1The Liver Transplant That Changed The Patient's Blood Type
15 year-old Demi-Lee Brennan didn't just get a new lease on life thanks to her liver transplant, she also received a new blood type.
Yes, you read that right, her new liver changed her blood type from O- Negative to O-Positive.
While this sounds like a scary side effect, it's actually quite lucky. It means Brennan won't have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life like most organ recipients. In fact, taking the immunosuppressant drug cocktail actually slowed her recovery process by pushing her original blood cells to hold on rather than letting the entire system adapt and change.
Doctors say they have no idea how this happened. "We didn't believe this at first. We thought it was too strange to be true," her doctor said. "Normally the body's own immune system rejects any cells that are transplanted, but for some reason the cells that came from the donor's liver seemed to survive better than Demi-Lee's own cells. It has huge implications for the future of organ transplants."
2The Patients Who Claimed To Have Personality Changes After Organ Transplants
While it was totally unheard of for a transplant patient to have her blood type change after a surgery, other changes post-transplant are fairly common. In fact, many organ transplant recipients notice their personalities, tastes, and interests have changed after surgery. Many patients discover they start to like the same things as the organ donor.
The concept is known as "memory transplant" or "body memory." While there are those who believe the theory is impossible and say it is just a coincidence, a result of medication or a renewed lease on life, some stories are hard to explain.
Executive and transplant recipient Bill Wohl found himself inexplicably tearing up while listening to Sade on the radio after his surgery. Only later did he discover that his donor was a huge fan of the musician.
Jamie Sherman was a native Arizonian who hated Mexican food. After her surgery though, she suddenly had intense cravings for cheese enchiladas, bean burritos and soft tacos. Sure enough, she later discovered her donor loved Mexican food, especially cheese enchiladas.
Similarly, Claire Sylvia woke up from her surgery longing for beer, chicken nuggets, and green peppers – which she didn't like before surgery, but her donor did.
3The Brain Surgery Patient Who Lost Control Of Her Hand
Karen Bryne underwent surgery to treat her epilepsy. The procedure involved cutting the corpus callosum, a band of fibers which connect the left and right sides of the brain. Surgery cured Karen of her epilepsy, but it caused an entirely different problem – Alien Hand Syndrome. While Alien Hand Syndrome sounds funny and has even been the subject of many a sci-fi story, those who have the disorder will tell you that losing control of one of your hands is no laughing matter. After the two sides of Bryne's brain were disconnected, the left and right hemispheres were in a constant struggle for control, but she was only conscious of behaviors of one side.
These days, Karen is on medication that keeps her condition at bay. However, before doctors found a solution, her hand had a mind of its own – undressing her blouse at inappropriate times, taking things out of her purse and leaving them at random locations. The had even attacked her – Karen would unwillingly punch and slap herself in the face.
4The Woman Who Became Ultra-Empathic After Brain Surgery
It's pretty obvious that brain surgeries are complex, so it's not all that surprising when there are unexpected complications (like Karen Bryne's Alien Hand Syndrome), but no one could have predicted a patient's hyper empathy after surgery.
Like Bryne, the unnamed woman underwent brain surgery to treat her epilepsy. Also like Bryne, the surgery served its intended purpose, but resulted in a quite unexpected side effect. In this case, the woman noticed that she was suddenly subject to "new, spectacular emotional arousal," that has lasted over fourteen years. She not only feels these elevated emotions in reaction to her own experiences, but to those around her, even to people on TV or in novels.
What's really amazing about this case is that while the part of the brain doctors operated on, the amygdala, is involved with handling identifying emotions in others, removing parts of this area ordinarily make it harder for someone to read other people's emotions. This is the first time this sort of side effect has been recorded after parts of the temporal lobe were removed.
5The Doctors Who Discovered Surgical Instruments Inside Patients
The chance of having a surgical instrument left inside your body after a surgery could be anywhere from 12.5% to .02% depending on various statistics. Either way, the idea of having a foreign instrument left inside your body during a surgery is pretty creepy and experts agree that it happens a lot more often than people like to think. When you consider the fact that an average of 250 instruments are used in any given surgery, and that larger surgeries require an average of 600 tools, it's easy to see how these things get misplaced on occasion.
One such victim was Daryoush Mazarei, who never felt like he recovered from his surgery. Even two years after the event, he complained of severe pains in his abdomen. Doctors assured Mazarei that there was nothing wrong with him and instead told him to seek psychiatric treatment. Daryoush remained steadfast in his belief and when the doctors booked a CT scan, they discovered a set of 10" retractors that were left in his abdomen.
In one of the most shocking cases of this kind, 16 objects were left in the body a German patient named Dirk Schroeder who received routine prostate cancer surgery. Despite Schroeder's poor recovery and intense pain after the event, it took several weeks for doctors to discover the objects left in his body, which included a needle, a six-inch roll of bandage, a compress, swabs and part of a surgical mask. Schroeder endured two separate operations just to remove the objects.
6The Dental Surgery That Left A Patient With A New Accent
It doesn't seem unbelievable that an oral surgery could change how you talk – a bad cut could harm your vocal cords, your tongue or your teeth, leaving you with a new pitch, a slur or some other speech impediment. What is odd though, is to wake up from dental surgery with an another accent.
That's what happened to Oregonian Karen Butler. She underwent basic dental implant surgery, only to wake up from anesthesia with an entirely new accent. The accent is a strange mishmash of Irish, Scottish, English, Australian, German with a touch of South African. Whereas most of us can just use a fake accent for fun, Butler can't control the accent she uses and is often surprised by what comes out of her mouth.
Since the surgery, Butler has been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome, a rare condition that affects less than 100 people worldwide.
She also seems to be the only person known to develop the disorder without first suffering some sort of brain damage, usually a stroke. Karen and her family have been taking the whole thing in stride, finding the situation humorous, which is probably for the best considering the condition will likely be permanent.
7The Woman Who Can't Stop Farting After Surgery
Childbirth is a relatively safe experience thanks to modern medicine, but it still has its risks. For opera singer Amy Herbst, the embarrassing complications even ended up taking away her career. It all started when a nurse performed an episiotomy (a small incision to expand the vaginal opening) during Herbst's delivery without asking permission from Amy or her husband. Ever since then, the singer complains that she has suffered from severe flatulence and incontinence, particularly while performing. She and her husband filed a suit against the army-operated hospital for $2.5 million.