Manual Disimpaction Gone Awry: Med Student Buried in Colonic Mudslide

PHOENIX, AZ – A frantic search and rescue is underway after third-year medical student Barry Manama was unexpectedly whisked away by a colonic mudslide during a routine manual disimpaction on his patient this afternoon.

“The good news is that Manama’s hard work, going wrist and even elbow deep into his patient’s colon did finally relieve his several-week bout of obstipation,” explained Laura Waits, an emergency crew member searching for Barry.  “The bad news is the rush of stool – both solid, liquid, and every consistency in between – flushed Manama out of the patient’s room and he has yet to be found.”

One of the realities of manual disimpaction is that you might come face-to-face with death.  Or face-to-ass.  At least 50 medical students perish each year to manual disimpaction-turned-Noah’s Flood i.e. the colonic mudslide.

The impressive stool burden left by Manama’s left hand looks as if the sixth floor med-surg unit at Phoenix Medical Center had fallen victim to a brown avalanche.

There are several reasons why rescue workers are worried.  First, if Manama is buried under several feet of feces, then he is at risk of death by suffocation.  Second, if Manama aspirated any of the intestinal contents, well, then, gross. 

If there is one minor advantage of a snow avalanche over a stool avalanche, experts explain, it’s that the cold temperature of snow can help lower metabolic activity, perhaps help preserve brain function through therapeutic hypothermia.  However, a stool avalanche is warm and its fumes are potentially toxic, especially if a little C. difficile or melena is part of the mix.

Along those lines, Interventional Radiology has offered to help localize Manama with a tagged med student study if search and rescue operators have no success by nightfall. And if that doesn’t succeed, then general surgeons are ready to resort to exploratory defecotomy.