What was the MOST ridiculous thing a patient came to the ER for? - page 21

and do you have to treat them? I am just curious. Your stories always seem to either crack me up or shake my head in amazement. Thanks for sharing :)... Read More

  1. by   LilPeanut
    It's also frustrating as a parent when you are sent to the ER by the Dr. for what you really feel is non-emergent, but it's apparently the only way to get things done.

    My son had fractured his fibula when he was just under 3. Speech and language delay and sensory integration issues: he was completely unaware of it and we caught it because of a mild limp. They told us at 6pm on a friday night we had to go into the children's ER to get his leg set (he had his xrays taken at 9am, but it apparently took that long to get the radiologist to look at them)

    I've also been sent by my PCP because DD is a very snuffly child when not ill, and when she gets sick, it's hard to tell if she's wheezing or not. All I wanted was a nurse to listen to her lungs and tell me if she was clear or not. I know that if it's an upper wheeze, there's no concern, I just didn't have the ability to tell the difference. (hell, with my own asthma, someone else usually notifies of my wheezing before I notice)
  2. by   docWright
    Quote from RainbowSkye
    Well, I don't disagree with what you say, but I think it is more than not having access to a primary care provider. I live in a very rural area in the deep south, and even here we have a Public Health Department, a federally funded clinic for the indigent and working poor as well as a community mental health center.

    Unfortunately, I think many folks come to the ER for other reasons:

    -convenience (no need to make an appointment, and where else can you get your kids' runny noses checked out, your vag bleeding evaluated and your mom's migraine treated all at the same time and place? I mean, what ER nurse hasn't heard "While I'm here....")
    -ignorance
    -entertainment
    -avoidence (you can't hardly go back to your pcp for more Lorcet when you just got your 'script filled yesterday)
    -the system: some people must have that dreaded doctor's excuse to go back to work after only one sick day and if you live in an area with no urgent care, what can they do? Also, I think we've taught people over the past few generations to rely on the system instead of thinking for themselves (so of course you bring you kids to the doc if they vomit once).
    -lack of funds (like we're not going to ask them to pay and then follow-up on it)

    I think the answer is going to depend on a change in the whole health care system, and pardon my cynical attitude, but that ain't gonna happen any time soon.
    I frequently tell parent when they bring 2 or more children to the E.R. for minor illnesses that "we charge triple for family affairs"
  3. by   JBudd
    Had a custodial mom bring in a toddler who had been visiting non-custodial dad, because there was a scratch on the bottom of the kid's foot.
    Scratch was old, mostly healed, not open anywhere, not red, .... but grandma said it might be abuse and go get looked at. Mom got kind of red looking at it, and asked if it really needed attention. I just kept slowly shaking my head from side to side saying "it is against the law for me to tell you YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE SEEN", she'd ask something else, and I just kept repeating myself. She decided not to be seen after all.

    (triage does not count as medical screening required by EMTALA)
  4. by   curleysue
    I guess my weirdest thing I saw while working in the ER as a tech was a crack addict who tried to shoot up in the veins in her breasts. She had developed a pretty bad abcess. I remember the doctor coming in and I asked if I could watch (I was about to enter nursing school as was always really interested in watching interesting things). He says yes and that its a lot like popping a zit. After numbing it and cleaning up the area he made a small incision on the top of the abcess and squeezed both sides and puss popped and ran out everywhere, I couldn't believe how deep it was. Like 2 inches deep! WOW.

    Oh I guess another interesting thing I saw in the ER was a homeless man with a really bad infection in his toes. When I helped him take off his shoes I knew it was going to be bad cause his sock was soaked in puss or icky stuff like that. With my gloves on (thank GOD) I took off his sock and much to my surprise, MAGGOTS everywhere all over the wounds. I had never heard of such a thing. I bought had a fit. I said to the guy, "Do you know you have worms in your wound?" He said, "I do?" "Yah, it looks pretty sore and dirty.
    I learned later that the maggots actually do a good job of cleaning away the dead tissue and debris. Interesting. And YUcky.

    Thanks for listening,. Curleysue
  5. by   EDNewbie
    21- yr old M c/o nausea and vomiting X 1 day. Stated he was out late Friday night at a bar, drinking with his friends, then woke up Sat. morning with HA, nausea and vomiting, feels like room is spinning. Says, "I think there was something in my drink."

