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Medical Horror Stories

100. It Was Too Late

The worst I’ve ever seen was a man in his 50s who drank and had anxiety problems. His neighbors brought him in for a “facial infection.”

We found out that he had squamous cell skin cancer, which made him look a lot like the Batman villain Two-Face. The CT scan of showed it had spread into his lymph nodes and mandible.

The skin on his face was literally sloughing off as I spoke with him, and the smell was absolutely horrible. I’d never almost vomited in a room except until now.

I asked him why he waited, and he said he was just terrified of doctors and hospitals and I believe him. He was really anxious the entire time he was in our ED.

His neighbors were saints. They said they had been trying to get him to the hospital for months but he wouldn’t come in. We transferred him to a tertiary hospital with ENT and cancer specialists. When I checked his chart a few days later, they basically said he was terminal.



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