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Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

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Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Old 11-03-11, 01:19 PM
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Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

AKA - 'A man who pricked his finger and smelled putrid for 5 years'

Improbable research: chicken bone injury leaves a fowl smell

Baffling medical mystery of the poultry worker who stank for five years

Marc Abrahams
guardian.co.uk, Monday 3 October 2011 11.29 EDT


Four doctors in Wales rose to fame because of a man who pricked his finger and smelled putrid for five years.

The doctors were hit nose-on with one of the most baffling medical mysteries on record. It all started with a chicken. The case ended happily yet mysteriously half a decade later, the stink having vanished. The Lancet published an account of this called, accurately, A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years.

The report, written by the relieved but puzzled physicians, ends with a plea: "We ask assistance from colleagues who may have encountered a similar case or for suggestions to relieve this patient's odour."

Here's what happened. In September 1991, a 29-year-old man who dressed chickens for a living cut his finger with a chicken bone. This fateful prick cause his finger to soon become reddish and smelly. The man got himself to the Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport, Wales, where Drs Caroline Mills, Meirion Llewelyn, David Kelly and Peter Holt took him under their care.

The doctors treated the man with the antibiotic flucloxacillin. His hand still smelled.

Then they tried a different antibiotic, ciprofloxacin. His hand still smelled.

Next came erythromycin. Still his hand smelled.

Next up: metronidazole. The smell persisted.

The doctors delved into the hand surgically, but found nothing there of interest. They did a skin biopsy and cultured the microorganisms from it, hoping to discover some noxious bug. Here, too, they found nothing of interest.

Meanwhile, the man continued to stink.

The doctors took stool cultures. These stank, too, but only in the ordinary way.

The doctors tried everything they could think of: isotretinoin, psoralen, ultraviolet light treatment, colpermin, probanthene, chlorophyll, and even antibiotic withdrawal to allow restoration of normal flora. All to no avail.

As they put it: "Although the clinical appearance improved, the most disabling consequence of the infection was a putrid smell emanating from the affected arm, which could be detected across a large room, and when confined to a smaller examination room became almost intolerable."

After five years the man still stank. The doctors wrote up a description of this curious case, and published it in hopes that some physician somewhere had encountered a similar problem and could suggest a way to relieve the patient's distress.

For treating, and of necessity smelling, the unfortunate man who pricked his finger and smelled putrid for five years, the doctors together with their unnamed patient won the 1998 Ig Nobel prize in the field of medicine.

Their acceptance speech spoke of their hope to advance medical knowledge: "We published this case to seek help. Despite enormous amounts of correspondence, nobody had ever seen anything like this before, and no suggestions were effective. Our story, however, does have a happy ending.

Our patient no longer smells putrid. Thank you very much."
Old 11-03-11, 01:23 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

The doctors took stool cultures. These stank, too, but only in the ordinary way.
Old 11-03-11, 01:25 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Too many Mabusi in this thread.

/Backs away slowly
Old 11-03-11, 01:33 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Did anyone bother to ask what he did with that finger?
Old 11-03-11, 11:16 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Okay, so did they finally figure out what to do for him, or did the smell just go away on its own all of a sudden after five years?
Old 11-03-11, 11:38 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Bizarre.
Old 11-04-11, 04:11 AM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
The doctors took stool cultures. These stank, too, but only in the ordinary way.
That was the bit I was going to quote
Old 11-04-11, 09:30 AM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Maybe his fingers still smelled because he was still working with chickens for a living.
Old 11-04-11, 09:41 AM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Ah the Curious case of stinky pinky. Maybe his girl needs to douche.
Old 11-04-11, 10:11 AM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
Okay, so did they finally figure out what to do for him, or did the smell just go away on its own all of a sudden after five years?
Best I can tell from reading a few articles on it, they never discovered the source of the smell, they were not able to find another example of such a case from anywhere on the globe, and it just went away after five years for no apparent reason.

They won a Nobel for documenting the case.
Old 11-04-11, 10:52 AM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Not a Nobel. IgNobel.
Old 11-04-11, 01:03 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger View Post
Not a Nobel. IgNobel.
Old 11-04-11, 04:04 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
You're laughing at me for pointing out your error?
Old 11-04-11, 04:06 PM
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Re: Cut Finger and the Chicken Stink Blast-o-Rama

I'm laughing with you?

I thought it was hilarious to call it a Nobel...

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