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With mind-boggling medical mishaps...
-..and the quirkiest of casualties...
Me boyfriend dropped a turnip on me foot.
..this is Bizarre ER.
And for the first time we've camped out in not one but two British hospitals -
Northampton General and Bradford Royal Infirmary...
..to bring you the curious cases that are all in a day's work for the stoic staff...
Can you see your pound coin there?
..but which have to be seen to be believed.
GRUNTS OF PAIN
Plus, we've scoured the planet for the people who, thanks to amazing medics, have survived
the most extraordinary accidents and emergencies known to man.
Nobody believes they're going to get the Black Death.
So scrub up, sit back and enjoy the sometimes silly,
often odd, but never dull world of Bizarre ER.
-All I can say is, thank heavens for the NHS.
Coming up - staff reel in a curious catch of the day...
..an eye-opening injury for one unlucky lady...
This is just so bizarre, really.
..and the astonishing story of how a New Zealander narrowly escaped death
after being crushed by a leaping half-ton dolphin.
If I didn't do the right thing, she would die.
But first we're heading to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where it's 5th November,
although our next cute casualty isn't here with a bonfire-related bump or burn.
Little Aaron's here because he's dropped a coin down his cakehole.
Aaron was at home happily licking the dirt off a pound coin - we know not why.
He was sat on the couch cleaning it in his mouth for some reason.
And a firework went off and the pound went belooomp!
It's down to Doctor Shabir to get to the bottom of this one.
-Right, what's happened?
-Swallowed a pound coin.
-Swallowed a pound coin?
-OK - what time did you swallow this coin?
-About five to seven.
-Any tummy pain?
-He keeps saying he's got tummy ache now.
The first thing the doctor checks is his chest.
He's listening for any loose change rattling about in his lungs...
Take a deep breath. And out.
..which could restrict breathing and potentially put Aaron's life at risk.
If it goes down into the airways, then he could potentially choke as well.
But in this case basically he had no respiratory distress.
Excellent, just lie back down for me.
-Does that hurt?
It's looking clear on the lungs, but Aaron's obviously in some pain.
-Is it hurting around here?
What we'll do, we'll get an X-ray done - his chest and his tummy as well - to see where the coin is.
We've got to make sure it's not in the neck area or in the chest or it's not gone down his airway.
Very unlikely, because he's breathing OK,
but we are going to get a chest X-ray done and a tummy X-ray, just to find out basically where the coin is.
-Come on, young man - are you coming in, Mummy?
Now then - what we looking for?
Radiologist Sandra Wood is in charge of the NHS's state-of-the-art metal detector.
This is my camera, look.
It's just got a nice bright light and this is going to shine through
this skin of yours so I can find that pound coin.
-If I find it, can I spend it?
No?! Are you sure about that?
I'm going to give you a shout in a minute to take in a nice big breath,
like you're going to blow your birthday candles out, OK?
-And then when you hear my magic beep, it's finished.
Which one of us spots the pound?
-Me first, it's mine. Right?
Sandra's spotted it, but she might have a bit of a wait before she can claim her prize.
He'll definitely have to poo that one out!
Can you see it, Aaron?
It's there, look.
And it's gone in through here, all the way down here into your tummy
and now it's going round here like this to work its way out.
So what you need to take home...
-No, no! We're just going to flush it down the toilet!
To find it when it comes out!
Mum won't be looking for it!
-You have to put them on so you can find your pound!
-There you go, you'll have to find it!
The Chapmans head off to enjoy the last of the fireworks,
but it'll be one or two days before their mini slot machine pays out.
When it comes to medical mishaps and misery,
money truly is the root of all evil.
The annual rate of A&E admissions caused by coinage
is a staggering 12,000.
The vast majority of these involve children -
mostly because most of the infant investors
attempt to make a deposit in their belly rather than the bank.
A paltry penny can cause damage to the oesophagus, the stomach
and the intestine, and that's if the poor wee mite hasn't choked.
Even if you're not snacking on shrapnel, filthy lucre can still be a menace.
The flu virus survives so well on banknotes
that experts think dirty cash could help spread the next pandemic.
And a 2001 study found that
over 90% of the notes they tested carried bacteria,
with just under 10% home to more dangerous germs
like Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae,
which can cause severe food poisoning and pneumonia.
