I once stubbed my toe right after breaking my pinky finger and thought I was about to die. Turns out, as evidenced below, sometimes it takes a lot more than that to kill a person. Check out these doctors’ stories about the patients they’ve treated who should’ve already seen the light. Seriously. These are crazy.
1. Who needs a ladder?
I had an older fellow just last month who fell off a roof. Got up, drove home on a bumpy forest road, took a shower, and his wife made him come to the ER because he was a “little short of breath.” He had a flail chest (dangerous number of rib fractures), blood around his heart and lungs, oh yeah, and something called a "hangman’s fracture” in his neck.
2. Just rub some dirt on it
Vietnam vet, on a scout mission, when he and his two buddies take gunfire. He takes two bullets. One to his left thigh. Second bullet goes through the front of his helmet, grazes the right side of his head, down to but not through the bone. Because it went through the front of the helmet, the bullet doesn’t have the velocity to exit the back of the helmet. Instead, it bounces off the inside of the helmet, ricochets down and to the left, and then passes through his neck within 1 inch of his brainstem and cervical spine. It CONTINUES into his chest, somehow missing major arteries including his aorta and pulmonary vessels, goes completely through his left lung, and gets stopped by one of his ribs. He’s carried back by his buddies, who DROP HIM several times in the jungle. Years later he complained that his left ribs hurt when he sits back against a hard chair. Surgeon finds bullet lodged under his rib, takes it out, problem solved. As he tells me this story, he pulls his wallet out and shows me the bullet.
3. This Guy’s a Human Petri Dish
A guy who showed up to ER because he fell and broke his arm. Simple right? He also had a “cough he couldn’t kick.” That’s the only issues he had, in his mind. Look at the guy for one second and it’s a whole new story. He was covered in skin cancer (Kaposi sarcoma), maybe 400 separate spots. Clearly HIV positive. Super thin and frail guy, but he says he’s always been thin. So we give him a chest X-ray. Can barely see his lungs! They’re covered by massive amounts of bacteria. In this case, tuberculosis. Cake topper - diabetes, uncontrolled, with severe kidney problems and also about a quarter as much hemoglobin as he should have.
Guy comes in who just got hit by a bus. He looks like he’s on his way out and not going to make it. We check him out and it seems that almost every bone in his body is broken or fractured, a lot of internal bleeding. He somehow starts mumbling something about "Stop hurting, be awesome.” He proceeds to make a miraculous recovery, and even commands his friend to give him a high-five while in a full body cast.
5. Only real men walk away from giant car crashes
Man walks into our emergency department. Few scratches on the left side of his face. Singed eyebrows. Bit of a limp.
“What happened to you?”
“Put my car in a ditch.”
So this happens a lot: people crash their cars, and figure they should probably get checked over. This guy, however, left out some important details. Firstly, he’d been driving a 1999 Toyota at about 95 mph. Secondly, he hadn’t been wearing a seat belt. Thirdly, the reason his car left the road was because it had caught fire. Fourthly, he was ejected through the windscreen and into a tree. Fifthly, he had been unconscious for an hour or so. Since he’d been in the middle of nowhere, he had had to walk something like six miles to get to the hospital.
“Why on earth didn’t you call an ambulance!?”
“Didn’t really think I needed one.”
Full trauma protocol and several scans later, he had a small bleed inside his head, three busted vertebra, a small bleed on his spleen which had just so happened to stop, and a broken wrist.
6. Talk about unlucky
An elderly man comes in after having a massive ischemic stroke. Turns out he fell when his stroke hit and bashed his head on a curb. On his way to the ER he HAS A FUCKING heart attack, THEN after his mRI he decides to have a goddamn seizure and breaks a couple ribs on the gurney. All of this in the span of a few hours.
7. Who hasn’t had this happen to them every once and a while?
I spent some time working in South Africa last summer. Young lady walks into the trauma department with a kitchen knife sticking out of the side of her head. Casual as fuck. She survived the neurosurgery with only minimal unilateral weakness.
8. Sounds like the plot of *Unbreakable*
One guy had a hypoglycemic attack while driving, lost consciousness, drove through the barrier of the road, rolled down a hill, landed upside down on a railroad track, got hit by a freight train carrying coal which then came to a sudden stop, which caused the coal it was carrying to fall onto the car. Guy self extricated and crawled out of the car. Ended up with a few fractured vertebrae and other bones, no major injuries, discharged in a few days.