While we’ve made many strides in medicine and our understanding of the human body, sometimes, we are still a mystery to ourselves. Even doctors have experienced cases where they honestly don’t know how the person survived.
Lucky for us, doctors (and some patients too!) are sharing these insane stories with us in a ridonkulous Reddit thread. You might want to clean the floor because that’s where your jaw’s about to be.
I posted this the last time this question was asked:
My dad’s a doctor, so I asked him. When he was an intern in the ER, someone walked in the front door with a kitchen knife sticking out between his eyes to the handle. The knife went through his sinus cavity and ended with the tip in his throat, millimeters from his brain stem. He goes into surgery and walks out of the ICU the next day. My dad says he is the luckiest man he ever saw. –mac785
That time I examined a girl’s ocular fundus and found that she had both of her optic nerves grotesquely swollen. I told her she had a brain tumor. She got a CT scan done, and there it was: a brain tumor the size of a softball. I don’t know how could she still be alive. –dejg82
We had a 7-Year-old boy came in with acute painless loss of vision in his right eye. An MRI of his head and neck were preformed which showed a complete occlusion of his right internal carotid artery. This artery is EXTREMELY important and provides up to 30% of blood to the brain overall and usually up to 80% for right hemisphere.
We are all freaking out looking at this image meanwhile the kid is playing operation and saying his blurriness is getting better.
Turns out the kid just had amazing collateral circulation and was able to compensate one of the brains MAJOR arteries completely shutting down without any deficits/stroke or impairments besides what is (hopefully) a temporary insult to his retina.
Our theory is he got an artery dissection while riding a roller coaster on six flags which eventually just collapsed leading to a small hemorrhage making its way up to the ophthalmic artery.
Absolutely amazing from a neuro nerd perspective. –stayingon
My dad is a heart surgeon and he told me this story. Guy comes in during his residency with a bullet in his heart. Pretty tricky for a new resident, but he successfully gets the bullet out and saves the guy.
Fast forward ~10-15 years. Same guy comes in again with a bullet in his heart. Dad gets the bullet out and repairs the wound. Guy lives again.
Dad jokingly suggests he try not to get shot again. The patient tells my dad, “tell that to my wife.” –69bit
Not a doctor, but it happened to me. I was at uni years ago when I felt a slight pinch, thought it was a trapped nerve from sitting too long so I got up and had a walk around. Fast forward 2 weeks and I’ve been getting short of breath at uni since then, a fellow student tells me I should really go to the hospital. And that’s when I found out I’d been going to university for 2 weeks with a collapsed lung. –Ruxsty
The average human has around 8 pints of blood in their system.
My uncle is not an average human, he was 6 ft 5, built like a brick wall.
He passed out, ambulance took him to the hospital. Turns out he had a nasty ulcer that had been bleeding into his stomach for who knows how long. It took them 4 hours to get a blood transfusion going. Not because he had a rare blood type or anything like that, but because they estimate he had less than 2 pints of blood left in his veins and they had to keep pumping him full of saline to keep his blood vessels open long enough to get some blood, any blood into him. –Astramancer_
Had a guy with Buerger’s disease aka thromboangiitis obliterans. He was down to two knee stumps and an elbow amputation, but you better believe that he was still smoking like a chimney. During rounds, the attending refused to see him any further if he was caught with a beedi. Sure enough, not long after rounds, we found him puffing away with his one good arm. –dudeimmadoc
Something a doctor told my father when we (his family) were there to witness it.
My dad had had few minor heart attacks but every time he got to the er they had already passed. Third or fourth attack was noticed and he was sent to the ICU immediately. They took all the test and a shadow scan (don’t know what that is called in English, sry).
So the next day we went to see him and doctor comes by and asks “Can I be honest?” and father said sure.
“How can you still be alive? On the shadow scan we found that your main aorta vein is blocked 100%, secondary is 95%, third one is 90%, fourth is ONLY 70% and fifth is 65% blocked. Surgery is day after tomorrow right after you have stabilized enough, good day”.
We were so shocked that we just stood there for five minutes or something like that. This happened almost 15 years ago (doc gave father 10 years after bypass surgery) and he is still going strong 😀 –Gangr3l
Not a doctor, but I had a friend who was experiencing several abdominal pain and didn’t realize that he had a burst appendix. Neither did his doctor.
The doctor, thinking it was some other kind of issue, prescribed super-strong antibiotics to my friend, who then went about his business for another two weeks with a ruptured appendix. Funnily, the mis-prescribed antibiotics were the only thing keeping him alive during that time.
Eventually, my friend fainted, was taken to the ER, and was opened up like a Thanksgiving turkey so the surgeon and his team were able to hose out the mess in his abdomen. –RedditMayne
This will probably get buried since I’m late to the thread but I’m a nurse at a pediatric office and one of our patients, 8 years old, was at his cousin’s house playing outside unsupervised. Apparently he climbed a fence and fell. They went inside and all he had was a small cut under his eye. He wanted to stay at his cousin’s so they called his mom to let her know and he stayed.
Later that night he fell asleep on the floor while they were playing. He then vomited. They brought him to the ER and after imaging discovered that when he fell a piece of the wire fence had been sticking out and impaled him (the small cut under his eye is where it went in) and gone INTO HIS BRAIN before he fell further and it came out.
He was in the hospital for 8 days, mostly because he was receiving IV antibiotics. He walked away with barely any deficits and all the minor speech/motor delays he was expediting have completely resolved. As his doctor said, “he’s the luckiest unlucky kid ever.” –msimone282
Young guy was brought into the ER after driving drunk on his motorcycle without a helmet. He crashed, hit his forehead on the wedge part of some stairs leading up to a building. He literally cracked his skull open and we could see his brain throbbing inside. Amazingly, he survived without any neurologic deficits. He did lose an eyeball though. I have pictures, if anyone’s interested.
I still remember the police officer who came in with him and handed me a folded up page from a newspaper. I opened it up and it was bits and pieces of his shattered skull. The officer was kind enough to collect everything and bring it to the hospital, thinking we could use it to patch his skull back together like humpty dumpty. –drpaoe
Had a patient come in that had days worth of injuries that he somehow powered through. He had glass smashed on his head, he was shot like 7 times and survived a gas explosion. Apparently, he was eating breakfast with some friends before he finally came into the hospital. Dude smelled like shit and was higher than a kite. I like to think it was all the weed that kept him high, but he eventually went home no worse for wear. –PancakesandMaggots
I took care of an 18-year-old girl who was ejected from a car going 60 mph and flew 100 feet and landed on her face and totally scalped herself. Like her whole forehead peeled off her head.
So two days later she is sitting in her hospital bed eating jello and telling me about how much she loves cocaine and really shouldn’t hang out with those kids. And you can’t even see a scar on her body and she is fine. Nothing broken and she isn’t even sore. They only kept her in the hospital for a psych consult since she was driving. –sadcheeseballs
Young Afghan girl with a giant abdominal mass. Did some imaging, it took up a good 1/2 to 2/3 of her abdomen. Surgery went in and it ended up being a giant abscess from a suspected burst appendicitis that walled off and just continued to grow. Apparently she had had it for years and survived without any access to modern medicine. –benevolentbearattack