Lusting after lolly can also come at a heavy price.
A frenzied dash for cash ensued when a Czech radio station announced a random 5,000 giveaway.
26 men, women and children caught up in the scramble ended up worse off by having to be hospitalised.
And, while being short-changed can be maddening, it's sometimes best to let the loose change go.
There are at least 50 known cases of men being crushed
while trying to tip vending machines that have withheld their wonga -
three of whom died.
Remember, you can't take it with you when you go.
Our next patient has come to Bradford Royal Infirmary A&E
hopping mad after a bizarre culinary calamity.
Me boyfriend dropped a turnip on me foot.
And there we were thinking veg was meant to be good for you!
He'd been shopping, he were putting it into t'fridge and he dropped it like from six foot high.
Could have a broken foot off of a vegetable.
I've never known that.
The treacherous turnip has left Chelsea nursing a very tender trotter,
and it's the job of Dr David Robinson to get to the root of her problem.
-Whereabouts is your foot hurting?
-Like, round...all round this area.
I'm going to examine your foot now and I just want you to tell me if it's sore where I'm pressing, OK?
-Sorry. Is it sore on this side?
-Yep. Can you wiggle your toes for me?
So that hurts doing that, yeah?
-And do you feel me touching your toes here?
Being hobbled by a 2lb turnip dropped from a 6ft bloke might not sound so serious -
but the vicious veggie could have fractured Chelsea's foot or damaged her tendons.
So she's sent to X-ray so the doctors can assess the damage.
What do the X-rays turn up?
Your X-ray looks fine. So you haven't broken anything,
but you've got bruising and tenderness to the top of your foot.
This might swell up a bit.
Try and elevate your foot, so get it up.
If you're getting lots of swelling, put some ice on this.
Frozen peas are good. Not fresh vegetables, obviously. OK?
I'm buying already diced from now on!
As Chelsea hobbles home, she can take comfort in the fact that by following up a whole turnip
with a serving of frozen peas, at least her feet are getting two of her five-a-day.
Next, we're heading to Northampton General, where staff see their fair share of rugged sporting injuries.
But it's the gentle art of fishing that's brought our next patient to A&E.
Avid angler Barry Jones is the kind of chap who wouldn't hurt a fly.
In this case it's a fly that's hurt him - a fly-fishing hook, to be precise, which has barbed his beak.
Been in a fishing competition today and had a slight accident.
My friend Stuart, as he's casting his line, has caught the hook in my nose.
I've never fished with Stuart before - shan't fish with him again.
Never again, obviously!
Barry and Stuart spent the afternoon competing in their club's annual fly-fishing contest.
With seven fish already in the bag, Barry was having a whale of a time, when disaster struck.
A freak gust of wind caught Stuart's fly and sent the hook straight up Barry's hooter.
Rather than rushing to A&E, gutsy Barry got Stuart to cut the line so
he could spend an extra hour on the water knowing that all he needed was one more fish to clinch top prize.
This dirty left hook is straight out of the lake, so there's a danger that
the wound could go septic or cause blood poisoning, which could even mean losing the end of the nose.
So it's vital the hook is removed cleanly and quickly.
Hoping to unhook our unfortunate angler is emergency nurse practitioner Graham Seaton.
I just hope he's got a steady hand.
First up, Graham offers local anaesthetic,
but the prospect of another piercing proves too much for Barry.
Not too keen on injections.
Do you want us to do it without the anaesthetic?
You can try, yes, without the anaesthetic, if you like, yeah.
And it seems Barry is a very hands-on patient
who's got his own ideas about how to tackle the problem.
You've got to take all the dressing off there, then snip that off, so that's the widest part.
And then push that in, and that will come out straight through like that.
Yes. If at any point you want me to stop, obviously say, and we'll, erm...
-Numb me up.
-Numb it, yeah.
As Graham and nurse Gail Hare get ready to begin, Barry's angling for a chance to get involved.
-Do you want me to hold the hook steady
while you take the dressing off with the scalpel?
Can I slip your hat off?
And before they know it, he's taking his treatment into his own hands.
Hang on, Barry - that's your snout, not a trout.
See, that's slowly coming off now, see it?
For club-mate Stuart, Barry's active approach is all too familiar.
When he's fishing, he's like a meerkat -
he stands up in the boat and his head's spinning from side to side.
