The human body is strange and complicated. Surgeons have the unenviable job of trying to fix us when something goes horribly wrong in the complex system of flesh and nerves and bone that makes up a human.
Reddit user u/A_Weeb_Named_Lightly asked:
*Content Warning: graphic descriptions of injury and surgery*
I'm currently in med school, and this happened a few years ago when I was attending surgery classes. One patient was up for a laparotomy for removal and investigation of an abdominal mass - probably cancer. Imaging tests were really not specific or of much help, as this was some atypical disease presentation - even specialists couldn't figure it out. To everyone's surprise, the patient's "cancer" was really a forgotten gauze from some previous surgery. The actual moment of realization went as the surgeon just stopped and said: "gauze!"; to which the nurse promptly gave him one, and he went: "No. There was a gauze inside of him!".
My dad caused an oh s**t moment for a surgeon. When he heard them say "ok he's out" before they were about to start slicing him open. He just had enough strength to move his head from side to side as in no, I'm not out yet.
My father is a physician, and although he's not a surgeon, he did some surgery while in med school. He told me a story about a patient he had once, who had necrotising fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease. The patient had gotten a cut during gardening and never cleaned the wound. My dad told us that he had to peel back layers just to get at it. First, he peeled off the bandages that the patient self-applied, then there was a layer of holy book pages that he also had to peel off... Following that, there was another layer of bandages and then a final layer of more holy book pages. Beneath that, there was the wound itself, which was covered in maggots...
Apparently, they were eating the dead-tissue generated by the disease. He said that once they removed the maggots, they were able to begin the surgery to remove the infected areas, but it was because of the maggots that they didn't have to amputate the limb. After this operation, my dad decided to not pursue surgery and focus on becoming a specialist.
I'm a med student. A surgeon once told me that his "oh s**t" moment was when a patient of his had a carotid artery blow out (very bloody, leads to death within minutes if not treated) due to a tumor growing into that artery. Problem was that the patient was in a small hospital in his hometown with no surgeon available who's specialized in this type of cases. Furthermore there was no way of getting the patient in time to our center as it was rush hour on a sunny friday afternoon. It was also not possible to transport the patient to our center by helicopter as the hospital in his hometown did not have a helipad.
Luckily our hospital did have a helipad with a helicopter available, so they took the surgeon by helicopter to the smaller hospital. Since there was no helipad at the hospital the pilot was forced to land the chopper in a park (and mind you it was a sunny friday afternoon, so it was full of people). As soon as the chopper landed a crowd formed around the helicopter. The surgeon told me that the moment he exited the chopper they all started clapping and cheering for him, making him feel like star. He ran to the hospital and into the operating room and immediately started operating on the patient. He was done around 2 AM but the patient made it.
Obligatory not a surgeon, but a student assisting in the operating room.
65yo guy with kidney problems (possibly cancerous) needed to have a chunk of his kidney removed. Ok, no big deal; we give him meds, knock him out, then prepare to operate. We removed his gown, and everyone in the room froze, one of the surgeons actually said "holy f*ckballs" which is relatively accurate...apparently our guy had some muscular disease that caused a massive abdominal hernia, and his intestines were herniating into his scrotum, the size of a deflated basketball
I am a nurse and the doctor was an anaesthetist, but still relevant.
Patient had her surgery (I can't remember what), all went well. She was awake and in recovery. We needed to give her a medication through her IV line so, as is standard practice, we flushed the line with 10 mls of saline. The patient immediately stopped breathing, we had no idea why. We called a code and the anaesthetist came running. He actually said 'oh s**t' when he realized what had happened.
During the surgery, the anaesthetist had given the patient rocuronium through that IV line, and he hadn't cleared the line afterwards. So when we flushed the line, the patient got a dose of rocuronium that had been sitting in the line.
Rocuronium is a muscle relaxant, used to inhibit the respiratory muscles to allow for intubation and ventilation during general anaesthetic. In layman's terms, it paralyzes the breathing muscles, so you can't take a breath no matter how hard you try. But it does not put you to sleep. This patient was wide awake but totally unable to breathe.
Luckily the anaesthetist worked out quickly what had happened, and it's easily reversed. The patient was physically fine, but understandably traumatized.
