The most gruesome situation you've encountered? - page 5

During Army Reserve weekend warrior days we went to the children's hospital burn unit. It was a regional center. One lady 'Lois', fell asleep smoking on her wedding night (her new husband burned to... Read More

  1. by   RNSavingHearts
    Quote from PMFB-RN
    Back in the mid-90's my company was deployed to Bosnia. Our mission was to provide security to UN investigators who were looking for evidence of war crimes. One day the UN geeks were digging up a mass grave. It wasn't that bad from a rotten stench point of view but when a Swedish UN guy explained to me what I was seeing I was nearly threw up on the spot. Seems in the old communist health system materity hospitals were seperate from regular hospitals. The Serbs had rounded up all the patients in a materity hospital, women in advanced stages of pregnancy, new moms, and tiny babies. They dug a trench with a bull dozer, lined the young women (babies in their arms) and walked down the line hitting each woman in the back of the head with a hammer. They didn't usually bother to kill the little babies, just pushed them into the pit with their moms. Each woman's skull had a neat hole in the back of it about the size of a US 50 cent piece. Later that day I was leaning aginst a tree smoking and joking with my buddies and this UN guy walks up and tells us to stop leaning aginst the tree. I was about to tell him to go to hell when he said "no wait, it's evidence don't you see?" He pointed to several tiny little black stubs imbedded into the bark. Apperently the Serbs couldn't be bothered shooting the toddlers but would grab them by the feet and swing them aginst this tree and bash their head in before throwing them into the pit too. The little black stubs were baby teeth imbedded into the tree.
    To this day when I hear the work "Serbian" I have the same reaction most people have to the word "Hitler". Keeps we awake sometimes.
    Our rules of engagment were strict. We couldn't shoot anyone until they shot at us first. The Serbs quickly figured this out and would point their guns at us as we drove past. After some of the things the company saw there was some breakdown in fire disipline. We would see armed Serbs and sometimes light them up weather they shot at us or not. If they didnt' it would be like "Hey Smith did you hear him shoot?" Smith: "Ya I heard the shot, how about you Jones?" Jones would of course agree to having heard a shot and so on until you had 20 guys claiming they heard a shot. Our officers knew what was going on but let it slide.
    Thank you for your service...I can not even begin to imagine the things that our service men and women have been through. This story gave me so so so so sad :*(
  2. by   RNdancer
    I was lucky to view 2 autopsies during nursing school, and I'll never forget them. I actually kept the obit from one for a while, it helped me process what I had experienced. The smell is like nothing else, and I brought a jar of baby Vicks Vapor Rub with lavender that day & passed it around. (I think I saw it in a movie, and it was very useful advice)

    The first autopsy was of a young person who had an accident with farming equipment, causing a crushing chest injury. At first I was horrified, but then my love for anatomy took over. Once the skin of the chest was pulled back over the face, the remains became anatomy to study & it helped me to focus and soak up as much education as I could. The coroner was quizzing us & narrating everything he did and giving us the rationale. When he opened the stomach, we could see rice was part of their last meal. When the chest & abdomen were empty of organs, the coroner had made some incisions (I can't remember where or why) and a white fluid was oozing out on either side on the spine at multiple locations. He quizzed us but we couldn't name this fluid, which turned out to be lymph!

    The second autopsy was of a police officer found dead at home. Drug overdose was suspected, and I saw later confirmed in the newspaper when toxicology came back. In our rural area it was a big deal, and I am surprised they trusted students to sit in on that one.

    Though it isn't really gruesome, I did get the opportunity to complete an independent cadaver anatomy dissection class. It was completely independent study and dissection with no professor present. Our A&P professor was a foreign physician who decided not to practice medicine in the states. With their credentials, we had plenty of fresh cadavers for our A&P program. On the first day, we brought out the cadaver and we received a speech about what a privileged it is to have this opportunity that the deceased had given us by donating their body to science. Our second piece of instruction was to use the scalpel only once, which was to cut into the skin. The rest of the dissection was done with scissors and blunt tools to clean away tissue. It was way too easy to accidentally cut a vessel or nerve. Like I mentioned, the class was independent study so you could come and go as you pleased, dissecting when could fit it in around your other courses. There was only one other student doing the course that semester and we worked together, so we didn't get creeped out in the small room alone. The A&P students would sometimes flip the cadaver to look at the back which had already been completed, but then fail to flip it back over. This would leave me and another 5 foot 2 inch student to flip over a 200+ lb cadaver when a group of 8 to 10 students could have done it