Barry's a bit of an expert, really, so he's always showing me the error of my ways.
If you have a pair of pliers there, or something to hold it there, you can do it.
-Hard for me to do, you see.
The fluffy fake fly on the end of the hook isn't budging,
so Graham has no option but to give it the snip.
But just as they're making progress, Barry's up again and sticking his nose in.
If you come straight through the nose now, it should come out.
-Can you see it starting to pierce the skin?
Pulling the trapped tackle could rip the nose wide open -
the only way forward is to use the hook to pierce the nostril and push it out the other side.
It's an eye-watering experience for brave Barry, who's still had no anaesthetic.
Very good, thank you.
I'll give that back to Stuart.
It was a rather unusual that the patient wanted to assist so much as he did!
It's his nose, it's his hook and his decision - so I thought, well, yeah, why not?
-It's all right now.
-Is it sore?
-Yeah. It's fine.
-Have they got my hook back?
They had to throw that away, but it's about time we went to the pub, don't you?
Barry's off the hook, and the pair head out of A&E relieved and ready for a well-earned pint.
# You've gone fishing... #
A few days later, Barry and Stuart are back in the boozer with their fishermen friends.
But how's the hooter?
As the swelling's gone down, it's back to normal, no problem.
So, all's well that ends well.
So, did Barry manage to net this year's top prize?
This is the trophy.
This is what it was all about.
I wasn't overall winner. I was overall winner last year, but joint winner this year.
I still think he should have won by a nose, though.
# Oh, yeah! #
We're back to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where an eye-watering case has come into A&E.
Ramona Zukirsky's been rushed in looking a vision after she ripped her right eyelid in half.
-How many fingers can you see?
-I can see three, but it's blurred.
-Retail assistant Ramona was rushing around at work preparing for a big sale.
-Do you have these in an eight?
With tons of trendy togs to pack, stack and rack, Ramona was adjusting
-the height of the rails to perfect her display.
Forgetting her newly-positioned waist-high rail, Ramona bent down to pick up some clothes
and smashed eye first into the end of the protruding bar.
Do you have this in red?
I was in a bit of a shock, and when you say you see stars in front of
your eyes, it's true, you do - I saw stars. I just thought, "Am I going to see again?"
That's all I was concerned about - this is just so bizarre, really.
Seeing to Ramona's lacerated lid is Dr Sahid Hussain.
Can you look down?
I'm just going to pull your eyelid up -
does it hurt when I pull?
-Not really, no.
-Yeah. Look straight to my finger.
So it needs to be repaired, because they are not in one piece.
It is hanging like this.
If the eyelid's damaged, there's a chance the eye is, too.
Dr Hussain is concerned the rail may have scratched the surface causing what's known as a corneal abrasion.
If these aren't treated properly, infection can set in, causing ulcers and in the worst cases, blindness.
I don't want to look at it! I'm a bit scared now, actually.
Before he can peer into her peeper, Dr Hussain has to put in a couple of drops - first to numb the eye
and then to colour it yellow.
Using a blue light he can check the damage, which will show up in green.
The cornea's clear - well, it's a bit yellow, but that doesn't mean that there isn't
deeper damage to the lens or retina, so Dr Hussain goes old school to check Ramona can see properly.
Can you read this line?
-Not really - I can see the Y...
-Is it U?
Worryingly, the chart's all a bit of a blur for Ramona,
so she's rushed to eye casualty where specialist Dr Aberdine can have a closer look.
OK, look up to the top of your head for me.
Using a slick microscope, Dr Aberdine's piercing gaze goes right to the back of Ramona's eye.
Is Ramona looking at long-term problems with her eyesight?
You can get a whole spectrum of injuries within the eye,
with such blunt trauma, so she has got off lightly, really.
So, it's good news, but her busted blinker still needs sewing up.
For now it's time to get some shut-eye.
But we'll see how Ramona fares in surgery later in the show.
Bizarre cases aren't confined to Britain,
and in this series we've scoured the globe to bring you the world's most extraordinary emergencies.
Down under, in a cruel and curious twist of fate, one kiwi dolphin fanatic was almost
killed by the sweet-squeaking sea mammal she loves the most when she was flattened by Flipper.
Welcome to New Zealand - home to Hobbits, a few million sheep and dolphin-lover Kelly Lawson.