Husband broke his back at work. Because it was a Workers comp issue, the insurance made him go through everything BUT surgery first. Six gruelling months later, he was approved for surgery. He was in severe pain for months leading up to this, so we were really looking forward to this procedure.
Day of surgery, they wheel him in, and I go sit in the waiting area with about 20 others strangers waiting for their loved ones. I knew it would be about 5 hours. Approximately 40 min later, a nurse and the actual surgeon peek their head in the waiting room. He looks directly at me and says,"UHM, we have a problem. Can you step out here please?" My knees buckled.
I felt the air leave the room as all the others gasped. I somehow found my feet and felt like I floated out to the hallway. He says, "Hubby is fine, but right before I made my incision, I double checked the cage, (equipment they put in to stabilize the spine) and it's the wrong size. We have to wake him up, and reschedule. PHEWWWWWWW
Surgery ended up happening two days later, but my poor guy suffered a lot. Looking back, I'm really glad that surgeon double checked before cutting into him.
The hospital was extremely accommodating to us afterwards, to a fault. They were very nervous about a lawsuit. We just forgave and moved on. Mistakes happen.
Not a surgeon, but a student.
In the early days of this teaching hospital's high school volunteer program, they essentially used us as free tech labor, but when things were otherwise slow, they'd toss me some scrubs and send me to watch cases in the operating room with the med students. Since my mom worked there, there were sort of testing this out with me.
On the very first case I saw, the surgeon lost the needle from the end of the suture in the abdominal cavity and couldn't find it. They ended up wheeling in an x-ray machine to locate it.
During the next surgery I watched, the surgeon heard "student" and assumed I was a resident. He launched into an x-rated joke he claimed he found on the back page of penthouse. When he finally hit the punchline, no one laughed. Finally someone asked if he "remembered our visiting student." He turned and asked, "Yer a resident right? Not like you're some virgin." I clarified that I was a freshman, not a resident. He paused and whispered, "college?" I replied "high school."
When he realized I not quite 14, he started screaming at the anesthesiologist for setting him up and threw a tray of scalpels and forceps at him. It took a few minutes to get the correct count for the number of tools and their locations after that, and the anesthesiologist switched rooms with a buddy.
After this he was extremely professional and formal, but still didn't bother to ask my name. He did a great job on the patient.
The "oh shit" moment came when my mom met him in the call room a few hours later and said, "I heard you had some drama in your room today?" Happy to have someone to vent to, he launched into the story and embellished a bit about how bad it was to justify throwing scalpels.
That's when she said, "You know that's my daughter?"
You could hear him cursing the anesthesiologist all the way down in recovery.
Some years ago my wife went in for surgery and we asked to have her tubes tied at the same time. After the surgery, the doctor came out to talk with me. He told me the surgery went great and that she's just coming out of the anesthesia now. I asked about the tubes, and his eyes got really wide. He said, "I'll be back in a few minutes" and practically ran back to the OR. They had to put her back under and re-open the sutures. I'm glad I asked about that, or we might have had a much bigger surprise than that.
I'm a medical student going into surgery; I get my MD in a year. I haven't been at this long enough to have the wealth of stories that an actual surgeon would have, but I have a few that stand out from my time in the OR so far.
Most recently, I was assisting on a lung surgery called a decortication. This is done when a lung is trapped in place either by a complex infection, inflammatory tissue, etc. and needs to be freed up to work properly. This lady was middle-aged, but has a history of several bouts of pneumonia and a 30-pack year smoking history. Going into the procedure, we weren't sure exactly what we'd find, but were hoping it was just scar tissue from the untreated pneumonias.
As soon as we got inside her chest with the scope, it was obvious that this was not the result of infection. Her entire lung was essentially caked in cancer tissue, adhering it to her chest wall and her diaphragm.
We had discussed this possibility with her, and had her consent to do whatever was necessary once the surgery began.
At that point, all the minimally-invasive scopes and instruments went away, and my attending guided me through an open thoracotomy. This involves making a large incision between the ribs, snipping out two of the ribs, and using a rib-spreader to gain access to her chest. Once inside, my attending obviously did the work and I just assisted, but we removed her entire lung and some lymph nodes for testing. Her chemo started the next day and she's fighting now.
