For most of us, when we feel ill or in physical pain we often go to the doctor. It just kind of makes sense, doesn't it? Well, unfortunately for the people in these stories they were never taught this lesson. For some, the end result is maybe a gross or embarrassing visit to the GP, while for others, it was unfortunately too late. From electric fences to mysterious lesions, check out these shocking medical stories.
Please Check Your Feet People!
“Imaging guy here. I work with vascular patients and wounds. Had a guy whose foot was completely broken sideways at the ankle. he had it still wrapped from when he left the hospital. He would use the stumpy part to move around on his wheelchair and leave little blood sponge prints on the floor.
Another guy with bad ankle and foot wounds decided to stop going to wound care, and was afraid to take the wraps off even after his foot started to stink. By the time I saw him his skin had kinda liquified.
Earlier on in my career I saw a guy with necrotizing wounds to both legs that had eaten to muscle in multiple places below the knee. I asked him how long they looked like that and he said about two years. Next time I saw him he was bilateral above knee amp.
Stump wounds. Just… Stump wounds.
Take care of your feet people. If you’re diabetic and can’t feel the bumps and scrapes please check your feet regularly.”
A Story That Just Gets Worse And Worse
“Years ago as a nursing assistant on an oncology floor we had a guy admitted because he had had a woody for several days and had lost the ability to pee. His bladder was close to bursting and his poor junk was… think microwaved hotdog. Really bad.
But NONE of that was as interesting as the fact that this guy had untreated skin cancer on his nose for several years that had over time become infected, developed MRSA, and spread across his face. He had no nose, no cheek, and no eye on one side of his face, and was starting to lose his other eye. You could see part of his skull. I don’t know why he chose to leave it untreated and I have no idea how long it took to get that bad, but I will never ever forget the smell and texture of his rotting face.
On the upside, we were eventually able to convince him to have reconstructive surgery. He ended up getting a skin graft that covered up his eye, nose, and cheek. So, if you ever meet a very grumpy dude with nothing but a mouth and one eye, know that this is way better than the alternative.”
Too Stubborn For Their Own Good
“I lost an elderly friend to her stubbornness many years ago. Despite six of her seven siblings dying from some kind of reproductive/genital cancer, she never had a smear test, and ignored a pain that started in her womb region and spread out to her lower back – she’d just tell us she had sciatica. It wasn’t until the cervical cancer was literally growing out of her, that she admitted something was wrong. After the diagnosis, she just gave up completely, refused to eat – it was over in a couple of weeks after that. She was an exceptionally stubborn woman.”
One Word: MAGGOTS
“Former medic here. Called to a patient who had cut their leg while chopping wood about a week prior and now it was really itchy. Old gentleman, didn’t drive, lived alone. Got to his house, unwrapped the ungodly swollen leg to find that he’d tried to superglue the wound closed and maggots had commenced to growing inside. The itching he was feeling was the writhing maggots under his skin.”
He Was Blind For The Past Five Days
“I had a patient come in saying he couldn’t see. How long had it been going on? For five days. The man had been blind for five days and didn’t come in because he thought it might be ‘like a cold or something.’ During the exam when I asked him to move his legs he said ‘Oh, I can’t do that.’ I asked how long he’d been unable to move his legs or walk? Wife chimes in- about two years. Never saw a doctor about it- They just borrowed a friend’s wheelchair and kept it rolling. Turned out he’d had multiple strokes with multiple risk factors he never addressed. Given how little insight he appeared to have into the condition I honestly felt sorry- he didn’t have insurance so I’m sure that played a role In Him avoiding seeing anyone.”
Fellas, Please Be Patient
“This has happened a few times, actually…
But I had a gal come in on Monday after being discharged from the hospital Friday after giving birth.
So basically, we tell ladies to avoid coitus until a doctor clears you, and well, her spouse kept insisting and insisting and insisting that Friday night she caved and let him go to town. He wound up tearing some stitches that were placed and bleeding like a stuck hog all weekend long.
Came into our clinic, blue in the lips and fingers, and her hemoglobin was four (normal should be 12-15).
She didn’t wanna be a bother, so she waited until she started feeling dizzy all the time. She got another trip to the hospital for transfusion and repair for that.
But… as I said, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen that, so for the love of God…if homeboy is begging for it after you just had a baby, maybe he needs a lesson in self-control and a bottle of moisturizer.”
