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A 15-year-old entered the AIIMS trauma center in New Delhi with ulcers on his arm that would not heal. Doctors figured out that he must have cut himself some months ago, but that didn't explain the multiple large sores in different spots on his forearm. Substance abuse had to be a factor, but as for which substance, they didn't know. So they brought in a psychiatrist who would talk to the boy till he told the full story.

It turned out he'd injected himself with mercury, which he'd gotten by breaking open thermometers and other equipment. He'd watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine and wanted to get superpowers like one of the characters there. The 2013 medical journal we're quoting says this character was named "Mercury," and while we wouldn't presume to overrule the authors on medical matters, we know there wasn't any character by that name in the movie (there is an X-Men mutant by that name, but she hasn't appeared in any movie). Surely, the kid trying to inject liquid metal was aiming to be Wolverine himself.

The doctors performed a bunch of tests which confirmed the boy hadn't eaten any mercury but must have taken it in through the skin. "Surprisingly, he had no other psychiatric problems and had a normal IQ," they wrote in the journal, which sounds like throwing shade but was just a calm medical assessment. A couple skin grafts later, and they had the kid healing properly. 

Some people will read this story and think this means movies have to be more careful about what they portray, lest impressionable kids imitate them. We think perhaps the opposite message is more sound: If someone somewhere will imitate even the most fantastical movie scenes, maybe movies themselves don't deserve blame at all. You might as well get angry with the makers of Spider-Man just in case some kid somewhere purposely tries to get bitten by a spider.

Oh yeah: It turns out that the same kid who injected himself with mercury also purposely repeatedly got bit by spiders, to turn himself into Spider-Man. 

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For more medical misadventures, see also:

5 Horrific Injuries People Didn't Realize They Had

The 5 Most Horrifying Sports Injuries of All Time

5 Bizarre Workers' Comp Claims That Were Actually Successful

Top image: 20th Century Studios

 

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