Working in an emergency room is a shocking experience: doctors and nurses see a wide range of patients who need immediate attention. Some stories are gruesome, others are sad, and there are even a few funny stories in there too. That’s part of the reason some people choose to work in the emergency room; the other part being that they enjoy helping people who are in dire need. Just so you can see what ER doctors and nurses go through, here are some of the more interesting stories from Reddit for your entertainment. Although these might be crazy, at least they aren’t overly rude, like the time the people shared their worst doctor visits.
20. The patient didn’t have a leg to stand on — pun intended.
Diabetes is a difficult disease to control and can affect your body in extraordinary ways if it’s not kept under control. One way it does this is damages the nerves of the body and interfering with the transmission of signals. This can lead to diabetic neuropathy, where blood flow is reduced to the nerves, leading to overall numbness in certain body parts. The most common body part is the leg and/or feet, so any sore or wound can appear, and the person won’t feel a thing and won’t get treatment. For this patient, he should have gotten help a lot sooner.
“Well, the grossest thing I’ve seen so far has been a diabetic homeless guy with necrotizing fasciitis and a ridiculously uncontrolled maggot infestation of his right leg. The dude’s entire right lower extremity below the knee was black and smelled like a rotting animal carcass, with uncounted maggots boiling around inside. You could hear them from the doorway to his room. After he went upstairs to the ICU, we had to close that room for multiple days and have it sprayed for bugs because there were thousands of flies in there.” – erdoc_throwaway1
Having a catheter put in is not a pleasant experience, but sometimes it is necessary. It’s a way to prevent bladder and urinary infections from taking place for patients who can’t go to the bathroom by themselves. It’s also used for patients who have undergone surgeries and are put under for a long time. But no one would expect that these patients, upon waking, would resort to these measures to ensure their comfort. In fact, it sounds more like they’re adding discomfort to their situations rather than trying to make themselves feel better.
“This actually happens a lot, but confused patients like to rip their Foley (urinary) Catheters out with the tip inflated. It’s about the size of a big grape and goes all the way up into the bladder down and comes out their penis/urethra. They then get up and walk over to you, confused to tell you that their penis hurts, all while dripping blood everywhere. When I say it happens a lot, if you’re on a team with a lot of elderly/alcoholic/demented/psychiatric patients; it’s about once a month event.” – [deleted]
18. Seeing Jell-O around the heart is scary — even for the ER.
The heart is supposed to pump blood and nothing else. It’s important that the heart remains in a liquid state so that it can do its job effectively. In fact, there’s probably nothing you can think of that can turn blood into another state of matter without extreme external interference. But for this emergency room technician, he was about to witness something he’d never seen before in his life. In fact, none of the nurses who had been working there for twenty-five years had seen this either.
“Guy gets stabbed in the heart, and medics bring him in. ER doctor immediately “cracks his chest” to get to his heart. There are his lungs (purple btw) and his pumping heart spewing blood. He then cuts open the pericardial sac (thin sac around the heart), and a lot of congealed blood pours out—picture spoon chunks of red Jell-O. So I help him get all these chunks of Jell-O (blood) out of the sac while he desperately tries to sew up the bleed. [The patient] died. But a great anatomy lesson was had by all.” – [deleted]
Having any kind of surgery requires delicate care afterward in order to ensure that nothing happens to the stitches or anything on the inside of the body. Patients are usually given very keen instructions on how to take care of their wounds when they leave the hospital to ensure no rupturing or infections take place. Unfortunately, to this one patient, something as normal as coughing could have ended up taking his life if he hadn’t driven himself to the hospital.
“It was probably my second day working in the ER when an older gentleman drove himself to the hospital, and when he pulled in, a bystander came running into the ER asking for help. They rush him in, and there is blood all over the front of him. They ask me to get towels, blankets, a gown, and packing gauze. As I gather all this stuff up and come back into the room, his chest was wide open. It turns out he recently had heart bypass surgery and had a coughing episode that he dehisced his sternal incision, exposing his beating heart.” – BigJRitch
16. Going from a costume party to the ER makes for a strange night.
Overdosing on strange chemicals can do something to the brain that people don’t expect. It can make them start to hallucinate the strangest things, resulting in bizarre behavior that can be difficult to control. It makes it even more difficult to get them to stop while they’re still under the influence. One unfortunate EMT had to experience the aftereffects of a person getting high and basically mutilating their own body.
