While there were lots of medical breakthroughs in 2008, the most clicked-on FOXNewshealth.com stories of the year were also some of the oddest.
Or, follow the links to the stories themselves.
10. The story of Jessica Cox, of Tucson, Ariz. She was born without arms, but that has only stopped her from doing one thing: using the word "can't." Her latest project is becoming the first pilot licensed to fly using only her feet. With one foot manning the controls and the other delicately guiding the steering column, Cox, 25, soared to achieve a Sport Pilot certificate. Her certificate qualifies her to fly a light-sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet. "She's a good pilot. She's rock solid," said Parrish Traweek, 42, the flying instructor at San Manuel's Ray Blair Airport.
9. An Australian man was operated on in June at Hornsby Hospital in Berowra, where surgeons removed 16 stainless steel washers from "down under.” Fire Rescue officers in New South Wales, Australia were called to alleviate the man from his awkward predicament around 3 a.m. It was not clear how he got into the predicament – but fire rescue officers spent more than an hour trying unsuccessfully to remove the washers. He was eventually taken to the hospital where surgeons removed the washers using fire brigade equipment. A hospital spokesman said equipment normally used to remove rings from fingers was ineffective because of the thicker nature of the washers.
8. Doctors called her a medical miracle. In May, Val Thomas suffered two heart attacks and had no brain waves for more than 17 hours. Rigor mortis started to set in, and she was placed on a respiratory machine. Her family said their goodbyes and Thomas’ tubes were removed, but she remained hooked on a ventilator as the possibility of organ donation was discussed. Surprisingly, Thomas woke up 10 minutes later and started talking. She was then transferred to the Cleveland Clinic so that specialists could check her out, but doctors said they could find nothing wrong with her. “I know God has something in store for me, another purpose,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure he’ll tell me.”
7. Next is a story about a 49-year-old Japanese man who was suffering from abdominal pain in late May. Surgeons in Japan thought they were going to remove a tumor from the man – but instead found a 25-year-old surgical towel that had crumpled into what looked like a softball-shaped tumor. The patient apparently had been carrying the cloth since 1983, when surgeons left it in him after minor ulcer surgery.
6. In November, a coroner in Britain determined that a 12-year-old boy died after using too much spray deodorant in a confined space. Daniel Hurley collapsed in a January after spraying on Lynx deodorant – made by Unilever, a global company that manufactures Axe, Suave and other deodorants in the U.S. -- in the bathroom of his Derbyshire home. His father said the boy was obsessed with grooming, often applying lots of deodorant and cologne. An inquest was told that a "volatile" agent in the deodorant upset the boy's heart rhythm. He was hospitalized and died five days later from a cardiac arrhythmia.
5. The story of baby Lali. Born in New Delhi, India, she has two faces, with two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes. She ate and drank out of both mouths. She was born on March 11 in a northern Indian village, where she is still living and said to be doing well.
4. In June, this story grabbed tons of attention with the headline: The New Club Drug: Preparation H? That’s right. The topical hemorrhoid medication reportedly is catching fire as the latest "drug" to hit the New York City club scene. The solution contains a medication called phenylephrine HCL, which shrinks the swollen tissues of hemorrhoids. It works by constricting the nearby blood vessels that surround the area. But the ingredient will shrink other tissue as well. At the time, a New York bouncer said men are slathering up their torsos with the hemorrhoid cream to make themselves look "ripped."
3. A mother who decided to abort her son because he may have inherited a life-threatening kidney condition was overjoyed when he survived the procedure. Jodie Percival of Nottinghamshire, England, said she made the decision to abort baby Finley when she was eight weeks pregnant. Percival's first son died of multicystic dysplastic kidneys and her second child Lewis was born with serious kidney damage. A short time after the abortion, Percival felt a fluttering in her stomach. She went to the doctor for a scan and discovered she was 19 weeks pregnant. "I couldn't believe it,” Percival said. "This was the baby I thought I'd terminated.” Finley was born three weeks premature - but is expected to lead a normal life.
2. It’s not a tumor … it’s a worm. Doctors thought a Phoenix-area woman might have a brain tumor, but it turned out there was something else penetrating her brain – a worm. Rosemary Alvarez started experiencing numbness in her arm and blurred vision. She went to the emergency room twice and had a CT scan, but everything came up clear. It wasn’t until doctors took a closer look at an MRI that they discovered something very disturbing. Alvarez was wheeled into surgery where doctors were expecting to remove a tumor, but they uncovered the worm instead, which they removed. No one knows exactly where she picked up the worm – but doctors said worms can come from eating undercooked pork or can be spread by people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
1. All I wanted was a leg op. FOXNewshealth.com’s biggest health clicker of 2008 was about a German retiree who took a hospital to court after she went in for a leg operation and got a new anus instead. The woman had been mixed up with another patient suffering from incontinence. That patient was scheduled to have surgery on her sphincter. As a result, the clinic in Hochfranken, Bavaria, suspended the surgical team.
The Associated Press Contributed to this story.