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The Weirdest/ Grossest Things I Have Seen in the ER


To start us off, I just need to say that I will not disclose the names, ages, or genders of the patients that I am discussing. Due to the nature of some of these experiences, you the audience may be able to determine certain details about the patients such as gender, however due to HIPAA regulations I cannot disclose that information. I also will not say which city, state, or hospital I work in to further protect the patients that I am discussing.

Bladder Infection

The first story I am going to tell you guys is one of a bladder infection that went terrible. Now, we all know that any urinary tract or bladder infection is not fun, however it can get even worse when you have to be hospitalized for it. This particular patient had surgery recently, had been home for a couple of days, and then came back to see us after not being able to void urine for several days. Now, in situations such as this, we typically do a bladder scan to see how much urine is being held in the bladder, and then we put a catheter in to drain said urine. With this case, the doctor did not order a bladder scan, just an in and out catheter (catheter specifically designed to collect urine, but not stay in bladder). The nurse of the patient and myself went in to perform the catheter, but to no avail. We asked for the assistance of our charge nurse, and she got a tiny amount of urine, but not even close to enough to send to the lab for testing. We assumed that the patient had an empty bladder, and could not produce normal amounts of urine due to being a dialysis patient. This was not the case, however, because the doctor requested that we scan their bladder, just to make sure that something wasn't going wrong. So we did, and this patients bladder was so full, that the scanner just read ">1,000mLs". So we tried one more time to get a catheter in, we were successful, and then THREE FULL LITERS of pure pus came gushing out! This poor patient was holding three liters of pus/urine in their bladder. And just for a reference, you start feeling the urge to pee at about 400 mLs.

Broken Ankle

This next one still gives me the shudders when I think about it. I was working on a very rainy Saturday morning and we had a woman come running in saying that there was someone in her car that needed help. So a nurse and myself run out with a wheelchair to see what was happening. When we saw what was wrong, I almost threw up. I have a very strong stomach when it comes to work, but apparently not when it involves bones. This person was riding their bike, slipped in the rain, and landed full weight on their ankle, shattering it into multiple pieces. The way it moved around independently from the leg it was "attached" to reminded me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry lost the bones in his arm.

An Apple Where!?!

This one I was not there for personally, but I have heard the story many times from coworkers. There was a person who checked in with a foreign body. Long story short, they shoved an apple up into their rectum. There's really only one way to try to get it out, to sedate the patient and go in with forceps. Well, since it was an apple, it kept coming apart and the surgeon on call was not able to get the whole thing out. The patient ended up having to go to surgery and be completely put under to get it out.

A Fun Keepsake

This is one of my favorites, because it's just so weird that it took me a minute to wrap my head around what had just happened. We had a patient check in for an STD check, which is fairly standard. So the nurse practitioner, the patient, and myself were doing in the exam room, and we found a lost condom that had been in the patient for days. DAYS! When the NP took it out, she immediately threw it away, which is the standard for foreign body situations such as this. The patient, however, wanted to see it, so the NP took it out of the trash with the forceps and help it up. The patient then REACHED OUT AND TOOK IT! Full on grabbed it, wrapped it in a paper towel, and kept it. The NP and I were so shocked that we just stood there for a full two minutes staring before we continued with what we were doing. I have a feeling this will be one of my weirdest stories for a while.

Unorthodox Storage

Drugs are not an uncommon occurrence in emergency rooms, especially the one I work in. Usually, however, people have their drugs either in their system already, or in a bag in their pocket or purse, or something along their lines. In this particular instance, that was not the case. We were doing a catheter on a patient to get a urine sample, and while we were down in their genital area, we found a little piece of plastic sticking out of a place there should not be plastic. So we investigate a little further, and we pull a bag of meth out of this person's body cavity! They were really nonchalant about it and asked us if they could keep it. We had to turn it in to the cops, of course, which the patient was not happy about.

Purple is Pretty

This last one is short, but still confusing to this day. It was one of my first days on the job, and we had a patient come in to our crash area, which is for critical patients. After the nurses got their IV's started, blood drawn, and meds given, one of my coworkers and I started getting this person cleaned up. They came from a nursing home, which is notorious for bad hygiene. This patient was covered in ants, had yeast growing in their folds, and smelled like they hadn't been bathed in weeks. The strangest thing about this patient, though, was that the urine in their foley catheter was purple. I still have no idea what would cause her urine to be purple, but I have yet to see it again.

Alright everyone, that is it for my stories at the moment! I hope you all enjoyed, maybe had a laugh. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you guys return to my page.

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