Being on the front lines of health care, doctors and nurses face tragedies and intense situations every day, giving them plenty of disturbing ER stories. From horrible accidents to psychotic patients, medical professionals deal with a lot in their jobs. They’ve seen stuff we couldn’t even imagine and probably don’t want to think about. In many cases, these disturbing medical stories have pushed them to the edge, making it a struggle to have faith in humanity. We’re going to warn you right here and now, many of these stories are very troubling and contain graphic information. So, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Ready to see what’s it’s like to be a healthcare professional? Here are 25 Most Disturbing ER Stories.
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Ripped Out Eyeball
One Redditor explained that his dad was a nursing student and had to bring in a woman who acted out violently. She flailed everywhere and then started attacking herself. Eventually, she ripped out her own eye. It hung out of the socket by the optic nerve as they were trying to restrain her.
A Bad Rash
An ER nurse attended to a young man who came in complaining of having flu-like symptoms for three days. He wasn’t going to come in but started getting a weird rash. Tragically, he was experiencing the end stages of bacterial meningitis. Before long, he was bleeding out of the eyes and diminished quickly. When he died, he was soaked in blood and had a purple and swollen face; he was completely unrecognizable.
One man came into the ER complaining about having pain in his bottom and not being able to sit down. He said he had some kind of “foreign body” in his anus. When they examined him, they found he had a stool leg up there. He said he had accidentally fallen on it, and it had gotten stuck. He told the nurses not to tell his wife.
According to one Redditor, a 500-pound man smelling like rotting flesh was admitted into their ER. They initially found him wasting away in a car and had to cut him out. When they examined him, they found rotten and decayed flesh being eaten away by maggots. The wounds were so big, his hip bones were showing.
One doctor tells of how a patient coming in with such bad breath, his wife had forced him to come in. Under the man’s tongue was a small bump, which the patient said would come and go. The bump looked like a small white head and told of an infection. However, when the doctor went to make the incision to let it drain, no puss came out. Instead he was met with something rock hard. He then grabbed a small pair of forceps and pulled on the small white bump…and ended up pulling out a 23 mm salivary duct stone! Most salivary duct stones are smaller than 10 mm. Photo by Raj Waghmare, used with permission.
Looking Right Back
A woman came into the ER complaining of pain in her bottom, so the doctor, figuring it was a lump or spot, asked her to take down her trousers so he could examine it. When he bent down to look at the object, the object looked right back. It was a very large worm. He vomited and another doctor ended up fainting.
Fish Hook in Eye
One ER doctor tells of a time a young woman who came in clutching her eye. She was followed in by her friends, who were covering their mouths. It turns out that she had stood behind someone while they were fishing. The hook got caught in her eye! Luckily for everyone involved, it was just hooked through her eyelid and the doctor was able to numb her and pull it through.
One Redditor explained that they saw a patient that had a cyst was the size of a jawbreaker. They had to end up lancing it, and once they did, it exploded with pus and made a squeaking sound.
One Redditor said that paramedics brought in a 500-pound obese woman who had passed out on her bed. They had to bring her linens with her to find a way to move her. Unfortunately, she died during a cardiac workup in the cath lab and was sent to the morgue. During her clean up, they found a dead cat in one of her folds. From them on, the cath lab was renamed “cat lab” until HR found out about it.
One nurse was doing chest compressions on a woman whose heart had stopped. Unconscious and not breathing, they assumed the woman to be dead. But, suddenly, with more chest compressions, she reached up and grabbed the nurse by the wrists before falling back and never coming back.
When it’s raining or cold outside, people rarely like to get out of their cars to run into the ER. So, one nurse explained, someone decided to just drive right through the sliding double doors and park in the hospital entryway. They might win the award for worst parking job ever.
A man came into the ER claiming his arm had come off in a farming accident. The nurses didn’t believe him since the man was only a little “out of it” and not in terrible pain. When he removed the blanket covering up his arm, the arm came right with it; he said, “Told you so.”
