As a Nurse, you see some really crazy things on a regular basis but there are some that just stand out. The question “What’s the Craziest Set of Circumstances you’ve seen a Patient Survive and be Discharged in Relatively Good Health?” was asked on a Reddit thread the other day and there are some real pearlers here. Let us know in the comments what your “Stand Out” cases were…

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Some of the responses from Reddit:

Suicide Attempt:

Dude with severe depression and a drug problem who jumped off a 40foot bridge landing on a road. Bilateral ankle fractures, subdural bleed, pelvic fracture, femoral fracture, liver laceration, rib fractures, sternal fractures, multiple hematomas, and a little bit upset that his attempt was unsuccessful. Discharged to rehab eight weeks later – walking within a few months – got his life back on track – invited us all to his wedding a year later.

MDMA Overdose:

MDMA Tablets

At a summer festival, we treated a MDMA OD with a core temp over 109. GCS 3 on arrival. Walked out three days later. That’s the highest temp I’ve ever seen survive intact.

Bullet Wound:

Bullet clipped the atrium, resultant tamponade and compressions, crash thoracotomy and exlap in the OR. Young kid so, of course, came out with minimal complications.

Old Lady:

92-year-old lady, they coded for literally 15 minutes spent 2 days in ICU afterward and walked out on her own power afterwards.

Unresponsive Older Gentleman:

Pulled an unresponsive older gentleman out of a vehicle at the ED entrance to find he had no pulse. Kicked the wheelchair back and ran to a trauma room while another nurse did the best compressions she could. We threw him on the bed and ran the code for about two minutes before we got a rhythm back. He was off the vent before he even made it up to the ICU. Walked out the next day… Apparently this had happened before!

At the Gym:

I was at the gym one morning, and as I was walking towards the door, there was an older guy on the couch by the door asleep. Only he wasn’t asleep, someone who knew him was trying to wake him and he wouldn’t wake up. So I run over, no pulse. We got him to the floor and im doing compressions, someone grabs the AED, it recommends a shock, we push the shock button and the batteries die. No shock delivered.. great. 7 minutes of cpr until emsa arrives, they shock him and get a pulse, load him up and take him to the hospital I worked at. Buy the time they got there he was aaox3, got himself a defibrillator, and was discharged the next day with nothing else wrong except a few broken ribs. Back at the gym a few weeks later.


Guy was in torsades, shocked 3 times and he returned to sinus. Bolused mag. AOx3 and talking. Only complaint was some chest pain r/t cracked ribs from CPR. He was moving with no issue and went to step down to be discharged 3 days later. He walked out the front door.

Hit by Bus:

Guy jumped off the bridge and got hit by a bus on his way down. Walked out of the hospital, no permanent damage to anything.

Trash Compactor:

Pt does a bunch of meth, hangs out in a dumpster, gets trash compacted for an hour before someone finds him. Not only survives, but keeps all his limbs!

Gunshot to the head:

Suicide attempt via gunshot directly to the center of the forehead. The bullet got deflected somehow and ended up lodged near the patient’s sinuses. Nonoperable, so they’ve got a get-out-of-MRIs-free card for life. By the time I took care of them (~one week after the incident), they had no neuro deficits that I can recall besides complete amnesia regarding the event and were eager to transfer to inpatient psych for a brief stay so they could work on turning their life around. Pretty tame compared to some of the others here, but the wound site was definitely memorable.

Cardiac Arrest:

Out of hospital cardiac arrest. Guy dropped while at work. Hooked up the monitor, shocked once, and he was talking alert, and oriented by the time we rolled into the ED. Walked out a couple days later.

5L out of his nephrostomy drain:

Wasn’t my patient, but the guy that put 5L out of his nephrostomy drain in 24 hours and left a couple days later. It wasn’t just that day, either, it ramped up to that over the course of a week, then ramped down quickly after it peaked. Everybody was sure he was a goner.

Construction Worker:

Construction worker, scaffolding failed under him. He fell 30 feet onto concrete. After lots and lots of imaging and “no, really, I feel fine”, he walked out of the ER with a sprained ankle and some impressive bruises.

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