These Out of the Ordinary Medical Reports Are Made of Nightmares

23. Hair splinters are not as common as wood splinters. A fallen strand of hair seems harmless enough. It’s just hair, after all, and you shed… Trista - January 5, 2020
Splinters are often found in hands and feet. Shutterstock

23. Hair splinters are not as common as wood splinters.

A fallen strand of hair seems harmless enough. It’s just hair, after all, and you shed a few dozen strands every single day. So what could be the harm from a few hair strands? This patient found out the hard way. In rare cases, loose hair can become embedded in the skin, causing a hair splinter. For a 35-year-old man in Brazil, that was the case. He went to the emergency room with a mysterious pain in his right heel that got worse when he walked. Anyone would think that it was just a splinter of some kind under his skin.

Upon initial assessment, doctors could not see anything wrong. However, a closer look revealed a single strand of hair that was attached to his foot. The man was diagnosed with cutaneous pili migrans, a rare condition in which a hair shaft or fragment becomes embedded in the skin’s surface. While it can be excruciating, the man felt immediate relief once removed. Don’t take hair for granted; it could end up giving you severe pain if you’re not careful.

Your iris is the colored part of your eye. Shutterstock

22. A collapsed iris is a rare condition.

The iris is the colored part of your eye and is not something one might think of as being able to collapse. It’s the part that people like to look at the most since it’s the most intriguing, and it’s what separates individuals from each other. It’s why it’s an essential aspect of your birth certificate and driver’s license. However, this is precisely what can occur with specific eye injuries. For a man in Taiwan, an injury caused his iris to detach from its usual place and droop downward.

He went into an eye clinic after being struck in his left eye with a bungee cord. Just the thought of that alone is excruciating and makes his situation easier to understand. Bungee cords are quite strong and very elastic. The man reported pain and double vision in his eye. He was diagnosed with traumatic iridodialysis, which occurs when a blunt trauma causes the iris to detach from the circular structure behind it. He required surgery to reposition his iris and restore his pupil shape. Thankfully after the surgery, his eyesight improved.

Did you know that your blood is hugely revealing to your overall health? Shutterstock

21. Your blood is not supposed to appear ‘milky.’

Diabetes is a condition that requires the blood to be checked regularly to determine blood sugar levels. People suffering from the disease are used to their fingers being pricked, but he didn’t get the results he was supposed to for one patient. For a 39-year-old man with diabetes, his blood was so thick with fat that it turned a milky color. He went to the emergency room with nausea, vomiting, headaches, and decreased alertness and communicated that he could not correctly take his medications.

Tests revealed he had extremely high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in his blood. Initially, doctors tried to filter the fat out of the man’s blood with a dialysis machine, but the engine became clogged due to the too-high blood fat levels. To save his life, his medical team had to withdraw his blood and filter it manually. Perhaps in the future, he’ll take better care of his health and eat less fatty foods, lest he ends up in the hospital again.

Acupuncture is usually a safe alternative medicine treatment. Shutterstock

20. Acupuncture is a needling technique that is used for the treatment of a variety of health issues.

Many individuals utilize acupuncture as an alternative medicinal treatment. It’s often seen as a great alternative to relieving pain instead of taking over-the-counter medications. It’s non-habit forming, and there are no side effects to the acupuncture procedure. In rare instances, individuals who receive acupuncture may develop an infection. In Australia, a 67-year-old man developed a severe bacterial infection after completing a five-week acupuncture course to relieve his neck arthritis pain and stiffness.

After feeling feverish and ill for several days, doctors confirmed the man was infected with a bacteria that developed into septic arthritis. After being hospitalized for eight days and given antibiotics for six weeks, his infection cleared. The condition was not caused by something that the acupuncturist did wrong. Instead, it was likely caused by the non-sterilization of the needles between patients. It’s best to do your research and ensure that you’re entering a clean facility when you’re having devices of any kind inserted into your body.

Many people play games on their smartphones. Shutterstock

19. Too much of the popular game, Candy Crush, can cause unexpected health issues.

While many people play puzzle games on their phones to relax or pass the time, many are unaware of potential, unexpected health impacts. One of the more common health impacts is poor sleep. As people become more addicted to these games, they stay up longer to beat the next level. Smartphones use blue light, which makes the brain more alert. Combine this with late-night gaming on the phone, and it’s a recipe for poor sleeping habits.

