ER doctor here, here’s a weird one. A patient came in to the ER one night saying she was infected with worms. She told me she had been noticing worms in her mouth and in her urine and stool. She said it had been happening for a few months and it was worsening.
She actually brought a sample of these worms. She brought them in a glass, covered with saran wrap. I held it up to the light … looked like saliva with clumps of mucus in it. As I was trying to convince her that it was just normal spit, her parents arrived. They had driven down from out of state, in a panic that their daughter was dying of a parasitic infection.
Mom and dad were livid with me when I suggested that it was in her head (there’s actually a delusional disorder named Delusional Parasitosis)… They couldn’t accept the fact that her daughter was crazy. They asked for a GI consult so someone could look into her infection.
So I opened up the glass, and with a gloved hand, I pulled out the “worms.” I ran it around in my fingers and showed them. The dad’s reaction was something to behold. It went from “don’t be ridiculous, she’s sick” to “what the hell are you doing?” to “wait a second, that looks like just spit” to “holy shit my daughter is fucking crazy.”
I saw it in dad’s face, and then he turned to his wife and said “honey, I think we need to talk.” I left the room, and they took her home 15 minutes later. I offered a psychiatric eval but they said that they would go to her mother’s psychiatrist.
Anyone who shove things up their ass and then pretend they have no idea how it got there. And believe me, it happens more than people realize.
I had a guy in the ED who kept peeing in the corner of his room. He was told several times to let us know if he needed to go and we would happily help him to the bathroom. He said he was going to keep doing it because he was going to tell everyone I was the one peeing in his room so I would be fired. He told everyone, and I didn’t even get to go home.
I once had to tell a woman to stop asking my staff for their green cards. She complained to security that I was harassing her because my nephew in New Orleans was working illegally. I have no nephews, and at the time had never been to New Orleans.
Sent a male patient into the bathroom to collect a urine sample. Took him much longer than expected. He misunderstood and gave a semen sample.
A man who ate things to hurt and punish himself whenever he felt bad. And he felt bad very often, to the extent, for example, if you gave him a glass of water he would feel he was putting you out and would feel the need to self punish. He would eat coins, nails, buttons, string…he got brought into the hospital because he had eaten a battery. After a while most psych patients fit into a category of expectations. He always stands out in my memories of patients.
When I was in undergrad I did some observation in an assisted living facility with a physical therapist. The most intriguing patient I had was a woman around the age of 70 who came in for sudden blindness.
It turns out she had a UTI that got so out of control it turned into a kidney infection and lead to acute delirium. In addition to that, her blood pressure spiked randomly so high that it affected her glaucoma causing her to go completely blind overnight.
The combination of sudden blindness and delirium caused her terrifying hallucinations. She kept seeing gigantic monsters at night in her bedroom as well as the dead bodies of her grandchildren which were actually still living.
Over the 3 weeks I saw her, it went from her saying things like, “I know I’m out of it… I’m just seeing things that seem so real” to walking into her room to find her having full conversations with multiple family members at a dinner table with side comments and all, when there was actually nobody in the room. She introduced us to all the people she was hallucinating and when we got her up to walk her out of her room, she was reaching out her hand to brace herself against the table she saw, but wasn’t actually there.
I’ve never seen a more heartbreaking patient in my life. 3 weeks before she came in she was living alone and waiting tables full time and by the end she was completely out of touch with reality and had to move to a nursing home for full time care.
Former ED nurse here. A few years back, a lady came in concerned that she’d bumped her head, and it was just after Liam Neeson’s wife died in a skiing accident, so she was scared she’d have the same thing. She insisted that we had to get her taken care of in an hour, before her husband got home. He’d told her already that she was overreacting, and she didn’t need to get checked out. So, she had to trick him into driving the next town over to check on their college-age daughter (apparently the lady convinced her to help out with the trick), so she could sneak out to the Emergency Room.
At one point, as she’s telling me all this, she throws in a few Spanish phrases. Real basic high school stuff, like ‘por favor’ and ‘grande.’ Peggy Hill-level of pronunciation, too. Then, she throws her head, gives a lilting laugh, and says, “oh, you’ll just have to forgive me…I speak fluent Spanish, and sometimes when I’m excited, I slip and start speaking it unintentionally.”
Now here’s the best part. The whole time I’m getting her story, her medical history, vital signs, etc., she’s got a gas mask hanging around her neck. Like, a WWII kind of deal, real big and bulky full-face gas mask. So, finally I ask her, what’s with the mask? And she says, “it’s because of the bats!” And then I get the story of how her attic is infested with bats. And she says it’s against the law to kill them (I don’t know if that’s true, maybe it is), so she put out mothballs all over the house to drive out the bats. But, the smell is so strong she has to wear a gas mask. It’s so bad she has to sleep at a friend’s house.
She was okay, though. Her husband came and took her home.
I had an old lady who fell on the edge of a table and ruptured her eye globe. She had dementia and didn’t understand why she couldn’t see out of that eye. That was pretty weird.