So, I guess it counts as "oh s**t" when you open up a chest and find a thicket of cancer staring back at you.
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Being an emergency responder is a high-stress job.
It's a career with long, laborious hours.
There is always a hint of danger. And death is always around the corner.
So we as a society could try to help these people out and not put ourselves in unnecessary danger.
Redditor Diligent-Log6805wanted the rescue workers out there to tell us about the times they rescued people. They asked:
"Emergency responders of reddit, what are some dumb things that have lead to an emergency situation?"
These workers and the world already has enough trouble without my stupid.
"So... was she impressed?"Idiot Reaction GIFGiphy
"Kid driving his new truck down a residential street, wet from a recent rain, lost control and hit a parked car, overcorrected and rolled it once back onto its wheels up onto a lawn. He told the fire chief he had gunned it to impress his girlfriend and the chief just looked at him and asked 'So... was she impressed?'"
"I had a client once who was basically Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, loud, obnoxious, hilarious and every second word was some Maritime slang or a derivative of 'f**k.' He has been on daily eye drops for decades for dry eyes, sure ok cool. I hear screaming down the hall and run in and he's wedged against the wall and the bed just screaming 'I f**ked up boys, I dunno what the f**k is f**king happening but It's f**ked."
"Turns out he mistakenly put Jublia which is an antifungal ointment for toenails in his eye thinking it was his eye drops. The strangest part was the bottle has this miniature sponge at the end so you soak the sponge then paint it on like a gel...he painted this antifungal ointment onto his eye which immediately went red and angry then proceeded to do the other one."
"So he's at the eyewash station and I'm talking to poison control and they are pretty stunned because they have zero data on what happens to a human eyeball when it's painted in antifungal. I can hear the staff at the other end kind of snickering under her breath and she asks can you compare and contrast the eyes? Well... he put it in both eyes. The line goes silent because I can tell she is howling. Guy was totally fine but it was a standout for sure."
Will they show?
"Responded to a call of two minors being kidnapped and their parents being beaten in front of them and then taken someplace else. One was around three years and the other one was six. They were held captive in an apartment out of hundreds of residential apartments which not easy to locate, upon reaching there we found out that the boy six was just playin' with us to see if we would actually respond. Their parents were so embarrassed by all of that and vowed to not give them mobile until they are adults."
"When I was an EMT in NYC years ago we had a call for a man 'unresponsive.' We entered an upscale apartment that was a hoard: floor to ceiling newspapers and magazines, just a mess. The woman who called said her brother was in his bedroom sick."
"We entered his room and it was pretty obvious that he had already passed away. She had placed a bowl under his mouth because he had hemorrhaged which had coagulated the day before it was crazy. We asked her why she hadn’t called sooner and she said thought he’d get better?!"
"The joke around the house was 'if you have to put a bowl under a relative who is bleeding from the mouth, call 911. Don’t wait.' Never thought we’d have to advise anyone to do that. But there ya go. Also, it was Thanksgiving. Didn’t eat any cranberry sauce that year."
God Only KnowsMarried At First Sight Lol GIF by LifetimeGiphy
"Had a guy call because he had the cure to Covid and needed a ride to the local education hospital so he could share it. Dude was so high on meth He ended up having 4 or 5 binders worth of scientific looking notes. God only knows what was actually in them."
Wow, people really need to get a grip. Of their minds.
"Sparky"on fire GIFGiphy
"One of my old bosses once built a new shed in his back yard, to replace his old, worn-out one. He moved everything from the old one to the new one, then decided that the best way to remove the old one was by burning it down. He ended up with no sheds and the nickname 'Sparky.'"
Dead in the living room...
"Paramedic here. We responded to this 54 year old having chest pain. Man was having a heart attack. Dude didn't want to go to the hospital because it too early in the day. That's it. We tried to convince him to go. Got the ER doc to talk to him and he wouldn't budge. He signed a Refusal. Later that same night, his family found him. Dead in the living room. We got to him and started CPR, meds, everything. Dude didn't make it. When we advise you to go to the hospital, go."