One California man tore a tendon in his thumb after playing the popular game Candy Crush too much. The 29-year-old went to the doctor because his left thumb was hurting, and he was experiencing difficulty moving it. He let his medical team know that he played the popular puzzle game on his smartphone all day for six to eight weeks with his left hand. While typically, these injuries are quite painful, he did not experience any pain while playing. It has been shown that video games may numb people’s pain and contribute to video game addiction. That’s why it’s best to take breaks from your phone during the day so that you don’t exhaust the fine muscles in your hands. Being at the computer all day has also caused people to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

Did you know that food allergies can develop over time? Shutterstock

18. Food allergies occur when your body overreacts to a particular food.

Most allergies are something people are born with. That’s why babies are put through certain scratch tests to determine what they’re allergic to from a young age. Unfortunately, these tests can’t predict everything and specific allergies can begin to develop over time. An eight-year-old boy in Canada mysteriously became allergic to fish and nuts after receiving a blood transfusion. He had no history of being allergic to any foods and was undergoing treatment for a type of brain cancer.

A few weeks after receiving a blood transfusion, he experienced a severe allergic reaction within ten minutes of eating salmon. He was treated and was released. However, four days later, he was back in the emergency department after eating a chocolate peanut butter cup. After a blood test and a skin prick test, it was uncovered that as a result of the blood transfusion, the boy was allergic, at least temporarily, to peanuts and salmon. That was due to his blood donor having these allergies prior, which passed the affliction on to the poor boy.

Porcupines are famed for their quills that are used to help defend against natural predators. Shutterstock

17. An ingested porcupine quill pokes a hole in a woman’s aorta.

Although porcupines are herbivores, they are hazardous animals to deal with. Their spines are equipped with barbs on the ends so that they continue to work their way deeper and deeper into the skin until it becomes nearly impossible to get them out. That’s why most predators shy away from these large rodents. After experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain that worsened whenever she laid down, a woman went to the emergency room. She had gone to a different emergency room with the same symptoms a week prior and was sent home after being told she was experiencing a panic attack.

Her second emergency room visit uncovered that she had fluid in the sac around her heart. Doctors also noticed a poorly defined defect on the wall of her aorta. The hospital providers drained the fluid around the woman’s heart, only for it to accumulate three days later. Left stunned, doctors decided to operate to explain the issue with her aorta. They noticed a black, sharp object. The woman later communicated that her dog had gotten tangled with a porcupine a few weeks prior, and she must have ingested a quill without realizing it.

While they may sting a little, cat scratches are typically harmless. Shutterstock

16. Cat scratch disease can be transmitted from cats to their owners.

Cats are supposed to provide their owners with peace of mind and eliminate any stress that they have. Even their purring has been shown to work as a form of sound therapy to heal the body. But for one cat owner, her problems were only beginning. After a week-long fever, a 46-year-old woman in the Netherlands went to the hospital with tiredness, night sweats, and pain in her upper right abdomen. The woman underwent several tests, including an ultrasound and CT scan that revealed large nodules around her pancreas and near the top part of her small intestine. There were also lesions throughout her body.

Initially, doctors feared the worst – cancer. Cancer can be a death sentence for most people, as the treatment options are not only painful and debilitating; they can also be costly. However, a biopsy of one of the nodules did not show cancer but rather an infectious disease. Her blood work specified the particular species of bacteria that is found in cats. Typically, cats get the bacteria as kittens from fleas and transmit the bacteria if they bite or scratch a person.

Waking Up from Sleep and Speaking in a Different Language
Waking Up from Sleep and Speaking in a Different Language. Getty

15. Waking Up and Speaking in a Different Language

It’s an aspiration for most people to learn a second language. It can make them more versatile in the working world and travel to a foreign country that much easier. But there are some people afflicted with a syndrome that gives them an entirely different accent. The condition is most common after some kind of brain injury has occurred. It results in a speech impediment that sounds like you’re talking in a foreign accent.