A Real Kick In The Gut
“Not a doctor/hospital staff, but my grandpa ended up passing away because he waited too long before going to the hospital. This was about 17 years ago, he was tending to one of his mules when something spooked it and he got kicked in the gut. He was in a lot of pain, could barely move due to the abdominal pain so decided to take it easy and lounge on the couch for a week, he refused to go to be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, that mule kick ruptured an unknown tumor in his intestines. The doc said it was huge, like volleyball size huge, and he may have survived if he came in sooner. By the time we got him to the hospital, he had a severe case of gangrene. His leg needed to be amputated within a day of him being there, he passed away a week later.”
“Instead He Died Three Weeks Later”
“I had a 65-year-old male patient who was diagnosed with lymphoma eight months before we saw him. He lived an hour out of the city and didn’t want to drive in for treatment so decided he wouldn’t get treated at all and stayed in his little remote place in the country by himself.
Essentially, because it didn’t get treated, it spread along his skin and his neighbors called an ambulance when popping in on him. It had spread so far that it essentially went from his head to his knees. It had started to invade his eyes and mouth membranes. He couldn’t drink and could barely see. His skin had started to slough off and he was so severely dehydrated because he was losing so much excess fluid from his open skin that we had to treat him like a severe burns patient and had plastics involvement.
The consultant said if he had received treatment, there was a chance he could have recovered. Instead, he died three weeks later.”
He Had Been Crawling Around His House For Days
“I am a doctor and while working in A&E we had an older chap, possibly in his 70s, who several days prior to presentation had a sudden onset severe chest pain and vomiting while loading the car with shopping. He ignored it and struggled home. The next day he started to lose the use of both legs and by the time he came to the hospital had been CRAWLING around his house for SEVERAL DAYS because he thought it would get better.
He had had a major cardiac event, developed a clot which his heart had pumped out, it went down his body, broke in half, and blocked off the blood supply to both legs. He literally had dead legs.
I don’t know what ended up happening to him, but there was no way to save the legs and I reckon the outcome was very poor, if not fatal.”
No Sir, It Isn’t Your Coffee
“I worked with a guy who had to take a week off from work because he wasn’t feeling very well. He came to work and was looking very yellow. We told him that he needs to go see a doctor. Turns out he had lung cancer that spread to his liver which was causing him to turn yellow. About five weeks later he died. My dad also had colon cancer back in 2015. He was having cramps and he said it was just the coffee he had been drinking. After a while he started to see blood when he would use the bathroom. He immediately went to the hospital. He’s doing a lot better now.”
Can’t Convince Everybody
“When I was in massage school, we did low-cost massages to get our practice hours in (think like $15-25 an hour) so we saw various parts of the community. Once I saw a client who had a smell during the intake, and once I pulled back the sheets to do their feet I was slapped in the face with it. Pushed forward, and did an initial stretch and press on the feet, and out poked some worms/maggots from between their toes and on the pads of their feet.
It was horrifying And when I recommended (urged) them to go to the ER about it, they got offended like I was making fun and left.
Yes, they were diabetic.
I immediately concluded the massage (per the protocol and also compassion) and grabbed an instructor so we could have that discussion with the client. We brought them into a private room to discuss the health concerns, but the individual was mortified and that emotion was channeled into contempt, accusing us of making fun of their weight (they were severely overweight and said we were making up stuff about their feet because ‘You know I can’t see them and you just didn’t want to touch me!’)
It was so sad because I pleaded with them, offering to drive them to the ER myself but they refused and left. Never came back. I still think about them and hope they overcame that initial reaction and decided to get it checked out. I hope so.”
Ah Yes, The Good Ole Electric Fence Treatment
I work in a very rural hospital, and we have a patient population that seems to avoid the hospital at all costs. I have had so many, usually related to diabetics with foot sores- almost always resulting in the amputation of a toe (or more).
However, my favorite was an elderly farmer who came in with chest pain that, ‘Wouldn’t go away’, as he put it. When we asked him if he had it before- he had said that he had been having chest pain on and off for years, but it would typically go away after he grabbed his electric fence.
Apparently, the first time he had the pain- he was standing out near an electric fence on his farm, and he reached out to steady himself and accidentally grabbed the electric fence, which shocked him, and made the pain go away. So after that, whenever he would have the pain, he just went and grabbed the fence and it made him feel better.
He had literally been cardioverting himself for years.
He was fixed up and sent on his way- but we all still chuckle about it now and then because he was so nonchalant about it.”
