Bizarre Medical Stories; The Dark Corners of March 2017
We never promised that bizarre medical stories would always be silly stuff. This month’s installment goes to some dark places.
It’s not all bad. There are a couple of hopeful endings, but consider yourself warned.
This is not reading for the faint of heart. People are awesome, but they also do some of the most heinous things to others.
Take this to heart, though. I promise we will end on a good note. The last story is one of hope and inspiration. In fact, if that’s what you came for, skip all the way to the end. It’s a bizarre one, but such a success story. If you stop on the way, you’re gonna find some hairy tales.
From around the globe, these are the most bizarre medical stories
Madagascar: Without the money to remove it, Mariette lived with her tumour for four decades. Cruel neighbours dubbed her “The Monster,” and leveraged the lore built around her to scare their children.
“The monster will get you,” parents warned.
The effect on Marietta was devastating. Children avoided her, further isolating her already lonely life. Her tumour was a soft, fatty lump frown below the skin. Lipoma is the technical name.
Then, in 2014, volunteer surgeons agreed to remove the tumour. It took two hours aboard the charity hospital ship called Mercy to remove the growth.
She did this despite warnings from the physicians that she may suffer nerve damage.
Years later, Mariette now lives tumor free in her hometown, no longer "The Monster." The surgeons aboard the Mercy Ship transformed her life.
China: After seeking medical advice for the strange protrusion around her iris, the unnamed Chinese woman learned that she could live with the condition known as a collarette.
She’d reported to the doctors that her eyes would often tear up, which was the cause of her concern.
One doctor who saw the patient remarked, "I’ve seen more than 50,000 eyes in my career and I’ve never seen such a pronounced case of iris collarette.”
The condition is rare, but not unheard of. What it is, likely, was a congenital condition that began when she was born but was nothing to worry about.
They prescribed allergy medication, presumably for the tears, then sent her on her way. Other than the ocular anomaly, she'll live a normal life.
New Castle, England: While children of the late 20th century introduced the term "latchkey child" to the western world’s lexicon, children of tomorrow may tip the scale the other direction. They won’t suffer from too few parents, but too many.
Latchkey kids were the result of single-parent households, where the parent had to work, leaving the child to self-parent. Now Britain allows three-parent in-vitro fertilisation.
Children born to these parents will carry the genetic code of three parents. Whether or not they’ll all raise the child is another issue, of course.
Advocates say that the technique helps remove genetic diseases from pairing that would otherwise produce a child bearing the unwanted family genes.
The University of Newcastle will be ground zero of this nascent science. They claim to have a line of interested parties ready to go.
Connecticut, U.S.A.: It’s called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. Jasmin Floyd, 23, first noticed symptoms when she was in kindergarten.
At first, her parents dismissed her complaints as soreness from sleeping, until she started to lose mobility.
What was happening to her was unimaginable. Her muscle tissue was hardening irreversibly.
The disorder, only worse than the name by a hair, is so rare, we have only 800 recorded cases worldwide. Adding insult to injury, the affected not only suffer from calcified ligaments but the pain from those calcification.
Floyd is no victim, though. Although the future is bleak with few solutions and no cure, her reputation is that of a smiling 23-year-old determined to live her life as long as she can.
Be warned. This is not a story for the squeamish. Skip to the next one if you are easily offended. Really. Stop reading now. The next sentence won’t be nice.
China: A 45-year-old man, after one too many drinks, thought it would be a good idea to put two live fish in his anus.
One of the fish, pond loaches, swam "upstream," breaking a hole through his intestines. This was not only extremely painful, it could have killed the man.
Doctors quickly found one of the loaches but had to X-ray his body to locate the swimmer. They were able to remove both, but they transferred the man (whose name was withheld for some reason?) to intensive care for follow-up treatment.
The lesson is clear: next time use dead fish.
Actually, this story is worse than the last one, more tragic than bizarre. If you skipped ahead to read something light, stop. It gets worse, seriously. Skip to the last one.
Sydney: When emergency services arrived at a local hotel, they found a six-year-old boy unconscious. Despite their efforts to revive him with CPR, the boy did not survive.
The cause of death was slapping therapy. Authorities arrested the Prospect couple, Lily and Geoff Fenton, charging them with manslaughter.
The technique they’d used on their child is a Chinese alternative medicinal treatment, designed to cure patients by repeatedly slapping them. Practitioners claim it can even cure cancer.
The bruising from the slaps is supposed to clear the meridians in the body, allowing the life forces to flow more easily. It seems it was not effective on the boy.
California U.S.A.: From Westwood, California, Macy Toronto went to bed after a hard workout one day, only to wake up blind.
She’d suffered the effects of an autoimmune disorder termed Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease. The disease is rare in the west, almost unheard of in Caucasians, mostly found in patients from Asian or Hispanic backgrounds.
Other symptoms of VKH are hair loss, nausea, and drowsiness. Doctors put her on steroids to treat the symptoms, which took her even lower.
Her vision eventually came back, but it would take her months before she was ready to compete again, an eternity when you’re a teenager.
Only a few years earlier she'd lost a year of competing to a rotatory tear. She was just getting over that injury when she went blind from VKH.
In January she finally recovered enough from her strange illness, that she could compete. On her first meet, competing in floor exercises, she scored a 9.9.