"Got called to a shooting. A guy says he received a text message from an anonymous number saying his brother has been shot. He checks all the hospitals with no luck. He goes to his brother's apartment but gets no response at his door but sees his car and can hear the TV on. We get there, attempt to get an answer at the door."
"Eventually we kick the door in to make sure he wasn't dying in his apartment. We boot the door, announce police, and find him asleep in his bed. The guy tells us that he got a new phone number and decided to mess with his brother by texting him he had been shot. He then fell asleep and forgot about the text and was woken up by us. So many wasted resources on his idiotic prank."
"Got called to a priority job. The caller was kayaking in a lake and said that there was an unresponsive male in the water. So off we went, lights and sirens. We requested paramedics and fire to attend as well for the rescue operation. There were about 6 emergency vehicles attending including a rescue boat. We got there within minutes and met the caller who showed us where the guy was."
"He was just swimming, minding his own business. The caller said he was unresponsive, but really he was just ignoring her. Had a chat with the guy, he seemed alright, said he swims here every day and likes the quiet. No issues. Would have been nice if the caller told the operator that he was still conscious and swimming rather than 'unresponsive.'"
Chew SlowlySnl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
"Well, I was taking a lady home from dialysis and she decided to eat a snickers in the back of the ambulance, and she started choking. Had to do the heimlich, and tell her to finish her food at home."
If it's not a true emergency dial 311. Please.
I hated science classes.
As soon as I could I ran.
But it follows me.
Because science can be downright disturbing.
That's why I blocked out so many of the details.
Redditor Flimsy_Finger4291wanted to compare notes on all the frightening facts that are a definitive. They asked:
"What's the scariest thing that science has proven real?"
As if knowledge isn't scary enough, let's her more...
Hello Terrypaint surgery GIF by gifnewsGiphy
"Some tumors have teeth, hair and even eyes."
"My sister had one minus the eyes! It was cantaloupe sized on one of her ovaries before it was found. She named it Terry the Teratoma."
"My best friend and bunk mate from summer camp died from one of those when I was in 7th grade. Happened so quickly, we were a week into camp and he got really sick. They gave us all heavy meningitis shots because they didn’t know what it was and within a few days he was dead. Turned out to be a brain eating amoeba."
"Edit: strangely enough on the same day he started getting sick one of the lifeguards that was sitting out in a boat waiting for the next group of kids for what we called Trojans Vs. Spartans day had a seizure, fell off the boat and drowned. Only deaths they’d ever had in the 50+ years the camp had been open."
Far Far Away
"The size of our galaxy, how many other galaxies there are and how far away they are. When you can actually see something that incomprehensible.."
"The nearest star to us would take the Voyager 70,000 years to reach. The nearest galaxy to ours would take the Voyager 749,000,000 years. If we some how managed to take on the monstrous task of speed of light travel it would still take 25,000 years to reach the nearest galaxy. And it's even further apart after you read this. Wild stuff!"
"How the brain is literally rewired and chemically altered by childhood neglect and abuse."
"It's genuinely kinda freaky, playing a puzzle game, and noticing how quickly you're getting better at it. The kind of puzzles that were a real blocker in the beginning become baby-easy after like an hour of playing puzzles like it."
"My sister faced horrible abuse at the hands of our father, and she has been working through it with multiple therapists over the last 10 years and she is only now starting to get her life back. I feel like she was robbed at a fair chance at life because of our a**hole father."
AwakeBill Murray Im Here GIF by Groundhog DayGiphy
"Prions, horrific and totally unpredictable."
"Fatal familial insomnia is a prions disease where you can't sleep anymore, you just stay awake until your brain deteriorates and you die."
Now I can never UNKNOW about prions. Perfect.
Days gone by...Aging Matt Damon GIFGiphy
"Ageing. I'm content with death but the idea of my body growing old, frail and eventually falling apart before the end game gives me goosebumps."
"Gamma ray bursts. No warning, no escape, no defense, no survivors."
"If you're talking about supernovas if the star isn't too close the gamma burst would probably only destroy some part of our ozone layer. And gamma radiation is actually the least lethal out of all types of waves."
"Entropy. Time shall consume all things. Inevitable heat death of the universe."
"I personally want the 'Big Crunch' to be true. That instead of fizzling out it all gets sucked back into an infinitely small/dense particle and then another Big Bang happens. It’s my explanation for the multiverse. It’s all one timeline. Just infinitely long."
