Healthcare News & Insights

‘They had to remove what from where?’

Every health care professional has a go-to story when someone asks about the strangest thing they’ve seen in their work. Can your story top these?

Sermo, the physicians-only website, recently asked members to share their stories of the strangest thing they’ve removed from a patient — and then published the “winners” on its public blog to see if anyone could top them. Among the doozies:

  • A seashell from a surfer’s lung, which had been lodged there for about a year.
  • Two toy dogs from a child’s stomach (he said he swallowed one by accident, and the second one so the first one wouldn’t be lonely).
  • One pathologist seems to have had a number of colorful patients. He or she removed — a large zucchini (rectum), the spiral from a spiral-bound notebook (man’s urethra) and a cigarette lighter (stomach).
  • A bound and gagged Barbie doll from a patient’s stomach.
  • His mother’s real pearl necklace from a 50-year-old man’s bladder.
  • Five pens, two permanent markers, three straws, two toothbrushes, and four Oreo cookie wrappers — at one time, from the same patient’s stomach.
  • A windshield wiper blade (we’ll let you guess where it was), and
  • A Mighty Morphin Power Ranger (again, we’ll let you guess).

Some docs took a more light-hearted approach to the question. Several said the most unusual object they had removed was “a hospital administrator’s own head” from a particular orifice. And one psychiatrist said the only thing he had ever removed were neuroses.

Have a better story than the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger? Share it in the comments.

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  1. We had to remove a vacuum cleaner hose from man who passed out, assumably in extreme pleasure. Back in those days part of the hoses were made of metal, it was estimated he was out for at least 3 hours with the constant pressure, and when it was removed, his private parts swelled to at least 10 time the normal size.


  1. […] On this most recent visit to the doctor, the pen was removed — and found to still work. Her symptoms have gone away, and the hospital is using the case as a teaching example of two rules: 1) Abdominal X-rays don’t show every single foreign object, and 2) Even if a patient’s story sounds unbelievable, it may just be true. […]