One ER staff member explained they once received a “pre-alert” that a patient had had a bad auto accident and had collided with a fence. Little did they know, when the patient was brought in, the fence would be coming with them. A fence post five inches across had gone through the right side of the ribs. Fortunately, he survived the incident.
Diabetics need to be extra careful with their diet so they don’t spike their blood sugar. One patient was extremely overweight and diabetic, and no matter what the doctors and nurses did, including watching her diet and giving her insulin, she would always have high blood sugar. Then, when they helped her change her gown, bits of fried rice and chicken wings fell out. They discovered her son had been sneaking in food and hiding it in her skin folds.
An emergency physician said he’d seen a lot of crazy things, but the most disturbing thing was when a woman torn apart by dogs was brought to the ER. Apparently, the woman’s small dog had gone outside to meet the wild dogs outside, and those dogs attacked the small dog. The woman ran out to save her dog, but the wild dogs turned on her and tore her apart. The paramedics still brought her body to the ER, but they declared her dead on the scene.
One Redditor was a nurse working in the dementia unit. The first day on the job, they were helping an old lady with dementia. She pointed out the window one time and said, “See those kids out there? Aren’t they beautiful?” There were no kids out the window, but they went along with it. Soon after, the woman said, “I didn’t mean to burn them. I didn’t mean to kill my children.”
One Redditor claiming to be a Safety and Security Officer at a public hospital said one woman was regularly treated for trying to chew her lips off. One night, she had to have her stomach pumped because she drank anti-freeze with her lip tissue.
One Redditor’s boyfriend was a paramedic who brought in a man who drank himself unconscious. However, it turns out the man was a landscaper too poor to properly store his round-up, so he put the herbicide in his empty beer cans and accidentally drank one of the cans of round-up. He died on the scene.
Jumped Out a Window
A nurse was having a patient sign paperwork and everything was fine until the patient looked out the window. She asked, “Did you see that?” The nurse didn’t see anything and the patient said, “A man just jumped out of a building.” Then she shook her head and said how her mind wasn’t right anymore.
One Redditor claimed while they were a medical student on a psych rotation, they met a patient who was a chemical graduate student who took too much ketamine. He never spoke a word but hid under his covers like a mummy. He chuckled anytime you tried to talk to him. It was the creepiest laugh they had ever heard.
According to one Redditor, they were a tech in the psych department and a mother brought her 7-year-old in. She was sobbing and didn’t know what to do with him. He apparently would violently hit her and threaten to kill her. He also had an obsession with knives, and she found many under his pillow. On occasion, she’d find dead animals in her backyard as well. When they tried to treat him, the boy would speak to them like a robot, like he was just saying things because that’s what they wanted.
Mysterious Child Case
A dental hygienist had an appointment for a boy to get a cleaning, but the mom said he hadn’t ever been to the dentist before. That wasn’t uncommon, but when the hygienist looked at the boy’s teeth and gave him x-rays, it was clear he’d had extensive dental work done, including many filings. They asked the parents again if he had seen a dentist, and they were adamant he hadn’t. The mystery was never solved.
A former United States Army surgeon examined a patient who was having terrible kidney stones. The pain was so excruciating, he didn’t know what to do, so he stuck a class tube up his urethra. Making matters worse, a sudden movement ended up shattering the glass inside his urethra.
A physician working at the hospital in Minnesota saw a girl who complained of shoulder pain. She had been playing with her brother, and they figured she might have just bruised or broken something. Instead, they discovered she had an arrowhead in her shoulder. After pressing further, she admitted her brother shot her with an arrowhead but didn’t want to get him into trouble. Fortunately, it didn’t pierce her lung, and they were able to remove it.
While working in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, one Redditor met a woman who came in for an admissions interview. She had bandages all over her arms and scotch tape over her mouth and ears. When asked a question, the woman would peel the tape off, answer, and put it back on. They found out that the woman felt and saw tons of bugs crawling all over her and was afraid they would try to crawl inside of her.