Editor’s Note: Some images and language below could be considered graphic or offensive.
Although web sensation Reddit might have some controversial content, there are instances where the website’s community looks out for its own. A couple recent threads on the site reveal that the collective knowledge compiled by the users might help lead some to life-saving treatment they might not otherwise seek.
Here’s one case. A Redditor going by GokkunMilkshake posted the picture of a wound above his lip that was the resulted of him popping a pimple. It was swollen, full of pus and painful.
GokkunMilkshake had gone to the ER and received treatment, but it didn’t get better as he’d hoped. Posting the photo on Reddit, the community began to weigh in on what they think he might have and suggestions of what he should do.
On the thread “So, do you think my infection is ready to pop yet?” on the subsection devoted to all thins “popping,” GokkunMilkshake writes that he was administered an IV of vancomycin, had a blood sample taken and left with prescriptions for percocet and bactrim. After writing on the site that although his infection hadn’t spread, it had turned red and was oozing, the Redditor FlintGreasewood wrote that he should “unquestionably” return to the doctor and request that the take a sample from the wound itself.
One user asked why this was a big deal on the thread and “the_new_allante” explained:
because it’s a pus pocket that failed to respond to IV and oral antibiotics, and in fact appeared to worsen even after being medically treated (became more red and started producing more pus).
a minor infection would have calmed down tremendously a couple days after being hit by two strong antibiotics. this suggests that the bug causing this lip infection is a nasty one, perhaps unaffected by the antibiotics he was given because it’s multi-drug resistant.
the location is also a big deal because infections in the head and neck can rapidly extend towards major structures north or south via a variety of convenient routes. for example, the brain or heart. a friend of mine had a MRSA lip infection that developed into an extremely swollen and painful huge upper lip over the course of 36 hours. the ER told him he was lucky to have come in when he did, for he was just a few hours away from the infection spreading to his sinuses, then inevitably to his brain.
GokkunMilkshake went back to the hospital and ended up being admitted, given an antibiotic IV and was even administered morphine for the pain. Eventually, the infection was “lanced,” which he said helped with the pain and swelling. The culture taken from the infection revealed it was MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which some of the users had previously speculated. According to the NIH, some cases of MRSA are difficult to treat depending on the location:
How well a person does depends on the severity of the infection and their overall health. MRSA-related pneumonia and blood infections are associated with high death rates.
Although, GokkunMilkshake might not have had the most severe of MRSA cases, Reddit certainly helped this patient. As one redditor said, “I just realized, Reddit saved ANOTHER life (maybe).”
Here’s a second case.
Another life saved (referenced in the comment above) has been making its rounds in the media this week. A user by the name CappnPoopdeck posted a comic called “Pregnant man rage” revealing that a male friend of his had jokingly tried out one of his ex-girlfriend’s pregnancy tests — and it was positive.
The most popular comment on the thread from the user goxilo said, “If this is true, you should check yourself for testicular cancer. Seriously. Google it.”
“It was my friend that did the test, I just made the comic for him.. but I am letting him know to test himself for cancer immediately. Thank you for letting me know guys, we may have dodged a bullet here!” CappnPoopdeck wrote.
Here’s what ABC News learned from experts about pregnancy tests and signs of testicular cancer:
Pregnancy tests detect beta human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone in the blood and the urine produced by the developing placenta. Experts say beta hCG can also signal testicular cancer.With his friend’s permission, CappnPoopdeck wrote that he would update the post with the results of his friend’s doctor’s visit. He did so with another comic (see below).
“It turns out a fair number of testicular cancers make the same exact hormone,” said Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a genitourinary oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “There are very few things in the body that produce beta hCG, and testicular cancer is one of them.”
CappnPoopdeck posted another comic the results were in (see below).
After the results indicated positive for his friend, CappnPoopdeck thanked Reddit for the information that could have helped drive his friend to life-saving treatment sooner.