Fox’s new hit show 9-1-1 explores the work and private lives of the first responders from the minute you call the 911 dispatcher to the time the 911 first responders roll you into the emergency room. It seems like some of these cases from the 9-1-1 episodes have been pulled right out of the headlines today, especially last night’s 911 call of a tapeworm-induced stomach problem.
Wednesday night’s episode wasn’t an easy show to watch while enjoying a snack for those folks who find that gross images act as an appetite suppressor. As Vulture suggests, “You truly never know what you’re getting yourself into at the start of an episode.”
Two of the cast members who play the role of EMTs were called out to a man’s house who had so much stomach pain that he thought he would explode, which he warned a few times in between his agonizing groans. This grown man explained the pain as he feels like he is about to give birth.
Bobby, who is played by Peter Krause, and Buck, who is played by Oliver Stark were the EMTs who handled this stomach emergency. They arrived to find two men, one who is claiming to be in massive pain and the other who seemed to think his partner was tossing some extra dramatics into the equation of pain and discomfort.
The man’s partner alluded to the fact that the guy who seemed to be in massive agony was somewhat of a big baby when it came to the aches and pains of everyday life. During their rapid back and forth sparring session of words, the partner also divulged that his boyfriend ate way too much sushi and that could be why he was having stomach problems.
As the man’s pain seemed to escalate, the EMTs asked him how much sushi he consumed and he confessed eating the raw fish dish to about five times a week. This laid the foundation for what came next. It was during the ride in the ambulance to the hospital when the patient said he felt something moving under his leg.
When he was turned over the grotesque sight of a worm coming out his underwear was seen on TV and while this was just a scene in a sitcom playing out on the 9-1-1 TV show, it appears that this scene was fairly accurate. According to a story that was fact-checked by Snopes earlier in February, a man in Califonia had a five-foot tapeworm come out of his rectum, much like the guy on the 9-1-1 show.
As seen on the TV show last night, one of the EMTs knew enough to pull the tapeworm out of the man’s rectum at a very slow speed. This was so it didn’t break and coil back up into the man’s rectum, as tapeworms will still survive when separated into pieces.
Back in January, a story about a man pulling a tapeworm out of his rectum made headline news. A man from Fresno, California, who confessed to his love of sushi, had a similar problem as the man on the 9-1-1 episode Wednesday night. It is believed that this man indulging himself with sushi over the years had at one point in time contracted a tapeworm.
Sushi may have acted as a vehicle for a tapeworm to enter his body, which is also what the 9-1-1 episode suggested for the man who was playing the role of their patient. NPR reports the tapeworm was over five-feet long and had been growing inside the man from Fresno for “quite some time.” On last night’s show, the EMT said this tapeworm could have been inside their factitious patient for the last 20 years, as they can live inside a human for a very long time.
NPR reports that Dr. Banh, who is the host of a medical podcast, It Won’t Hurt A Bit, recounted the story of the Fresno man who walked into the emergency room carrying a tapeworm wrapped around a toilet paper roll and contained in a plastic bag. The tweet below shows a picture of that tapeworm.
He came in for treatment after he was sitting on the toilet and felt this thing emerge from his rectum. At first, he thought his “guts” were falling out and it wasn’t until he felt it squirming that he knew it was a worm. He came into the ER with bloody diarrhea and a request to be treated for worms.
The tapeworms in both the real-life story and in the 9-1-1 episode last night are small in comparison to some tapeworms, which can grow up to 40-feet long, according to NPR.
While they couldn’t officially trace the Fresno man’s tapeworm to any one single eating event, it is most likely he contracted this from the raw fish in sushi, according to reports. The CDC posted a warning after a 2017 study found that salmon caught in Alaska could be infected with the Japanese tapeworm. The previous train of thought had the parasite responsible for this only infecting fish in Asia, but that was debunked by this study.
The CDC warns:
“The risk of becoming infected with the Japanese tapeworm parasite is most prevalent when consuming raw or undercooked fish, particularly in dishes such as sushi, sashimi and ceviche.”
The CDC also said how adequately cooking the salmon would “destroy that parasite and the larvae buried deep in the salmon muscle.” The same goes for freezing the fish, it also destroys the parasite and its larvae.
The infection of this Asian-type tapeworm, which is what the Fresno man had, remains uncommon in humans with only about 2,000 cases ever reported in people worldwide. Most of the cases reported have come from Asia, according to the CDC.
As far as regular run-of-the-mill tapeworms, which are more common in America, the cases number about 1,000 per year.
The show last night had several very interesting scenarios, like a man eating another man’s face, three women in a yoga class all going into labor at the same time during the full moon, and more. It certainly holds the viewer’s interest with the fast-paced 911 calls being answered, according to the recent reviews of the show, like the one from Vulture.