This is the worst thing I've read in my entire life, so brace yourselves — the Gothamist has unearthed a Reddit thread asking doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to share their "most gory, disgusting or worst medical experience." As one might predict, it's not something you'd ever want to read or think about unless you're either masochistic or dangerously curious (being the latter, I did, and I quite literally almost passed out at my desk).
Reddit user banzaipanda posted a long tale about a "general surgery" call that quickly went downhill. I'll spare you the preliminary details — all you really need to know is that it involved what seemed to be a "pocket of pus" near the patient's anus — until, in the eloquent words of the original poster, "all hell broke loose" (WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE FILLED WITH ABJECTION FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE):
Unbeknownst to us, the infection had actually tunneled nearly a foot into her abdomen, creating a vast cavern full of pus, rotten tissue, and fecal matter that had seeped outside of her colon. This godforsaken mixture came rocketing out of that little incision like we were recreating the funeral scene from Jane Austen's "Mafia!".
We all wear waterproof gowns, face masks, gloves, hats, the works — all of which were as helpful was rainboots against a firehose. The bed was in the middle of the room, an easy seven feet from the nearest wall, but by the time we were done, I was still finding bits of rotten flesh pasted against the back wall. As the surgeon continued to advance his blade, the torrent just continued. The patient kept seizing against the ventilator (not uncommon in surgery), and with every muscle contraction, she shot more of this brackish gray-brown fluid out onto the floor until, within minutes, it was seeping into the other nurse's shoes.
I was nearly twelve feet away, jaw dropped open within my surgical mask, watching the second nurse dry-heaving and the surgeon standing on tip-toes to keep this stuff from soaking his socks any further. The smell hit them first. "Oh god, I just threw up in my mask!" The other nurse was out, she tore off her mask and sprinted out of the room, shoulders still heaving. Then it hit me, mouth still wide open, not able to believe the volume of fluid this woman's body contained. It was like getting a great big bite of the despair and apathy that permeated this woman's life. I couldn't fucking breath, my lungs simply refused to pull anymore of that stuff in. The anesthesiologist went down next, an ex-NCAA D1 tailback, his six-foot-two frame shaking as he threw open the door to the OR suite in an attempt to get more air in, letting me glimpse the second nurse still throwing up in the sinks outside the door. Another geyser of pus splashed across the front of the surgeon. The YouTube clip of "David at the dentist" keeps playing in my head — "Is this real life?"
Moral of the story: doctors and nurses are walking angels and we should be grateful for their existence with each breath we take. Other moral: do not read Reddit threads calling for extremely disgusting anecdotes unless you're okay with never eating or sleeping again.
Image via spwidoff/Shutterstock.