10. A breakthrough
I work in a mental facility. The weirdest kid we’ve had was this polite, quiet kid who would stay awake for days making these figurines out of toilet paper, soap, basically whatever he could find in his room. He was maybe 21 years old. He would also smear soap all over the mirror and window in his room. He refused to wear clothes, so only the male staff (pun) could handle him (more pun). He talked in this quiet voice about religion, that dragons were coming alive, that the walls were moving, and that the other patients could read his mind.
One day, after agreeing to wear clothes, he went into the common room. There was this piano there. At this point he had been there for 3 months, and everybody on staff basically liked him and were rooting for him to have a breakthrough, he was a nice kid, but remember up until this point he was basically being naked, smearing stuff with soap and talking about dragons and the rapture. Now, he went over to the piano, stared at it for a while and then sat down after like ten minutes of staring. Then he proceeded to just magically play the thing for hours, he was extremely talented. I’m a musician myself, and this kid is just talented as fuck.
A couple weeks later he had a breakthrough, possibly because of the piano playing, and he was sent to this juvenile schizophrenics center which is way more relaxed than the super-max I worked at. What a nice kid.
11. I’m terrified
I used to work as a CNA in high school. There was a guy that lived there that would jerk off as he pulled his foley catheter out. There would be blood, urine, and semen all over the place (usually his bed). He eventually had to have his hands strapped down. It was either that or he would get a really bad infection or irreversible damage done to his urethra. I felt horrible for the guy. He didn’t really even know where he was and didn’t live too long after I started working there. He just wanted to get off as far as I could tell.
Working as a phleb at a hospital with a psych unit I had the pleasure of running into some pretty interesting individuals. The best was this one patient who refused to have his blood drawn unless i brought him blood to replenish the sample I had taken. So with the help of the nursing staff we gave him V-8 and warmed it up and told him that it was fresh O+ blood. He let me draw his blood still gave me shit about how the devil could see what I was doing and how he knew I was going to hell and when we gave him the V-8 he acted like it was actually bringing parts of him back to life. In situations like that creativity is sometimes better than restraining someone.
13. Naked and horny
EMT here… got called on an early 20s woman with psychotic behavior. We found her completely naked so covered her with a sheet and restrained her on the gurney. Got her to the ER, and started to take her vitals. I put on the BP cuff, and she starts yelling about how this was turning her on and moaning pretty loudly. We get her to stop moaning in the middle of this quite crowed ER, which included an old homeless man on meth accusing us of being satanic clowns and a happy, harmlessly drunk Mexican man who kept inviting us over to try his wife’s ceviche and drink tequila, and I go to take her temp. Oh buddy, she starts giving fellatio to the thermometer. I had no idea what to do, so I looked around and the other EMTs are either shocked or trying not to burst out laughing. All I could muster was “uhh ma’am, please keep your tongue still.”
I don’t know if I’m allowed to answer as I only just finished my third year in medical school (We started clinical rotations) but, we did have a few very interesting cases in our rotations.
The first was the usual “I fell on something” – anal penetration gone wrong case, except it was a barbie doll.. So that was kind of amusing.
Number two that really stands out was an infected genital modification, it was swollen like a grapefruit and discharging something awful. I don’t know how it got like that, but I’m guessing there was shame involved. We had our attending supervise a removal and IV antibiotics for that one. The smell. Well. That was something I probably won’t be able to top for a few years.
We also had a pain seeker who insisted she was a member of one direction and needed narcotics to make the screaming girls go away.. that was creative. (Literally NOTHING wrong with this woman, other than she make up a strange story to get narcs.)
Homeless man with history of alcohol abuse arrives intoxicated to ED. Blood Etoh measured to be xyz…remeasured 2 hours later and its doubled despite being isolated in his room and having been thoroughly searched for alcohol containers. No one can figure out where this guy is getting the booze from. A resident decides to check the multi-hospital system to try and get more info on the guy and sees an old note from another hospital mentioning having to remove the alcohol hand sanitizer dispensers from the patients room. We go into the patient’s room and see a hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall…upon close inspection its been visibly tampered with, and completely empty.
Patient was always masturbating, and she didn’t stop when you came in the room. She was on our floor all the time. Anyway, heart monitor stops showing up and another nurse goes in to check on her. Patient has clipped the tele leads to her nipples.
I had a patient who was a legit gangster with the name and all (for HIPAA I won’t post his name, but pick any over the top mobster name like Jimmy the ape). He was in because he got in a fight with another gangster who shot his toe off. Instead of coming to the doctor, the patient attempted to “treat” his wound by himself. Surprise, surprise, it got severely infected and he had to come in for it to be debrided and treated with abx. He saw my wedding ring and asked, “Oh, you’re married? Does your husband have life insurance? I can work something out…” I believe that was supposed to be flirty, but it was just the strangest thing…
54 year old psych patient. Ran away from her care home without pants on. Was hanging out with some local teenagers who were smoking. The smoke made her start hearing voices so naturally, chest pain ensued. She was afraid to step into the ambulance, and stared at the light talking about how hot she was for 20 minutes to the hospital. ( 300 lbs easily with a face covered in dried spaghetti or something) it then took half an hour to convince her to step out of the ambulance because she was afraid it was going to hurt. Now once out of the ambulance, she proceeded to insert her fingers into her anus. She then proceeded to pull them out and lick them. Rinse and repeat. Come ten more minutes we get her to triage. Good God, please never again.