"More like a theory, the 'orangutan paradox,' when we film a documentary on orangutans, they can’t realize that we are observing them, yet they are the most intelligent species of their category, so aliens might be watching us and we are as oblivious as an orangutan."
Fade 2 SilentListen Scooby Doo GIF by MashedGiphy
"That hearing is the last sense to leave, when dying."
Well that is the antithesis of comfort. Life is so fun.
Ever since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope opened on May 25, 1977, a devoted fanbase developed.
And that fanbase has opinions.
Lots and lots of opinions.
Redditor Ebo8000 wanted to know:
"What is your most controversial take on Star Wars?"
"LASERS LOCK DOORS. LASERS OPEN DOORS. LASERS KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THE DOOR TO DO."
"But if you get past the door and close it behind you and you don’t want anyone to follow you through it…"
"…you shoot the bloody door panel!"
"Also, f*cking hell, we're in the future (or in the past), whatever, and people have better technology."
"Why put the door control RIGHT NEXT to the door? Put the door control system in a breaker box."
"Build every door so in case of malfunction they all shut closed (after all, they're in space and you don't want to lose air in decompression, do you?)"
"Shoot the breaker box, now the whole floor is closed until someone can figure out what happened."
"Almost look like those doors just exist as dramatic elements..."
"I’d like a film about when the Republic was at its height. 1,000 generations is 25,000 years and we’ve had 9 movies about the last 60."
"Not sure if controversial but they need to take the franchise and yeet it 200 years in the future."
"I'm tired of the Empire era where they need to justify why more than 2 Jedi and 2 Sith exist at one moment alongside knowing everything is pointless until Luke leaves the farm."
Design Fail? No!
"The Death Stars weren't badly designed they were just badly managed."
"Yes, designing them assuming large scale assaults was stupid given the political state of the galaxy but the second Death Star wasn't even finished so that doesn't count, it's all Palpatine's fault. As for the first one that was finished, the Alliance made three runs on the exhaust port."
"The first was called off before they made it to the trench, the second failed and the third was carried out by space Jesus which isn't exactly fair."
"All in all it sounds like a fairly effective defence when you consider the design philosophy."
"The entire universe has a cool factor that outweighs the atrocious storytelling."
"Bro imagine the following movies, but if they were in Star Wars universe."
"Magnificent 7 - A Jedi, Bounty Hunter, Ex-Imperial, Pilot, Wookie, a Droid, and Lawman team up to defend a town against pirates"
"Dredd - Two Jedi climb up an apartment block to confront a new dark side user who has mental control of the entire apartment block"
"Supernatural (T.V. Show) - A Jedi and their apprentice go around and solve and defeat Dark Side Force spots—where the Force consolidates from emotions and creates foul creatures to fight"
"Top Gun - But it's you know, Wedge or something"
"Ford versus Ferrari - But it's podracing or swoop racing"
"Something about the ships in the original series always felt more like real ships than in any of the later movies, despite the objectively better effects of the later films."
"Some of this is probably the use of models (i.e. actual three dimensional objects), but I think there is some critical difference in the design that makes them feel more real (probably because they were designed to be things that would actually work as models)."
"Whatever it is, I LOVED the ships in the original series and never really liked any of the new ones."
"The original trilogy changed the world by showing a universe in space that was dirty and lived in. The special effects from the later movies did not recognize this."
"Boba Fett is an oddly overrated background character, and even after watching The Book of Boba Fett, I don’t really care about him."
"He was never a character. He was a cool helmet."
"He was a cool jetpack too."
Time for the weather...
"Han is actually older than Obi-Wan due to Time Dilation."
"Time dilation in a universe where every planet and moon has the same gravity and atmosphere?"
"And just 1 biome."
"That way they only need one Weather Channel per planet."
"And over to Klaatu for the Tatooine weather report. Klaatu?"
"It's still sunny."
These are the droids we're looking for.
"Star Wars is actually the life story of C-3PO—think about it."
"I disagree. I think its R2-D2's story. He had a much greater presence in Episode 1, 2 and 3, and got the same amount of screen time as C-3PO in 4, 5 and 6."
