Not to be confused with the MRI or CAT scan, an X-ray image is able to show high density substances (such as bone or metal) and penetrate low density substances (such as flesh,) due to the emission of X-rays (electromagnetic energy waves).
It’s November 8th, 1895. German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen is in his lab, in Wurzburg Germany. He is experimenting with cathode rays, seeing if they can go through glass. He suddenly notices an odd glow on a neighboring chemically covered screen. Rontgen decides to name the unknown rays created by the glow “X-rays” (a fitting name as the letter x commonly represents the unknown in algebra).
Fast forward to 1897. The X-Ray has become a popular form of entertainment at “ghost parties,” hosted by high-class individuals or anyone who has a lot of money to frivolously spend. Ghost parties involve hiding an X-ray machine in the dark without your guests knowing, then stepping behind it to scare the living day lights out of the guests who think they are witnessing a live skeleton or some other demonic aberration. Though scaring the guests only works the first time they attend a ghost party, they nevertheless continue to be dazzled and mesmerized by the machine capable of showing people’s bones (completely unaware of the high dose of radiation they are being exposed to).
More than a century later, people are still using X-ray images as a source of entertainment. However, instead of being amazed by the technology, the interesting aspect is the awful and strange cases that technology allows to be seen. The following is a list of 10 unbelievably real X-rays. But be fair warned: if you are currently eating something, you may lose your appetite. Enjoy!
10. Swallowed Magnets and Metal Balls
The bizarre dots that you see on the X-ray are actually 30 steel balls and magnets, swallowed by Haley Lens, an 8-year-old girl. When asked why she swallowed the objects she replied that they “looked like candy” (surely they must not have tasted like candy too?). Lens had to be immediately rushed to the hospital; doctors stated the magnets and balls doing as much damage to her intestines as 8 bullet wounds. Doctors also informed the parents how lucky their daughter was to survive. Another interesting fact is how in an interview, the father seemed to believe that the problem lies with the toy in question, instead of the fact that the child was clearly not being supervised, or the fact that she was able to get her hands on that toy in first place.
9. Bottle in Butt
The image you see before you is correct: a man had both a bottle and hooked piece of wire stuck in his abdomen (how embarrassing!). The man explained the ordeal to his doctors: he allegedly shoved the bottle in his butt himself, and then could not get it back out. In a panicked frenzy, he used the hooked piece of wire to try and dislodge the bottle. Unfortunately for him, the wire also got stuck and he finally decided go the hospital instead of trying to fish out the items with anything else. The bottle and wire had to be surgically removed. Though it may appear shocking to the public, this X-ray was no surprise for gastroenterologist Dr. Fedida, who claims that during his residency, he encountered a man with a bottle of French’s mustard stuck in his colon. Moral of the story: invest in a sex toy.
8. Spear Piercing Skull
The image above is that of 16-year-old, Yasser Lopez, whose brain and skull were pierced by an arrow. The boy was wounded in Miami, Florida, as he was loading a speargun and accidentally fired it. According to neurosurgeon, Dr. Ross Bullock, what is extremely important to remember in situations like this, is not to remove the perforating object. Lopez miraculously survived though he cannot use his left-side properly anymore. His reduced mobility is very unfortunate, but also quite fascinating: as the spear shot through the right side of his brain, it affected the left side of his body, showing how each side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Lopez’s case is somewhat similar to famous, textbook story of Phineas Gage, who miraculously survived after having his left frontal lobe completely destroyed in a tragic railroad accident.
7. Giant Kidney Stone
What appears to be a giant egg is in fact a kidney stone the size of a coconut. Kidney stones develop within the body when urine is supersaturated with crystal forming substances (for example, calcium, oxalate and uric acid). There are many different kinds of kidney stones, and also many causes including: dehydration, dietary habits, being obese, digestive diseases and family history. Side effects include: severe pain in the side, back, below the ribs, and lower abdomen, pain during urination, discolored or foul smelling urine, etc. The stone you see before you is 6.7-inches (17 cm) in diameter and was surgically removed from Sandor Sarkadi, 150 miles east of Budapest. The massive stone weighed 2.48 pounds. (So if kidney stones are so painful, how could Mr. Sarkadi have not noticed before it got to that size?)
6. Cell Phone in Rectum
Your eyes do not deceive you: that is indeed a cellphone lodged in someone’s butt. The plugged butt belongs to a convict of the Welikada jail in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The prisoner attempted to smuggle his phone and a hands-free headset by hiding them in his rectum. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to silence his phone before inserting it in himself. Guards became suspicious when his butt started to produce what sounded like musical farts as the phone rang. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where the cell phone was removed (though how doctors did so is unknown).
5. Scissors Left in Patient
69-year old Pat Skinner had a pair of surgical scissors left in her abdomen after a surgical operation. After the initial surgery, she continued to experience severe pain in her abdomen for months. An X-ray (the one shown above) revealed the pair of scissors. They were removed in October 2002, after having been stuck inside her for a total of 17 months. Though the hospital apologized, Skinner was still very much traumatized by the whole ordeal. The executive director of the hospital assured the public that out of more than 40,000 operations, this is the first time such an event has occurred.
4. Key Lodged in Eye
The X-ray above is that of 17-month-old Nicholas Holdermann. After accidentally falling on a set of keys while playing, a car key lodged into the boy’s right eye. Even though the shaft penetrated the boy’s brain, he miraculously recovered: three months after the incident, the boy was as before with no permanent damage to his brain or his eye. After being rushed to the hospital, the boy had to wait four hours for surgery, as an experienced ophthalmologist had to be brought to the scene. Luckily, the surgery itself only took 20-30 minutes and the boy’s eye had not been ruptured, so all ended well.
3. Nail gun Accident
It was just a regular day at work for 39-year-old Isidro Mejia, when his nail gun accidentally went off, firing six nails into his head. The nails were lodged into his skull and he was rushed to Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Los Angeles. His life was on the line as surgeons painstakingly removed the nails from his skull; the operation lasted five days. Mejia’s neurosurgeon was stunned that his patient was actually still alive. Mejia incredibly survived the ordeal and made a full recovery. When his co-workers were asked about the accident, they stated that Mejia slipped and pulled the trigger of his gun as a reflex.
2. Head Stabbed With Knife
Heroism sometimes has a price. The X-ray above is that of a 15-year-old boy, who, in an attempt to help a friend being robbed, was stabbed in the head with a five-inch knife. There were multiple attackers and three victims: one stabbed the 15-year-old in the head, another mugger stabbed a boy in twice in the back, and a third attacker stabbed the last boy in the shoulder. Amazingly, all three boys survived the attack. One of the culprits (17 years old) left behind a hat and a cell phone, which allowed the police to find and arrest him.
1. Spatula Lodged in Throat
When people are in danger and panic, they do crazy things; such was the case for 31-year-old Guan Hsuing. Hsuing was trying a new recipe when she suddenly began having an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients. Her throat started to swell and she could not breathe. Instead of dialing 911, she attempted to clear her throat with her fingers. When that was not working, she tried with three chopsticks. When the chopsticks did not work, she shoved the handle of a 12-inch (30cm) spatula down her throat. When the spatula got stuck, she was finally rushed to the hospital. Doctors were able to dislodge the spatula, but she had severely damaged her esophagus, 8 inches (20 cm) of it had to be removed. When asked about the ordeal, Hsuing replied that she had heard of a folk remedy that suggested using an object to “unclog the throat”.