35 Times Doctors Had To Treat Disgusting And Disturbing Things At Work

We are not all cut out to be doctors for a number of reasons. Biology might not have been your jam in university, or medical school might have been too overwhelming to even consider. Doctors have to be intelligent, hard-working, passionate and have lots of stamina for the many years of education they must get through. But one more thing every good doctor needs is a very strong stomach.

Someone recently asked doctors on Reddit to share some of the weirdest things they have seen while on the job, and I will warn you right now, they have witnessed some crazy things. From the most disgusting to the most disturbing to stories featuring objects lodged in places they should have never been in the first place, we’ve gathered a bunch of these stories down below for you to read, and likely be shocked by. If you’re a medical professional, these posts might sound like an average Tuesday. But for most of us, these stories are horrifying (with a few hilarious ones sprinkled in as well). I would recommend that you don’t read this list while you are eating or drinking anything because your appetite might go running out the window, and if it’s too much for you to handle, I completely understand. 

But if you are fascinated by the gross and bizarre things doctors encounter all the time, we hope you enjoy this list. Be sure to upvote the stories that freak you out the most, and then let us know in the comments if you are a healthcare professional who has witnessed the unthinkable at work. And then if you’re interested in hearing even more patient stories from doctors, we’ve got a list of some of the funniest ones in this Bored Panda article right here.


Baby was born in a small village with all her bowels and stomach outside of her body(gastroschisis)
Mum wrapped the baby up in a swaddle and mum dad and baby walked 8hours to the nearest hospital
Caused quite a ruckus in the emergency department triage counter as they couldnt speak the local language and had to open the swaddle to sjow the triage nurse what they meant

But all was well, Baby survived and went home well

Image credits: ConferenceCreative89


Not a doc but was a medical researcher for a stretch. A homeless guy came in complaining of foot pain. He hadn’t taken his boots off for 18 months. Dr took one off, turned it upside down and a toe fell out.

Image credits: discostud1515


Not me, but a doctor friend. Woman came into the ER with a blanket over her, everyone assumed she was breastfeeding a baby. ….. turned out everyone was right except it was a RACCOON.

Image credits: HydrocarbonHearsay

Recently, my partner dislocated his finger quite badly, and it was terrifying to look at. It was clearly out of place and looked fake, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop staring at it. As we waited for about an hour in the emergency room, he paced around with this deformed excuse for a finger until a doctor was able to see him and straighten it out. While sitting in the waiting room, we saw some terrifying injuries, as well as an elderly man wearing one shoe incoherently babbling nonsense, laughing and yelling while laying on a stretcher. Considering what we witnessed over the course of an hour or two, I cannot imagine what doctors encounter during their entire careers…

My father is a doctor, and I have always greatly admired how much he cares about helping other people. He is so selfless, and every single day he makes an impact on other people’s lives throughout his work. I, however, never even considered following in his footsteps. Not because I intended to be a disappointment to my family, of course, but mainly because I could not stomach the thought of working in health care.


During my internship, a person casually shared that he had been drinking sanitizer for past 3 months.

Image credits: wafflepopup


When at highschool a mates mum was a nurse and told us about an old lady that came in complaining about sprouts growing down below, on examination there was in fact sprouts growing out of her. Turns out her memory wasn't the greatest and had used a potato to aid with a prolapsed uterus and forgotten about it.

Image credits: mishthegreat


Mexican doctor here. Got a call from a patient who wanted me to check on his wife since she had been laying in bed all morning. When I arrived I could smell rotten eggs and humidity in the room. Open the door and a body lays there, decomposed (probably 2-3 weeks), and the stench was strong because the mattress was all soggy due to the body liquids draining all over flesh. I took the poor old man outside and perform quick exploration, finding his left eye is moving uncontrollably and non-respondent to light. We call his family and I give them the news. Turns out he had been an epileptic his whole life but rarely took his treatment accordingly. Most probably he suffered a seizure that made him motor functional, but mentally challenged. One of the saddest cases I’ve encountered.

That night I took a long shower, called my parents to tell them I love them. Had to take the dog in bed just for comfort. 3 months past before I decided to do house visits again. Now I carry a hazmat mask in the car at any moment.