“I had a guy who overdosed on research chemicals or something and bashed his face through a plate glass window. When we found him, he was naked, covered in blood, and trying to peel his face off. He had a flap hanging like a mask over the right side of his face that he kept pulling on. We sedated him, and as we were loading him up, I stepped on something squishy. It was his ear.” – PaintsWithSmegma
What can be seen as one set of symptoms for a certain condition could actually be caused by something else. That’s why working in the medical field can be so unexpected, because there’s no way of knowing how a patient ended up a certain way. What could be seen as a mental disease could actually have a physical source. That’s why investigatory examinations are required so as to discover what the real problem is. For one unfortunate medical student, they were not really prepared for the patient that was brought in to see them.
“I was doing my psych rotation and was called in to see this guy who was as mad as a hatter. The guy was restrained and raving and spat his false teeth at me in an effort to bite me. We admitted him, part of which involved a full physical. Got him stripped off and into a gown at which point we determined that a component of his delirium was sepsis-related as he (or somebody else) had wound a coat hanger around the base of his penis; it was gangrenous and necrotic.” – Holgateend
There’s a reason doctors recommend seatbelts. They prevent you from being thrown from a vehicle in the event of a car accident. Car seats for children and young toddlers do exactly the same thing. In fact, you can get a traffic ticket if you have young children in your car and don’t use one or if you’re not wearing a seatbelt. For one family, they didn’t expect a car seat to work this well, despite their initial panic.
“A family was in a very bad car accident on an interstate. Car banged up pretty bad. The fire rescue got the family out, and the mom realized her child and the car seat were gone. They searched the accident scene and found the infant and carrier about 75 ft down the road, upright with the infant happily watching them—no damage to the child at all from being ejected. I admitted the child for observation but didn’t have a scratch. The whole family was ok. Mom and older child banged up badly, but nothing serious. Was the most incredible thing I have ever seen in the ER.” – rlwiv
13. Cousins playing BB guns leads to a trip to the ER.
When head injuries occur, it’s very important that the patient is taken care of very quickly. This is because the brain is a vital part of ordinary functions, and any trauma caused to it can lead to irreversible problems. One employee working in the ER had a 10-year-old boy admitted, who had been shot in the head with a BB gun. His cousin, another child, was responsible and admitted that they were playing together. He’d put the BB gun against the child’s head, thinking that it wasn’t strong enough to do any damage. Unfortunately, their little “game” ended up changing the 10-year-old’s life forever.
“He came in alert, talking, normal mental state—just a tiny BB hole between the eyebrows. By the time he got back from CT, his words were slurring. He was a little confused. By the time Neurosurgery called back, his eyes were pointing in 2 different directions. Then, by the time he was going up to the OR, he was starting to posture (abnormal body positioning due to primitive brain reflexes taking over when higher function shuts down). The CT showed the BB went straight into the skull and pretty much just ricocheted all over the place, scrambled his egg. The kid lived, but of course, he’s never gonna be the same.” – Iamthewarthog
Pain is a way of telling you that something is wrong with your body. It’s an indication that you should seek help in some form, whether it’s by taking certain medication or by seeking professional help. Some pain may go away on its own over time, but usually, if it’s serious enough, it’s a reason to call your doctor. For one medical student working in the emergency room, they had the unfortunate case of dealing with a patient inflicting pain on himself for several years, thinking that his actions were normal.
“His chief complaint was penile pain. Guy’s in his mid-forties, seems otherwise normal, no obvious past medical or surgical history. Ask him about when it started, and he tells me that it’s been hurting ever since he “cracked it” that morning. I’m assuming I misheard or that he misspoke, so I ask for clarification. He proceeds to explain that, ever since he was a teenager, he started waking up with morning wood, so he would “crack” his penis to make it go away so he could get on with his day. He demonstrates by placing his two closed hands together on top of each other, then quickly bending the top one ninety degrees.” – genuflect_before_zod
11. Boiling yourself alive should have a bigger reaction, but not at this ER.
The body has the wonderful function of the autonomic nervous system. This is a system of control that acts on its own, without any conscious input on our part. It largely controls breathing, heart rate, and other functions that we take for granted. One of those functions is reacting to something that is too hot. We don’t have to think about moving our limbs away from something that’s too hot; the body instinctively reacts in order to protect itself. So when this person spilled boiling hot water on themselves, their body reacted by going into shock.
