ER nurses and doctors of Reddit were asked: "What is the craziest thing you've ever seen in the ER?" These are some of the best answers.
1/23 Diabetic guy with black, necrotic foot who was picking off pieces of it and eating it.
2/23 At a children's hospital...it was the mother who freaked out over something. Not quite sure what, but she was upset.
So like most rational upset people, she took off all her clothes and was screaming at the top of her lungs about how the doctors were f*cked up. She's stomping around the ward just starkers. Naked screaming lady isn't a thing sick kids should be seeing, so security came and took her into an isolation room (that's used for bad psych cases). Whenever someone approached the observation window, she'd spread her legs, point at her vag and go, "What do you think of this?"
She got taken to an adult psych unit. Not sure what happened to her or her kid.
3/23 A 2 year old baby that the "boyfriend" forgot in the hot tub for 15 minutes. The baby was screaming, but the boyfriend was too busy being on the phone. Meanwhile, the mother was in the kitchen cooking dinner. The result? 3rd degree burns that were bigger than the baby. I can still see those huge bubbles in front of me. I can't imagine what the pain must have been. Scarred for life, literally.
4/23 A 9 year old boy was in the psych ward having an "acute episode". during the psych eval this kid was telling us how he had plans to sneak into his mothers room and use the telephone with the cord by her bed to strangle her until she died. He then went into very descriptive detail the sounds she would make, what her face would look like and how excited he was to see her die. He also had numerous plans to commit suicide that were potentially feasible. It was life altering to hear such a small child have such vivid plans.
5/23 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 come the entire way from the bladder down and out their penis/urethra.
They then get up, and walk over to you confused dripping blood every where to tell you that their penis hurts. When I say happens a lot, if you're on a team with a lot of elderly/alcoholic/demented/psychiatric patients, its about once a month event.
6/23 We had a person come in complaining about leg pains and, once we got her pants off, the pains were revealed to be a darkened (rotting) leg. Apparently she had noticed it but decided not to get it checked due to costs (this is 'Murica after all). She ended up getting the leg amputated in what could have been a simple case of triple antibiotics and a band-aid.
7/23 ER Technician here. I did most of the grunt work while nurses were administering drugs and dealing with doctors. Guy gets stabbed in heart, medics bring him in. ER doctor immediately "cracks his chest" to get to his heart. Makes a huge incision between two ribs on his left side then puts rib spreaders between them and cranks. A cpl seconds later, 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 jello. So I help him get out all these chunks of jello (blood) out of the sac while he desperately tries to sew up the bleed. He died. But a great anatomy lesson was had by all. Nurses said they'd worked 25 years and never seen that.
8/23 When I was working in A&E as a student I spent three hours trying to de-escalate a lady who kept shouting loudly that men would only understand the pain of childbirth if they were forced to "sh*t a watermelon". That was a long night.
9/23 A woman that successfully committed suicide by trying to cut her head off with a chain saw. She bled out in the ER before anyone had a chance to help her.
10/23 A pre-teen who enjoyed sticking elastic strings up his penis for reasons that were unclear, and accidentally lost one up there but was too afraid to tell anyone. Came in a week later peeing blood.
11/23 Guy attempts suicide and shoots himself in the face (gun barrel in mouth). Initially fails his attempt and has enough brains left in his head to call 911. Shows up at the hospital with a mostly normal looking face, talking coherently, making small chat, the majority of the top of his head was missing and his brain was exposed and oozing out. Eventually his failed attempt turned into an unfortunate success and I bagged that body and took him to the morgue about an hour after arrival.
12/23 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. 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.
Best part of the story is that he subsequently left the hospital AMA -- against medical advice -- presumably, to die within a day or two, after telling the critical care docs and the surgeons that he refused to lose his leg because he wanted to be whole in the afterlife. I really hope that worked out for him as he planned for it to...