Image credits: Abundiz93

I am incredibly squeamish, so the idea of blood, pus, dislocated joints, and more is enough to send me running out of the building. I often close my eyes or skip entire scenes in films if something gross is happening. But somehow, doctors manage to build up an impressive tolerance to the shocking and the disgusting. Perhaps it takes a special type of person who is immune to being grossed out in the first place to be a doctor, or maybe it takes years of practice to build up a tolerance. But either way, it seems impossible to shock a good doctor. 

One writer for WebMD, Lisa Zamosky, explored this impressive tolerance doctor’s have for disgusting things and spoke to several about why it is so hard to shock them. "It's part of the job," says Dr. Elizabeth Houser, an Austin, Texas based urologist. "It's like if you're a mechanic and have to clean out a carburetor. It's just what you do." Dr. Houser explained that once a doctor makes it through their residency program, they have witnessed anything and everything you could possibly imagine. She recalls when she once had to “use [her] finger and manually ‘disimpact’ [a] patient” who had not had a bowel movement in nearly two weeks. "I got over my squeamishness of doing a rectal exam that day,” she says. 


Before we were married, me and my husband lived with his sister who's an ODP. She enjoyed telling us gross stories while we were eating dinner, which was fine for my nurse husband who also has gross things happen every day, but less so for me the one that stuck with me was the woman who had to have a bra surgically removed from her intestines because she'd eaten it, underwiring and all. I don't think I'll ever be free from the knowledge that there is someone, somewhere, who has eaten a bra.

Image credits: melasaur88


Anesthesiologist here. Part of me thinks I went into medicine because I'm inherently nosy. Anyway, in my last year of residency, we had this young patient and her husband. She thought she was pregnant, as her periods had stopped and her belly was getting bigger. I don't know why she didn't go and see an OB but....anyway. She was at home at a point where she thought she was "8 or 9 months pregnant", felt "something pop" and a sharp pain and thought she was going into labor. Then, her legs went numb and she could no longer walk -she and her husband didn't think that was normal so they checked into our ED. She had a huge yolk sac tumor with mets to the spine, liver, and other places and had to go for an emergent spinal decompression given her neurological symptoms. I wasn't the anesthesia resident for that case, but I was the one for her 2nd surgery when they wanted to remove the primary tumor, and resect some of the liver mets. Primary tumor was about the size of a basketball. I felt so bad for that young couple, but I still wonder to this day why they didn't get some sort of ultrasound or see an OB.

Edit: But also, I have plenty of "things in the butt" stories bc they often go to the OR if they can't be easily removed. I find it most fun when patients try to explain how it got up there....when we all KNOW how it got up there. "Oh no, no, I was washing potatoes in the bath tub and accidentally sat on one!" .....yeah, no, that's not how it happened.

Image credits: Biphasal


I was working on a ER when a youngh guy came screaming for help, he was carrying a black trash bag full of something, we asked what was going on and he proceeded to open the bag and showing a fully developed fetus, must have been like 30 weeks. I was wondering what was I supposed to do with an dead fetus on my ER when all of the sudden it started crying, so we hurried our asses up and saved that baby's life.

Last I knew it was a healthy girl.

One writer for WebMD, Lisa Zamosky, explored this impressive tolerance doctor’s have for disgusting things and spoke to several about why it is so hard to shock them. "It's part of the job," says Dr. Elizabeth Houser, an Austin, Texas based urologist. "It's like if you're a mechanic and have to clean out a carburetor. It's just what you do." Dr. Houser explained that once a doctor makes it through their residency program, they have witnessed anything and everything you could possibly imagine. She recalls when she once had to “use [her] finger and manually ‘disimpact’ [a] patient” who had not had a bowel movement in nearly two weeks. "I got over my squeamishness of doing a rectal exam that day,” she says. 


Paramedic here. Guy came into the ER with both foot bandaged and two bags in his hand. He told us he was mowing the lawn barefoot when he amputated all his toes. He then picked up 9 of the 10 toes (the 10th was eaten by his dog), put them in two separate bags of ice, took care of his wounds and drove by himself to the ER. We accomplished sewing back all of his 9 remaining toes.

