The Worst Case I Ever Saw In My Medical Career

To be dangerously in love

Zed Bee
4 min readJul 8, 2021


Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy from Pexels

Only a small percentage of patient encounters stay with me years after leaving medicine. It’s usually the ones that didn’t go well. The ones that were unique in their complexity or were just truly unsettling.

The human mind has a propensity for the negative and mine is no different.

I remember once leaving a patient and feeling weirdly shaken and hollow like I’d stared into an abyss and walked away emptied of all emotion. Being a doctor gives you a rare window into other people’s lives. It’s a privilege. But sometimes it’s not so easy to distance yourself from the work or leave it behind when you go home. When you step back from that window you take a little bit with you.

Trigger warning: domestic violence

I was on the surgical team when my Registrar (a more senior middle-grade doctor) was called to the Emergency Department (ED) to review a patient.

I was asked to come along to support, but I was unprepared for what we were about to see.

Perched on the edge of a hospital bed was the patient. My eyes were immediately drawn to the dried blood and then to the skin that was hanging loose.

They’d been attacked in a way that was so gruesome it was hard to believe a person could do this to another.

As a first-year doctor, I was there to assist my Registrar who examined and eventually stitched everything back together. The ED nurses had been hesitant to do it and so had called us instead.

Whilst we were there we were able to piece more of the story together. They’d been attacked by their partner following an argument and had been too scared to leave the house so they’d stayed locked inside, bleeding and in pain.

I watched my registrar work as the patient cried silently whilst I stood in stunned silence. With everything I’d seen at that point in my training, I was unable to fully take this all in.

It was like my brain was grappling with what it was seeing and was finding it hard to understand that this was real.

The magnitude of suffering they must have gone through up till that point. To be attacked by…



Zed Bee

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