We recently published a post asking physicians about the stories behind their scars. One doctor commented about a scar left behind after having a tumor removed, and another doctor commented to ask if they’d been allowed to keep the tumor in a jar afterwards.
This prompted us to ask doctors, Have you or has a patient ever requested to keep a strange “medical souvenir”? Maybe a patient has kept their appendix after it’s been removed, or perhaps you’ve held onto a fully in-tact wisdom tooth.
Below are some of the most bizarre answers we received from doctors!
“I’ve never kept any souvenirs, but have had requests from patients for lots of them, especially gallstones. The strangest and most disturbing souvenir collector that I encountered was an older pathologist who specialized in stillborn and placenta pathology. He kept a lot of deformed stillborns in glass containers in his office, which was eccentric but not over the top”. – Pathology
“I knew a patient who kept a picture of his mother’s hysterectomy specimen labeled ‘my first home.’” – Emergency Medicine
“I have a pin from my toe that I made into an earring.”- Family Medicine
“A patient gave me her old ocular prosthesis (glass eye) when she had a new one made.” – Ophthalmology
“Several people I’ve seen have kept kidney stones that have passed. One patient showed me a picture of the gallstones he was given by his surgeon.” – Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
“When I was a junior doctor we had a patient, who wanted the foreign object we had retried from his rectum returned.” – Hospital Medicine
“One of my patients knew that my husband and I collect mineral specimens, so she gave me one of the gallstones from her surgery.” – Family Medicine
“I am not kidding… you can get a kit off the internet to make a PLACENTA TEDDY BEAR. You too can have a child and then bring home the placenta to make a friggin’ teddy bear! It involves drying, stretching, and tanning the placenta like an animal hide. Then using a stencil and cutting out the pieces to stuff and sew it together.” – Internal Medicine
“I kept my tonsils (done at age 14, 1955 or so) for a long time in a glass jar of preservative.” – Internal Medicine
“I did a heart transplant on a 6-year-old kid, and he wanted his old heart back. The pathology department gave it to me, and I gave it to him.” – Cardiothoracic Surgery
“My high school biology teacher kept her uterus and tubes (S/p hysterectomy for fibroids) in a jar that she would bring out year after year for the reproductive organs lesson!” – Cardiothoracic Surgery
“I tend to save foreign bodies removed from ears and noses-helps to see what patterns there are. ”- ORL/ENT
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