Edit: of course only the remaining 9 toes


Weirdest? A completely missing inferior vena cava. Totally occluded with clot, but had done so over a long period of time such that the body developed collateral vessels running up along the rib cage to empty into the superior vena cava. Essentially the big blood tube that brings blood back to the heart no longer existed and was replaced by a bunch of small tubes.

Also saw a 4x4x4 cm outpouching at the upper small intestine which was filled with food resulting in obstructing the pancreatic ducts causing a pancreatitis.

Lastly I once took care of a guy who came into the ER complaining of neck pain. Heroin user. Turns out he’d inject into his neck and immediately nod off, inadvertently snapping the needle off and causing it to bury and get stuck. Dude had like 20 vertical needles all over his neck.


NAD but

Patient had been stabbed she was surprisingly calm about it and kept sticking her fingers in the wound I had to repeatedly tell her. Please stop. It's going to get infected. Surely enough it did.

One great thing about knowing that your doctors have seen it all is that we never should feel embarrassed or ashamed to open up to them about what’s going on with us. If you have a rash or injury that you’re scared to be honest about, don’t be. Your doctor has almost definitely seen worse. And even if they haven’t, you might make a great story for them to tell one day. They likely will be more intrigued with your situation than disgusted or shocked. Plus, if you can bring them something they don’t see every day, it might make their shift more exciting. How many people break their arms in an electric scooter accident or get a concussion playing football? What would really be interesting is getting an injury that would warrant you a spot on this list!


Removed 14 lbs of infected flesh from a man's groin including the scrotal sac. He refused to believe he was diabetic but had stepped on a small carpet anchoring nail and didn't feel it. The only time he could figure it happened was when he recarpeted his house about 10 months prior. The filth from years old carpet got lodged in his foot and coursed up his leg. We saved his testicles at least by sewing them up into his abdomen, but as you can imagine, we only slightly prolonged his ability to need them.


Patient came in with worsening lower limb ulcers and had been dressing them himself. Very poor social circumstances, poor self care. The stench was bad enough before the homemade dressings even came off, the kind of smell that sticks to everything. Once the dressings were taken down and the worst of the fumes were released, we hoped it was uphill from there. We were wrong. On closer inspection of the wounds, it somehow seemed it was moving. Tiny yellow maggots. Hundreds of them, dipping in and out of the flesh. Sterile maggots can be used therapeutically in certain cases to debride dead tissue but there was absolutely nothing sterile about this. One of the nurses took it upon herself to go at the legs with a tweezers and seemed to enjoy the never ending game of reverse-whac-a-mole. I left her to it. He got better.

Image credits: butttwhyyyy


Medic here. Went to a rural hospital for a clinical day (as opposed to my usual inner city trauma center I work in, which is a different brand of crazy) and we had to get an eyeball out of a woman's vagina.

Apparently she was getting ready for a fight, and needed to keep her prosthetic eye safe. So obviously the best way to do that is to pop it out and stick it up in nature's pocket. Well it turns out that both the object and its container had enough lube to make it very difficult for her to remove.


My wife worked in the emergency department. A guy came in with life threateningly severe sepsis due to injecting his arms and legs with *plant fertiliser* in an effort to grow his muscles. You can't make that s**t up.


Surgery rotation in third year med school: stat call from ER about a guy who had lost a vibrator in his rectum. Physical exam: NAD; palpable vibration noted LLQ abdomen. The vibrator was still on.

Patient stated the vibrator had been fully charged prior to “use” and would last for hours.

Ultimately the attending surgeon wanted to avoid surgery due to the still-on vibrator leading to potential complications.

The residents made the surgical intern manually pull it out to avoid surgery. Intern ended up getting it out along with a couple of hotel-sized shampoo bottles.

Patient discharged home from ER in stable and improved condition.

Image credits: zee4600


A very obese woman not realizing she was pregnant. That's not unusual or weird really. The part that's weird was that she put it together that she must have gotten pregnant from her husband's birthday where she surprised him with sex. She had her neighbors prop her legs open with a board and she waited in bed like that for him to come home.

