Medical professionals see all sorts of interesting things at work, but also a lot of tragedy.
Presented below are some of the interesting and lighthearted (and some downright silly) things that doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other medical professionals have witnessed while on the job.
Reddit user u/Cay_Rharles asked:
*Content warning: this article contains descriptions of injury and drug use.*
I used to work transport at a children's hospital (exactly what it sounds like – taking patients to and fro different places within the hospital). One day, we get a call to take a kid from x-ray back to the ER (this was pretty standard).
The kid was probably six or seven, and when I got there, I asked, "Oh, hey, ready to go back? How did your pictures go?"
The kid tells me they went good, and then said there was another little kid there getting pictures taken, too, except his wrist was like this – the kid then proceeds to bend their obviously-broken wrist all the way backward.
The kid's mom told us that the kid had been inconsolable when they'd arrived but a little bit of morphine worked its magic!
Not a nurse but it was an interesting experience so imma tell yall. I went to pt earlier this week (cubital tunnel syndrome) and when the physical therapist was having me do some things to make sure it was cts (like spreading my hands as wide as i could and holding my arms out) she saw that my fingers don't actually straighten all the way (no injuries whatsoever, they just wont straighten) and that ive got hypermobility in my elbows and my elbows only. She thought both of those things were * wild*
Senior-year nursing student here. In my pediatrics clinical I was working in the ER at our local children's hospital. A 15 year old girl came in because her mother had discovered she'd taken ecstasy and was less than pleased. The girl was stable, we were just giving her fluids and running some blood tests. When I was taking her blood pressure she began using both hands to slowly feel up and down the sleeves of my sweater, the entire time talking about how "amazing this stuff feels right now." I backed away and finished what I was doing with professionalism, but couldn't help but laugh as soon as I walked out.
Once looked after a mother who'd just given birth. Together we had to figure out how we were going to manage the milk supply to her third nipple, which was in her arm pit. When her milk came in her third nipple started to swell and let down milk when she breastfed her baby. We had to make a breast pad for her arm pit so she didn't leak through her clothes and slowly try to dry up the milk to that nipple without her getting mastitis. Lucky she had a great sense of humour and we had a lot of good laughs during her stay.
I’ve seen an unnerving amount of babies born without buttholes. So... surgeons just make one.
The ICD-10 coding system has about 69k reporting codes. Some of them covering medical conditions or causes of injury are extremely specific, weird, and/or funny.
V00.11 In-line roller-skate accident
V00.12 Non-in-line roller-skate accident
T75.00 Unspecified effects of lightning
R46.1 Bizarre personal appearance
Y35.412S Legal intervention involving bayonet, bystander injured
M21.70 Unequal limb length (acquired), unspecified site
T63.633A Assault with sea anemone
W59.13XS Crushed by nonvenomous snake
Y93.85 Deliberately holding your breath until you pass out
Apparently my Dextrocardia (heart on the right) is super interesting to doctors. They listen to it to see which side it's louder on, look at my x-ray, etc. Its kinda cool but also weird.
I used to run sleep studies in a Hospital. Sometimes we would also consult inpatients who had been admitted to the Hospital who used CPAP, and one time someone brought their home CPAP machine/mask with the moisture reservoir attached to the side. You're supposed to use distilled water in it to avoid mineral buildup and calcification, and change the water daily and clean it regularly, but this person NEVER had in the years they owned the machine - they only topped off the water occasionally. The clear plastic water reservoir over the heating element that warmed & humidified the air this person breathed had a thick black mold growing over the entire thing and into the hose. I dunked it in some chemicals to attempt to clean it, but ended up trashing the whole thing.
Not an oddity, but hormones during pregnancy make your hair and nails grow faster. So often there is LOTS of pubic hair on display when we go check for dilation. One day I had a patient complain about how hairy she was down there, and her sisters sang "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia pet" just to make fun of her. And we all sang it for the next 12 hour shift.
I've told a lot of my wife's stories on here but here's a classic quick one.
She was covering registration when a man came in and said that he was there because he had severe abdominal pain, and his poop "looked wrong."
While my wife was typing his complaint into the computer, this guy actually pulls out a tied off plastic bag, and plops it onto the counter with a wet thud. He asks, "do you need to see it?"
"...no I do not," my wife answers. She resumes typing in stunned silence.
