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With mind-boggling medical mishaps
and the quirkiest of casualties.
My 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.
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 tonight - a cute casualty refuses to let go of the Lego.
We meet the girl who's darned her own digit
and the bizarre tale of how, after a fast and furious fall,
a skate fanatic's life was saved when his skull was put into deep freeze.
You really put peas in a freezer not your skull.
But first we're heading to Bradford where it's Halloween and Janine Woodcock has arrived at A&E looking
a fright without the aid of masks or make-up thanks to a massive allergic reaction.
I want to scratch it all off like that.
It's like little blisters that pop and weep.
Bizarrely, Janine's freaky features
aren't a reaction to pets or peanuts but to something suitably spooky.
I've an allergy to a few things and latex were one of them, but it just
never entered my head, never entered my head that the mask was latex.
Janine popped it on for all of a minute, woke the next morning
thinking nothing about it and hence that's what you see.
This year I won't need to wear it I'll just send Janine to the door.
The couple might be keeping their Halloween spirits up
but Janine's conditions is potentially life threatening.
Her immune system is defending the body against the chemicals in latex
but it's overreacting, flooding her system with far too many antibodies.
Your chest looks quite red - is that normal for you or has all this come up as well?
Dr Gemma Lee gives Janine a thorough examination.
Nice deep breaths in for me.
When somebody has an allergic reaction and they usually get a lot of water trapped everywhere,
it's in her eyes and face and that's what makes her face look so puffy.
The worst thing that could happen is she could go into full blown anaphylaxis.
The throat can swell up, it can affect her breathing,
it affects the cardiovascular system so she can drop her blood pressure.
Relax your hand as best you can.
Although it doesn't look like Janine needs any more pumping up,
doctors flush fluid medication into her bloodstream fast.
She's being given steroids to help to reduce the swelling.
Janine needs careful monitoring to ensure her Halloween horror story has a happy ending.
So Dr Lee admits her onto a ward, but even up there the spooky spirit prevails.
They put us in bed 13 on purpose.
It's all pre-planned before we came up, wasn't it?
Despite the unlucky 13, the fast acting drips seems to be reversing the spell.
I feel a lot better now. When I first arrived it felt like pressure on
the top of my head as though it were like pushing my eyes shut,
whereas now I still feel very swollen but that pressure's gone.
At least I can open my eyes and see everybody.
Janine settles in for the night,
as it will be well past the witching hour before doctors discharge her.
It's two days after fright night and Janine's back home, but still haunted by the events of Halloween.
I'm feeling a lot better, still sore, but a lot better than what I did a couple of days ago.
I hate that mask.
I just had that on just a couple of minutes,
could you imagine if I'd had it on all night for a party.
I definitely don't want to see that mask again.
When it comes to accidents on Halloween, be afraid, very afraid.
Tiny trick or treaters are prone to trips,
torching, or taking one in the eye.
The source of most Halloween horror is the humble pumpkin -
responsible for about a third of all hand injuries.
Carving out that grin can lead to ghastly gashes and severed tendons,
while many a blood-curdling burn is sustained while trying to light the jack-o'-lantern.
But fret not, gentle viewer, about the more traditional terrors that haunt Halloween.
Many of these monstrous myths may well have their basis in medical fact.
Werewolf behaviour can be put down to a range of conditions
including Lupus and Porphyria, which can cause scarring from light.
And then there's Hypertrichosis which causes large amounts of hair to grow in areas
that are normally hair free, such as the face and the back.
I need more shampoo!
And it's thought that vampires were most likely rabies sufferers
as symptoms include disrupted sleep patterns,
frothing at the mouth, sensitivity to light
and a desire to bite other people.
Not now, Nigel, I've got a headache.
Next we're heading to Northampton General where most people tend to leave with stitches,
but art student Emily has arrived at A&E with not just a stitch in her finger, but the needle as well.
She's just always doing clumsy things like this.