Image credits: JitWeasel


- Patient capsicum sprayed by the cops, given a jug of water for her eyes, she throws it over the cop and starts masturbating with the jug.
- Patient brought in by ambulance with the presenting complaint of hair loss
- Comatose dog given a shot of calcium (no vet in town) and immediately starts running around the ward.
- deodorant can up the a**e
- CPR that was so effective that the guy woke up while his chest is being compressed and tells his wife he isn't ready to die

Just off the top of my head...

Image credits: shallowblue


Obligatory not a doctor but a paramedic -

Was taking an old lady home from the hospital in the middle of the night. Super sweet, seemed well put together. After getting off the freeway, we had to go through about 8 miles of underbrush on a dirt road that google maps didn't even recognize. When we finally got close, we realized we were in a swamp due to the 7 foot tall reeds surrounding the ambulance. We finally found her driveway and unloaded her. Her place was this huge, plantation style house practically spilling out books. Completely isolated from society.

Literally just mounds of books as well as antique statues, vases, paintings, taxidermied animals, even an old musket. We had to clear a path in her living room to let her off the stretcher. Apparently one of her dogs slipped past us as we were making our way in, so we had to spend 20 minutes trying to get the thing back inside. As we were leaving and putting the stretcher back together, we see a pair of glowing yellow eyes blinking at us from the brush behind the ambulance. We throw the stretcher in, book it, and don't talk about it again. The entire experience still feels like a fever dream and I'm pretty sure we almost got murdered by a mountain lion

Image credits: Gherton


This is a story from my mom who was an RN for decades as a hospice nurse but worked in a small country hospital for several years when she was just starting out. While this story has a little gore in it, the weird thing is at the end:

One day a farmer came in from the field.

He was working on a disc tiller and one of the large metal discs fell off onto his head and sliced it open so the grey matter was visible. After he arrived at the ER, they got the guy onto a bed and he was fully conscious and talking. They were waiting for the helicopter to come take him to the "big" hospital that was probably an hour away by ambulance.

When the chopper arrived, the farmer sat up in bed so they could transfer him to the stretcher and a small piece of brain tissue fell onto the pillow. My mom pointed it out and the doc just picked it up and threw it in the trash can.

Because it was a small hospital and was rural, the same doctor did all the follow-up for the guy after he got home.

For the rest of his life he could remember up to New Year's eve 1961 and then New Years day in 1963. All of 1962 was completely erased from his mind as though it had never happened.

My mom always wondered if 1962 was in that small piece of brain the doctor threw in the can.

EDIT: I called my mom to verify this story and I guess that part of it had been modified in my own mind - my personal mandella effect. I'm leaving the story above so people can see what my mother corrected me about:

* The guy was barely conscious when arriving - not talking and wide awake - she said it was like he was holding onto consciousness until he realized he was at the hospital and then he was out.
* He had fractured his skull (those discs are huge) and there was like a "flap" of it that his scalp was still holding in place (for the most part).
* The whole hospital seemed to be involved d/t it being one of the largest traumas they had ever experienced.
* My mother was one of those given the task of cleaning up the room afterwards and she said that when she got home my dad (who is squeemish around blood) saw her cleaning her work clothes and passed out.

Image credits: jedimasterlenny


Honestly so many things that I wouldn't even bat an eye at anymore, but people in the general public always get a kick out of things like:

- Shaving cream can up a*s

- mechanical pencil up penis

- A metal ring stuck around penis, and the emergency department didn't actually have the equipment to cut it off, so a jeweler was called

- plastic baggy of drugs up a*s

- someone who had a fetish for self amputating their penis

- someone was stabbed with their guts hanging out by a friend, but the friend was there?? And they were cool with each other?? Said they just got into a heated argument. Dudes were from a rougher town. 

Actually I think I was exposed to quite a bit in my medical training nowthat I think about it..

Image credits: niriz


Not a doctor but used to work in the OR. Had a guy come in with stomach/bowel issues. He was pretty young so it was concerning. Opened him up and found a toothpick sideways in his bowel causing blockage. He had no idea when he ate something with a toothpick

Image credits: No-Ability7424


A friend of mine had a patient who had a domino shaped like MICKEY MOUSE imbedded in the shaft of his penis. I am also a nurse in the ED, have had people with potatoes, light bulbs, and drugs up their a*s but that story takes the cake .


