Until relatively recently, the most tried-and-true method of saving someone's life was "Here, stuff this up in there and see if it helps." But sometimes the old ways are the best ways, as evidenced by these stories of folks saving lives with whatever crap happened to be near at hand. Disclaimer: If you are currently suffering from an immediate life-threatening condition, note that we are not condoning doing anything stupid like ...
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Shawarma is a delicious slow-roasted meat concoction preferred by middle-easterners and Avengers alike. At best, the only medical condition it can cure is a crippling case of the munchies, so if we were to tell you that a UK man used it to save his own life after his throat had been brutally slashed, you'd think we were off our rockers ... and rightfully so, because that didn't happen at all. No, the sandwich he used was a doner kebab, the Turkish version of the dish.
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Or yet another way to mispronounce "gyro."
James Hobbs and his cousin ran out for kebabs one brisk January day in 2011. On the way back home, Hobbs decided to pay a visit to his neighbor (and future stabber) Jamie Edney, whom he suspected of stabbing his missus (in a carnal way). Edney answered the door with knife in hand, at which point Hobbs must have realized that he'd brought a goddamned sandwich to a knife fight. Nevertheless, the two launched into a ruckus, during which Hobbs never once loosened his grip on his lunch, because the man had his goddamn priorities straight.
Hobbs soon found himself on the ground, cartoonish fountains of blood squirting from his shiny new neck wound courtesy of one Mr. Edney. A quick-thinking Hobbs stanched the geyser with the only item at hand: his doner kebab, which had luckily survived the melee in much better condition than Hobbs himself.
So, you gonna eat that, or ...?
Hobbs narrowly avoided losing his vocal cords, but nonetheless lost more than half of his blood. Still, doctors credit the snack with prolonging his life long enough for paramedics to arrive with proper bandages and such. As for Edney, he received a mere five-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the near-murder, presumably because he displayed enough empathy to leave his victim a life-saving pita.
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Two doctors boarded a plane in Hong Kong -- stop us if you've heard this one before -- along with a passenger named Paula Dixon, who had been in a motorcycle crash on her way to the airport, yet decided to board the flight regardless, because ... the tickets were nonrefundable, we guess?
Not to mention pre-boarding privileges.
Luckily for Dixon, doctors Angus Wallace and Tom Wong managed to set her fractured arm with a makeshift splint, and that was that. At least until about an hour into the 13-hour trek to London, when she started suffering from chest pain. Upon closer inspection, the docs discovered that Dixon had at least two broken ribs and a very unintentional new body piercing -- one of the "left lung" variety.
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Wolfed-down airport McRibs are the only ribs that are supposed to cause painful mid-flight wheezing.
In-flight medical kits being ill-equipped for such an emergency, Wallace and Wong had to make do. So they coughed up 20 bucks for a bottle of Evian, retrieved a catheter from the med kit, scrounged up a coat hanger, found someone willing to donate a bottle of five-star brandy, thoroughly pissed off the gentleman behind Dixon by fully reclining her seat, and got to operating. Three swigs of brandy (plus a dash for disinfectant) and a coat hanger plunge later, the doctors had jury-rigged a chest drain to relieve the pressure. They did such a bang-up job that five minutes after the procedure, Dixon was enjoying an in-flight meal and a movie.
"You feeling better?"
"I just noticed there are no babies, so this is honestly the best flight I've ever had."
The plane didn't even have to make an emergency medical diversion, which is pretty incredible, considering the fact that a plane will divert for a snarky remark these days.
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House may not have been the most medically accurate show, but it got a few things right. As proof, we present the case of an unidentified 55-year-old German man whom we'll call Augustus, because it sounds like a friendly enough name. Augustus was suffering from a slew of symptoms, including fever, hormonal imbalances, loss of vision and hearing, and, to plop a cherry on the fuck-me sundae, heart failure. He had (presumably slowly) traveled down a long chain of doctors and specialists, only to have each of them give their shoulders an exaggerated shrug before extending a palm to collect his copay.
