The complicated process of catheterizing — inserting a thin, flexible tube into a medical patient for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes — may soon be made easier thanks to an unexpected model: the beetle penis.
The sexual organ of the thistle tortoise beetle (Cassida rubiginosa), a Eurasian-native green leaf beetle originally introduced to New Zealand to control invasive Canada thistle, has caught the attention of scientists for its unusual shape and structure. Though the female beetle’s sexual organ is unusually complicated — both long and spiral in shape — damage to and breakage of the male’s appendage is exceedingly rare.
It sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie or spooky Halloween tale: A hospital patient dies, but can hear everything going on around them, including being pronounced dead.
It turns out, this actually happens.
Going to the emergency room? Even with insurance, you may still get hit with shocker bills. A practice called balance billing allows hospitals to overcharge for services, leaving the patient to cover any amounts their insurance company considers excessive. Hospitals often contract with third-party staff or service providers, causing unsuspecting patients to be charged out-of-network prices for services at an in-network facility.