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Doctors Share Their Best "How Did You Survive" Stories

It's a Miracle!

Who doesn't love a good medical TV show? We marvel on a weekly basis about the medical cases our tv doctors are faced with. Some of those episodes become epic and we never forget them because of the patient's ordeal (None of us will ever forget the couple on Grey's who were connected by a pipe going through them both and we learned early on that only ONE could live...) that seems to ludicrous to ever happen in "real" life. We often think... "That is too crazy, even for fiction!" But clearly some of us need to have a chat with some more medical personal. Life is strange and miracles are a thing!

Redditor u/yetanotherowl reached out to the Docs of the internet asking them to share.... Doctors of Reddit, what is your best "How the hell did the patient survive" - story?


Baffled is an understatement! 

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Nurse here.

Man in his 50s has brain tumor, has surgery to remove the tumor and hemicraneotomy to relieve intracranial pressure (bone taken from the skull and left out).

Man walks out of this and has normal life. Man is walking around minding his own business. Building explodes. Shrapnel flies. Shrapnel hits man, exactly where the burr hole was, travels through his brain and gets lodged behind his eye. Man still alive.

It baffles me that of all the people who could have been hit by shrapnel it happened to a guy with a missing skull part and it hit him exactly where it was missing. It baffles me even more that he survived all of this. k0rda

"The Canadian" on Netflix.... 

I'm an ER doc and went to see a hall patient with a complaint of "toe pain." Sat down to really talk with the guy since it was a lull in my shift. Said his toe hurt because he dropped a knife on it. Asked him, "were you cooking, or what?" He looks up from his foot and I notice a thin red line on his neck, below his Thyroid cartilage (Adams apple). My heart sank, then started pounding. It's really hard to slit your own throat without bleeding to death, but not impossible if you hit the trachea just right and it lines back up when you look down... which is what this guy had done. He had cut nearly all the way through his trachea (windpipe), and just the muscle in the back was preventing it from falling into his chest causing him to die by suffocation. Once that happened, I wouldn't be able to help him, not with intubation (breathing tube) or cricothyroidotomy (cutting into neck) since his trachea would be retracted into his chest.

VERY CALMY I call cadiothorasic surgery and ENT and got the guy to the OR (still looking at his toe to maintain the seal) for a tracheal repair. He was discharged to the psych floor 3 days later, since this was a suicide attempt, but did well. I knew he had already decided to live, since we had about a half hour to calmly talk to each other waiting for the OR to be ready. If he wanted to finish himself off, he would have just need to look at the ceiling!

Like many patients in the ER, his story was poignant, his acuity wasn't immediately obvious, and there is morbid humor associated with the case. When we tell our trainees about this case we refer to him as "the Canadian." Weremamma

This is why I don't fish! 

I was a resident at the time, it was the end of my shift, and I walked past a guy walking to the front desk with a damn harpoon in his head. It came in from below the chin, and got out through the top of the skull.

Dude wanted to go harpoon fishing, there was an accident in the boat, and he shot himself, so he turned the boat around, sailed to shore, got into his car and drove to the nearest hospital, where he parked, and walked into the reception. He was completely conscious, and couldn't speak for obvious reasons, but he wrote down eloquently.

I heard he was sent home the very next day, with no complications. not_another_feminazi

Breathe! 

When my dad was in residency, he was helping deliver babies. One came out stillborn. It was a rough time for everyone. Dad had to carry the baby away, and the entire time he carried the body away he did chest compressions. The baby started to breathe again. Dad had to bring the baby back. By all accounts, the likelihood of that working was EXTREMELY low, as they had already done everything they were supposed to for longer than they were supposed to do it.

The parents had to go through some trauma therapy after that. That's all I know about that story. YonderIPonder

He Lives!! 

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Our friend blacked out driving home, the last thing he remembers is pulling into the other lane to pass someone.

The car flipped twice and they had to cut him out from the top. He was unresponsive and the EMTs were ready to call him DOA. He broke a vertebrae in his neck and shattered his hand. They were floored when they realized he was still alive.

If it had been one vertebrae higher, he would have been paralyzed. As it was, he walked out of the hospital less than a week later.

He had been wearing his seatbelt which is literally the only reason he is alive today. somebodybannedme

Let it Flow... oops it cant! 

I know a gentleman who has both of his carotid arteries completely blocked off. He obviously gets enough blood flow from other vessels to keep going, and I'm sure these other routes have developed over the years, but still. I remember reading the scan results and having to go over them more than once, like,"100% blockage, ok that's bad. Wait, on the left AND the right?? Damn." Dendarri

Don't fish and Drink! 

Had a patient who was out having drinks and fishing at night. Well a wave hit and he stumbled right onto his pole, somehow impaling it through his eye and touching the back of his skull. Amazing that he survived it given the fishing pole sized crater through his brain on the MRI. aceofspadesx1

Bullseye! 

A twenty something boy got shot in the head, straight on mind you. Dude came to the hospital awake and talking. I personally saw the CT scan with the bullet still in his skull. My favorite part was he claimed it was a drive by shooting; I have never seen anything more centered on someone's forehead, dead center no joke, seems highly unlikely that it was random. center-of-a-stage

The Bionic 65 year old! 

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A year ago, I was involved with treating a 65 year old lady, walking across the street to get lunch one day, she got hit by a semi truck doing 45. Broke all the bones on the left side of her body, some of them in multiple places. She also had a Morell-Lavalee (skin separates off the underlying tissue) that involved about 70 percent of her left leg, from hip to ankle. Had a pelvic fracture that was open into her rectum with a large perineal wound. Took multiple surgeries over several weeks, but at her most recent follow up (accident happened a year ago), she was walking and basically back to normal. MrGogomofo

Lassie ain't playin'!

I had a dog brought in that had eaten a bunch of anticoagulant rat poison about a week prior. They didn't think anything of it at the time because the dog was "fine" immediately after. If a dog gets into anticoagulant poison, and you catch it right away, you can decontaminate them, and give vitamin K, and they'll usually be fine. By the time they decided their dog should see the vet, it was dripping blood from every orifice, in shock, and had a packed cell count of 6%. For some reason, they'd let me hospitalize, and start vitamin K, but they would not let me transfuse that dog. It was bleeding from its freaking tear ducts, too weak to lift its head, and I was so convinced it was going to bleed out in front of me if I couldn't buy it some time with some donor blood. That stubborn little pup pulled through, and was going strong when I saw her a year later for her regular checkup. trocarkarin

REDDIT

Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.

It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.

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