Emily was hard at work on her sewing machine whipping up a textile
masterpiece when she looked away for a split second and the needle went straight through her nail.
So what's the plan for this painful puncture?
I'm going for an X-ray to see that it hasn't gone through my bone and then they just pull it out.
-Or chop your finger off.
It's highly unlikely Emily's heading for an amputation, but the injury could have serious consequences.
If she's sewn through the bone, she'll need surgery.
The needle is going straight through the tip of her finger there
and it's just missed the tip of the bone there
so she was fairly lucky.
So it's good news but there's still the small matter of getting the needle out.
Can you feel the end of your finger?
You're not sure.
I don't think the doctor meant can you actually feel your finger.
Right, well, what we need to do is we'll numb the finger, OK, and then we'll pull it out.
As long as it's quick I think it'll be OK.
To numb the finger,
Emily now has to endure two more needles in her punctured pointer.
That's the worst bit done.
Nurse Maria's brought in to help and the pair practise
their synchronised putting gloves on routine
before getting to grips with the needle.
-First, it needs to be trimmed with some wire cutters.
-Oh, where did it go?
-The nasty needle's then removed in one quick and easy motion.
-There we go.
-And all Emily's left with is a numb knuckle and a tiny scratch.
Press on it nice and firmly for a second, just to stop it from bleeding. All right?
With her damaged digit safely wrapped up the girls head back to college,
remembering always to keep an eye on the sewing machine and not a finger.
Now boys and their toys often can't be parted, but our next patient
in Northampton has found a novel way to cling to his plaything.
Four-year-old Oliver has come to A&E with his mum and gran after putting something where he shouldn't.
I was in the kitchen, he was in the lounge and he just came in and said,
"Nanny, I've got something stuck up
"my nose, I put a bit of Lego up there." You can see how big it is.
Hoping to rid Ollie of his nasal nuisance is an emergency nurse practitioner.
What happened to you?
-Oliver's managed to get some Lego stuck up his nose today.
Hard and green things up your nose aren't usually a problem,
but drawn into the lung this piece of Lego could be fatal.
After a brief inspection, nurse Irena suggests a bizarre solution.
Oliver, Mummy will give you a special kiss, OK?
With Teddy looking on, Mum Lisa is going to blow hard in Olly's mouth
in the hope that this will blast the bung out of his beak.
But things don't go quite to plan.
Open your mouth.
Did it shoot out by any chance?
No, I don't think it did, but you've cleared it out a little bit.
Lisa's best efforts haven't loosened the Lego, so Irene puts a call into the ear, nose and throat specialists
while Mum takes Olly to task over her recent snot facial.
I didn't realise I'd have to blow into your mouth
and get covered in slobber and snot - it wasn't very nice.
The Simpsons swing over to ENT where specialists Dr Singh and Dr Salvia are ready and waiting.
But the instrument they plan to use has an unsettling name.
We will use a crocodile.
Not a real crocodile. Look at that, that's called a crocodile.
It's small and it can go easily into deep spaces.
-All right, are you ready?
-That's it, just close your eyes.
Squeeze hard on your teddy.
-No, don't do that.
Can we try it only once again?
The patient's clearly unhappy being probed by a crocodile, so the doctors have to try a new approach.
All right, that's fine.
The second option now is to actually remove it under anaesthesia.
It doesn't have to be done today.
We'll give you an appointment, OK.
With a temporary reprieve, Olly can't get away fast enough.
Let's get out.
Let's get out now!
Five days later and Olly's back for operation Lego removal, stage two.
Olly, Mum and trusty Teddy head for theatre.
To avoid any further tears or trauma Olly's put under general anaesthetic
before the team get to work extracting his bizarre bogey.
They carefully clear the way by sucking out the snot before going in to retrieve the tiny toy intruder.
There's one last nosey up the nasal passages with an endoscope to check
Olly hasn't stashed anything else up his snout before he's given the all clear and wheeled off to recovery.
Hello, buddy, you OK?
You were really brave.
