Docs Stumped By Guy Who Cries Blood
Condition rare, but not unheard of
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 17, 2013 8:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The first time Michael Spann cried blood, it "felt like I got hit in the head with a sledgehammer." It wouldn't be the last time. Blood began pouring out of Spann's eyes, nose, and mouth on a daily basis when he was 22, he tells the Tennessean. And though now, seven years later, it's slowed to a few times a week, the condition remains painful and debilitating. "Any job I get I lose because my eyes start bleeding," Spann says. Worst of all, it's totally unexplained.

Spann has no health insurance, but his family scrounged up $4,300 for lab work that revealed exactly nothing. Doctors have written the condition off as idiopathic, or not having a cause. But Spann isn't alone. Tennessee ophthalmologist James Fleming wrote a 2004 paper documenting four cases over an 11-year period. "Most of these were relatively young patients," he says. "As they matured, the bleeding decreased, subsided, and then stopped." But delving deeper would involve dangerous exploratory surgery. "There probably is a cause," Fleming says, "but it is a small tear duct."

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Docs Stumped By Guy Who Cries Blood is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 8 comments
Oct 17, 2013 3:46 PM CDT
"Doctors have written the condition off as idiopathic, or not having a cause" Because that's how things work. Reality just breaks down from time to time, and things become their own First Causes. It's why giant donuts sometimes appear out of thin air over major highways, crash, and foul up traffic. By the way, this is caused by a genetic defect in the chemistry of the sub-system controlling membrane transpiration in the vascular system. The defect, in conjunction with certain hormones, causes the condition. Hormone therapy will reduce the severity of the occurrences, but not entirely alleviate them. Just throwing that out there because it amuses me to impart miraculous knowledge where no one is listening.
Oct 17, 2013 3:23 PM CDT
That happened to me once. I've always had terrible nosebleeds and one time it was like the blood backed up into my tear ducts. It was creepy looking. I can't imagine having to live with that on a regular basis. Nosebleeds are bad enough.
Oct 17, 2013 2:59 PM CDT
Isn't it obvious? He's a vampire! ;-)