    Yeah, Einstein, it's called ALCOHOL!
  6. by   stevierae
    Quote from FutureNrse
    I don't think you are the least bit stupid. You seem to be a caring, concerned parent. As you said, there was a lot of blood, and you didn't know how severe the injury was. The ED is equipped to handle a lot more than the average pediatrician office. So look at it this way, what if the injury had been more serious and you took him to his MD's office only to have it be more than they could handle? They would have sent you to the ED, or called EMS to take him to the ED, and then you would have had 3 bills to pay, not just one. You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. As far as I'm concerned, you win the "good mom" award. :hatparty:
    Absolutely! Sure, it was a (luckily) superficial head wound--but you would have never forgiven yourself if you made that assessment yourself, and it turned out to be a fractured skull or a subdural hematoma, and he was seemingly fine, but suddenly got drowsy and maybe even lost consciousness--and emergency care was delayed. I agree; you did exactly the right thing utilizing the information you had at that point in time.
  7. by   CharlieRN
    One summer evening at our inner city ER I did the initial intake on a somewhat intoxicated hispanic man who complained, "there is stuff coming out of my stomach." I asked if he was nauseous or vomiting and he said, " No, stuff is coming out of my stomach." I asked if he had a wound and he said "No, stuff is coming out of my stomach. I show you." With that he pulled up his T shirt and pointed to his umbilicus. There he was growing a fine crop of belly button lint. I cleaned this out with an alcohol swab and explained that it came from his shirt. I could see he was not sure he could believe me but offered to let him stay and talk to the MD if he wanted to. He left.

    How any male reaches adulthood without encountering belly button lint I do not know. Perhaps he was a recent arrival from sunny climes and had never before worn snug, knited cotton clothing.
  8. by   hipab4hands
    Quote from JUSTYSMOM
    and do you have to treat them?

    I am just curious. Your stories always seem to either crack me up or shake my head in amazement.

    Thanks for sharing
    Pt. X was using his friend's drugs. After he got high for 4 days on them, he wanted the hospital lab to analyze his drugs to see what he had been taking.
  9. by   FutureNrse
    Quote from hipab4hands
    Pt. X was using his friend's drugs. After he got high for 4 days on them, he wanted the hospital lab to analyze his drugs to see what he had been taking.
    LOL Oh my god, that is classic. Poor dumbsh$t probably has no clue that this is NOT okay.
  10. by   MissPriss
    Let's see.....

    1. Man comes in with insect bite on side of neck. Says he was cleaning up some brush in the yard and felt something bite him. Wants to know what it was.....

    2. Mom and two (adult) daughters come in within an hour of each other. Mom fell, one daughter "springed her back" trying to lift mom onto the couch, the second daughter "springed" her wrist attempting CPR on mom. Mom is complaining of sore chest. We nicknamed them Larry, Moe and Curly...

    3. Not really funny but kind of odd....Mom, who is a first year nursing student, brings her child into ER. Child is athsmatic, wheezing, blue lips, sat-ing 82%...we start the child on a breathing tx and are scrambling to get a vein when the mom asks if she can start the IV and, Oh, by the way, if there are any more "skills" to be done, can she do them? because it will look good in her lab skills book.......:stone

    4. And finally.....We get a call over the scanner one night that EMS is bringing in a 16 yo boy with scrotal lesion....EMS comes rolling in about 20 min later with pale boy on a stretcher, mom is hovering around like a hummingbird on crack...EMS takes the boy to CP 6, our "only for big codes" room. Well, naturally, as with every major event, auxillary staff start filing into the room to see if they will be needed with the "code". About 3 min later, there is a mass exodus from the room. A few minutes later, I asked a friend of mine from EMS what the deal was with CP 6, he said, "body lice"....:uhoh21:
  11. by   Northernlights
    My favorite--a woman brought her elderly father in because his hands turned blue. Cyanotic? No, the color was kind of royal blue and ended at the wrist. I took an alcohol wipe and wiped away a streak of the blue color. Diagnosis: new blue gloves! The patient, his daughter and I all had a good laugh. (By the way, he never made it all the way into ER thank goodness!)
  12. by   kaycee
    Too many too list. There's pt's with ridiculous complaints every day.
  13. by   fiara
    I once had a patient come in by blue light ambulance because she was home alone and scared of the dark. Mind you she was elderly in her 80's.

    Or there was one who came in as she thought she was miscarrying, once the test revealed she was not pregnant she went home saying that she will take analgesia for her tummy ache.

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