“My girlfriend threw me in a cold shower, and I remember pulling sheets of skin/fat off myself. I kind of came to a bit more and got in some PJ’s and took a Lyft to the hospital. When I showed up, it was a super slow night. When they asked me what I’m here for, I just l lifted my shirt, and the front desk lady just shouted, “oh my god!” She hit a button, and nurses ran in and put me on a gurney. The weirdest part was there was no pain until the day after, then three months of absolute hell. 2nd degree burns on 30% of my body.” – [deleted]
It’s generally a good idea to be good to those around you, including your friends and family. In the event that you end up getting hospitalized for a long period of time, you want someone who cares about you to make the best decisions for your care. However, there are those people who end up treating their spouses and family members poorly, resulting in the interesting story below, shared by the Reddit poster’s cousin.
“He was doing side work in a cute care nursing facility and full time as a critical care nurse. He is standing next to the bed of the stroke victim. The guy is twisted into a knot and suffering every moment of every day. There is no going back. My cousin says to his wife, “Look, this is as good as it gets. We can keep him alive for a long time, but every day will be a day of suffering. Maybe it is time to let him go.” The wife responded that the patient cheated on her during their entire marriage, so she doesn’t care. She only visits him because she wants to see him suffer.” – [deleted]
Our eyes are important to the way we experience the world. So when something goes wrong with them, it’s easy to start panicking. As medical doctors and nurses, they’re the last people you want to panic when you come in with a serious injury involving your eyes. In fact, you expect them to solve the problem right away. Unfortunately for this resident nurse, her spouse had to share her story about a guy with an unfortunate, uh, protrusion.
“When my wife first got her RN, she worked in a clinic and another nurse who had a guy come in who had sneezed hard enough that one of his eyes popped out. So here is this poor MD who has no idea what the frick to do with it is on the phone with an ophthalmologist down in the cities (this was a pretty rural clinic). The ophthalmologist is talking him through popping it back in and apparently. He basically said, “just put it up to the socket and squeeze it lightly like a grape, and it should pop back in” – Aurum
Accidents and mistakes do happen. On a good day, you can laugh at yourself and walk away from the incident with a little embarrassment. On a bad day, like what happened to this guy’s patient, was definitely not something this guy could easily walk away from. A better question is why he waited so long to get to the hospital, but it’s likely he waited due to the embarrassing nature of his injury. Keep reading for another crazy ER story that affects that particular male part.
“Years ago, we had a guy come into the ER with a broken penis. Yep, a broken penis. He and his wife were having sexy time at what he described as “a very rapid pace” when he pulled back too far and came out. So, when he went to shove back in, he hit a dry spot on the side of her leg and bent his penis 90 degrees. The problem was that he had ruptured his urethra and had soaked two bath towels in blood before he could get to the hospital.” – Tapol
7. Showing up in the ER with dirty underwear is your mother’s worst nightmare.
Remember those stories about your parents always telling you to wear good, clean underwear in the event that you end up in the hospital? No one wants to be embarrassed by the state of their undergarments when they have to remove their clothing; other people wouldn’t care because there are more important things to worry about, like the reasons they’re at the hospital in the first place. According to this Reddit poster’s cousin, who was working for their nursing diploma at the time, this patient was more worried about the state of his feet.
“So there is this old guy coming in the ER with a big wound on his leg, and he had to go for surgery. My cousin tried to prepare him for the surgery and asked him to remove his boots and clothes, so he can change into proper clothing. The old guy started yelling and cursing because he didn’t want to get his boots off. Several doctors came by to calm him, and he started to fight them too. After some time, when he calmed down, they injected him with some anesthetic in order to remove his boots without him flipping out. It turns out he was ashamed to take them off because he had his nails painted red.” – SteliosTh
6. A not-so-holy father needed help with some personal issues.
Even people of the cloth need medical attention every now and again. And like every patient, their information is kept confidential according to the rules of HIPAA. That doesn’t stop medical doctors from seeing some interesting cases, however. So interesting that it would make one question why people even become priests in the first place when they choose not to adhere to the rules of the church.
“I once had a patient that was a catholic priest that developed a skin rash. He was treating it with that spray Clorox cleanup solution which, of course, only made it worse. When asked about the rash, he said he caught it from his wife and then pleaded with us not to report him to the head of his church since he’s not supposed to be married. Obviously, we can’t report things like that due to privacy laws. It turns out his “wife” was a hooker that was also one of our patients (unbeknownst to either of them). FYI, Clorox spray, when applied liberally and directly to your genitalia, WILL cause burns.” – [deleted]
5. Sharing a room in the hospital can be complete hell.
These ER stories are a bit insane, but the worst are yet to come! Sometimes, it can be a good idea to room two patients together, as they can develop a friendship, especially if they don’t have people coming to visit them on a regular basis. Having such interactions may actually help patients get better over time. Or, like this lucky staff member, lead to some interesting conversations. Some of which that they’re not likely to forget for the rest of their lives. Often though, having this interaction is forced, like in this horror story.