Doctors have noticed that this syndrome occurs in particular cases: a Japanese person will suddenly have a Korean accent; a British person has a French accent; Spanish to Hungarian. What makes this syndrome even more confusing is that it is more likely to happen in women than men, usually between the ages of twenty-five and forty-nine. There are some instances where, in the absence of any brain injury, the cause of the sudden accent change is psychogenic, meaning that there is some psychological disturbance in the brain unrelated to neurological damage. It can be both intriguing and frightening to wake up with a different accent on your tongue suddenly.

Proteus syndrome of The Elephant Man
Proteus syndrome of The Elephant Man. Scraps from the Loft

14. Growing Disproportionately

As babies, the cells in our bodies dictate how we grow. Limbs, head, feet, fingers, and toes; it’s expected that everything will grow at the right rate so that it looks mostly symmetrical when we’re born. But there can be some complications in the womb, especially with the AKT1 gene that can cause problems. And that problem is called Proteus syndrome. The different kinds of tissues in the body, including bones and skin, are growing at different rates in various areas of the body. At birth, there are no signs that the syndrome is even present. But as the child gets older, the symptoms become quite clear.

One hand could end up being longer and larger than the other, for example. But there are more serious underlying conditions arising from this syndrome, such as poor eyesight, being more prone to seizures, growth of noncancerous tumors, increased formation of blood clots, and mental disabilities. The most famous Proteus syndrome case is Joseph Carey Merrick, more popularly known as “The Elephant Man.”

purple urine bag
Purple urine bag. Craig Hospital

13. Bright Purple Urine Isn’t Normal

People go to the bathroom every single day and think nothing of it. They’re used to seeing yellow urine in the toilet before they flush, so you can imagine the horror on one woman’s face when she went to the bathroom and discovered that she had purple urine. Living in France, she was hospitalized for some condition, and after spending ten days in their care, she found that the urine in her catheter bag was purple.

It’s a very rare condition that only takes place when catheters are being used. It’s the result of a chemical reaction between urine and a specific bacteria. The bacteria react with indoxyl sulfate and convert into blue and red compounds passed in the urine. The condition itself is not something that causes harm, save for shock. With increased hydration, the purple pee gradually returned to normal, and the woman was fine once more. Don’t be shocked if you end up in the hospital and experience the same thing.

Dark blue blood
Dark blue blood. iStock

12. Not Really Royalty

Whether you’re donating blood or you need to have blood tests done for your doctor, you expect the fluid that’s coming out to be red. That is the result of the presence of hemoglobin, the compound that gives blood its red color. Having it be any other color means that there is something incredibly wrong. Pink blood is usually another color that blood can be, which is generally a sign of anemia. But what you don’t expect is to see blue blood.

It was a myth centuries ago that royalty members had blue blood because that meant they were more rich. But that’s not the case. For one patient, it was a sign of his poor health. The twenty-five-year-old man entered the hospital complaining of fatigue and shortness of breath and, after taking his blood, the hospital staff discovered that his blood was a dark blue. Medical tests determined that he had “methemoglobinemia,” which is where the hemoglobin in the blood wasn’t effectively releasing oxygen into the rest of the body’s organs.

Penile ossification
Penile Ossification X-Ray. Live Science

11. A Literal Bone-r Isn’t What This Man Wanted

Ossification is the natural process of bone formation within the body. It is basically how our skeleton is formed. However, ossification also refers to normal tissues becoming bone, which isn’t so great. That is caused by calcium salts developing in the soft tissues, turning them into bone. Many cases of ossification, however, seem to be the body’s immune response to trauma. Depending on the type of tissue that’s being transformed, it can become incredibly painful and even debilitating.

For one sixty-three-year-old man, he was developing ossification in one of the strangest places. He took a fall and was admitted to the emergency room for X-Rays to ensure that he hadn’t broken anything. But what the doctors discovered was that the man was experiencing ossification along the shaft of his penis. That could be extremely painful since the penis is mostly made up of soft tissue that requires some flexibility. Having the tissues in his penis turns to bone reduces blood flow throughout the shaft.

