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Series: Untold Stories Of The ER
A show on the Discovery Network of channels. The show involves dramatic reenactments of cases that have been seen in Emergencies Rooms. Usually the actor portraying the doctor is the doctor from the story. The stories for the most part are real but with some details changed for compression purposes, the patient did not give permission to be used, or the patient could not be found afterwards.


This show provides examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: Of both Types.
    • Type A:
      • One episode had boy with a undiagnosed mild case of Brittle Bone Disease. The number of old micro fractures pointed to abuse. The hysterical parents' response to the accusation, up to and including kidnapping the child from the ER, did not help things.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Very common. Most of the time the ER docs try their best to put them back on. One case the man lost his legs after being hit by a train.
  • Almighty Janitor: Usually crops up.
  • As Himself: A lot of retired or doctors working fewer hours come on to tell the stories and reenact them.
  • Ass Shove
    • One male patient, who actually bribed the doctors not to do any paperwork, had to get a dildo removed from his ass once it got stuck. This is a fairly common story and probably makes up about 1 percent of ER visits.
  • Attention Whore: Anyone with Münchausen syndrome is one of these. They fake medical disorders to gain attention and sympathy.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted so hard in some cases.
    • One woman was brutally mauled by a Mountain Lion. When they took the badages off she cried at how bad it was. However they then showed her photos of how she looked like before they stitched her up and she realized that she was lucky to even have a face.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens a lot. Espically when the Doctors put their own lives on the line. During the rampage of Damacio Ibarra Torres, one nursed dragged a doctor who was shot in the head into another room to prevent a Coup de Grāce from the gunmen. He then went back for a gurney and quickly wheeled the man into a trauma bay. After that a Neurosurgeon left the guarded cafeteria so he could then treat the doctor... While the gunman location was still not known.
  • Big Heroic Run: One doctor actually had to run across the ER, jump up and land on the bed on his knees, to catch a baby a woman was psuhing out fast.
  • Blood Is the New Black: And Vomit, and urine, and alcohol..... Pretty much a doctor will be showered with bodily fluids that you didn't know existed over the course of his career.
    • On Neurosurgeon on call was rushing to the hospital to try to save a man who crashed his motorcycle with no helmet. Along the way he came across another man who did the same thing. So he was delayed until the ambulance stabilied the man so he could then go to the hospital and save both. The other Doctors and nurses were stunned as he came running in, in his dress shirt and pants covered in blood.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: All too often. One woman was cradling the body of her friend who was shot,telling him to Please Wake Up. Paramedics had to tell her they would look at the (obviously) dead friend after they checked her out. Turns out all the blood wasn't just his. Some of it was from the two point blanks shots to her head.
  • Born Lucky: The one way some of the patients survive.
    • One man had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car and had crashed into a chain link fence. The problem was on of the pipes from it had gone through his entire head. The doctors had no idea how to treat them as "We don't see these times of injuries in the ER. These types of injuries usually show up in the morgue." After X-ray and CAT scans showed that somehow it managed to miss every single nerve, vein, and artery in his head. They pulled it out and had a team of vascular surgeons on hand in case something went bad. Turns out other then some teeth missing and a lot of flesh damage he was fine.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    • One neurosurgeon was called in to perform on a motorcycle driver that was not wearing a helmet. On the way to the hospital he stumbles upon another motorcycle driver that crashed without a helmet. He came into the ER covered in blood as he kept the guy alive until the ambulance showed up.
    • Another example was on a cruise ship. Kid got his hand slammed in a door so hard that it was barely hanging on by a flap of skin. The Sick Bay doctor paged the entire ship asking if there were any hands surgeons on board. She doubt it as hand surgeons are hard to find in a hospital as they travel from hospital to hospital. About five minutes later three of them show up in Hawaiian shirts asking where the patient was.
  • Code Silver: Happens every so often.
  • Coughing Up Blood: Sometimes patients come into the ER doing this.
    • One case had a Landlord accidentally inhale a pushpin that was holding up a tenants' poster to the ceiling. (Also why you should not do this.)
  • Crazy-Prepared: ER docs have to be. And some patients as well.