Plastic Bags And Newspapers
“I was working as a surgical junior when my team was called down to A&E to see a patient who had come in with a complication from a recent hernia operation. When we came down, we saw that the patient was holding a plastic bag over their abdomen. When this was removed, we found that their wound had opened and their intestine was visible to the air. It transpired that this was not something that had happened overnight, it had taken several days. The patient had started using plastic bags and newspaper to dress the wound when they ran out of dressings.”
This Is Why You Brush Your Teeth Kids
“Children’s nurse here, my first week in pediatric ED we had a young girl (6/7) come in with a really swollen jaw/face. The poor girl was unable to move her jaw without intense pain and hadn’t been able to eat for several days. Turns out she had only just started cleaning her teeth for the first time ever and managed to develop several abscesses and rotten teeth in the process. To make it worse her mum told us she was recovering from the same procedures to remove most of her teeth because of almost the same thing… they didn’t want to bother the GP as they thought she was just messing about to get out of school.”
Parents Please Listen To Your Kids
“I got really sick really fast but didn’t realize it. I had stage 4 Burkitt’s leukemia CNS positive, which is very important to know. Less than 100 people my age will get that cancer each year in the USA, so pretty uncommon.
Anyway, I got super sick just over a year ago, and just happened to have a doctor’s appointment scheduled. Went to the appointment and felt like absolute trash, sweaty, hot, lethargic, lightheaded, terrible heartburn, and just tired. Also could barely breathe. My dad who was driving me to the appointment had to wake me up and I remember him saying ‘Get up fatty, we have a doctor’s appointment to get to, you better be freaking sick!’
In his defense, he had no idea and neither did I just how sick I was, like two weeks before I was fine, working in South Carolina on a construction job.
So we get to the appointment and I get bloodwork and an ultrasound of my chest cavity. The doctor saw the ultrasound photos and was stunned. Then saw my bloodwork and told me to get the heck back to the hospital, as we left to go home and would hear the results later. The doctor saw 7 tumors on my liver, the biggest the size of a grapefruit and the second largest the size of a baseball, and then saw my bloodwork was trashed. Diagnosed me with cancer and said it was a miracle I was awake, let alone walking and cracking jokes. Only found out later that Burkitt’s cell can double in size within 24-48 hours.
Doc wondered why I hadn’t had problems with my monster tumors before since I only scheduled the appointment to fix heartburn.”
Sometimes The Doctor Isn’t Always Right
“My dad was a doctor. This is somewhat relevant to the rest of the story.
In HS, I played basketball. One day at practice, I was going in for a layup and got knocked by a teammate as I went in and ended up going into the wall under the baseline pretty hard with my hand in a really awkward position as it hit. It HURT.
I finished practice barely being able to pressure the ball. I went home, had my dad take a look because I felt like it was more than a typical hand sprain. He ran me through the paces quickly and said that it couldn’t be broken because I wouldn’t be able to handle the test without screaming if it was. Ok, no problem, just a nasty sprain. I practiced and played for the next 2 weeks in pain. After one game I told my mom on the way home that my hand hurt really badly and I needed to get to a Dr. Well, one X-ray later and it turns out that I hit at the angle that caused a break in my hand from it. And I played with a broken hand for two weeks because of it.
So, cast on the hand. Season gone, because broken hand. All good right? Nope
Turns out that the result of playing with it broken also pinched and killed a vein in the neighboring finger. So when I complained that my hand was still hurting 6 months later we went to the surgeon and I had avascular necrosis of the knuckle joint. So I had to have the bone scraped out and new bone grafted in to keep the finger. Also, no more football at all, because the weakened joint could be easily crushed and that would require amputation.”
It Was Too Late
“Not a doctor or nurse, but worked as a doctor’s office assistant. A regular patient, who was very sweet but unfortunately had an ongoing battle with drinking, was brought in by his roommate and I knew instantly that he would be dead soon. I’d seen some jaundiced humans in my time there but this man was a yellow I never knew was possible. His roommate said, through tears, ‘I’ve been telling him to come in for weeks!’ and the patient kept telling their roommate to relax, that he was fine. Majorly in denial. I helped him to the exam room and when the doctor entered the room, he immediately asked me to go call an ambulance.
A few weeks earlier wouldn’t have helped, but perhaps the end could have been made a bit easier for him. He died seven days later in the hospital.
Hit me very hard because I’d known the guy for a few years. Sometimes he would be sober when he called, and sometimes he would be slurring and completely incoherent, but he was ALWAYS kind.”