Junk foods. Shutterstock

10. Going Blind From Eating the Wrong Food

Taking care of one’s health is essential for the body to function. That means eating the right foods that are good for your body to continue to function correctly. Fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, and grains provide the vitamins and minerals needed to be fit and healthy daily. However, getting a teenager to eat healthily is one of the biggest problems any parent has to face. But the eating habits of a fussy teenager had to be taken seriously when he literally started to go blind.

The teenager in England would eat nothing but fried chips and junk food. The first sign of his poor health was around fourteen when he had deficient vitamin B12 in his blood. By the time he was fifteen, his hearing and sight started to diminish. By seventeen, he was legally blind. His poor diet led to the atrophy of his optic nerves, which could not be reversed. He was eventually prescribed nutritional supplements to prevent his vision from getting any worse, and he was referred to mental health services to deal with his eating disorder.

Semen injection to cure back pain. Science Alert

9. Bodily Fluids Are Not the Cure

It’s always best to trust medical professionals to help you with any maladies you may have. They would know better since they went to medical school for several years to commit the details of the body to their minds. So why one man decided to take his health into his hands in this manner is unbelievable: he believed that injecting himself with his sperm would cure his condition. The thirty-three-year-old man from Ireland was suffering from back pain and decided to purchase a syringe online. He would then inject his own sperm into his arm to alleviate the pain for the next eighteen months.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work, and the only thing he gave himself was an infection in his arm. As doctors treated him, they could find no source online that would inspire the man to consider this viable treatment option. However, they would never get their answers, as the man would discharge himself from the hospital as soon as his pain had subsided. Their questions would never be answered.

Hiccups Were Caused by Large Tumor
Persistent hiccups were caused by large tumor. Live Science

8. Hiccups With No End in Sight

Hiccups can be quite problematic and painful if they go on for too long. Many people try several tricks to get rid of them, such as drinking upside down or holding their breath. Hiccups are usually caused by the diaphragm’s involuntary contractions, a wall of tissue situated under the lungs that help with breathing. For one young man, none of these remedies helped him. In fact, his case of hiccups was so profound that he would hiccup for almost fourteen straight hours every single day. That would occur for many years, leaving doctors wholly baffled.

After many tests later, doctors eventually discovered that there was a tumor growing on his brainstem. That was causing involuntary muscle spasms in his diaphragm that just wouldn’t go away. Thankfully, once the tumor was removed, the hiccups went away entirely. A good thing too, because if the doctors had waited two more years, the tumor would have killed the young man.

Howard Engel “The man who forgot how to read”. CBC

7. When The Word No Longer Makes Sense

Many people believe that they have a book living within them, that when they’re older, they’ll write books about their lives for other people to read. This dream became a reality for one man, but it wasn’t because he wanted to write a beautiful memoir. No, Howard Engel was a trained author who forgot how to read. How could such a strange thing happen?

Engel went to sleep one day and woke up the next, unable to read the newspaper he held in his hands. It was likely a very frightening experience for him. It was discovered that he had developed something called “word blindness” due to a stroke he had suffered. He was still capable of writing in a strange twist of fate, but he was unable to read his own words. Through many months of therapy, he slowly regained the ability to read his own writing, but he could no longer read anything else.

Allien hand syndrome
Allien hand syndrome. Penn State University

6. My Hand is Not My Own

Daily, most people are aware of their limbs and where they are. It’s how they get around in daily life, maneuvering through their homes, driving their cars, and ensuring that they’re not in danger. But there is a small number of people who don’t get to experience this. They suffer from what is called alien hand syndrome. That is where a hand or a leg acts of its own free will, involuntarily. It is more than just twitches and jerks; a limb will perform tasks that are unintentional.

That is not a movement disorder by any means but is more neurological and is more closely connected to frontal lobe dysfunction. Other tests have shown that this could also be the result of network disruption in the brain. Furthermore, it can lead to a loss of inhibition by the muscles in that limb. People who suffer from this syndrome tend to consider their alien limbs as separate entities and even give them names. Although there is no cure for the condition, medications and various therapies can help keep the limb’s impulsiveness under control.

Capgras Syndrome. True Meds

5. People Believe They’re Surrounded by Doppelgangers

There are two forms of imposter syndrome. The one that has become more common online is where people question their own accomplishments by convincing themselves that they are frauds, trying to be something they’re not. That can be debilitating for self-esteem, but it is the lesser of two evils than another kind of imposter syndrome. Sufferers believe that someone they love or know has been replaced by a double or an imposter.

