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Nightmare Fuel / Untold Stories of the E.R.

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  • One woman had bug larva actually burrow into her head and eating her scalp.
  • In "Short-Circuited Heart", a 5-month-old baby was brought in with maggots in her skin.
  • One man had a personal living nightmare. He 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 they did, he came to and started thanking the doctor. It turned out that he had such a fear of insects that the bug in his ear caused him to completely shut down (except to scream whenever the bug moved).
  • Any scenario where someone who seems to be in perfect health suddenly declines to a life-threatening emergency. Scary not only because they were fine just a couple of minutes ago, but because the sudden onset of symptoms makes it difficult to figure out what's even wrong with them, let alone what caused it. And it also often means you don't have much time.
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    • Imagine that one morning your perfectly healthy wife suddenly collapses in the bathroom. You're a paramedic, and you call an ambulance but don't think it's likely to be anything serious. You come into the hospital sometime later to check on her, and find out that her condition is so dire that she's undergoing an ER thoracotomy — something patients rarely survive, simply because if they need one, it's almost certainly too late for them. And because you're a paramedic, you know exactly how grave this is. Also imagine being the daughter in this scenario: your mom goes into the bathroom to get ready to take you to school, the next minute she's unconscious, and before you know it the only thing keeping her alive is a doctor manually squeezing her heart.
    • Imagine a coworker, who is regarded as everyone's "little sister", comes over to chat with you before leaving for the day, when suddenly she collapses and starts having a massive seizure, which ends when she goes into cardiac arrest. A minute ago, she was a vibrant, healthy young woman, with no history of seizures or heart problems; now she's on death's door. She's your friend, and you have no idea what's happening to her.
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    • Related to the above: Cases where the patient is a medical professional, being treated at the same hospital they work at. If they're your coworker, they may also be your friend, and you work alongside them every day to save lives. Now, all of a sudden, their life is in your hands, which makes the case more personal and emotional than possibly any other case you'll ever have — not to mention that you obviously don't have their help as you usually do. And if they don't make it, not only do you lose a coworker and friend, but you'll be reminded of it every day by their absence in your workplace. Both of the above cases qualify: In the first, the patient was a nurse who worked at the same hospital as her paramedic husband, which is where she went to be treated; he wasn't the one to treat her, but her other colleagues were. In the second, the patient was a young nurse who collapsed while chatting with a senior nurse.
  • In "Man with Two Faces", the eponymous patient is almost referred to psychiatric care because the doctor assumes, since the patient is schizophrenic, that his complaint of having "someone else's face" is a delusion. Fortunately, the patient is able to prove with a driver's license that his face really has changed, and so the doctor changes his mind and performs tests that ultimately reveal he has lung cancer. You have to wonder what might have happened if the patient hadn't been able to convince him.
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    • Sadly, the latter scenario is probably very common, which the doctor insinuates when he remarks: "We have an old saying that every crazy person dies of a medical condition." Imagine how many people with mental illness have died of a physical illness because their symptoms were dismissed as psychosomatic, a hypochondriac, or delusional.
  • In "Stabbed in the Heart", the eponymous patient has a hole in his heart that squirts blood all over the doctor and nurses, and a good distance beyond. After they hand the patient off to a surgeon, a nurse notices that the glass wall behind them is completely covered in blood except for their own human-shaped outlines. "It was really gruesome and awesome all at one time."
  • One episode featured a homeless woman in the ER who kept saying "I've got worms in me". Whereas one may be initially confused or even somewhat amused by this statement and her relatively calm demeanor, sure enough on closer inspection, the woman did have a worm sticking out from underneath her skin. Upon one nurse even realizing what she was witnessing (the fact that she cut a hole in her forearm and placed a worm inside herself), she recoiled in horror but still was able to assist her. In the end, the woman not only had one cut for each of her forearms and her upper thighs, but the nurses ending up pulling out twenty four worms from underneath her skin and she kept repeating the phrase until there were no more. Fortunately, she was miraculously able to avoid infection or other serious injuries and illnesses from this, the nurses saved the worms for her (she considered them her pets to the point of naming them) and they were able to send her to a psych ward to get the help she needed.
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