Bizarre Medical Cases That Are Stranger Than Fiction

These insane medical cases, pulled straight from real life, resemble something out of a science fiction novel.

February 21, 2017
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All of us have gone on Web M.D. and diagnosed ourselves with a crazy disease, but in the cases that follow, you’ll read some of the most bizarre diagnoses that were actually true.

After slipping a disc in his back, Wisconsin man Dale Decker began to climax up to 100 times every day due to a condition called persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD).

Of course this affliction doesn’t sound all that bad, but when you think of it in real life terms it is quite debilitating.

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This syndrome is in the family of restless leg syndrome and unfortunately, the people who have PGAD associate climaxing with release of pain rather than a feeling of pleasure. Often times they can’t maintain a relationship due to the disorder. PGAD is not a case of hypersexuality but more of a discomfort until the person is forced to either release it on their own or wait for their body to do it automatically, which can cause understandable embarrassment.

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The cause is not 100 percent known but is believed to be an irregularity in the sensory nerves. It has a tendency to strike postmenopausal women and people who have undergone hormonal treatment.

A girl in Georgia has congenital insensitivity to pain because of anhidrosis, or CIPA, a rare genetic disorder that makes her unable to feel physical pain.

Ashlyn Blocker seemed like a normal toddler until her parents noticed that she wouldn’t cry when her eyes were bloodshot and swollen at eight months old. The doctor put drops in her eyes to reveal any abnormalities and Ashlyn just smiled as the drops revealed a giant scratch across her cornea. It turned out that Ashlyn was unable to feel any pain.

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Stephen Morton / AP

CIPA affects less than 100 people in the world and is incredibly dangerous as the person never knows if something is wrong. Feeling pain is our bodies’ way of letting us know that we are hurt, so when you can’t feel pain you’re constantly at risk.

Growing up Ashlyn would often have infections she didn’t know about, would cut her mouth with her teeth, and even chewed bits of her tongue. She had to be on constant watch at school and check in with the nurse daily. Now that she’s older, she knows about her condition and can watch out for herself, though she occasionally makes mistakes that she can’t feel at all.

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Jeff Riedel / The New York Times

So while sometimes we wish we could feel no pain, it’s like the lyrics of that emo Three Days Grace song go: “I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all.”

A Chilean woman has been carrying a fetus in her womb for more than 60 years, unknowingly.

Estela Melendez is 91 years old and recently discovered she had been living with a calcified fetus in her womb for more than 60 years. Melendez never thought she could become pregnant, and yet she found herself in this situation.

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After she fell one day she went to the doctor, where they gave her a few X-rays and discovered a large mass. At first, they thought it was a tumor. Upon a second X-ray, however, doctors discovered it was a calcified fetus that was over six decades old.

Due to her age, they decided an operation would be more risky than to let her keep living with the small bump on her belly.

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The Daily and Sunday Express

It is not health concern, but it often makes Melendez sad because it reminds her of her husband who passed away after 71 years of marriage and the fact they were unable to ever have children.

A woman with hyperthymesia was the first person reported with this condition, in which you don’t have the ability to forget anything.

Jill Price can tell you anything about her life from 14 years old until today, and she is in her forties.

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Bryce Duffy

Doctors have studied her brain for years and, while they were skeptical at first, they realized she wasn’t lying when they did some tests and she actually outsmarted the books they were using.

Dr. James McGaugh, a memory specialist at the University of California, Irvine, led a team to study her memory and asked her questions like the dates of the last 20 Easters, which she recounted easily; she was only off by two days on one of them. And she is Jewish.

But the real moment came when he asked her about her favorite TV shows and their Christmas specials on Murphy Brown. She told the team the date it aired and they said she was wrong. It turned out their almanac was wrong and she was right—the almanac mixed up The Brady Bunch and Murphy Brown. Doctors have yet to determine the cause of her condition.

A child suffered from a rare brain condition called chiari malformation which essentially has an effect of sleeplessness.

Rhett Lamb was just 3 years old when doctors finally discovered what was keeping him awake for nights on end. His body would give out due to exhaustion but his mind would still be awake, and thus he would lay there restless.

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This went on for a couple years until finally a doctor diagnosed him with this rare brain condition where part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the bottom of the skull and onto the spinal cord. This applies pressure to both the spine and the brain and one effect of this is sleeplessness.

The doctors were able to perform surgery but there was only a 50/50 chance it would be successful. Luckily it worked and when Rhett recovered, he was able to sleep.

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Getty Images News / Stringer

Due to the previous years of hardly sleeping, he was behind in his learning skills. After a few months of extra care, his parents said he was catching up to speed and making some new friends.

One Texas man lived for five weeks without an actual heart.

Craig Lewis was a 55-year-old man from Texas who received the first artificial heart transplant. He died due to another disease, but while he lived, the heart seemed to work just fine.

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CNN

Prior to the surgery to give him a beatless heart, Lewis was in a coma. After the surgery, he woke and was able to sit up and talk. Eventually, though, the disease he had damaged his liver and kidneys to the point of no recovery and he was in excruciating pain. The family decided to let him die humanely and they turned off the heart.

The problem with these false hearts is that to compensate for not beating it has to do its rhythm to push and pull blood 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, and it wears out.

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Therefore it’s a short term fix but couldn’t be used to fully replace a weak heart. That being said, if someone needs a placeholder until a full heart transplant is available, this has become an intriguing option.

A man suffers from hiccups for over two and a half years.

Chris Sands was a normal man pursuing his dream of being a professional musician when one day he woke up and began hiccuping. They lasted a few days and then seemed to go away until a couple months later they returned for good.

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Chris Sands

After two years and trying every idea known to man to rid himself of the hiccups, he appeared on a Japanese TV show and people began writing in their ideas to help.

One person had the right advice about getting an MRI on his brain; the problem was that if they were correct it meant Chris had a brain tumor. And he did.

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BBC

Usually they do CT scans on the brain but in this case with this specific tumor it really only shows up if you do an MRI. He was, thankfully, diagnosed and soon had surgery to remove two-thirds of the tumor, which helped rid him of the hiccups as well.

A man oozed green blood before operation.

A man in Canada was in the hospital for an operation from compartment syndrome where he was at risk of losing one of his legs. While the nurse was going to take a blood sample she noticed the oddity of the color filling up the tube. It was green!

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Surgeons came to take a look and throughout his whole body was this dark green blood. They diagnosed him with Sulfhemoglobinemia, a condition that forms when a sulphur atom is incorporated into the hemoglobin molecule.

In this particular case it was caused by the man taking medication with sulfonamides, which are used to cure severe migraines. The man was taking too much of the medication and therefore his blood turned green. Once doctors lowered his dosage his blood eventually returned to normal.

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Getty Images News / Joe Raedle

Interestingly, this also happens in an episode of Star Trek in which Spock’s blood is green. However in real life, it’s actually a dangerous symptom so he is lucky doctors caught it.

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