabeled cardboard box with 20ish thin metal bars 10 cm (around 4 inches) long. One of the pathologists explained that the random pieces of metal were actually spoon handles which were found in a young woman's stomach.
The remaining portion of the spoons was melted away by stomach acid. The woman was a patient in a psychiatric hospital in the 50s/60s and evidently had a tendency to swallow spoons, but her unusual diet had nothing to do with her cause of death (can't exactly remember what it was).
On a more humorous note, the museum also features a variety of strange tattoos. My favorite was a tattoo on the left upper thigh of a soldier which read: "Nur für Damen", i.e. "Ladies only".
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Brain aneurysm in a late-20's girl. Had a tattoo directly above her pubic region that said "stay off the grass." Only tattoo on her body.
Also had a full-blown trichobezoar (same patient). We saved it. No history of mental health issues or seeking treatment for any mental health disorders. Just enjoyed eating her own hair.
Running into the occasional penis pump implant was also a fun one.
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