Empyema and Tubes

Empyema and Tubes

Today’s edition of Best Gore Members Rock is brought to you by @sludge, who had empyema and shares his story with us:


not sure if its what you show, I had empyema, I had tubes put into my back, the oil colour is what come out first then I had dnase and alteplase injected into that caused the blood at the end images.


Empyema is defined as a collection of pus in the pleural cavity, gram-positive, or culture from the pleural fluid. Empyema is usually associated with pneumonia but may also develop after thoracic surgery or thoracic trauma.

Thanks for sharing your story and pictures:

23 thoughts on “Empyema and Tubes”

  1. Back in the late 80’s we used to just stab a patient in the back with a large gauge needle & syringe (in the impress room…no surgical theatre necessary for this procedure) and the rose coloured fluid would drain out from the pleural cavity into a receptacle. This procedure looks almost high tech by comparison.

    1. One of the best movies I saw was “The three Kings “,with iced tea?,Matt damon? And the nescafe coffee actor that all the women love;dark hair skin and eyes.married to the lebanese hot international rights lawyer girl! Forgot his name. They are in Iraq and go awol to steal gold. One of them gets shot and has his lung cave in and then one of the team sticks a one- way needle valve in him so he can breathe! He just stabs it in ,whack! Done!

      So how do you aim ,where to stick it in and how deep to go? Do you trace across a certain vertabral latitude and down a longitude of a shoulder blade or something? Ie for both caved-in lungs and for pleural effusion?

      Docs and previous corpmen?

      If I was out camping and something like a cavedin- lung or such happened to me or mine,what could i do?

      1. George Gooney…oops Clooney is your man Nems.

        That movie thing sounds like a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and in hospital the usual treatment is to insert a cannula between the ribs into the pleural cavity, this is then hooked up by a tube to what’s called an underwater sealed drain. This allows the air pressure in the cavity to stabilize and prevents anything returning back into the space. The lung will eventually regain full function. These days the cannula insertion is guided by imaging.

        As for draining the pleural cavity, usually the X intercostal (1oth) space is chosen towards the lower area of the back, as this is where that fluid accumulates. This looks about right for the insertion site in the photograph above.

        If you’re unlucky enough to have a collapsed lung while out & about, the severity of the pain and difficulty in breathing will determine if you are having a medical emergency. The degree to how much it is collapsed and whether one or both lungs are involved. Also whether it is a closed or open injury. If you have an open sucking wound, some gauze (vaseline from the 1st aid kit would be nice) can be placed of the wound and taped down. Usually you’ll be fine until you make your way to hospital.

        1. What doc said.
          I had a dog that was hit by a car and broke a hip. The vet punctured his lung intubating him. He had me go down there to try to draw air out of the pleural cavity using a large bore needle and syringe since it was after hours.
          Unlike a person, dogs do not have a mediastinum, tissue that separates the lungs, so both lungs were collapsing. I did that for about two hours before the futility sank in and my dog died.
          Ideally you need a constant vacuum. I’m not an ER doc, but my guess is if there is a large deficit/bleeding Mr Nescafé’s tactic would have failed also, but again a person with one collapsed lung can survive, albeit uncomfortably, with appropriate first aid.

    1. @trey99


      Pretty much a bad tooth do bad things haha, this page is like what happened to me, but the infection spread to my plural wall, it collapsed my lung and off to hospital I went, it started with back pain for about a week, then I just got sick instantly while out walking … Shortness of breath, could not move my left arm , arm and back was causing so much pain , I could not speak well, I fort it was a heart attack at first , its not to bad I’d do it again haha

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