Vomiting Bright Red Blood
A 22-year-old man came in saying he had been vomiting blood for several hours. He also had abdominal pain, felt weak and dizzy. He had never had anything like this happen to him before and had no significant past medical history. He looked uncomfortable and a little pale. His abdomen was tender, his heart was beating fast and he had blood on his clothing. (See below.) All of this made me worried he was bleeding internally, probably from an ulcer in his stomach.
I told him I was going to ask the nurse to start an IV and draw some blood tests. I also explained the need to put a tube through his nose into his stomach to see if he were still bleeding. He agreed to this potentially life-saving course and I went on to see my next patient.
A few minutes later, I was approached by the nurse. As she was getting ready to pass the tube into his stomach, she got additional history. The patient had eaten nothing in the last twenty-four hours but Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I then took a second look at the “blood” on his pants and tested it. No blood. Just pure Flamin’ Hot Cheetos juice.
So, instead of a potentially life-threatening hemorrhage, he had a bad stomach ache from eating too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We gave him some IV fluids and some medicines to make him feel better. We sent him home, admonishing him to be a little more wise with his diet in the future.