My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark - Wondery Presents: MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries

Episode Date: October 17, 2023

Follow MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge the first 8 episodes, early and ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today.The human body... is a miracle. But when it’s not working, it can be the stuff of nightmares. On this new series from master storyteller MrBallen, we’re sharing medical horror stories and diagnostic mysteries that are surgically calibrated to make your blood run cold. From bizarre, unheard-of diseases and miraculous recoveries to strange medical mishaps and unexplainable deaths — you’ll never hear the phrase “heart-stopping” in the same way again. MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries is a first of its kind collaboration between MrBallen and Wondery, the award-winning company behind Dr. Death. Listen Now: Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Hello! Good news! One of the internet's most popular storytellers is back with an all-new, suspenseful podcast called Mr. Ballon's Medical Mysteries. We've all been there. We've had sudden fever, strange rashes, or inexplicable pains that we've turned to the internet to self-diagnose. Usually, it turns out to be nothing, but for an unlucky few, these symptoms can start
Starting point is 00:00:21 the clock ticking on a terrifying medical mystery. Each week on Mr. Ballon's Medical Myster mysteries, you'll hear about bizarre diseases, strange medical mishaps, miraculous recoveries, and everything in between. Like the unexplainable death of a retired firefighter whose body was reduced to ashes, even though nothing around him burned. Or the time when an entire town came down with nausea and chills, the local doctor chucked it up to food poisoning and tell people started hallucinating and acting in bizarre ways.
Starting point is 00:00:49 Each terrifying true story is sure to keep you up at night. You're about to hear a clip from Mr. Ballin's Medical Mysteries while you listen and follow the show on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. On a humid summer morning in June 1999, 36-year-old Sanju Bagat was hard at work on a farm outside of Nagpur, a city in central India. The sun had just risen, and the air was already so hot that he found it hard to breathe. Sanju and a group of farmhands were hard at work tending to the soybean crops. He made his way through the field, stopping to catch his breath every few steps. Sanju moved a lot slower than his co-workers because of his massive belly.
Starting point is 00:01:37 For the past 15 years, Sanju had struggled beneath the weight of his ever-growing stomach. At first, when he was in his early 20s, his family had thought he was just filling out a little, like all young men do when they become adults. But Sanju's stomach didn't stop growing, it kept getting bigger and bigger until it had swelled the size of a massive watermelon. But his arms and legs stayed stick thin. He never understood why his belly kept growing since he didn't eat much. By the time Sanju reached his early 30s, he was in constant pain and his family desperately wanted
Starting point is 00:02:12 him to see a doctor, but he couldn't afford to take time off of work. Although, deep down, he had to admit he was a little scared of what the doctor might find. The sun beat down on Sanju's head and he could feel his chest tighten. He tried to keep working, but today it was harder to breathe than usual. No matter how deeply he inhaled, he couldn't quite catch his breath. Finally, he dropped his shovel and doubled over, gasping for air. Sonshu gathered what little strength he had left and stood up straight.
Starting point is 00:02:49 He could feel other farm workers' eyes on him as he gathered his tools and headed home. It was the longest walk of Sanju's life. He felt humiliated and useless, but he was also afraid. He could barely take a breath. By the time he got to the small home, he shared with his family, he nearly fell through the front door. The last thing he remembered
Starting point is 00:03:10 was falling hard on the tile floor. Early the next morning, Dr. Ajay Mehta had just started his shift in the Oncology Ward at Tata Memorial Hospital. He was alerted that a new patient, named Sanju Barat, had been brought in all the way from Nagpur and that he needed to be seen right away. Dr. Meta hurried over to Sanju's room. If someone was rushed in an ambulance from so far away, it had to be a serious emergency. As soon as Dr. Meta examined Sanju's giant swollen belly, he instructed the nurse to
Starting point is 00:03:49 prepare the operating room for surgery. Dr. Meta was a specialist in tumor removal, and he was certain that Sanju had a massive tumor in his stomach, possibly the biggest one he'd ever seen. The tumor was likely pressing against Sanju's diaphragm, which was why he couldn't breathe. And given how big it was, and Sanju's weakened condition, the tumor had to be removed immediately. While another nurse preps Sanju for the operation, Dr. Maita gathered his surgical team and headed to the operating room. As they sterilized their hands and put on clean scrubs,
Starting point is 00:04:25 Dr. Mata warned them that the tumor's sheer size would make this a very challenging operation. There was a risk of damaging the soft tissue in Sanju's stomach, his nerve endings, or blood vessels. In the worst case, the surgery could cause severe internal bleeding or even death. A few minutes later, Sanhu was wheeled into the operating room on a gurney. Once he was under anesthesia, Dr. Meda called for a scalpel.
Starting point is 00:04:56 He placed one hand on Sanzhu's stomach for leverage, then he cut into Sanzhu's belly. After the blade broke through Sanzhu's skin and opened up his chest area, Dr. Mata expected to see blood and a bright red mass of cancerous cells. Instead, gallons of thick, yellowish fluid gushed from Sanju's stomach spilling onto the floor. The entire surgical team gasped. Dr. Mata jumped out of the way trying to avoid the surge of bile. It had a foul odor that made everyone in the room start to gag.
Starting point is 00:05:31 Nurses ran toward him with towels, trying to stop up the putrid smelling liquid. While they cleaned up the mess, Dr. Meda remained calm and carefully inserted his hand into Sanju's stomach to locate the tumor. At first, all he felt was thick jelly-like fluids sliding between his fingers. Then, he grazed something unusual. His eyes went wide as he dove a little deeper. His palm wrapped around something soft, but with a brittle core. He realized this was not a tumor. Whatever was in Sanju's stomach had bones, a lot of them.
Starting point is 00:06:14 Dr. Maitis Jha dropped, as his hand explored the object floating in Sanju's stomach. He grabbed onto one of the tiny bones and began to slowly pull it up and out of Sanju's stomach. As he lifted the bizarre object into the air, he could hear more gasps from everyone in the room. Hey, Prime members, you can binge the first eight episodes of Mr. Ballin's medical mysteries right now and add free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. you can binge the first eight episodes of Mr. Ballin's medical mysteries right now and add free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today.

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