female nurse or doctor
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 15, 2024 ·  9 min read

20 Eye-Opening Medical Facts That Will Shock You

Medical facts are not only informative but can also be incredibly eye-opening. They have the power to challenge our assumptions, confront our fears, and broaden our understanding of the human body and healthcare. In this article, we will explore some fascinating and unexpected medical facts that are sure to shock and captivate you.

20 Surprising Medical Facts You Probably Don’t Know

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The medical world is vast and complex. While we tend to think of the medical world as just doctors and nurses, the reality is that it is much more than that. There are administrative staff, operational staff, policy makers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, scientists, and so much more. These are 20 surprising medical facts that you likely have never thought about or realized while walking into the hospital or visiting your GP.

Read More: 32 Interesting And Unexpected Facts About The Female Body

1. The Impact of Clowns on Children’s Anxiety

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Clowns are often associated with joy and laughter, but for some children, they can be a source of anxiety and fear. Research has shown that hospitals and healthcare facilities need to be mindful of the needs and preferences of their youngest patients. While clown visits can be helpful to reduce anxiety, they can potentially be harmful as well. Designing spaces that are comfortable, safe, and welcoming can help alleviate children’s stress and promote healing. From calming colors to interactive play areas and even animal therapy programs, these innovative approaches are transforming healthcare environments for the better. (1)

2. The Healing Power of Laughter

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Laughter is not only good for the soul but also has remarkable healing properties. Scientific studies have shown that laughter can improve cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, and even relieve pain. It triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals in the brain, promoting a sense of well-being. Incorporating humor and laughter into medical practices, such as clown therapy, can be an effective complementary treatment for patients battling serious illnesses. (2)

3. The Medical Marvels of the Human Brain

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The human brain is a remarkable organ that continues to puzzle scientists with its complexity. Did you know that the brain can generate enough energy to power a light bulb? Or that the human brain is capable of storing around 2.5 petabytes of information? These mind-boggling facts remind us of the extraordinary abilities of our brains and emphasize the importance of taking care of our mental health. (3)

4. The Astonishing Effects of Placebos

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Placebos are inert substances with no inherent therapeutic properties, yet they can have a significant impact on patient outcomes. Research has shown that the placebo effect can be so powerful that patients experience improvements in their conditions, regardless of the actual treatment. These findings highlight the intricate connection between the mind and body and underscore the role of psychological factors in the healing process. (4)

Read More: The Science Behind Red Hair: 12 Facts About Redheads You Never Knew

5. The Intriguing Phenomenon of Psychosomatic Illnesses

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Psychosomatic illnesses are conditions in which physical symptoms are caused or worsened by psychological factors. They remind us that our mental well-being is intimately intertwined with our physical health. Stress, anxiety, and emotional trauma can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and even skin conditions. Recognizing and addressing the psychological aspects of these illnesses is crucial for providing comprehensive healthcare. (5)

6. You’ve got 10 Minutes

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Research shows that, in America, a large percentage of family physicians only have between 9 and 12 minutes to spend with each patient. This is not enough time to address all of the patient’s concerns, especially if they are complex. In order for doctors to provide comprehensive care, they need more than 10 minutes with each patient. (6)

7. The critical importance of Nurses

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Nurses make up the largest single occupation at a hospital. They are the ones who spend the most time with patients, and they are often the first to notice changes in a patient’s condition. Nurses also provide emotional support for patients and their families. They are an important part of any healthcare team and should be recognized as such. (7)

8. The US is Expensive

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It is no secret that the United States has some of the most expensive health care in the world. The US spends more on health care than any other country, and yet it has worse outcomes than many other developed nations. The cost of care in the US is a major barrier to access for many people. (8)

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Bagel-related injuries that send people to the hospital are more common than you think. In fact, there are over 2,000 bagel-related injuries each year in the United States. The most common injury is a cut or laceration from a knife while slicing a bagel. Other injuries include burns from hot bagels and burns from toasters. (9)

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10. CPR is less successful than on TV

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In television hospital dramas, a large percentage of people administered CPR live long enough to be discharged from the hospital. In reality, CPR is less successful than on TV. In fact, only about 18% of people who receive CPR in a hospital survive long enough to be discharged. The chances of survival are even lower for people who receive CPR outside of a hospital. The survival rate can be as low as 2% in some cases. (10)

11. Surgical smoke is dangerous

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Surgical smoke is a byproduct of many types of surgery. It’s made up of chemicals and particles that are released into the air when tissue is cut or burned. The smoke can be harmful to both patients and healthcare workers. (11)

12. Preventable Errors

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While our medical professionals are highly educated individuals, they are still humans, and humans make mistakes. Sadly, in medicine, mistakes can lead to disastrous outcomes, including the unnecessary loss of life. These can be errors in prescriptions, diagnosis, surgical, and more. The numbers are shocking – in the tens of thousands per year in the United States. This is why it is crucial as a patient to be an advocate for your own health. Don’t be afraid to speak up or seek out a second (or third) opinion if something doesn’t seem right. (12)

