Odd Medicine of 2018

We always hear of weird or odd things happening to other people but we never think certain things could happen to us. There were case reports during 2018 describing conditions of individual patients that can help doctors better understand rare diseases or spot unusual signs of common conditions.  Some of the strangest cases reported from Live Science are:


  1. A man coughed up a giant blood clot that was in the shape of his lung. He was being treated for a serious heart condition that required him to take a blood-thinning medication which also increased his risk of bleeding.  The clot was an intact cast of the right bronchial tree, or a mold made of clotted blood in the shape of the lung.  The full article was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


  1. A woman developed a rare and fatal brain-eating amoeba infection that might have been caused by improper use of a neti pot. After a year she had a seizure and doctors thought it to be a brain tumor.  She was instead infected with an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris.  Reported in International Journal of Infectious Diseases.


  1. A Chinese man swallowed a spoon on a dare and the utensil got stuck in his esophagus. There was little discomfort until a year later when he was punched in the chest and began having chest pains and difficulty breathing.  It required a 2 hour procedure to remove the spoon.


  1. A man developed an extremely rare and fatal brain disorder after eating squirrel brains. He experienced a decline in his thinking abilities and lost touch with reality.  The MRI scans of his head appeared to be similar to those of people who have vCJD.


  1. A lost contact lens showed up 28 years later in a woman. She had lost the lens while playing badminton which was found embedded in her eyelid.  The report was published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.


  1. A woman in England developed a fungal infection on her toenail and big toe. She tried the home remedy of garlic, but it didn’t work except to cause severe burns on her skin.  This case was published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.


  1. A woman in France reported symptoms that included the feeling of electric shocks going down her legs, but this turned into a rare infection. She ended up having a tapeworm larvae lurking in her spine.  It revealed a lesion on her spine that needed to be surgically removed and the lesion was caused by an infection with Echinococcus granulosus, which is a small tapeworm found in dogs and some farm animals.  The case was published in The New England Journal of Medicin


  1. Odd lump on a woman’s face was a worm crawling under her skin. This was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.


  1. A boy survived after a meat skewer pierced his face while playing in a treehouse when wasps attacked him, causing him to fall onto a rotisserie skewer on the ground. The incident was reported by local news outlet KCTV.


  1. A man who entered a chili pepper eating contest reported excruciating headaches known as “thunderclap headaches.”  It wasn’t thunder, but it sure felt like lightning!  His case was reported in the journal BMJ Case Reports.


So there you have 10 of the odd medical events of 2018.  Can 2019 top these?