    • One mother had her daughter (who were both deaf) wear a bunch of bracelets. However on the bracelets, hidden from view, was info for her and other people, including the number of nearest relatives and to call 911. This saves the womans' life she started to flatline repeatedly.
  • Crowning Moment Of Awesome: One (male) nurse actually dragged a doctor who had been shot in the head, from a gunman in the hospital, to a side room while the gunman was still running around. Then he went back out for a gurney.
  • Cutting the Knot: Sometimes required due to red tape and paperwork:
    • A patient who desperately needs surgery can't be treated at the small clinic where he's diagnosed, but his insurance won't pay for the ambulance service to take him to a bigger hospital. Unable to cut through the red tape to arrange transport for their patient, the doctors hit upon a counterintuitive solution: they call 911, which the ambulance service is contractually obliged to respond to, even when the call comes from a hospital. The bill from the ambulance service went to the hospital not the person.
    • Also when the Hospital was in lockdown from a gunman, A neruosurgeon needed to get to the ER to treat his fellow doctor who was shot in the head. The Guard wouldn't let him out. So he leaves through the kitchen's one way exit. Keep in mind that this is when the gunman was still not located so he could have been shot at any second.
  • Deus ex Machina: Sometimes can save the day.
    • One case had a woman who turns out to be three months pregnant violently hemorrhaging in her uterus. Problem was that the only person who knew her medical history was her husband who only spoke an uncommon middle-eastern language and the nearest translator was 30 minutes away and she did not even have five minutes. However a janitor that work there had immigrated from a country that spoke it.
  • Driven to Suicide: A lot of cases show up in the ER.
    • One notable case was that a patient hung himself in his triage bay. The only reason that he survived was the fact that he was in an ER when it happened.
    • Another man was so distraught over his wife dying in the ER he was going to do a Suicide by Cop. But not before killing a Doctor because he felt they were responsible for her death.
  • Ear Ache: A lot of time. Most in the symptoms and trope case.
    • One woman had a bug crawl into her ear and they had to squirt a lot of lidocaine into her ear to drown the bug. After 20 minutes, they pull it out and then they revived and started to struggle in the clamp.
    • Another episode had a man who stabbed himself in the ear with an ice pick to remove the evil spirits in there.
  • Ear Worm: Literal cases sometimes.
  • Eye Scream: One man inadvertently pour bleach into his eyes, as his wife carried bleach in an eye drop bottle for her athletes foot...
  • From Bad to Worse: All too many cases.
    • One man accidentally punctured a spray paint can all over his face. Went to the ER complaining of eyes burning. Well it turns out that he was so sensitive to it that his throat started to swell completely shut.
  • Groin Attack: Usually self-inflected.
    • One patient had taken black market Viagra to surprise his girlfriend for valentines day. Problem was it was horse Viagra and he went into the ER after the third day with the erection. The Urologist surgeon was called as the blood was so clotted that they had to manually drain it with surgery.
    • Another patient has high when his girlfriend suggest he stick his penis into a stove and she would.... have relations with him on the other side. Needless to say he got stuck and had to come into the ER with the camping stove still attached.... The stove was was thrown away into the biohazard container.
  • Human Popsicle: One 24 year old was exposed to a subzero temperature for over four hours. His internal temperature was only 74 degress. However since it happened over such a low period of time his body went into hibernation so his brain effectively shut down so the oxygen loss did not do as much damage.
    • Also known as Therapeutic hypothermia. After massive heart attacks some doctors will lower the patients internal temperature to 89 degrees to slow down the brain and heart enough that they can heal without aggravating the damage.
  • Made of Iron: Some of the patients. Unfortunately Made of Iron does not protect you from long term damage and side effects.
    • One had been stabbed in the heart, with blood pouring into the Pericardium/sac around it. By the time he got into the OR there was over a liter of blood in it and that was when the pressure got too great for his heart to pump anymore. The second they drained it, his heartbeat suddenly went back to normal along with his blood pressure.
    • One doctor was shot in the head by a gunman in the hospital. He came to after 30 seconds wondering what happened. However he still was major neurological issues with physical movements and PTSD. However he is very glad that he is alive.
  • MacGyvering: Sometimes has to be done to save a patient.