13. Student Debt for Years

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While in North America we tend to think of doctors as a well-paid job, the reality is that many doctors take many years to pay off their student loans. In fact, the average medical student graduates with over $200,000 in debt. This can be a huge burden for new doctors who are just starting out and trying to make ends meet. (13)

14. American children are more likely to receive antidepressant prescriptions

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American children are three times more likely than European children to be prescribed antidepressant medications. While antidepressants can be life saving for some, this statistic begs the question as to whether American doctors are overprescribing antidepressants. This leans towards a larger issue in American healthcare that tends to rely on medications rather than prevention and addressing the underlying causes of illness. (14)

Read More: 16 Facts Mind-Blowing Food Facts That Will Leave You Hungry For More

15. An obese nation

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Obesity statistics in the US are scary. The US is the most obese country in the developed world, with 36% of adults and 17% of children being overweight or obese. This is a major health concern as obesity can lead to many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke. The US also has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in developed countries. (15)

16. Low life expectancy

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The continental United States has a shockingly low life expectancy compared to other countries. The average life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years, lower than most developed countries. In fact, it is even lower than the small island territory of Puerto Rico. This is due to several factors, including poor diet and lack of exercise, but also because Americans are more likely to die from preventable diseases such as heart disease and cancer. (16)

17. Medical Bankruptcy

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Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy and financial ruin in the United States. This is a problem that affects millions of Americans every year. The high cost of healthcare in this country has led to many people being unable to afford the medical care they need, which can result in bankruptcy and other financial hardships. Medical debt can be especially devastating for those who are already struggling with other forms of debt or who have limited income. (17)

18. Diabetes epidemic

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In the United States, diabetes is a growing epidemic. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has nearly tripled over the past 30 years, and it is estimated that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. This is a serious public health issue that affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars each year. (18)

Read More: 20+ Amazing Psychology Facts Everyone Needs to Know

19. High cholesterol, low treatment

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High cholesterol is a massive health problem in the United States. Of the millions of people living with high cholesterol, however, a shockingly low number are receiving treatment for it. This is a serious problem because high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. (19)

20. Throw-away prescriptions

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The number of people who throw away prescriptions in the US simply because they can’t afford to fill them is staggering. According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 Americans have thrown away a prescription because they couldn’t afford to fill it. This is a serious problem because many of these medications are life-saving and can help prevent serious health issues down the road. (20)

The Bottom Line

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These eye-opening medical facts demonstrate that there is always more to learn about the human body and medicine. From the impact of clowns on children’s anxiety to the fascinating healing power of laughter, our understanding of healthcare continues to evolve. Embracing these insights can lead to more compassionate and effective medical practices that prioritize the overall well-being of patients.

Read More: 37 Facts About the World That Will Surprise the Most Intelligent People


  1. Effectiveness of hospital clowning on pediatric anxiety and pain: Network meta-analysis.” Pubmed. Laura Caci, Thea Zander-Schellenberg and Heike Gerger. April 2023.
  2. The Healing Power of Laughter.” NCBI. Betty-Ann Heggie, B.Ed. May 2019.
  3. 11 Fun Facts About Your Brain.” NM. October 2019.
  4. The power of the placebo effect.” Harvard. December 13, 2021
  5. Psychosomatic Disorder.” Cleveland Clinic
  6. Average Time Doctors Spend With Patients.” AMN Healthcare. Debra Wood, RN. June 23, 2023.
  7. Why the Role of Nurses Is Important in Healthcare.” Mercer University. 2021.
  8. The U.S. Has the Most Expensive Healthcare in the World.” Statista. Katharina Buchholz. February 7, 2023.
  9. Bagel Safety (Don’t be an ER Statistic!).” New Yorker Bagels. March 16, 2014.
  10. MYCP Certification Online
  11. Impact of Surgical Smoke on the Surgical Team and Operating Room Nurses and Its Reduction Strategies: A Systematic Review.” NCBI. Amirmohammad Merajikhah, Behzad Imani, Salman Khazaei, and Hamid Bouraghi. January 2022.
  12. Measuring and Responding to Deaths From Medical Errors.” PS Net. Sumant Ranji, MD. March 22, 2016.
  13. Statistics About The Average Med School Debt.” GETNUX. Jannik Lindner.
  14. U.S. Children Take More Psychotropic Drugs Than European Peers.” WKU. September 27, 2008.
  15. How Obesity In The U.S. Has Grown And What To Do About It.” Forbes. Omer Awan. January 25, 2023.
  16. What doctors wish patients knew about falling U.S. life expectancy.” AMA. Sara Berg, MS. march 10, 2023.
  17. Health Care Costs Number One Cause of Bankruptcy for American Families.” ABI
  18. Number of Americans with Diabetes Projected to Double or Triple by 2050.” CDC. October 22, 2010.
  19. Nearly half of Americans with high cholesterol are not taking medication, study says.” LA Times
  20. Americans are skipping medically necessary prescriptions because of the cost.” CNBC. Megan Leonhardt. February 27, 2020.