“Not ER, but once I took care of the same two patients for three days in a row, and they were separated only with a curtain. On the third day, the nice old man gets distraught and goes, “Nurse! Nurse! I’m so worried I haven’t had a bowel movement in 3 days!!” I inform him that he just had one yesterday. And he relaxes and smiles and replies that he forgot. From behind the curtain, my other patient yells, “I REMEMBER!!!” – Notexpiredyet
When it comes to conditions involving “down there,” people can be hesitant to talk to their doctors about it out of fear that there’s something terribly wrong or they’re just too embarrassed. It’s easy to feel that way because it’s not something you discuss with another person on a regular basis, but letting your doctor know what’s wrong is the best way to receive treatment. Unfortunately for this patient, she was doing everything right… save for her choice in men.
“Once worked with a girl who seemed to have a near-constant UTI. She hated that she’d finish the treatment for it, finally get back to having sex with her boyfriend. Then a couple of weeks later, she would have a UTI again. I told her it was a small thing, but did she pee after sex? She says, oh no, I hadn’t thought of that. Then one day, it came up in conversation that the alcoholic boyfriend she had unprotected sex with had a couple of really nice lady friends that he usually hung out with before she got off work. Girl, I think we might have solved your mystery.” – PrettyBird2011
3. Colonoscopies are a messy job, but somebody has to do them.
Prepping to go to a scheduled appointment can be daunting; it can give us tunnel vision to the point that we forget everything else going on around us. After all, we don’t want to end up late and having to wait around even longer or forget something that our doctors told us to do before showing up. We’re so singularly focused that we end up not paying attention to the things around us. This next patient definitely hadn’t been doing so when he headed to a colonoscopy appointment.
“A patient who was taking a colonoscopy prep overdid it and got to vomiting … just when diarrhea kicked in. Eventually, exhausted and empty but feeling better, he thought he’d try to get approved to go ahead with the colonoscopy instead of wasting the prep. I said, ok, if he went to the ED and got checked out for dehydration/infection. He hopped into the shower, cleaned off in a hurry, and came to see me. Having failed to notice that he used his teenage daughter’s fancy silly glitter body wash. This big, macho, muscular conservative-looking 50-year-old man, glittering like Edward from Twilight.” – procrast1natrix
2. Slipping and falling on a spork is a crazy ER story.
No one thinks that eating utensils, outside of knives, are usually pretty safe to be around. No one would expect that a simple spoon or fork would result in a grievous injury. This patient learned that the hard way, unfortunately, and had to end up at the ER. But that wasn’t the end of the story. In fact, it gets a little more embarrassing. The medical staff treating him were doing their best not to rub the proverbial salt into his wound. But then, they saw what was still attached to the offending utensil.
“My ex was a nurse, and she once attended an emergency surgery of a guy who had been stabbed with a spork- the spoon-terminus, mind you. The instrument was still stuck in his chest when he arrived at the hospital. For some reason, on the fork-side of the spork, there was a little piece of Wiener Wurst attached. The surgeon’s hand trembled from laughter during the whole operation. When asked during recovery about what happened, the guy said he’d slipped while eating dinner and fell on the spork. However, the authorities suspect there was something more sinister going on.” – EPIC_BOY_CHOLDE
1. Getting trampled by a horse, and bringing the stallion with you to the ER.
Doctors and nurses like to be fully informed about the situations their patients are in. Gathering all of the facts necessary can help them to decipher exactly what the problem is. However, there are some proofs of evidence that don’t need to be brought in, as this next story demonstrates. Why the husband of the patient thought this was a good idea was beyond anyone’s comprehension. Not to mention that the poor culprit was also spooked out of its mind.
“Not a nurse, but when I was a paramedic, we had a woman who was trampled by a horse. She was in really bad shape. Her husband assumed the doctors would need to see the horse for some reason? He brought the horse in a trailer and tried to trot the thing in through the ambulance bay, and tied it to a gurney. It was chaos, and the horse was panicking from all the commotion. Wasn’t funny until the next day. Also, this was a major urban hospital, not the suburbs or a rural area.” – foreignqueso89