During one of my first ride alongs, we got a call about a guy found in his SRO. We found him prone, naked, and broken glass all around him. He was pale as paper. He had an O2sat of 68% on room air and was pretty altered. When we were rolling him out of his building, the patient started peeing everywhere and giggling like a little school girl.
I feel like I’m on the right career path because I can’t wait to meet some weirder people.
Fake cancer patient. Patient would go around claiming he pancreatic cancer and blood clots all over his body and that he had a rare genetic disorder that made him resistant to coumadin. He would come with stacks of medical records. The guy had me convinced, he a chemo port surgically implanted in the his chest. He did however, trip my radar for crazy and I googled him.. bringing up an article about how he scammed many hospitals and even convinced physicians to give him chemo.
Black market silicone injections self administered to her ass.
I work a lot in plastic surgery (we don’t do nearly as many cosmetic things as you think, most are breast reconstructions from breast cancer) anyways and this gal came in for her for her first initial consult.
Her appointment notes just said “want implants removed.” So im like prepping the chart for my doc and check out her ass MRI.
Ohhh my god.
It first says she had a history of self administering silicone into her gluteal muscles for cosmetic reasons. So of course I’m curious and bring up the MRI and its not just like one big area – its very diffuse.
Apparently it was giving her pain and she wanted it out. But I knew we wouldn’t be able to take it out. I’m talking thousands of pockets of silicone in her ass.
I think we referred her to another surgeon, but the look on my doctor’s face was priceless. “She did what!?”
Football season had just started which meant we would be getting a lot of players into the ER for the next couple of months. One night an 18-year-old male comes in by ambulance with an open fracture in his tibia. We only had him in the main ER for about 15 minutes before he went up but he sure was a talker…I went in there to get some information from him so we could admit him and this is where it got funny (he was on a lot of pain medication, the good stuff lol). I walked in (25-year-old female) and he immediately stopped talking and just stared at me. He then asked me what I was doing later after work. Meanwhile his dad is laughing hysterically and his mother was yelling at him to be quiet. Then he asked me if I would want to rent a “redbox” movie and watch it later at his house because his parents go to bed early and we could have the couch all to ourselves. His dad could not stop laughing and his mom looked madder then heck… All in all, guy has a broken bone sticking out of his leg and he is still trying to hit on a girl.
23. Oh, uhh
Has to be the anal explorer. The patient was involved in some type of accident resulting in neck injury. Instead of waiting for the enemas and laxatives to take effect after a week of no bowel movements, he asked for a wash cloth. We come back a few minutes later he is digging poop out with his fingers all while ranting about being sick and tired of waiting.
24. Cat voices
One patient I had didn’t have people voices in her head, she had cat voices. She would just sit there and talk to all these cats. And then yell at me for not letting them come inside because they were freezing to death. I’m terrified of cats so the whole thing just weirded me out.
Dispatch comes in for a male patient suffering a heart attack. We head out with an ambulance and an engine (firefighters are great at lifting heavy things) and arrive a few minutes later. It’s a nice looking house in a good part of town, so we head through the door and what we see in no way matches the expectations.
There are two very fat, very hairy, very naked men lying on the floor. One keeps saying “my brother! My brother is having a heart attack!” so we get to work on the other unconscious land whale. We put some leads on him and check the monitor — normal heart rhythm. No signs of a heart attack.
About that time we notice the many empty bottles of alcohol. And the crack pipes. And said unconscious land whale awakes from his slumber, angrily believing that we are trying to kill him.
According to the tapes, it took about three minutes from our distress call over the radio until every cop in the county showed up at that doorstep. It felt like forever, trying to keep two sumo wrestler sized men who were on so many drugs that I was amazed they were alive, from killing us. But the police did arrive, and everyone had an uneventful trip to the hospital. Thanks to the armed police officer sitting with us in the back of the rig.
Moral of the story: firefighters are much more useful than just a glorified fog nozzle holder.
I’m a receptionist at a doctors’ clinic. During my second week, a very distressed guy approached the counter and told me in a whisper that he had just found out his housemate was homosexual and that he needed to see a doctor right away to get the “appropriate tests” done. He said that he’d moved out already but was worried because he’d used the same cutlery and light switches as his housemate. I don’t know what he thought he’d caught. I was speechless! I squeezed him in with the most scathing, sarcastic doctor.
We picked up a dudebro from a local McDs. The guy (rather obese as they always are) had tripped and lacerated his arm on a parking block, bleeding everywhere. Thing was, he was hardcore tripping on some sort of hallucinogen. The patient didn’t take to kindly to my partner, so I treated. The whole time I was being verbally/sexually harassed while trying my best to keep a bandage on the guy’s arm. Normally I would NOT put up with that shit… but this time I couldn’t stop laughing because the guy was talking in a squeaky Mickey-Mouse type voice. Hilarious. The cop I grabbed to go along (I’m a rather petite chick EMT, not risking it alone with a 300 lb crazy) nearly peed himself laughing. Good times.