It's out now.
It's out now, is it?
Did they save it for you?
-Ow, ow, ow.
Despite his anaesthetic hangover,
it's not long before Olly's made a complete recovery and he's home with Mum and Dad
and straight back on the bricks.
And pride of place on Olly's toy box is the new Simpson family heirloom -
destined to become a source of much embarrassment in years to come.
When he gets married, that'll be part of the centrepiece.
You've got to be kidding me.
Bizarre cases aren't confined to Britain
and this series, we've scoured the globe to bring you the world's most extraordinary emergencies.
Over in America, doctors saved the life of a skater boy by resorting
to a surreal and radical remedy when they sent his skull subzero.
Kyle Johnson used to love skateboarding.
The last time I was on it it nearly killed me.
Kyle catapulted into the concrete and smashed his head like an egg.
It shattered completely into more than 25 to 30 pieces.
Bizarrely doctors kept his cranky skull in the deep freeze.
I've never been in a freezer before but unfortunately my skull has.
This is the adrenalin fuelled art of longboarding.
Snowboarder Kyle got his summer time kicks on
the steep hills of his hometown, north of Salt Lake City in Utah.
I've done this hill quite a bit.
It is a little aggressive.
I wanted to feel some adrenalin so I found it more or less, obviously.
Kyle's buddy, Mike, had second thoughts.
I've never done this hill, it's just too much for me.
Although Kyle egged him on, Mike wouldn't crack, so Mike watched Kyle crash.
He lost control about halfway down and that's when the board just flew out from underneath him.
Carving a corner at 25mph, Kyle was catapulted backwards.
With no helmet, all his falling weight smashed the back of his head into the road.
That's about where he fell. He had blood just pouring out of his head.
Blood all out from your ear.
The emergency services were scrambled and paramedics found Kyle had a crumbled cranium.
Round the back of his head I felt a huge soft spot from ear to ear.
-He was in and out of consciousness.
-Blood coming out of both ears.
We started some IVs. As the call progressed he became more and more unconscious.
Not one memory of any of this.
Although whisked off to hospital, Kyle's condition went rapidly downhill.
He arrived at the ER in a coma and Dr Welling assessed his brain activity score.
The best you can get is a 15.
Patients who are dead get a score of three.
Kyle's score was six.
Kyle was breathing but completely unresponsive, so when his parents
saw him swollen and unmoving they had to prepare for the worst.
I didn't know if he was alive or dead when they took us in there
because it just didn't look like Kyle to me.
Lots of tubes coming out of his mouth, machines everywhere.
Kyle was in a very deep coma and near death.
A CAT scan showed that his skull was so broken up Kyle had gone soft in the head.
It was similar to if you were to drop a hard-boiled egg on a hard surface.
It just shattered completely.
Kyle's brain was bleeding and swelling uncontrollably.
The rising skull pressure risked permanent brain damage.
Despite medication, overnight Kyle's cranial pressure rose to six times normal.
Something had to give.
We were very concerned about him either dying or being left in a vegetative state.
The only option to reduce pressure was to make room
for Kyle's swelling brain, so large chunks of his skull had to come off.
There was nearly the entire side of the skull
bigger than what your hand would cover on both sides.
But Kyle's egg head skull came off in puzzle pieces.
Surgical staff had a real headache.
It took us about 40 minutes to put those pieces back together again with little plates and screws.
After the jigsaw, doctors had a madcap scheme to keep
Kyle's skullcap fresh for later - bung it in the freezer.
That jigsaw puzzle was then put in a medical freezer for future reimplantation.
So I volunteered my own freezer. I was always worried they'd lose him or something.
Yes, she said, "Put him in my freezer cos I know I'll take good care of him."
You really put peas in a freezer not your skull.
The op had left Kyle looking like Frankenstein's monster, but it had worked.
With the brain free to swell, the dangerous pressure was down.
But what damage had been done to Kyle's tortured brain?
Would he ever wake up?