I've loved dolphins all my life.
Kelly loves dolphins so much she even has a tattoo of one.
Given how much Kelly loves these supposedly adorable creatures,
the last thing she expected is that one of them would turn evil
and almost crush her to death.
In 2006, Kelly and long-term boyfriend Dion were having the perfect kiwi Christmas.
Fabulous weather and awesome location. Time of our lives, pretty much.
Kelly and friends decided to do a spot of fishing.
They jumped into their boats and things got better
when a pod of dolphins showed up and put on an amazing acrobatic display.
Kelly thought all of her Christmases had come at once.
The show that they were putting on was spectacular, and that to top off
the awesome day that we'd had already was
But Kelly's heavenly day was about to descend into hell when
a massive dolphin weighing 300 kilos leapt into the air and came crashing down on its number-one fan.
That's the same weight as a piano smashing down onto her chest.
Kelly's ribs shattered into pieces, her internal organs flattened like a pancake and her lungs popped.
Apparently I looked up and screamed, which pretty much saved my life.
Because if I was sitting in the position I remember,
the dolphin would have landed on my back, which would have snapped my neck and killed me instantly.
Bizarrely, the dolphin had landed right on her tattoo, leaving a devastating aftermath.
Flipper flopped back into the water without a care, leaving a crushed Kelly fighting for her life.
The accident was so bizarre, rescue crews thought it was a prank -
it wasn't until the fourth call came through that they sent a helicopter.
It was the weirdest thing
you could ever imagine. An aquatic mammal landing on top of a human -
it's just never happened before.
Contemplating the consequences of that, you'd think, "Boy, she could be really sick."
She was. Kelly's lungs had collapsed, and air was escaping from them.
She had bruising to her brain, a torn and bleeding liver, fractured vertebrae and a broken pelvis.
This all adds up to a very, very bad situation.
It's hard to describe how you feel in a situation like that.
It's just basically, you're just shocked.
The helicopter arrived, and paramedic Chris Deacon was first on the scene.
Kelly was close to death.
Kelly was very pale, she was unconscious...
Air from Kelly's lungs was leaking into her chest cavity, which is potentially fatal.
A lot of air trapped underneath the skin, sort of in the subcutaneous layer, feels like Rice Bubbles.
That's Rice Krispies to those who don't speak kiwi.
The escaping air put pressure on Kelly's lungs, making breathing even more difficult.
If I didn't do the right thing, she would die.
She needed an urgent decompression of her chest, which is done with a very big needle.
Oh, mate, that is humongus.
The steel goes down into the chest, and the air can escape out.
We can do more damage than good if it's in the wrong place.
A chest decompression is usually used as a last resort.
For me, it was either...this working or Kelly not being alive.
Due to Kelly being blown up like a puffer fish...
..I couldn't see any of her anatomical landmarks, so I measured off myself.
So, using his own body as a reference, Chris attempted to plunge
the needle into Kelly - which proved difficult.
A lot of the ribs were broken. As I was trying to push the needle in,
the chest just kept moving away from me - it was just collapsing away.
Finally Chris got the needles into Kelly's chest, who thankfully began to breathe again, but only just.
Kelly needed specialist care to properly repair her lungs and she was rushed to Auckland Hospital.
She was critically ill, she was gasping for breath, she was blue,
she was cold and she was quite close to death at that point.
Doctors needed to see what damage the dolphin had caused internally.
Kelly was rushed for X-rays and scans.
Extensive bruising to her lungs,
it showed widespread rib fractures on both sides.
It showed collections of air in the lung cavity.
That made the first actions relatively clear-cut, in that we needed to put a tube in
to support her breathing and we needed to put two drains into
her chest to allow the lungs to re-expand.
When Kelly came to, there was only one thing she wanted to know.
Was the dolphin OK? Which is pretty typical of an animal lover.
With the important questions answered, Kelly's treatment began.
Most of our intensive care patients are out of the ICU
within a day or two,
but Kelly was there for over ten days on a ventilator.
And that was because it took that long for her lungs to heal.
Under expert one-to-one care, Kelly's broken ribs and pelvis
slowly grew scar tissue, which over time turns into rigid bone,
and her liver and lungs healed like a cut on the skin scabbing over.
I had no idea how sick I was.
