The Most Common Embarrassing Medical Emergencies

Just about everyone has to take a trip to the emergency room at some point in their life. We all just hope to God that it isn’t because of something that will have the nurses forming a crowd outside your room, giggling while they text all their friends about the idiot who just showed up with 3rd degree burns after trying to light his farts on fire. But stuff like that hardly ever happens, right? Well, humiliating injuries like that are a lot more common that you might think, and are being reported by hospitals in shocking numbers. Things like…

Zipper Mishaps

Although if you're desperate and committed enough, it's one of the fastest ways to get out of jury duty.

Although if you’re desperate and committed enough, it’s one of the fastest ways to get out of jury duty.

Just this March, a study was released reporting that almost 18,000 men between 2002-2010 responded to an emergency room because their franks and beans got caught in their zippers. That’s about 2,000 patients per year, which was enough to rank it as the #1 cause of penile injuries among adults (#2 was slamming your junk into a bicycle frame, in case you were curious). Having your genitals mangled by the metallic teeth on your pants badly enough to require immediate medical attention is apparently common enough among both men and boys that experts felt compelled to remind doctors that, “practitioners should be familiar with various zip-detachment strategies for these populations.” Velcro has shown to be a viable alternative for both NBA warm-up suits and your grandfather’s shoes, so perhaps it’s time to apply the technology more widely and save the medical community some time.

Sexual Misadventure

And you thought an STD was the worst-case scenario.

And you thought an STD was the worst-case scenario.

Apparently way too many young men are treating pornography as a training aid, believing the overly enthusiastic jackhammer method is actually a viable way to go about pleasing the ladies. The proof of this is that far too many guys are snapping their penises like a ripe carrot in the bedroom, and winding up on a gurney as a result. Injuries as a result of reckless sexual abandon are just old hat for hospital staffs, and men aren’t the only victims, as this woman from New York related to ABC News: “I did a kind of accidental back handspring off my boyfriend and cracked myself on the head.” Her activity also proved dangerous for those around her, as she described how “my boyfriend got the worst of it and ‘fractured’ his penis.

A recent British poll revealed that a third of all people surveyed admitted to having incurred a sex-related injury, and 5% had to call in sick from work because of one at some point. As far as excuses go though, at least it’s a lot more impressive than the normal ones we use to explain away a hangover.


Wow, that much more work to injure yourself than to do it right.

Wow, that is…so much more work to injure yourself than to do it right.

Food preparation frequently involves the use of sharp objects, and stupid people with knives can generally be counted on to accidentally stab themselves. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that a lot of people require medical attention every year as a result of kitchen blunders. But bagels? Yep. As reported by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, in 2008 no less than 1,979 Americans turned up in an E.R. after being outsmarted by a bread product.

Dr. Joel Geiderman, chairman of emergency medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, describes the phenomenon: “Bagel injuries are quite common. When you work on a Sunday morning, you see someone sitting there with a cut–not too deep–on their non-dominant hand. They’re looking kind of sheepish. They may or may not smell of lox.”

Backdoor Shenanigans

Never sit down too fast on a rock.

Never sit down too fast on a rock.

People shoving things up their ass and going to the hospital to have them removed is an old source of laughs for everyone except the urban legend version of Richard Gere, but this type of thing has to be incredibly rare, right? Well as it turns out, “rectal foreign bodies” happen to be a common sight in hospitals all over the world, and incidents seem to be most common in Eastern Europe for some reason. It happens with enough frequency that physicians have had to produce papers with titles such as, Emergency Department Management of Retained Rectal Foreign Bodies, and Management of rectal foreign bodies: Description of a new technique and clinical practice guidelines.

Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of people with this affliction choose not to admit the source of their abdominal pain when they arrive at the hospital. The usual excuse tends to be some variation of “I just fell and somehow I…” And the usual response is probably something along the lines of, “come on man, someone from the bowling alley surely would have called before you showed up here.”

Playing Interactive Video Games

This is why physical activity is never worth it.

Why play hockey when you can lose teeth in the comfort of your own home?

In the past, the worst damage you could do to yourself while playing video games was limited to a sore thumb, tendonitis and the occasional Pokémon-induced epileptic fit. Nowadays, however, with the advent of interactive gaming systems like the Wii and Xbox Kinect, the injuries are becoming more grievous and can now include innocent bystanders. You can now develop tennis elbow without ever walking onto an actual court, give a contusion to a nearby toddler by losing your grip on the controller and demolish a brand new 60″ Toshiba with the ricochet all in one afternoon. We won’t even go into the psychological trauma involved surrounding dance games and Youtube uploads.

According to a study in 2010 that collected data on video game injuries reported between 2004-2009, those who played interactive games were “significantly more likely to injure their shoulder, ankle, and foot.” It’s become enough of a problem that the American Physical Therapy Association has found it necessary to recommend some helpful tips, to include:

  • Keep your wrists as straight as you can and don’t let them bend downward.
  • Stretch and move every 20 minutes or so to give your head, neck and shoulder muscles a break.
  • Stop playing if your hands feel weak or if they ache, burn or tingle.
  • Look for warning signs such as headaches, fatigue, muscle pain or cramping. If these signs occur, take a break or participate in an alternate activity.

Whether they’re talking about video game enthusiasts or truck stop prostitutes, it’s sound advice to be sure.

Shaving Down There

On the bright side, you can now pee in all 3 urinals at restaurants.

On the bright side, you can now pee in all 3 urinals at restaurants.

Ladies have been dutifully maintaining the size and scope of their underbrush since Playboy made excess groin foliage unfashionable back in the ’70s, and the occasional nick and scrape was just par for the course. Accidental Brazilian waxing tragedies can also account for the occasional need for a doctor to intervene. But it wasn’t until the relatively recent popularity of the metrosexually-correct trend of “manscaping” that emergency rooms began seeing an alarming increase in the amount of genitourinary destruction brought about by clumsily wielded crotch razors.

According to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, pubic hair grooming injuries have increased spectacularly by 500% over the last decade. And that’s likely a gross underestimation since the study only includes people who admit it. Egregiously, 43% of of the people who incurred these wounds were men. Men from across all age ranges to include teenagers, such as “the 17-year-old boy who picked up a razor after smoking marijuana who now understands that that was a bad idea.

If there’s a better “Scared Straight” testimonial out there, we have yet to hear it.

A Kettle of Vultures
hindenburg burning The Most Common Embarrassing Medical Emergencies

Why stop at Titanic II ?

What E. Reid Ross doesn’t know could fill a book, but he is eager to learn how to sell that book for video game money. Feel free to friend him on Facebook and check out his supple body of work over on He and a few pals also blaspheme old comics at

featuredimage12 The Most Common Embarrassing Medical Emergencies

Metropolis warned us about this.

For more horrible ideas someone put into practice, check out Capitalizing on Tragedy. Or, find out just how awkward things can get in Weird Sex.

More from E. Reid Ross

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