Fan is short for fanatic.
"Fans ruined the whole franchise."
So, did your controversial Star Wars opinion make the list?
Death is a subject many people shy away from because what they don't know beyond our realm of existence can be intimidating.
Hollywood hasn't helped, as movies and TV have typically portrayed death as something sinister and violent.
How could anyone be convinced death is a peaceful transition, and that what awaits on the other side is actually an unimaginable utopia?
Curious to hear strangers' thoughts about death, Redditor GoodNess2020 invoked a quote by an iconic literary figure and asked:
"Mark Twain once said, 'I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.' Why do you agree/disagree with his statement?"
People clarified what actually terrified them most about death
"I don't fear being dead. I fear dying."
"Yeah, that's usually the issue. It's why that quote doesn't mean much, to a lot of people."
"It's not a fear of eventually dying and not existing anymore. It's the act of dying itself. He didn't constantly die for all of time. He just wasn't alive."
Concept Of Loss
"To have not existed for billions of years is to have spent billions of years never knowing loss. To die is to know loss."
"If you look into a new bank account and see zero dollars, it’s nothing. If you look into a bank account that once had a million dollars and see there’s nothing in there, you’ll know it’s absence."
People provided an analogy to articulate what ceasing to exist must feel like.
It's About Time
"Time is only relevant to you when you are alive. He is right. Have you ever been sedated for surgery? You go under, and then instantly wake up and procedure is done.... or you died so no worries."
Consciousness Is Life
"You won’t be feeling anything in death though is the thing. That infinite/instant sensation was a living feeling, you just weren’t conscious for it - your body experienced it anyways. No body, no experience."
Like Being Under
"That is very true, but for me, that's the closest amalgamation of what it probably feels like."
"No one can tell you what actual death will be like. It's impossible for you to experience nothingness."
"Thinking about death can be paralysing sometimes, and when I remember that the closest thing i can link as an experience I had, being put under, was actually sort of pleasant. I then think maybe death will be like that, and honestly it doesn't seem that bad."
When In Deep Sleep
"Yeah in contrast to sleep where you can actually feel like time has passed when you wake up."
Think Line Between Death And Slumber
"As CGPGrey puts it, your bed might very well be a suicide machine."
"Given our lack of understanding for the fundamental processes of our sentience, it's entirely possible that when you fall asleep, your mind is functionally killed, disassembled, analyzed, sorted, tweaked, and adjusted by your biology, before being reassembled when you wake. Every night."
People opened up about their insecurities around the concept of death.
Fear Of What Comes Next
"I’m just paranoid that something does happen after death and it’s just based on one thing that you didn’t know about."
The Circle Of Death
"There’s nothing to fear in oblivion. Unless, of course, your consciousness survives death. If so, it would be reasonable to fear the sensation of consciousness without senses, suspended alone in the cosmos, with no one to hear you, and no way to make yourself known. No reference point for counting time – a count that does not matter anyway in a literal eternity."
"You might wish that you still had a corporeal form, only so that you could make your mouth move to express your terror, to make the universal form of a terrified scream – the form of a letter O."
"But you won’t be able to. You just won’t!"
"This has been the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner. Brought to you by shame, loneliness, and the letter..."
When Faith Fails You
"what do you mean I'm going to hell?! I was a good person and attended church regularly!"
"Ah yes, but you failed to put a blue feather in your hat and then turn in circles the times praising God Almighty on the fifth Sunday after your twelfth birthday. To the pit with you!!!"
There is an poignant episode from the Twilight Zone that brought me a sense of peace surrounding the concept of death.
Death was embodied by a handsome police officer who had been shot–played by a young Robert Redford–and begs to be let into the home of an elderly woman who had been living in perpetual fear of meeting "Mr. Death."
As the episode continues, she discovers much to her dismay that she welcomed Death into her home, but he warmly reassures her there is nothing to fear.
The episode ends with her finally offering her hand to Death after much protest, and they peacefully walk out together, arm in arm, into the light.
It was sweet and beautifully done. The 1962 episode was titled, "Nothing in the Dark."
That's how I imagine it to be.
A dashing Prince of Darkness telling me it's time to join him in guiding me to the other side.