When you’re a doctor, you see a lot of strange sights. I mean, the human body is weird – and that’s before all the horrible things that can go wrong with it.
In this article, 15 doctors/medical examiners/morticians share the strangest things they ever found in bodies.
“A mummified foetus – I was working in Africa and the usually very stoic Congolese surgeons called me in to theatre, gagging – the patient was an elderly woman with a protruding abdominal mass. When they opened it, they found that it was a long, long dead mummified foetus which as a result of an ectopic pregnancy, had somehow managed to both wall off after it died and somehow avoid killing the mother. Her body had encapsulted the alien tissue and over the years, it had slowly eroded her anterior abdominal wall to the point where it finally caused her to have enough symptoms to get something done about it.
It was horrific and the smell was worse.
Happily, though, the patient survived the procedure and just left the surgical team with a .. memory.”
2. Black goo
“In my anatomy lab, my groups’s cadaver had died from systemic complications of stage 4 lung cancer and when we got to the lungs they were two rock hard, necrotic blackened masses that looked nothing like the other cadaver’s pink and spongy lungs.
My anatomy prof took one lung out and wrung it resulting in this putrid black goo flowing out of the lung.
As he was draining the lung, he mentioned…
“This. This is what happens when you smoke” “
3. How’d that get there?
“Weirdest thing was in a woman’s intestine- a dead mouse.
Tiny little thing…. obviously never got the chance to ask how the mouse got there as this was post mortem. Definitely unexpected though…”
4. A tough situation
“She isn’t dead, but this week i saw a patient with endometriosis in her lungs.
Somehow, womb-lining cells had travelled to her thorax and colonised on the lung. She previously had symptoms of coughing up blood while menstruating, but because the endometriosis was so severe, was on the pill to stop her periods entirely.
Then she came off it to have a baby, and after the birth, with her hormones all over the place, she developed two pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lung), and a few weeks after that, three successive pneumothorax (collapsed lung). The womb cells had tried to shed, and made a hole between the airways and the sac surrounding the lung, letting air escape.
She’s deciding now whether to let the surgeons cut out the part of her lung with the endometrial cells, to go back on the pill for life, or to have a full hysterectomy and remove her ovaries. Tough choice at 32.”
5. Very rare
“I was a combat medic in the Army.
Not super super uncommon (about 1 in 10,000 people have it), but I had a buddy with situs inversus. All of his major internal organs were reversed (heart on the rights side instead of the left, for example). As soon as he got to the unit, it was the first thing he told me. Wanted to make sure if he got hurt I wasnt curious as to why he had no heart, I guess.
Edit to say: Had to look up the name and how uncommon it is, because it’s been a few years since I got out and he’s literally the only person I’ve ever met like that. I was honestly surprised at how common it actually is, I figured it’d be more rare.”
6. That’s odd…
“My colleague was embalming an autopsied male and found two hairnets, numerous plastic tissue sample slides, a plastic urine container (with another person’s name on it) and over twenty seven latex gloves within his abdominal cavity…”
7. Sounds awful
“Doctor here, general prac and young, so not many experiences.
I had this kid (8) and his mother come to the ped triage about a cold.
As soon they came in they filled the room with stench, like a wound festering, that humid and rancid smell. Kid had a runny nose, but secretions were coming from a single nostril. Upon examination we found the sinusal cavities filled with cotton.
Apparently the kid had this funny idea of stuffing one nostril with cotton and shoving it up inside with a stick as far as he could. We had to call the specialist to remove a lot of VERY deep cotton that was of course a picnic field for bacteria.
Kid probably isn’t going college but he won’t be lacking new ideas.”
8. Don’t see that every day
“One of our cadavers had two spinal cords, aka split spinal cord malformation.
Edit: just a first year med student here folks. Unfortunately it’s against our school’s policy for me to even take photographs, yet alone share them. One of our groups during our laminectomy (removing the back of your vertebra to expose spinal cord) lab, once they cut into the dura mater (the tissue that wraps around the spinal cord) noticed a spit cord in the in the thoracolumbar region, side-by-side. Our lead anatomist was very excited to see this and had the whole class come see. Apparently it’s not the most incredibly rare thing, but it is the weirdest anomaly I’ve seen thus far.
Edit 2: So a lot of people are mentioning Spina Bifida. From what I understand in my studies, that would be the result of bones in the spine not forming correctly. This was not what we saw. There were no signs of prior surgery or herniation of the meninges.”
9. Fix me up
“Pretty memorable to me. I’m a doctor was working in OT (anesthesiology)
An emergency came in the afternoon. Apparently the patient is a fisherman and got into a fight with his fisherman friend.
Patient was impaled by a spear gun. The spear entered just lateral to his belly button and came out just above his right hip.
He actually held this 6 ft long spear going through his body and walked into the emergency room by himself. When it was time to put him under he wasn’t scared /anxious. He said “just fix me up so I can go find that guy”. “
10. Probably should’ve mentioned that
“Young man comes in complaining of headache. I work in radiology.
We ask for history. Nothing to report, he says.
We scan his head. CT shows a bullet rattling loose inside his sphenoid sinus (kind of between the nasal cavity and the brain).
I asked the guy: “Have you ever been shot in the face?”
“Oh, yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that.”
Edit: Okay this blew up. To clarify, the guy had been shot in the face a few years earlier, never sought treatment for it. The bullet had somehow missed all the vital structures.”
“When my mom was a mortician, I would hang out in the mortuary watching TV. Her boss showed me a guy who had retained water and drowned. His balls were the size of a grapefruit. Not the most pleasant thing to see at age 15. When you poked him, he moved like a water bed.”
“In med school I had to do a pelvic on a woman during my EM rotation and found a meth pipe. She forgot she put it there during a traffic stop.
I also had to remove a nail from a guy’s head. He figured it must’ve went off while reloading. He had intractable tooth pain, so he got sent by his dentist for a CT and low and behold there was a nail in his cranium.”
13. No idea
“Father owns a crematory, we once cremated a man (with no clothes and not in any container) and along with his ashes came a massive belt buckle. I kid you not, we have no idea how it got in him but it was definitely there.”
14. Never noticed
“ER nurse; man comes in after a car accident, we do a brain scan for safety and find a 3 inch nail imbedded in his brain. Ask man about it, he says he has no idea. Admits he was once shot with a nail gun but HAD NO IDEA A NAIL HAD BEEN LODGED IN HIS HEAD. Had been there for well over 4 years. Edit: originally said 6inch, meant 3.”
15. He really loved the game
“Here’s another weird one… 3 golf balls in a mans stomach. His cause of death was lung cancer. Still trying to figure out how he ate golfballs/how long they were in there considering he was on life support for 2 weeks before he died.”