Not much grosses me out.
Pus? No problem.
Sputum? Ha!
Vomit? Impervious to the smell.

When I heard this story, I literally had to take a swig of some Maalox.

There’s a patient who occasionally frequents our emergency department who recently came in for treatment. He has scars all over his body from various accidents – road rash, scrapes, cuts, etc.

Reportedly the reason his scars are so noticeable is because …

He repeatedly pulls off the scabs and eats them like friggin potato chips.


“Hey honey! Bring home a movie and some french onion dip! I just got into another bicycle accident!”

I don’t even want to know what happens with wound infections.

35 Responses to “Eeeewwwwww!”

  1. rlbates says:

    Shudder/Gag is right!!

  2. Donna says:

    Wrong. Just wrong on so many levels.

  3. Bernice says:

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit…

  4. EE says:

    Damn it Whitecoat, I was already queasy.

  5. Katherine says:

    that is truly disgusting.

    you ought to win an award or something just for TELLING that story. (Followed by a serious smack. JK.)


    That is gross.

  6. frylime says:

    omg, that is gross.

  7. corey says:

    You can’t eat just one?

    Once you pop, you can’t stop?

  8. Vince says:

    “Hey, what happened to all your scabs?”

    “Nothing; now let me finish my Corn Flakes!”

  9. Matt H says:

    Wow. What a way to start a Monday morning marathon blog-read….

  10. Matt H says:

    I bet it’s all about the texture.

  11. Dr. Greenbbs says:

    “I just got leprosy just for the flaky texture!”

  12. Katie K. says:

    boogars and scabs! yummy, take along snack

  13. Rogue Medic says:

    Is he also a cutter?

    Hmm, not enough scabs for a full meal, better create some more.

    What about the nutritional information – calories, cholesterol, vitamin C, . . . ?

  14. OMG! Now, I’m sick!

  15. medrecgal says:

    Oh, that’s just YUCK!!! I, too, have an iron stomach, but that was definitely nauseating…your title is perfect!

  16. EWWWWW!!! that is a 10 on my weird shit-o-meter

  17. Wanderer says:

    Wrong on sooooo many levels! That’s definitely up there on “odd things patients do”.

  18. mottsapplesauce says:

    Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…disgusting beyond words….

  19. Davey says:

    Hey, dump ’em in a bowl and pour a little syrup on ’em and you got a great breakfast!

  20. jeffsher63 says:

    At least they have less calories than potato chips….

  21. ali says:

    ok ummm yuck, maybe a little psych consult?
    I read here every day (even though I don’t comment that often) I just wrote a post about some problems I’m noticing at work, and I would love your opinion.

  22. Jessica says:

    oorrgghhh… it didn’t sound so bad until texture was mentioned…

  23. SeaSpray says:

    My stomach just did a flip flop. That is a first for me!

  24. miztres says:

    Now if you were to put that in a novel someone would say it was far-fetched. Disgusting and far-fetched.

  25. Tex says:

    See what happens when gas goes up…
    can’t afford gas, ride bike
    can’t afford doctor, go to ER
    can’t afford food….mmmmmm

  26. Chrys says:

    Okay, that moves you to the end of my day reading. Not…the way to start off my day. Thank you very much, Whitecoat.

  27. Disciple of "Bob" says:

    That does register on my Gross-o-Meter, but it’s not even in my top 5. I would never make it as a parent, let alone in the medical field, because my top two gross-outs are vomit and feces, in that order.

  28. Robin says:

    Am I the only person not seriously squicked by that?!

    As I kid I was a horrendous scab eater, and only don’t do it as an adult because I tend not to get damaged in a way that results in scabs.

    But faeces and vomit? No no no!

  29. Ted GI says:

    I am just waiting for the consult to evaluate the guy for a positive fecal occult blood test…

  30. Dr. Val says:

    You got me. I used to pride myself on my “cast iron stomach” but that really is disgusting. Thanks!

  31. SeaSpray says:

    Really is a tough one and squeamish even reading comments. Plus it sounds so sore to do all that picking.

  32. ScabsRFood2 says:

    That really doesn’t bother me at all…is there anyone out there who hasn’t eaten a scab or two in their lives (even as a kid)? Granted, we might not be talking about huge scabs, but I have to admit I still eat (well, it’s really more like “chew”) the little scabs I get here and there. Of course I do ingest everything I can get out of my nose as well….but really, it’s a private thing, I’m very normal >). (Since I’m in the minority here I’ll give some more background- I find pus pretty disgusting, but I really get a sense of accomplishment from forcing pus out (of wherever), I really hate bad smells (maybe because I keep my nose so clean? lol), including vomit, so I normally breath through my mouth the second I think I might encounter a bad smell. Sputum and green nasal drainage sitting a bowl is pretty darn gross (I’m thinking of nasal suction in a hospital environment). I also HATE all green vegetables).

    Are you trying to get me to puke?
    Next time I see ScabBoy in the ED, I’m whipping out a head of broccoli to see if it’s you.

  33. Julia says:

    Oh, that’s nothing.

    One of my first patients as a intern was a guy who came in with a facial abscess, which turned out to be a severely necrotic tumor that had eroded through his mandible and cheek. He had mets to the brain and was severely demented, and everyday when I walked in there, he was sitting there, picking at the creamy tissue — and then eating it. I’ve never been so grossed out in my entire life.

  34. Matt says:

    This got me to thinking about our lovely community-acquired MRSA problem, and all the surveillance nasal swabs done and the treatment, prophylactic and otherwise, for “nasal carriage.” I wonder truly how much is incidental and environmental contamination, and how many patients and healthcare workers have carriage from picking their noses (bad enough) – and even better – without washing their hands!

    Picking the nose after wiping the buttocks.
    That, my friend, will be the cause of the most virulent strain of VRE we have ever seen.

  35. randy says:

    That’s nothing I used to work in a prison and we had a psych patient who would eat chunks out of his arms. I used to throw him salt and pepper packets and before I get flamed as an insensitive prick. I figured the guy was just doing it for attention and A/C, He stopped doing it when I was on duty and once I explained this trick to others working there he stopped all together.

    This other time I was working as a repo man doing a bail out ( getting a repossessed vehicle out of a vehicle storage lot that had been towed.) and turns out that a guy had killed himself in it out in the woods and it took three days to find him, in the middle of Texas summer, and it had been on the lot for a month cooking in the Texas summer. Have you ever seen that puking scene in the exorcist? it was just like that. On a side note I think that vehicle would work as a great bait car for cops.

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