13/23 Nurse here, I work in another department but managed to injure myself on shift a few weeks back and decided to drag myself to A&E at 4am instead of having a break, where I was privileged to witness two chaps breaking into the alcohol hand gel dispensers and drinking from them. Apparently this is a regular occurrence. I prefer where I work...
14/23 Motorcycle accident and the biker is in full leather with a helmet on as the EMT was nervous about neck and spinal injuries. No pulse. Doc in the ER is doing chest compressions trying to keep the heart moving and there is A LOT of blood. To his credit he put some effort into this rescue attempt but ultimately the motorcyclist's head eventually rolled off the stretcher. And by eventually I mean fairly quickly. We had barely gotten all the way into trauma room 1. Guys head was likely severed from the get go. We all stopped working and I remember initially feeling sick (I was 18). Lead doc yells out sarcastically "WELL, there's your problem!" Takes off his gloves and mask and walks out. That was a hard patient to figure out how to bag. . .
15/23 A teenage boy who wore shorts with a zipper to bed and then got up to pee at night and got himself caught in his zipper. He was pretty mortified as two female doctors and a female nurse helped glue his penis back together.
16/23 I took care of a lady who was high on meth. The police found her in a shopping cart in the street. She was too high to even acknowledge the real world and was apparently having sex with someone in her hallucinations since she would spread eagle on the bed and scream, "F*ck me hard, daddy!!" at the top of her lungs.
17/23 [Had a] guy who overdosed on research chemicals or something who bashed his face through 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.
18/23 Before I could enter nursing school I had to have volunteer hours in a healthcare setting. I decided to do ER.
It was probably my 2nd day, 4 hr volunteer time slot I was given. Older gentleman drove himself to the hospital and when he pulled in a bystander came running in to the ER asking for help. They rush him in and there is blood all over the front of him. They ask me 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. Turns out he recently had heart bypass surgery and had a coughing episode that he dehisced his sternal incision exposing his beating heart.
19/23 It was in mid December, when I had to call in a patient with some "private" problems. Usually you'd take something to stuff up your a** that you can get out easily, right? Like a plug, with a plate on the bottom so it doesn't go into hiding. This guy however chose a table tennis ball on the beginning of November and it's been up there since then.
I sh*t you not, and neither did he since he no longer could.
20/23 I was bringing a guy to the hospital when he went into cardiac arrest in front of me. Went unresponsive and his heart stopped beating, only electrical activity. I shocked him once and started CPR as my partner put on a machine that does mechanical CPR so I can do other fancy paramedic things. So far typical for a cardiac arrest. Once the LUCAS machine is on doing CPR it does it so well it perfuses his brain and the dude wakes up. He's essentially dead but the machine is making his heart beat and if we don't get it beating on it's own soon he'll stay dead. While this is happening I'm giving him medications to help restart his heart while shocking him. Normally you're unconscious for this but he was awake and screaming. We sedated him as soon as we could but it takes time, and in the meantime the most effective treatment is CPR and electricity. It's one of those things that they say is technically possible but vary rarely happens. It was f*cked.
21/23 We have a regular psych patient who is only cooperative and happy while singing "Shine Bright Like a Diamond".. As a cruel joke on fellow co-workers, we would walk by and start singing to him so he would finish the entire song, loudly of course, while his nurse gave you the ol' "I'm going to kill you" glare from beside the bed.
22/23 A suicidal teenager I met in emerg. She had been beaten up by her mother with a mental disorder, decided life wasn't worth it and tried to swallow mums pills. Her mum was detained, her brother as well for fighting the mother to stop her from killing the teen. She was out of it from the meds but kept begging me to stop helping her. She wanted to die and pleaded that if I cared about her I would 'let her go.' It was emotionally jarring, threw up after (it was one of my first days on the job.)
23/23 A lady was all gorked out on drugs and alcohol and was passed out on a gurney late one night in the ER. We had the lights dimmed and all was generally quiet. Every so often she would awaken and sing at the top of her lungs, "Doooon'ttt cryyyy foooor meeeee Argentiiiina!" That was 20+ years ago and it still cracks me up.