The Doctors bring you some of the most bizarre cases from the ER and today is no different. The first is of a man who had such extreme constipation it was on the verge of being deadly. The fecal matter was so backed up in his abdomen causing abdominal compartment syndrome in which the abdomen was closed off and the pressure was so high it restricted blood flow to his vital organs.
The man came to the ER saying he was unable to use his right leg for 24 hours, he was cool to the touch, and he hadn’t gone to the restroom in three days. The doctors extracted a half a gallon of feces from his colon! The Doctors share a side-by-side of a normal abdomen x-ray and the abnormal one of this man.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains not just is there a buildup of feces but also, of air, and an inability to pass it, called obstipation. “This could be one of the more painful things people experience,” says Dr. Travis.
The Doctors have another set of x-rays to share for the next story of a young boy who swallowed the central circuit board of a fidget spinner and it got stuck in his lower esophageal. This boy lucked out; the battery in the board could have leaked which could be fatal. The child was also fortunate that the spinner didn’t get stuck in his trachea, blocking his airway and causing him to choke.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says the surgeons need to go in under general anesthesia to pull out the spinner with forceps. This was the first case of swallowing a fidget spinner circuit board and battery and luckily it didn’t end in tragedy! If you have a child and believe they may have swallowed something, it is worth getting a simple x-ray to find out!
This last story is of a patient of pulmonary and critical care physician Dr. Raj Dasgupta. A 65-year-old woman came to him complaining of shortness of breath, a cough and a fever. She was diagnosed with pneumonia but none of the medications she was put on were improving her condition. Dr. Raj ordered a CT scan and a bronchoscopy and the findings were alarming: there were worms in her chest!
The worms were a parasite called strongyloides, aka threadworm, and it is a part of the roundworm family. Healthy individuals with this parasite may show no signs, or mild ones, like a rash or diarrhea. Someone with a compromised immune system, however, can show more severe symptoms, as this woman had. In this case, the worms were spreading throughout the body affecting every organ and causing a life-threatening illness.
If you ever experience similar symptoms and they aren’t responding to traditional therapy, getting a diagnosis is important and could potentially save your life!
The Doctors discuss how these parasites enter through the skin and are often found in moist, warm environments, like soil or sewage. Dr. Batra explains the worms actually migrate through the skin and then can go anywhere but commonly lodge in the small intestine. When you go to excrete them, they then work their way back up the anus to other parts of the body like the lungs. Creepy!