    • One patient they had to stick two foleys (tubes meant for insertion into the urinary tract to carry urine) and inflate them to block a huge hole in the hole in her heart until the cardiac surgeons can get to her.]]
    • Another use is that craft glue and bikini wax has been used to remove small cactus needles that would take hours to remove otherwise.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Done a lot in the ER, usually to keep a patient alive long enough to get them to the actual surgeons.
    • Even the proper medical treatment is this. If a patients brain is swell they trepann them. IE they take a very expensive power drill and drill a hole in their skull.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: More like minor injury reveals major underlying condition.
    • One episode had a minor concussion (kid took a baseball to the head while wearing a helmet) turn into a major brain bleed. Turns out he was slowly being poisoned by something in his house that was causing his bones to be weaker then they should be.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Sometime a kid screaming/crying is this. Mainly because that means they're conscious, breathing, and coherent enough to cry.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A lot of the stories.
    • One woman had bug larva actually burrow into her head and were eating her scalp.
    • One man had a personal living nightmare. A man was admitted to the ER, completely unresponsive except he kept randomly screaming in a high pitch. Eventually they found an insect stuck in his ear and removed it. The second he did he comes to and starts thanking the Doctor. Turns out that he had such a fear of insects the bug in his ear he completely shut him down, except to scream when the bug moved.
  • Oh Crap: A common trope. Usually when a patient suddenly gets a lot worse, they flatline, or they suddenly get swamped.
    • The best case was on Halloween a guy walks in with an axe in his head complaining of a headache. They laugh and they put him in another room. When a doctor decides to play along and "inspect" the wound, he realizes that there is blood on his hand.....
    • Another case was a rather depressed medical student who failed his final exams, hung himself in his triage bay.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Recurring trope on the show as sometime a patient is so critical that the ER doctors have to perform surgery right there and then.
    • One episode featured a med student with a background in biochemistry and pharmacology who ended up delivering a baby - rather, watching in shock while a nurse delivered the baby. A family with the mother in labor walks into the wrong section of the hospital, where the med student is, and the instructor orders him to help the woman. He had been a resident for 4 days, and didn't even know where the emergency room was.
    • Another had the ER crash team performing a 'splash and slash' to block. (Where they have to splash antiseptic onto the patient and cut them open, with no time to do any other preparations.)
    • Another case was Open Heart Construction. A guy had stepped into concrete and by the time he got to the ER had harden completely. The Doctor had to saw through it right there in the ER.
    • Another story was in an ER during the worst of the Iraq War and they were getting swamped with causalities. At one point they had to get an E-2 administrator (basically a secretary with a military rank) to keep pressure on a wound.
    • In an inversion of it, A man brought his beagle who was not breathing and had open wounds to the ER as it was the closest medical facility. The man was so distraught that they improvised and saved it.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: A couple of stories are pretty much enactments of actual news story. The rampage of Damacio Ibarra Torres was told from the perspective of the medical staff treating their colleague who got shot in the head.
  • The Coats Are Off: In an unusual case of this, when shooter Damacio Ibarra Torres was shooting any Doctor he could find, all the doctors took off their coats to claim they were nurses.
  • What an Idiot: Quite a few patients injuries are self-inflected. The greatest example goes to the guy who lost a couple of fingers trying to clear a snowblower....While it was still running....For the second time. Both times he lost fingers.
    • Another man broke his ankle. So he decides to pour concrete over it to make a cast..... Turns out that not only is concrete setting a caustic chemical, it's also an exothermic reaction. That means it burns through both heat and chemical.
  • The Wonka: Some of the Doctor, mainly as a way to get through the day. Doctor Christopher Michos made a habit of getting rather eccentric scrubs.
    • Sean Bush: Looks like 30-something hipster, one of the best venom experts and doctors in the world.
  • Your Head A Splode: Way too often with head trauma. Orthopedic and neruo surgeons try to piece it back together.
    • One woman was saved by this! She took two point blank shots to the head. The fact it was only on hemisphere, the fact her skull fractured so much that her skin was holding it together saved her. What kills a lot of head trauma patients is that the brain starts to swell due to the injury. Problem is that the skull doesn't expand so the brain is swelling against the skull and the damage from that usually finishes a person off. Since her skull was so fragmented her brain had room to swell.
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