Strange but true: The biggest medical shockers of 2019

Biggest medical shockers in 2019

From a glowing eyeball to flesh-eating bacteria caused by a cat scratch, here are some of 2019’s most shocking medical stories.

From a case of so-called “feather duvet lung” to a woman who found parasitic worms in her eye following a trail run, these medical moments are as bizarre as they are true.

Here’s a look at some of Fox News Health’s most head-scratching moments of 2019.

1. Man with ‘penile gangrene’ has part of genitals removed 

This case left doctors no choice but to leave a man with a "penile stump" after the tip of his penis was removed.

A 43-year-old man in South Australia was the focus of one case reported published in BMJ Journals after he developed calciphylaxis of the penis, which led to a case of “penile gangrene.” Calciphylaxis, which occurs when calcium accumulates in small blood vessels of the fat and skin tissues, can lead to blood clots, skin ulcers, and can also lead to serious, potentially deadly infections such as gangrene, or the death of tissue typically caused by a lack of blood supply, as was this man’s case.

His case left doctors no choice but to leave him with a "penile stump" after the tip of his penis was removed.

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2. Man’s bedding was making him sick in odd case of ‘feather duvet lung’ 

A 43-year-old man was diagnosed with "feather duvet lung" after he had trouble breathing for three months.

For three months, a 43-year-old man in Scotland felt sick and fatigued, often experiencing breathlessness with no relief. He sought medical attention and was subsequently diagnosed with a lower respiratory tract infection. Initially, his symptoms remedied — breathing became a bit easier and he felt less tired. But a month later, his health regressed. Further analysis led to a diagnosis of an unusual, but a very real condition that was linked to his bedding.

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3. Woman’s ‘velvety’ palms lead to unsettling diagnosis 

The woman’s palms had a "velvety" appearance due to a rare condition.
(The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019)

A 73-year-old Brazilian woman received an unsettling diagnosis after she went to a local dermatology clinic complaining of painful and itchy lesions on the palms of her hands.

The “velvety appearance” of her palms was a result of a rare condition known as acanthosis palmaris or acquired pachydermatoglyphia — more commonly referred to as “tripe palms,” as the appearance on the skin resembles tripe, or the stomach lining of beef, pork or sheep. The condition is closely associated with a potentially fatal disease, which the woman was later diagnosed with.

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4. Rare syndrome causes man’s eye to ‘glow’ 

A rare syndrome caused a 44-year-old man’s eye to eerily resemble the flaming Eye of Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings.” The case came to light when the man, who was not identified in a report detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), went to an eye clinic to reestablish care after moving to a new area.

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5. Nebraska woman gets parasitic eye worm after running through swarm of flies 

The woman’s eye was likely infected by the parasitic worm (not pictured) following a trail run in California.

A parasitic eye worm that typically affects cows infected a woman’s eye after she darted through a swarm of flies while on a trail run in California, according to a case report on the horror movie-like occurrence. The woman’s right eye was irritated, prompting her to flush it out with tap water. Moments later, a roughly half-inch long “wriggly roundworm” emerged from her eye.

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6. Woman scratched by ‘spiteful’ cat develops flesh-eating bacteria, nearly dies 

The woman’s arm as she battled flesh-eating bacteria.

A British grandmother of five is thankful to be alive after she developed a potentially deadly infection following a scratch from her “spiteful” and “cantankerous” feline, "Chan" the Siamese cat.

In April, Shirley Hair, 65, said she attempted to pick up Chan for a cuddle, but the cat “wasn’t having it” and scratched her on her right arm. This led her to develop sepsis, septic shock, organ failure, pneumonia, and Necrotizing fasciitis, often referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria.”

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7. Rare chemical reaction turns French woman’s urine bright purple 

The woman’s purple urine.
(The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019)

Doctors in France recently detailed an odd case involving a 70-year-old woman’s urine turning bright purple. The woman, who was not identified in the case report in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. About 10 days after she was fitted with a urinary catheter, her pee turned purple — what doctors with the Hôpital de Bicêtre in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre said was a result of what’s known as “purple urinary bag syndrome,” or PUBS.

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8. Rare condition causes man’s testicles to swell to 7 pounds: case report 

The man had reportedly not seen a doctor in 30 years.
(Urology Case Reports)

A 43-year-old Panama man was the focus of a recent case report that detailed a rare condition that caused his testicles to swell to an enormous size. The man, who was not identified in the report published in the medical journal Urology Case Reports, was brought to a local emergency room with a rapid heartbeat and fever, as well as swelling and drainage – described as “foul-smelling, purulent fluid” – coming from two open wounds on his scrotum. He was later diagnosed with Fournier gangrene, what the National Organization for Rare Disorders describes as “an acute necrotic infection of the scrotum; penis; or perineum,” which is the area between the anus and the genitals.

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