Also known as Capgars syndrome, it is a serious neuropsychiatric condition that is marked by delusion. Studies showed that those who suffered from this condition had a neurodegenerative disease of some kind; most of them suffered from Lewy body disease (including symptoms of dementia, visual hallucinations, and a decrease in cognitive ability). There is no known cure for the condition, but it can be regulated with antipsychotic medication, therapy, and medications for memory and anxiety.

Cotard syndrome
Cotard syndrome. Psychiatry online

4. This Isn’t the Land of the Zombies

Zombie movies and television shows took consumers by storm. It was enticing to see who would survive by the end and what kind of grisly fates they would meet. It’s understandable that these are works of fiction and that zombies aren’t real. But for those who suffer from Cotard syndrome, their view of the world is hugely different.

The syndrome is also known as walking corpse syndrome. Sufferers believe that they are dying, they don’t exist, or there are pieces of their bodies that are missing, despite being able to seem attached to their bodies. Medical doctors also report that patients seem to have delusions of immortality and will become more reckless with their health, believing that they cannot die. This syndrome usually occurs due to some other neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or dementia, just to name a few. It’s also more likely to occur in women, and it’s rarely ever found in teenagers.

Boy couldn't sleep
The boy couldn’t sleep. Med Izzy Journal

3. Being Unable to Go To Sleep

It can be pretty easy for children to tire themselves out after a long day of playing. They’re usually in their beds around 8 p.m., napping away and giving their parents some much-needed respite from taking care of them all day. For one four-year-old boy, this wasn’t the case. His mother discovered that he would be awake for as long as twenty-four hours. She noticed this when he was born, but after taking him to the doctor, they didn’t offer any kind of relief.

It took a long time before the boy was eventually diagnosed with a rare condition called Chiari malformation. That is where the brain is squeezing on the spinal column, leading to strangulation. The spinal column controls the basic functions of regulating sleep as well as breathing. To help the boy, surgery was required to alleviate this pressure on his spinal column. Surgeons made an incision at the base of his skull to remove the bone surrounding the brain stem and spinal column. However, they would wait at least a year to see if the surgery helped the boy’s condition or not.

Eye picture close shot
A close shot eye picture. Gizmodo

2. Eye Worms Like You Won’t Believe

The thought of anything going into one’s eye is enough to send shivers down one spine. Even putting in eye drops can be an ordeal for some sensitive people about their eyes. For one medical anthropologist, she had more to bargain with than just eye drops. After taking a jog one day, she noticed that her eyes were frequently watering, and she didn’t know why.

What she hadn’t realized was that she’d jogged through a cloud of face flies. She reportedly had cattle and thought nothing of the flies that were buzzing around. Unfortunately, her path through them resulted in a few of the flies’ worms ending up in her eyeballs. She checked her eyes with a light and a magnifying mirror and discovered three “glittering” objects moving around in her eye. Thankfully, she was able to remove the worms on her own without any repercussions. A good thing too, because if left in, they could cause some severe damage to her sight.

Excessive daytime sleeping
Excessive sleeping. iStock

1. Beauty Sleep Could End Up Being Too Much

It can feel like a vacation to just stay in bed all day and sleep the hours away. That is especially true after a very long and hard week at work. It’s a desire to get away from responsibilities and just let the world pass them by. But for some people, they have no control over when they wake up. Called Sleeping beauty syndrome – medically as Kleine-Levin Syndrome – people can sleep for up to twenty hours a day. How they get anything done is beyond our realms of understanding, but it becomes challenging for them to be involved in everyday life, such as holding jobs.

People suffering from this condition are hypersomnolence, sleeping for long periods, and only getting up to eat or go to the bathroom. There is no way for them to tell when it’s going to happen, as each episode takes place without notice. As a result of all of this sleeping, they can become quite depressed. Some spells can last for a few days, while some can extend for months on end. What’s strange is that between episodes, sufferers are actually in pretty good health. The only thing that seems to suffer is their memory of anything during the attack.


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