Did an autopsy on an obese man found in a ditch in the middle of summer.
Fat turned to green liquid soap (saponification).
Abdomen, mouth and nostrils were crawling with maggots.
The smell of perfume and rotten flesh is unforgettable 30yrs later.


450lbs woman bleeding from the belly button, which was obviously a very deep innie.
I resorted to a large speculum to visualize then cauterized the bleeding vessel.

Image credits: DrLaZone


Nurse here: a guy who let his dog lick his diabetic ulcer on his foot because “the dog liked it”. He got a nasty infection, led to sepsis.

Image credits: anon


As a resident I had a Naturopath with a ruptured brain aneurysm call a fellow Naturopath to help him heal it.

I kid you not it looked like what people call Voodoo in the movies (I've never seen actual Voodoo before).

The guy ended up declining and we took him to the OR. He ended up as an organ donor.


Had a guy come in after missing hemodialysis for a month and was eating a plate of imaginary food. He at least offered some.

Image credits: drzf


Guy broke a spoon in half. Swallowed the handle. He was threatening to bear down and perforate his bowel if he was not given IV pain meds.


Not a doctor, but a paramedic. We were in a crazy busy metro system and we get called out for eye pain. 9 times out of 10, calls like these don't really require an emergency room, it'll be like an eyelash in an eye or something. I stride into the house and casually introduce myself and ask what the problem seems to be. The lady turns to me, showing her right eye bulging out about 3x further than it should and says "my eye popped out of my head".

This is a new one on me. No trauma, no nothing, just walking around and suddenly POP! Her eye's out of her skull. Holy crow, lady, let's get you to the ER. Turns out, she had a super dangerous clot called a cavernous sinus thrombosis. Basically, it clogged one of the drainage vessels for the brain and built up back pressure until her eye popped out. The doc said that most patients with her condition were in no state to have a conversation, so it was a marvel that she was up and walking and talking and complaining about her eye.


Not a doctor. Was a paramedic student in an ER. Oncoming crew came to get me so I could see the patient. If that happened you knew it was a good one. On top of that the crew themselves kept talking about how f****d it was, which could only mean it was pretty bad.

Guy working at a dye factory got his hand caught in a mechanical dye press. It was exerting over 1000 lbs of force for over 5 minutes on his hand. By the time they got it out it was partially amputated and I cannot stress this enough, flat as a piece of paper. The 3 middle fingers were just cartoonish looking in how flat they were. The guy could still semi wiggle what was there and could still definitely move his index and thumb. The surgeons were discussing wtf they were going to do when I was in there. And the general consensus I was getting was nobody knew wtf to do. I saw one of them prepping the guys wife to see him. And they were just like idk how to say this other than be prepared it's not good. And be aware this may have changed his life forever. To this day I cannot get over how unreal it looked. Like I legitimately thought it was fake or I wasn't seeing it right.

Image credits: RlordandsaviorJeebus


Nurse here. Before I became a nurse I worked as a nurse aide on the ortho floor. Little old lady comes in with a broken tib/fib, bone sticking out of her leg. Goes to OR and they fix her up, she gets discharged home. About two-three months later I'm doing a rotation on the burn/wound unit and I recognize her name on the board. I go in with the doc to assist him and he unwraps her dressing. You can see her skin on about 60% of her leg and gray muscle on the rest. He gently presses on a part of the skin and what looks like cottage cheese comes pouring out. Basically her adipose tissue had somewhat liquefied and was coming out in clumps. That same day another patient came in for his dressing change on his leg. They unwrapped it and from midthigh down his legs was grayish green. Doc asked him if he's ready to have it amputated and the guy points to his overnight bag in the chair and says "already packed and ready to lose it."


Maggots all over a dude’s leg. I’m not talking about a few, like the amount you see on a decaying body. You can hear the noise and the waves of movement from all the maggots. Anyway, the guy codes after paramedics drop him off so we do CPR, except maggots are flying everywhere now. The smell, oh my goodness, I will never forget the smell… Housekeeping had to go in with biohazard suits to clean up that area of the emergency department and we couldn’t use it for a few days.


Med student. A man put a key chain ring around his penis, which was now necrosing. He was convinced his penis would fall off and a new bigger one would grow in its stead. He had a psychiatric diagnosis as well (obviously).

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