From treating a fever to cancer, you won't believe some of these crazy at-home remedies these patients actually thought would work.
Insect Crawling in Ear
“Currently, I work as an EMT Basic Student. I responded to a man who called 911 complaining of a insect crawling up his ear. Upon arrival we ask what ear the bug crawled into, he says his right ear, but keeps complaining about burning coming from his left ear. We noticed his wife standing next to him holding a bottle of insect spray, upon further questioning we come to find out she sprayed insecticide into his left ear thinking it would ‘flush’ the insect out of his right ear. I had to explain to her that our ear canals are separated by our brain” (source).
Four Inch Length of Vein
“We are a needle exchange/harm reduction station at at the clinic I work at. We have IV drug users come in pretty frequently to get their abscesses cleaned out and dressed properly. So one patient comes in wanting to get her abscess cleaned out like many other patients before her. We take her back to a procedure room and get everything ready to start. She has an ace bandage covering up this spot on her arm so of course we are thinking it’s fine because that’s better than just letting it be open to the air. She proceeds take off said bandage and exposes not only HUGE abscess but a FOUR INCH LENGTH OF VEIN sticking out of her arm that is rotting away and drying up. We were like, ‘Uh what’s going on here?’ and she says she took it out of her abscess and left it out because it made injecting heroin easier. So basically she ran her own IV with a vein she cut out of her abscess. We then called the ambulance” (source).
Listerine is NEVER the Solution
“A friend of mine got drunk at a party and had unprotected sex with a girl he’d just met. After he stumbled home he realized what he’d done and tried to fix the problem by dunking his junk into a cup of Listerine. He’s now a pharmacist and very proactive about giving advice to dumb-looking teens stumbling around the family planning aisle after midnight”(source).
“My diabetic grandpa used to eat all the bread/sugar he wanted, and then eat lemon drops after everything. According to him, the real lemon juice acid would counteract the sugar he had just eaten. He was convinced. The nurses disagreed and fought with him for years, but eventually gave in and let him do what he wanted because he was 97 and the food made him happy” (source).
Not Food Poisoning, But ACTUAL Poisoning
“I used to work in a lab in a hospital in a rural town. I got a stool sample from the ER that was basically a blood clot the size of a golf ball. Sometimes the ER gets mixed up and sends me the wrong specimen, like some kind of body fluid and labeled it as urine, for example. I called the patient’s nurse and asked what the deal was with the patient and if it was really stool they sent up. The nurse I talked to said the patient thought he’d eaten bad pork and to prevent food poisoning, drank a concoction of bleach, rubbing alcohol, vodka, ibuprofen and some Tums” (source).
Easy Squeazy Lemon Peazy
“911 dispatch here. Heard the story second hand, but kid had a crazy high fever and wouldn’t stop crying. Paramedics get on scene and mom is squeezing a lemon while rubbing it all over the baby’s forehead because it’s ‘supposed to keep the fever down.’ The Mom was completely at a loss as to why the baby wouldn’t stop crying either. She didn’t think it couldn’t possibly be the lemon juice you’ve essentially been squeezing into the baby’s eyes for the last 20 minutes” (source).
“A Diabetic patient went to vacation in the Caribbean, left her insulin on a cruise ship and hasn’t taken any for a week. When she gets back to the States, Medicaid won’t pay for lost or stolen meds. She refuses to pay for another bottle because she ‘doesn’t have any money”.’ This woman realizes that no insulin in her system means more sugar in blood. The funny part is, she then somehow gets the idea in her head that more sugar in blood means that her blood is now ‘thicker’ so she decides to take a bunch of Plavix, Warfarin, and Aspirin (all blood thinners that cause bleeding and high doses can/will lead to internal bleeding and death) to thin her blood. I get the story when she comes into the pharmacy to get refills on her Warfarin and Plavix and ask her why she needs those early. Told her to immediately go to the ER. I have no idea if she actually did but I’ll bet you she did not” (source).
Casual Cup of Bleach
“I had a patient come to the ER complaining of severe pain and swelling ‘all down there.’ On physical examination we noted a really remarkable amount of swelling, and both the internal and external tissues were extremely red and irritated. She was so swollen she couldn’t even pee until we put a catheter in. The physician did a pelvic exam and found blisters on her cervix. We asked when the symptoms started. She said, ‘Well it was itching tonight. I thought I had a yeast infection, so I poured a cup of bleach up in there to kill it. But then after a while it kind of started to hurt.’ Yeah, I bet it did” (source).
Not Such a BRIGHT Idea
“I’m an RN and at the time I was working in the Emergency Room. It was fairly late at night and a woman came in with severe vaginal bleeding… Apparently she decided to use a light bulb as a dildo and got it in, but couldn’t get it back out. She decided the best course of action was to hit it with a hammer to break it and pull out the pieces”(source).
Well That Plan Backfired…
“I know someone that tried to kill themselves by drinking antifreeze (ethylene glycol). She also tried to put the icing on the cake by drinking a handle of vodka. The funny thing about ethylene glycol poisoning is that alcohol is the antidote for it, so she ended up just feeling like sh–t in the ER for a while” (source).
“One of my favorites is a potato pessary. Women have uterine prolapse (uterus is falling out of you, through your vagina) and stick things up there to hold it in my place. My favorite is when they use a potato — which sprouts and rots, and just… ew” (source).
Just ASK for Viagra…
“I worked overnights in a midwestern ER and I have seen 2 men try to treat their erectile dysfunction on their own. One man used caulk in his urethra and then it dried and cracked like pencil lead and only the 1/4 inch at the tip came out, he had another 3 inches or so all broken into pieces that required surgery to get out. The other man used a clipped off piece of coat-hanger to try to keep himself erect during sex and that also had to be surgically removed. Don’t be stupid, just ask for Viagra” (source).
“My sister is an OR nurse, she told me this story. Her coworker was treating a patient who shoved a butternut squash up his rectum and it got stuck. He left it there for a significant amount of time and when the medical team got it out, it was rotting. They had to shut down that wing of the hospital for the night because the smell was so horrid. Now people tease that nurse by posting butternut squash recipes on her locker” (source).
“I had a patient treating her lung cancer with a “sonic emitter”. Her argument was that sound waves can shatter glass, so lung cancer wouldn’t stand a chance” (source).
“My first year going to Boy Scout camp I wasn’t able to go the week the rest of my Troop was going so I had to go with the provisional group (all the people who went without their Troop). Being that way I didn’t know anyone in it but soon made some friends. This one kid loved holding his extremely sharp pocket knife in his hand and then throwing it into the ground in front of him. One day he got the idea that the ground wasn’t fun enough and decided to try and stick it into trees. We were all just sitting around relaxing in between classes watching him and he throws his knife directly at the tree in front of him. It didn’t stick into the tree. Instead it ricocheted off of the tree and sliced his shin. Since he was working toward his first aid merit badge he decided he could handle it himself and tied a tourniquet below the cut. We tried to tell him he was wrong and he assured us he was fine and started limping toward the first aid hut with someone helping him. He passed out on the way there”(source).