How severely brain damaged might he be?
I wasn't sure if he'd ever be able to talk again or walk again or interact with his family.
We just don't know if he'll be able to see.
We don't know if he'll be able to hear.
We don't know if he'll be able to move his body, his limbs and his legs.
All they could do was wait and hope.
Over the weeks it took for the swelling to subside, the weird shape of his skull started to show.
You could see where his skull was missing and the recesses to where
his skin was resting on the brain itself.
You could actually touch the skin and feel the patient's brain.
All Dr Welling could do was re-fit Kyle's skull from the freezer.
But were the frozen fragments past their use-by date and fit only for the dog?
After two weeks in the freezer the bone flap is perfectly fine to be put back into the patient's head.
Taking things apart is easy but as Humpty Dumpty knows, the tricky bit is putting them back together again.
It took 10 metal plates, 20 screws and 67 staples to hold the skull bones together.
The back of my head is completely flat and it actually caves in a little bit even.
I can still feel some of the fractures in my skull.
I can feel the screws that they put in to put the skull back together.
Dr Welling's team had put Kyle Johnson back together again.
His recovery truly has been miraculous.
Doctor's orders keep Kyle off the ski slopes for now but it won't be for long.
The day I get back on the snowboard will be a big day for me, putting the accident definitely behind me.
It's just phenomenal what has happened to him. It is a miracle.
We can look at him now and go, "Kyle's here. Kyle's home."
It's a great, great feeling.
It may lack size and horse power but the lowly skateboard can be
just as dangerous as fellow four-wheel drives.
Each year over 30,000 skater boys end up in A&E.
Broken wrists, facial foul-ups, and mangled ankles are the most common mishaps.
About 3% of skaters kick flip into critical condition,
suffering skull fractures, head injuries or concussion.
-That's sick, dude.
-It's not only sidewalk surfers whose attempt at skating skill can make them ill.
Nearly 11,000 people are spliced on the ice by the fearsome footwear.
More than 600 fail to spot ice rink barriers and a massive 12,000
double axel down to A&E as a result of sprains, strains and tumbles on the ice itself.
Be careful not to skate on thin ice lest you share the frosty fate of Ani Zoltany.
The young Hungarian was practising her moves on Lake Velence
when the ice cracked beneath her and she plunged into the wintery waters.
When frostbite froze her fingers, the only way she could keep
her head above water was by holding onto the ice with her teeth.
Thankfully she was saved by a passer-by who spotted her bobble hat bobbing in the water.
Next we're heading to Bradford Royal Infirmary
where a particularly gruesome case has been rushed into A&E.
Geoff Allsop's arm might look like a giant cotton bud but that bandage is hiding a monumentally mangled mitt.
Only some of Geoff's hand is wrapped within.
The rest of it is in that bowl.
We need a quick look at this,
-if that's all right.
-I don't want to see it.
-No. I need to.
More squeamish viewers might want to look away now as medics get to grips
with a hand that's missing not one but two fingers.
Well done. You're doing really well.
An hour ago, joiner Geoff was cutting wood with his trusted circular saw.
The blade slices through timber like a knife through butter.
It has a pretty similar effect on flesh and bone.
So when Geoff passed the saw through his hand his digits didn't stand a chance.
It was just a lack of concentration.
All I felt were, like, a big bang.
The doctors first need to assess whether the fingers Geoff's held onto are viable.
Can you feel anything on that finger there?
-You can feel that?
He's basically taken off his index finger just at the base of the finger.
His middle finger seems fairly intact.
His ring finger he's taken off about halfway down the finger
and his little finger fortunately and his thumb are OK.
Doctors then inspect the chilled chipolatas across the room.
Geoff's colleagues managed to retrieve the two severed fingers
and the ambulance crew covered them in a damp cloth before placing them on ice.
Geoff's index finger is beyond repair but Mr Pinder thinks they can reattach the ring finger.
The aim is to give you as functional a hand as we can do.
