back to top

8 Weird And Shocking Ways People Ended Up In Hospital In 2015

The BMJ Case Reports journal records strange and unexpected illnesses and injuries. Here are some of the strangest from last year. Warning: Maybe don't read this while you're eating your lunch.

Posted on

1. This 4-year-old boy who'd managed to get a 2-inch pin stuck through his kidney.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

He'd come to hospital with pain in his right side and fever and chills for three months. X-ray showed a thing that "looked like a bobby pin" in his upper abdomen.

Advertisement

She'd been pulling her hair out and eating it. The hairball weighed about 125g, roughly the same as an apple, and was still in the shape of her stomach when they got it out.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

The medical term for a hairball is a "trichobezoar". And don't worry, the little girl was fine.

3. This guy who swallowed his false teeth and didn't realise for five days.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

He had a seizure while he was asleep and swallowed most of his denture. He found the rest on the floor, but couldn't work out what had happened to the bulk of it, until a few days later he started feeling food get caught in his upper chest.

He swallowed the big bit with the red arrow.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

The case report goes on about how they removed it after "much difficulty" because it was really stuck in there and kept slipping back when they thought they'd got hold of it with the forceps. But eventually they got it out.

He had to be fed through a tube for 10 days, but after that there were no more problems, apparently.

4. This woman who blew her nose so hard she popped her eye out.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

The swelling around her eye is caused by a fracture of the orbital bone, which itself was caused by "increased intranasal pressure during nose blowing".

But if you've got a cold at the moment, don't worry too much about it happening to you. Only two cases of anything like this have been recorded since 1900.

Advertisement

5. This herbalist who drank a hefty dose of poison to help her get to sleep at night.

commons.wikimedia.org / Via "Atropa belladonna Prague 2011 2" by Karelj - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Most people take herbal medicines thinking that, even if they don't work, at least they won't do any harm – but that's not the case. In an attempt to treat her insomnia, a 50-year-old trained herbalist drank a small dose (50ml, roughly a double shot) of a preparation of belladonna, which turned out to be equivalent to a large dose of atropine, an extremely dangerous poison which is used by doctors as a muscle relaxant.

Her husband found her "giggling" and confused, and when she was taken to hospital her heart was beating dangerously fast. Despite the "almost fatal" poisoning, there were no long-term effects.

6. This guy who broke his leg by trying too hard at yoga.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

While trying a particularly difficult yoga position – the Marichyasana stance B, pictured – this chap "heard a loud cracking sound", fell over, and was in incredible pain and unable to stand up.

He had broken his femur quite impressively and they had to put a foot-long metal pin in his leg.

Five months later, though, he was walking almost without pain and doing yoga again – although doing "less strenuous postures".

You have to be incredibly unlucky to break your leg like this in yoga, and it turned out that he had probably had a stress fracture already, which he'd thought was just a muscle strain.

7. A woman who (apparently) had so many head lice that she was running out of blood.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons / Via upload.wikimedia.org

Head lice feed on human blood. It's not been confirmed that they can cause anaemia – a shortage of red blood cells – but long-term infestations and anaemia are often seen together. Doctors couldn't find any other reason that this homeless and depressed 23-year-old woman was losing so much blood.

They treated her for the lice, but they couldn't confirm whether it worked, because she never showed up for follow-up treatment.

8. This woman who grew a giant third breast.

BMJ Case Reports / Via casereports.bmj.com

"Polymastia", having more than the usual two breasts, isn't that uncommon – around 2-6% of women do. Usually the third breast is little more than a mole, and often women don't notice that they have it.

But after her first pregnancy, this 41-year-old woman's "accessory breast", which was inside the skin of her left breast, began to grow rapidly, until it was three times as large as the right one.

CORRECTION

The bobby pin was removed using a surgical procedure called a laparotomy. An earlier version of this piece misnamed the procedure.

Tom Chivers is a science writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Tom Chivers at tom.chivers@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted