Being a doctor is an extraordinary job. Everyday you are in life and death situations and when the stakes are that high you never forget. Sometimes it is often similar to 'Grey's Anatomy'.... danger and adrenaline are running rampant. And sometimes, sadly, the patient is the enemy.

Redditor u/inlovewithspace asked doctors to share about the times that may have gotten them a little nervous by wondering..... Psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists/doctors of reddit - what was the most dangerous moment you have lived through while with a patient?



Therapist here. This happened to a mentor of mine.

He was working in a community clinic in another city. He was getting ready to head out for the day when the secretary pulled him aside, asking him to do an emergency intake for a client who came in claiming to be in crisis. Mentor agrees and heads to the waiting room to call the guy back.

Mentor said as soon as he opened the door to the waiting room he had a weird feeling. He brought the guy back to his office and made the decision to sit behind his desk for the intake, something he never does.

Mentor asked the client what brought him in. The client screams, "I am St. Francis of Assisi and I am destined to die!!!" He rips open his shirt to reveal cuts all over his chest, then pulls out a knife and says, "And you are destined to die too!!!"

I honestly don't know how my mentor thought of this, but he immediately slammed his hands on the desk and screamed, "ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI!! HOLY CRAP!! WHAT AN HONOR!!" This caught the attention of the secretary who cracked open the door, saw the knife, and called the cops.

I guess my mentor spooked the guy because he took off down the hall and out a back door. The cops had a manhunt on their hands for several hours and eventually found him. Never recovered the knife.

The lesson my mentor wanted me to take from this event? "Never be afraid to be crazier than your clients."DrivingSharkBait

Michael Clarke Duncan

Wow so many stories come to mind. I've worked in both male and female prisons. One comes to mind where I (24f) was meeting with an inmate in his forties. He was double my size at least. For reference looked a similar size to Michael Clarke Duncan. He had sever anger issues and we had been meeting so I could provide psych testing. He has developmentally delayed and because of his size when he got mad he could pick up and throw a whole metal trash bin.

He told me he goes into rage blackouts and didn't want to hurt me if he ever got mad. He told me he likes roses and fake ones worked too. I bought some at a store and kept them on me. Sure enough one day another staff member kept coming in the office to interrupt us. Eventually asked us to terminate the session early. I saw him boiling up about to blow. He stood up and clenched his fists. I handed him the flowers and he sat back down sort of petting them till he calmed down.

I've been working with inmates for years. Been in between inmates fighting, been around pepper spray, severe self-harm, threats, those moments where you realize the person across from you is a psychopath who truly wants to hurt you, but I never felt like something really bad was going to happen to me or someone else then if I hadn't have listened to him and had those flowers. xxDr-Beckyxx

The stories are endless.

Oh boy. The stories are endless. The story that sticks out the most right now is:

New therapist, still in graduate school/in training. I was working at an inpatient facility unit, my job was to basically "interview" patients upon arrival. Keep in mind, most patients do NOT want to be there and are there against their will. I'm the first face they see. I was working overnights where I am the only staff in the entire wing until patients are ready to move to the unit.

So one night I have a list of who is coming in from the hospital. I meet with one person, mind you I don't remember much about this person. Every door you walk through locks with a code behind you. I go into the room with this patient. We talk, I give them paper work or whatever. For some reason I completely blank on the code to get out. Absolutely cannot remember it, trying to keep my cool I tell them I'm going to sit with them for a little while until whatever reason I made up to seem fitting. The more anxious I am the further I blank. I try numerous codes, patient knows what's up but is cool enough about it despite my embarrassment. Eventually I figure it out.

Next client on the list? Repeated offender, anti-social diagnosis (previously known as sociopath), real rough around the edges antagonistic individual. All I could think is wow, if that had happened one person later I would have been in a really bad spot.

Not long after I switched to day shifts where we had two employees working the "interviews" and staff all around. throwaway242577

Next Ward Please....

I've been the subject of erotomania in my patient with psychosis.

Erotomania is listed in the DSM-5 as a subtype of a delusional disorder. It is a relatively uncommon paranoid condition that is characterized by an individual's delusions of another person being infatuated with them. (...) The object of the delusion is typically unattainable due to high social or financial status, marriage or disinterest. The object of obsession may also be imaginary, deceased or someone the patient has never met. Delusions of reference are common, as the erotomanic individual often perceives that they are being sent messages from the secret admirer through innocuous events such as seeing license plates from specific states.

Apparently I look like his ex-wife - who he tried to strangle. He was staring at me, completely fixated, during the admission interview which is not uncommon. I started to be the only person who could convince him to take his medication, de-escalate aggressive episodes, etc. Then all the love letters started to be slipped under the door to the nurses' station.

He was moved to the next ward, and required restraint and seclusion because he choked a nurse to try and steal his keys to get back to my ward. Last I heard, he was offering money to other patients who would be discharged soon to hang around the car park between 6 - 7 PM to figure out which car I drive. manlikerealities

Intern Days. 

I (22F) was an intern in the internal medicine area, I entered a triple room (one room, three patients) and greet the first patient (about 55M), who had just arrived from ER, to recover from a heart attack.

Without any notice, he got up and started to beat the crap out of me, ripping his IV lines and monitor in the process. I tried to defend me and the family members from the other beds and nurses came to help me and submit him (with the help of a dose of diazepan).

Turns out, he had had an massive stroke a year which damaged his frontal lobe and cortex leaving him extremely aggressive, (that's also why he didn't had any family with him).

Another time, also as an intern (in a public hospital from one of the most dangerous Mexican cities, in 2012 just where the drug war was at it's height) a senior lady came for a breast tumor, but upon seeing it, we decided it was far too advanced for any surgery or treatment, palliative care was all we can do for her. Her son, while carrying a gun (prohibited by law and only carried by mafia) threatened the oncologist and me that he'll come to us if anything happened to her momma. I finished my term in that hospital a few weeks later, and vow never to return (these and other motives). AnaPaulinaSantos


I used to have an elderly patient we'll call Oscar that started offering me a dime to sit in his lap when I was 16, it was a bit uncomfortable and I would weakly laugh it off until he took that as license to start offering me money to do some seriously messed up and dirty things. I didn't laugh anymore when they would say stuff to me anymore after that, just ignored it completely. WordsAsWeapons79

"Sucker Man"

I worked housekeeping fora nursing home for a while. There was a guy in there we called "Sucker Man" because he would always ask us to hand him a sucker. He was known to go into rage fits, and the only housekeepers he would even let in his room were me and Shelby (not real name). I had seen him get physical with a couple nurses, but fortunately the one time his rage turned towards me it was an easy fix. He dropped one of his suckers on the floor (which I had not yet cleaned) so I swept it up.

Sucker Man asked me to give it back to him and I told him I wouldn't since it had been on the floor. He grabbed his sippy cup and was about to throw it at me screaming "God damn it, you son of a b****!" but I took a step back towards his bookshelf— where his suckers were stored. I handed him another one and it was smooth sailing from there. bardicly-inclined

"it's still here!"

Social worker here. At one time I had a job as a clinical case manager on an adolescent residential unit at a psychiatric hospital. One of my clients had visit with his mom, who lived a couple of hours away. The was the first time in about six years he was allowed to visit her. It was a big deal. Per the plan, I drove him to her house (where he grew up), but when we get there we find out she's at the methadone clinic. So we drive to the clinic, getting lost along the way (this is pre smart-phones) and end up driving through a seriously sketchy neighborhood, eventually find her waiting outside the clinic, and then go back to her house.

We're all in the front room, and my client is pacing around, checking stuff out, and then out of nowhere walks to the sofa, reaches behind it and pulls out a rifle. He's got a big smile on his face, and he says "it's still here!" Then he looks over at me, says "it's not loaded" and looks at his mom and says "is it?" She says something to the effect of "Jesus Christ, give me that," like he was playing with the remote or something, and casually puts it back behind the sofa. He's smiling and mumbling to himself, she's checked out and looks bored, and I'm about to jump out of my skin.

I suggested we continue the visit at the local McDonalds... my treat. Which we did. Afterwards we dropped her off, and headed back to the hospital. My client was eventually discharged into a transitional living program for young adults. I never forgot him, or that visit. gregorja


I work in addiction medicine. Had a schizoaffective patient that would come in every so often after going off his meds and going on a cocaine and heroin bender. The last time I saw him, he was off his meds, high as a kite, and actively hallucinating that there were monsters in the room. He told me that's what he saw and he was watching them while he talked to me.

Everything was ok at first, but the second I put my stethoscope on his chest, it was like a switch flipped. I saw muscles clench and he stopped answering questions and got this thousand yard stare. I immediately got a sinking feeling in my stomach and had the clearest thought that, "this dude is going to strangle me with my stethoscope."

I stepped back and said, "ok, we're done," and he got up and walked out into the hall. Stat dose of haldol and all ended well, but he scared the shit out of me in that moment. unoriginalnames

It's All Flawed. 

I worked in an ER once with a secure mental health unit. Serious design flaw however, there was an access point into the ceiling in the bathroom. Dude climbed into the ceiling and tried to escape the hospital however made it a few feet and crashed through the ceiling into the clinicians write up room. To say we were somewhat startled was an understatement. Luckily we had security in there at the time who pounced on him before he could get up. craycraxy

The Break. 

I worked in an Emergency Department. A psychiatrist was seeing a patient in her office when the patient snapped and started stabbing the hell out of her. An off-duty cop in the waiting room heard her screaming, ran into the office and shot the patient. They both arrived in the ED at the same time. She lived (barely) and he died from a GSW to the head. That was a bad, bad day. chaosoneactual

"brush the bugs off"

I used to do psych rehab in the community and had a couple scary clients.

One was EXTREMELY ill. He was about twice my weight and had 1.5 feet on me (5'2" 115 pound female) he was sitting next to me and kept trying to "brush the bugs off" my upper thigh and then told me he was "gonna cut my arms and head off and watch me rot in hell" I called 911 and he was taken to the hospital and released that night, I called his provider to report he needed care and the hospital released him and he refused to even adjust his meds.

I had another client that HATED me. He was on house arrest for attempted murder and I would DREAD his visits because he would fly off the handle for absolutely no reason, like if I wouldn't let him use my cell phone or drive him somewhere.

I quit.


"home & community"

I did in home work family therapy. I had a parent who lived in a remote area and sessions usually ended in the early evening. They had some pretty significant mental health issues and had identified me as the primary cause of a lot of their current stressors (communicating with child welfare services/crisis services when there was a risk of harm). One evening they were pretty agitated and started telling me how much they hated me, and to prove it they described the very specific dream they'd had the night before of decapitating me and throwing my body parts into the local river.

I immediately left (of course it was winter and icy and dark) and they screamed at me from their front porch that I couldn't abandon them while I drove off.

Honestly, I really believe in the "home & community" therapeutic model - but one of the main reasons why I left is that it felt inherently unsafe. I worked with women with abusive husband's who absolutely knew I was helping them plan to leave. Parents who knew they were going to lose their children based on the work we did/ what I reported. You get a lot of work done sitting at someone's kitchen table, but the trade off the safety and security of working in public space. littledinosaurtickle

"get my phone"

I was a mental health tech. I quit after a client, a man in his 40s who also was way taller than me, cornered me in the library and tried to "get my phone" from my back pocket, wouldn't let me leave. I had basically no support there and was left as the only one working the floor. He followed me everywhere and made sexual comments toward me for the entirety of my 12 hour shift. I was 19 and in school. He actually fled the facility after I left, and is still in the city somewhere which always scares me. He was fresh out of prison and was actually supposed to go back if he didn't complete the program. wolverineismydad

stuck in his leg....

Working in the ER one day a guy came in with a fork or some utensil stuck in his leg. I've seen way more crazy crap come through so i didn't think twice about it. About 20 seconds later a car comes screening to a stop just outside the doors and a young lady runs in and yells "don't give him pain medication, he did that to himself!" Truth is she didn't have to do that because narcotic seekers are always flagged in the system, but it was a great show. Point is, people will do seriously crazy things to get high. Weiner_Queefer_9000

Gravel Pit Jim." 

Used to work 911, had a frequent flyer who we affectionately called "Gravel Pit Jim." Jim was crazy as hell and a felon, and lived out of his car at an old gravel pit (hence the name). I can't remember what his deal was but he checked all the behavioral-disorder boxes that started with schizo. A part-time drug addict, he called pretty reliably with the inside scoop on the local dealers. Literally every call I took from this guy stared "So I got this intelligence" which would lead to him tattling on his dope man. This was actually pretty useful, and our units learned a lot from his leads.

Jim and I got to be somewhat familiar, he'd call the suicide hotline who would aggravate him or simply hang up, and then he'd contact us in a rage. We talked enough that he decided he liked me, and he'd typically call around eleven or midnight, almost on a schedule. I can't say I was ever personal with the guy, he'd talk and I'd listen, but we'd go around for a while and then we'd move on with our nights. I treated him human, if nothing else. If he called and got anybody different, he'd ask for me, and then dutifully wait while I cleared up whatever crisis and got to him. Not friendly, but cordial.

He and I did this for around a year, then one night he drove off a bridge with me on the phone. For whatever reason he decided to come into our jurisdiction (a large bridge led into it) and he aimed for the guardrail. Don't know why, he didn't say anything different or special from what I can remember, he just checked out. I always kinda had the suspicion he was coming to see me, maybe it was for the best that way, probably he realized that. He wasn't the first guy who died on my line or even the most graphic, but he was definitely the one I knew the best. CSPANSPAM


Therapist, worked in a severe behavior school, lots of "fist-fights" with teens, sometimes a foot taller than me.

By fist fights I mean, me dodging their punches and trying to get them in the state legal restraint that assumed you would be bigger than the person you were restraining. Very stressful job while I had it, but never boring and very rewarding as these teens respected the shit out of me and would really listen to my advice, barring black out rages. ThaJourneyRing

Must have been quite a sight.

When I was working at a care facility as a nurse aide a giant man came in with alcohol induced dementia (these patients are always high risk for being extremely aggressive and violent) he had plenty of issues the first day he came. Attempting to run away harassing the women trying to start fights with the men. The average age of people I cared for was mid 70 but this man was in his late 50s so we had to keep a close eye on him.

As the strong woman of the team I was always the one called to help manage him incase he got violent. After about a week he decided he has had enough of me impeding on his life in such a way and decided to go for me. So there I was a 23 yo girl 5'10 at 145 lbs trying to keep a 6'5 250 lb muscular man from strangling me with a belt and the only support I had was a 5' tall scared girl tugging on his shirt the best she can in an attempt to pull him off of me all while a bunch of elderly people stood around us screaming. Must have been quite a sight.

Fortunately I was able to get out of the hold he had on me and some other men who worked in the facility were able to keep him from harming others until he calmed down. The next day he was transferred to a better equipped facility but goodness that was a rough week. koalabearsrus

9 stories up. 

My dad was a social worker / case worker for a very long time in SF in the 70's, and as the story has been related to me by him, by my half brother's mom (his wife at the time), my half brother, and my dad's best friend, he got a call saying one of his cases was having a break and had locked herself in a hotel room.

So my dad finds the room, can't get in, goes to the room directly above it, climbs out of their balcony, and lowers himself onto his case's balcony - 9 stories up. 9.

He then gets inside, just as she cuts both of her wrists and starts coming at him with the knife. He gets the knife, dunno what he did with it, bear hugs her, and carries her into the elevator and then out onto the street where an ambulance was waiting. The police finally showed up about 5 minutes after the whole thing ended.

Comes home covered in blood. iph0ne

"they.... are telling me to stab you"

This monster of a man (easily 2 meters tall and 200+kilo) with the emotional intelligence of a baby. He was told there were no activities for the day and couldn't cope with that and started smashing the place up. Police were called, thank god he did not attack any staff or residents. He looked like he could squeeze my brain out with two of his fingers.

Co-worker had some resident face him with a knife and say "they (the voices in his head) are telling me to stab you". Co-worker told him that was not true and to put the knife away, which he did.

Please note that people with a schizophrenic disorder are waaaaay more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. In this case, there was no violence. VloekenenVentileren


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