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"Not to sugarcoat it! Haha, kidding. That's just a little doctor humor. You have six months to live."
Fortunately, Augustus eventually stumbled into the clinic of one Dr. Juergen Schaefer. In less time than your average commercial break, Schaefer had diagnosed him with cobalt intoxication and sent him off on the path to recovery.
So how did Dr. Schaefer immediately succeed where so many others had failed? Simple: He's a huge fan of House. So huge that he uses the show to teach medical students at the University of Marburg about diagnosing off-the-wall medical conditions. So huge that he wrote an entire book on how to apply the show to real-life medicine. So huge that at the first sight of Augustus's symptoms, he immediately recalled season seven, episode 11, wherein Candice Bergen portrays a woman whose faulty metal hip replacement pumps her full of obscene amounts of cobalt. Exactly like our pal Augustus -- who, after receiving a fresh ceramic hip, was feeling all better, and probably also more than a bit obligated to buy the complete House box set.
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"No, you can't just stream it on Netflix. You owe me."
When a suicidal knife-wielding man threatened to jump from a Silicon Valley freeway overpass in San Jose, the California Highway Patrol was left with only one option: calling in a tactical pizza delivery.
Of course, there was a 99 percent chance the jumper was a code monkey, so it wasn't a bad call.
Face-to-face intervention by police officers proved treacherous, as the target was visibly agitated and stabby. Negotiators were called in and attempted to reach a long-distance agreement, but no dice. The man didn't feel like chatting. So as a last resort, officers dispatched the impressively named Northrop Grumman Remotec ANDROS F6A bomb disposal robot, fully equipped with video, two-way sound, the arm strength of an adult man who's glanced at a barbell on TV at least once, and one hot pizza safely secured in its kung-fu grip.
That last bit may sound odd, but delivering food is actually a common disarming technique. The suicidal man was told that the pizza would only be released from the robot's steely grip if he agreed to FaceTime with the negotiators.
"What is this ... pineapple!? Deal's off!"
The man complied, because even bad pizza is marginally better than suicide, and less than an hour later, he dropped the knife and was taken into voluntary custody without incident. Imagine what the robots could accomplish with burrito technology ...
Back in the late '80s, a 65-year-old career heart attack sufferer lapsed into cardiac arrest in his plush green recliner. His son, who (as shall become abundantly apparent) was not formally trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, wailed his very best "Don't you die on me!" and went to town on the old man's chest, with less-than-successful results. The program he was watching must have been MacGyver, because that's when the son decided to improvise with the unlikeliest tool imaginable.
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Okay, maybe a little more likely than that.
Junior sprinted to the bathroom, snatched a plunger, and set to his father's unresponsive chest as if it were a low-flow toilet on the day after Thanksgiving. By the time paramedics arrived, the once-comatose man was breathing, moving under his own volition, and probably wondering why he smelled funny.
And now, for no reason, a picture of a steamer departing for Cleveland.
Now, here's the kicker: Junior's idea to perform plunger CPR wasn't novel. His mother had used the very same process to revive his very same old man six months earlier. Doctors were so flabbergasted by the repeated results that they decided to research what exactly made the technique so successful, and it's quite possible that this mother/son team of plunger aficionados may have kick-started a revolution of traditional CPR. By offering both compression and decompression -- as opposed to only the former when using the old-fashioned manual technique -- plunger CPR simultaneously ventilates the lungs and improves the forced circulation of blood throughout the body. In fact, studies have determined that 24 percent of patients survive when receiving plunger CPR, as opposed to only 11 percent with the conventional method.
As a direct result, the FDA has recently approved the widespread release of the ResQPump, a suction-enhanced CPR device inspired by the tool you use to clean up the aftermath of a Carl's Jr. combo meal.
The same Carl's Jr. that's the cause of you needing CPR to begin with.
Ready for more cures that work but we still would absolutely recommend doctors and actual medicine over? Then check out 7 Horrifically Stupid Decisions That Somehow Saved Lives and 19 Home Remedies You Won't Believe Actually Work.
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