I had fought for my life, I had no comprehension of that whatsoever.
After six weeks in hospital, the hard work for Kelly really began.
With the help of a physio, Kelly strengthened her muscles and joints.
When something like this happens in your life with someone that you
care about, love, you find out what's important.
Kelly and Dion decided to tie the knot, but even
on her big day, Kelly couldn't shake off her love of
dolphins, and a frozen Flipper took pride of place at the wedding.
And in spite of her gruelling internal injuries, Kelly now leads a happy and
normal life, which only got better in February 2010 with the birth of the couple's daughter, Alissa.
Time now to enter the Bizarre ER confessional.
We've invited medics from across the land to share the funniest
and freakiest things they've seen in A&E.
These stories might sound far-fetched, but they're all 100% true.
I remember one evening a man was brought into A&E clutching his chest
accompanied by a petite oriental lady.
I asked him if his companion was his wife.
"Oh, no," he explained, "she's 100 miles away."
Turns out he was down on conference and he'd met his companion only earlier on that evening.
I explained to him gently that it's not unusual for guilt-laden sex to trigger off a heart attack.
He blushed deeply and explained that things hadn't got quite that far.
It turns out that the female he picked up in the bar was actually
a he-male and what had triggered the angina was not sexual activity,
but shock when he discovered the contents of the small sequinned cocktail dress.
I was asked to examine a lady who was suffering from constipation.
This lady was pretty big, and so in order to examine her properly
I needed some assistance from two nurses.
These two nurses got the lady, they rolled her over as I was going
to try and examine her bottom to see if there was a problem of outflow obstruction.
As I put my finger into the back, I must have dislodged something,
and a large amount of poo just squelched all the way down my arm to about my elbow.
Now, I sort of recoiled in disgust and I went to go and take my glove off - and this has never
happened before or since - but as I pulled it back,
it pinged across and just splattered two nurses in faeces.
It was in their eyes, in their nose, in their mouth - and they were absolutely distressed.
They put the patient back down again and as they moved away, the funniest
thing was, there was actually a silhouette of them both on the wall like Tom & Jerry.
And er, yeah. Had to buy them flowers.
Earlier in the show, we met Ramona, who'd battered her eyelid with a clothes rail, splitting it in two.
Thankfully, she hasn't done any permanent damage, but her peeper still needs patching up.
So she's back at Bradford Royal Infirmary with her sight set on surgery.
Overseeing the procedure is consultant eye specialist Mr Brogden.
As he's only numbing the area with local anaesthetic, Ramona will be
-awake throughout the procedure and able to keep an eye on things.
Mr Brogden first realigns the two halves of the lid.
He then stitches them back together using dissolvable thread, taking care to ensure
that Ramona's luscious lashes all point in the right direction.
That's coming together quite nicely.
A strip of plaster finishes the procedure, while a lick of mascara completes the look.
It went very well. It was a significant injury, really.
It's difficult to tell until you get the patient into theatre and
have a look - but it involved the full thickness of the eyelid.
It's a bit like organising a jigsaw really,
and it came together nicely. So hopefully the result will be good.
A week later, and Ramona's back at the eye department so that Mr Brogden can have a final look.
It's also the first time Ramona's seen his handiwork.
There's no infection there, it's healing up and it's nice and clean.
-It's good for this stage.
-That's good. Does it look all right?
Do you want to look in the mirror?
I don't know whether I want to!
Let's have a look. Far better than last Thursday anyway, yeah!
# I can see clearly now the rain is gone... #
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Bradford staff,
Ramona's all set to resume her retail career - hopefully without any run-ins with railings.
Let's hope she's spotted those ones right in front of her.
# Bright, bright sun-shiney day. #
Next time on Bizarre ER, we meet the girl who's darned her own digit...
..a cute casualty refuses to let go of the lego...
..and the chilling tale of how doctors saved a skater boy
by putting his smashed up skull into deep freeze.
You really put peas in a freezer, not your skull.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Featuring a woman who was injured when her boyfriend dropped a turnip on her foot; a retail assistant whose eyelid was ripped in half when she smashed face-first into the end of a clothes rail; a man with a fly-fishing hook stuck in his nose; and a schoolboy who swallowed a pound coin.
Plus, we head down under to meet the New Zealander who survived being crushed by a leaping, half-tonne dolphin.