I think it's very likely that it'll only have three fingers and a thumb on it rather than your four fingers.
Although he's facing gruelling surgery, Geoff's staying stoic.
A bit apprehensive about it, but you've got to deal with it.
You're in the right place anyway, aren't you?
Well, that's what everybody's told me, Lisa.
Top notch surgeons.
10 minutes later, Geoff, his wife Bernadette and his fingers are all led up to theatre.
He might be a few minutes, but he'll be absolutely fine.
A tearful Bernadette has an anxious wait as brave Geoff's put under
and the plastics team get ready to start.
Even for such a skilled team, this is one almighty challenge.
First, medics have to thoroughly clean the wound using that most
-delicate of surgical tools, the scrubbing brush.
-Is that enough now?
No, no, it's fine.
A very severe injury.
Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Rhodes has a closer look
at the severed fingers and there's an unexpected twist.
-This isn't good.
-It looks like a section
of Geoff's ring finger they thought they could reattach is too damaged and can't be stitched back on.
The good news though is that they might be able to save the completely severed index finger
they initially thought was a lost cause.
Mr Rhodes first gets to work on the ring finger.
Using the gruesomely named bone nibbler, he clips back the excess bone.
He then folds over a flap of skin about halfway down the digit.
Then it's on to the index finger. It's first attached using wire.
Just goes in there like that.
Drilled right through the bone to hold it in place.
Perfect. Very good.
Then the painstaking process of connecting the nerves, tendons and arteries can begin.
We're just fixing the last of the tendons.
Blood is at last flowing back into Geoff's finger and his hand once again
resembles a hand, albeit one that lost a fight with a circular saw.
You can see where the teeth have ripped into his bare flesh.
Which just leaves the small matter of covering the open wound on the back of Geoff's hand.
The team take a thin shaving of skin from Geoff's arm which will heal up.
-That's the skin there.
-And then the sliver is grafted onto the back of the hand.
Surgical glue holds it in place.
By which time Geoff's finger is responding nicely.
If you rub it, it goes white.
Then in a second or two it comes back nice and pink.
This is as good as it probably could have gone so far.
We've managed to find all the bits,
put them back together and hopefully it will be OK.
Yeah, let's hope so.
Just a generation ago, an accident like this would have meant Geoff waving goodbye to most of his hand.
Thanks to the incredible skill of today's surgeons,
there's a chance he'll retain most of the function in his fingers.
After eight solid hours of surgery it's a phenomenal result.
The question now is will Geoff's reattached digits remain intact and regain their movement?
All over. Just wish I could go and have a beer now, but I can't.
Never has a swift half been more richly deserved.
Two weeks later and Geoff's back for a check-up on his digits.
How's the hand feeling?
-Still a bit tender.
Don't be put off by Geoff's blackened hand.
His fingers are doing fantastically well.
So we've been very successful with the index but unfortunately this little bit hasn't survived.
It just reflects the severity of the injury.
The blackened area is the skin sliver doctors shaved from Geoff's arm, which hasn't taken,
but it's a relatively easy fix.
Another skin graft should sort it out.
It is getting better. It looks better than it did last week.
Hope I get back to work,
back to normal, hopefully.
Maybe not 100% back to normal, but back to life as life goes on.
The future should be bright for both Geoff and his fingers.
Next time on Bizarre ER, there's toy trauma for one toddler.
Tried absolutely everything to try and get it off and it just won't budge.
A super-size splinter proves a real headache.
-God, it's huge.
-And we find out how doctors down under saved
a Kiwi woodsman's life and face following a freaky forest accident.
It was really incredible to think that he was still alive.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Featuring a woman who had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a Halloween mask; a carpenter who arrived with two of his fingers on ice after he cut through his hand with a circular saw; a six-year-old with a piece of lego stuck in his nostril; and an art student who had sewn a needle straight through the end of her finger. Plus, how doctors in the US saved a skateboarder with severe head injuries by putting bits of his skull into deep freeze.