How To Dispose of Medical Waste? Take It Home and Frame It! (Picture)

I’m not sure what to think of this. A reader sent me a picture of their professionally framed gallbladder they saved after having it surgically removed for cholelithiasis.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s medical waste.  Heck, it’s  wrapped in plastic and even has a biohazard danger sticker attached to it! We can’t eat or drink at the nurses station, but patients can  take their formaldehyde infested cancer causing  medical waste home with their discharge papers?  It says, “CAUTION, CONTAINS FORMALDEHYDE”.  That looks like a warning to me!  I’m just waiting for the day a hospital gets sued for giving a patient cancer in the name of patient satisfaction.  Oh, wait, we do that everyday with our patient satisfaction scans.

If you ask me, this guy must have been stoned when he did this.  Or maybe he just bagged his common sense when he decided to hang toxic medical waste as a show piece in his living room.   Why not just let the  hospital dispose of it like everyone else? Let’s think about the possibilities, shall we?   Perhaps he’s part of a growing movement of environmentalists trying to reduce their carbon foot print by  keeping their medical waste from ending up in the local landfill.

I don’t know how common it is for people to request their own body parts or other waste after surgery.  For some folks, saving their surgical waste might be a fetish. For others, it might be the cool factor.  And for others yet, they may want to keep their body parts for  religious reasons.

I heard a story once about an elderly woman who had to have both of her legs amputated after a freak car accident.  She requested both her legs be given back to her after surgery so they could be placed in the coffin with her body upon her death.   Where do you store human legs while waiting to die? Why, with the leg-of-lamb, of course.  What was the reason for wanting to keep the legs?  She wanted to make sure she had a leg up on everyone once she got into Heaven.  Personally,  I suspect she wanted to make one of those leg lamps from the movie A Christmas Story.

As for our guy with the gallbladder, whatever his motivation for saving his toxic organic waste, you have to admire him for being bold.  How many of you would frame your sack for all your friends and family to see?

Happy Hospitalist


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