People say all kids of wonderful things when they are coming round from an anesthetic. I've had people thinking they are aliens and we are experimenting on them, marriage proposals and one guy who was convinced I was a pixie there to take his shoes!
Coolest thing would have to be the old guy with hypospadias (his urethral opening was on the underside of his penis rather than the tip). We had to straight cath him so when we pulled up his gown it was 30 seconds of ?????
I work in an urgent care lab but we had a 27 year old dude come in with nausea and general sense of not feeling well. Doctor talked to him and turns out that for the last 2 weeks, he hadn't eaten any solid food. He wanted to do a juice cleanse but couldn't afford juice and figured jolly ranchers would work. So for 2 weeks, in place of actual food he had been eating jolly ranchers. Doctor told him to eat food and stay away from candy for a while
We had a 92 year old woman come in for breathing difficulty. She had to remove her clothes, but refused to take her bra off. She was very sweet, and very adamant that her bra was staying on. We figured she was so old that it was most likely modesty on her part. Different times and all.
Well, the doctor really wanted us to take her bra off, because of the breathing constriction and the tests he wanted to run. She still refused, and guarded the area closely. Guarding is a thing people do when they have a lot of pain.
I finally talked her into it, after much pleading and trying to explain to her why we had to remove it, and I helped her remove it. Tucked in the middle, between her breasts, was a tiny little baggie of crack cocaine. She was so ashamed. I put the hospital gown on her and buried her little drugs away, in with her personal belongings.
And no, I didn't turn her in.
Not a nurse, but my aunt is a doctor and she tells this story all the time. There was a younger guy (about 16 or so) who came in because of gastrointestinal distress that just wouldn't go away. He had tried medication, pooping, and medication to help with pooping. None of it worked.
Eventually they found out that this guy's very young brother had taken to dropping smaller objects into his mouth when he sleeps. Most of the items did pass without difficulty, but there were a couple larger ones that were stuck and that was causing the distress. He did need surgery to get them removed, but everyone had a good laugh about it.
I had a little kid (maybe 5 years old) come into triage in the ER one evening. Parent was concerned about a rash that suddenly appeared on the chin just below the the lip. It was red and a perfect little circle. Looking hard at it, I start saying/asking the kid, "you know when sometimes you put a cup or a bottle on your mouth, you suck the air out of it and then it gets stuck? Did you do that?"
Child sheepishly looks around and tells me, 'actually, I had a water bottle..." then proceeded to perfectly describe the motion and how it got stuck on their chin, down to the popping sound it made when it was pulled off.
You could see the frustration grow in the parent's eyes, then proceeded to scold the child for wasting another trip to the ER for not telling the parent what happened.
Parent apologized for wasting my time (I was amused, not bothered) and left the ER.
I love working in triage.
My wife works for an organ procurement company. When I've gone for medical procedures requiring anesthesia, I very seriously tell the nurses "Do not let my wife steal my organs while I'm out!" I think it's hysterical, my wife not so much, and the nurses just look confused with a wtf is this guy saying look.
Mildly sedating a kid for a procedure, who then proceeds to giggle while hallucinating bubbles all over the place.
I looked after a lady who came into the operating theatre very late. I was on call and had already done my 8 hour shift. So I stayed on until 2 am. But we are a small hospital so someone from the operating theatre helps the recovery nurse after the operation. Being the youngest and without a family I stayed back.
This lady woke up to see me and the first thing she says is "oh honey, you must be tired you look like sh*t, but you are still a very pretty girl. But your eyes are tired, go to sleep!!!!" Then she went back to sleep. Hahahaha.
Not my story, but I am a nurse and this story was told to me by someone I worked with. A lady in her 30s, let's call her Sarah. She had a stroke and spent quite some time in a neuro ICU. Her bf was at the bedside all the time, and he saw with his own eyes that she is not really having any progress with recovery. She'd open her eyes, but that's it - no tracking with her eyes, not responding to painful stimuli, not responding to verbal commands, nothing.
Anyway, one day multiple staff were in her room doing various assessments and whatnot. Neurologist once again tried poking at her feet and got no response. So he said something along the lines of "C'mon, Sarah, give me a sign that you can hear me, any sign, you can even flip me off" And guess what? Sarah raised both of her arms up and flipped him off. For the next few days the entire unit kept talking about Sarah flipping off her neurologist, which her bf thought was hilarious.
And since that day Sarah started recovering pretty quickly. Don't know if she ever made a full recovery, but last I know she was doing pretty well.