20 Emergency Room Janitors Share Their Most Disgusting Experiences

When you think of dirty jobs, janitors generally are the first to come to mind. But have you ever considered how much worse it must be for those janitorial servants who must clean the grimeand gore of a hospital?

Hospital janitors spend their days cleaning up emergency rooms, bathrooms, patient rooms, and hallways – all of which can be covered in both human and hospital waste. The gnarliest sights described by them include blood on the ceilings, human debris in unimaginable places, and repulsive bodily fluids. All of the tales are from real emergency room janitors, as shared on Reddit. Stifle your gag reflex and read on!

Had To Clean Up The Bathroom After A Stillbirth

I had a friend who cleaned a hospital a few years back. He had two pretty gruesome experiences. The first was having to clean up a bathroom after a woman gave birth to a stillborn. The second was being there when an ambulance brought a woman in after a botched suicide attempt. She tried to shoot herself in the head and ended up shooting her jaw off.

Yes, just like the South Park episode with Brittany Spears. Needless to say there was a lot of blood.

16-Year-Old Shooting Victims

Worst I ever dealt with was a 16-year-old gang-shooting victim who died in the trauma room in the ER. There was a lot of blood and we had to clean up the floor before the staff came back to bag and tag the kid. So there he was on a metal table, chest open, dead. I tried to clean the floor and ignored him as best I could.

He and another teen had shot each other but only one survived. Made me wonder just what in the heck two 16-year-olds really have to shoot each other over.

Chew Your Food!

Someone threw up in the sink and no one was called for a few hours. It nearly hardened and I had to scoop it out with my hands. They barely chewed their food.

Brain Bits On The Floor

I used to work as a janitor in an hospital as a student job and the worst I cleaned up was in the ambulance room. It was a parts of a human brain on the floor, they already had washed up part of it when I arrived!

Crusted Crap On The Wall

I used to be a janitor at the local state hospital and the worst I ever cleaned up was a room for one of the most violent extremely developmentally disabled patients we had. It took seven guards to drag him out of his room so we could clean it.

When I got in the room, he had covered the walls and floors in poop and they dried solid… even the mobile pressure washer wouldn’t take it off.

Looked Like A Crime Scene

Cleaning an operating room after a hysterectomy.

By that time I’d been doing this a month or so, and had largely gotten used to the blood and whatnot. It was rough sometimes because it caused nightmares about Iraq. Mostly it was blood, you rarely found tissue. Then came The Day.

It’s hard to describe how bad it was. Parts of the OR genuinely looked like a serial killer had been through there, other parts were fine. And the hardest thing to clean was the blue dye they use in surgery – that stuff gets everywhere. So I don’t know if it was a rough surgery, a bad surgeon, or a combination of things, but it was a mess in there. I found blood and tissue in places we are trained to check, but that I didn’t think it was possible for it to be at. Like on top of the lights. Up on the bottom of the table. It was everywhere.

This being a busy military hospital for soldier and dependents, we had five minutes to sanitize a room. I begged for and got ten. Still, I’m not sure with three of us in there that we got it all.

That job was a holdover until I was able to save gas money to drive out of state to look for better work. I’m teaching now. It’s only a little harder than being in Iraq most days.

Afterbirth Spilt On Shoes

I work as a hospital housekeeper and one of my jobs include taking a (anatomical waste) bucket of afterbirth from a fridge into a freezer where it is then picked up and shipped away. One time I went to get the bucket and whomever put it in the fridge had left it sitting on the edge. Now the afterbirth is sealed and tied in a bag, and some of it was not this time for some reason (likely a lazy nurse). On a side note the buckets are not sealed until I take them and do it myself.

So I reach over to get the bucket. I always wrap my hand behind it and pull it towards me then I grab the handle and place it down on the ground to then seal it. However since this bucket was on the edge and I took no notice it immediately dropped to the floor and some of the loose bags of afterbirth opened up and fell onto the lower parts of my scrub pants, shoes, and some got on my right hand and the lower part of my arm around my wrist.

It was just really bad luck and I was having a bad day to begin with. Thought about just cleaning myself up and saying good bye to the job.

The Slushy Dead Body

When she was a teen, my mom worked as a janitor at a hospital.

You know what’s bad? When they bring in a body that has been in the river for two months and the bag they are hauling it in bursts all over the floor. I guess two-month-old river carcass has a bad smell. Enough to evacuate a wing of the hospital. She didn’t have to deal with the body slushy itself, but there was still plenty of scrubbing to do in that corridor after the “body” was removed.

Human Fat Was On The Walls

I was a janitor at a hospital, mostly cleaning offices, which included a plastic surgeon’s office. Whoever usually cleaned up to the point where they wouldn’t have to give me biohazard pay was slacking that day I guess, but this time it looked like the lipo hose thing got turned on reverse all over the room.

I noped the heck out, and my boss hit the tiles with a razor blade while calling me a weenie.

Found A Random Finger Tip

I used to volunteer in an ER before med school. One time I was cleaning a trauma room and I found a random finger tip. I remember the nail was still intact and painted bright red. Anyway, when I asked a tech what happened he told me, “Dog bite. She didn’t want to bother with reattachment, trash it.” So I trashed it.

Homeless Man Locked Himself In A Bathroom

I’m a housekeeper at a hospital, and I was working an 11 pm to 7 am shift in the emergency room. We have an outer square that gives access to some of the patient rooms, waiting rooms, and bathrooms. The inner square has all of the patient rooms.

I got a call around 2 am to help security get into a bathroom that a homeless man had locked and had been inside for a while. After no answer, I unlocked the door from the outside. Pretty much what had happened was this man had stitches all along the side of his stomach and for some reason thought it would be fun to rip them out and spread his bodily fluids around this tiny ass bathroom. The floor covered in poop and blood.

The walls were covered with more blood. There wasn’t much of a smell, but it still smelt funky. I never wore so many disposable non latex gloves before in my life.

Had To Call Maintenance For A Ladder

When I was 20, I worked as a house-keeper for the hospital. One night a man went to his wife’s work, where he shot her and then shot himself. When they brought him in he went straight to the morgue. They tried to save this poor young woman for like an hour. I will never forget her mother’s agonizing screams when they told her she was dead.

Anyway, I go into the trauma room that has like 30ft ceilings. Blood was everywhere. There were long streams of it on the ceiling. Her clothes that they cut off were the most disturbing thing for me for some reason. I had to call maintenance for a ladder. It took me three hours to clean this room. I cried when I left work that morning. A few days later I decided hospital work wasn’t for me. I saw a lot more, but it’s just too sad to repeat.

Brother Has To Clean The Dead Bodies

Not me, but my brother works as a janitor in a hospital. His work includes washing and taking care of all the dead people that the EMTs drop off there, so he’s seen some pretty messed up bodies (imagine traffic accidents) and disgusting scenes.

Needed A Shop Vac For All Of The Blood

I worked housekeeping in open-heart, general, and vascular surgery for a few years. There were times I would have to shop vac up the blood. Probably the bloodiest moments though were during amputations when the tourniquet was loose.

There would be blood sprays covering the ceiling and walls ten feet away.

Code Cleanup Warnings

Where I worked, we had three different levels of that sort of mess:

Code brown (Small amounts of poo in various locations. Usually a resident who missed the toilet at some point);

Code Sludge (Where a resident completely misses the toilet for the entire performance, or where they never got to the bathroom to begin with);

and Code Corn (Where there is no hope for humanity. Grab a hazmat suit and the specialty vacuum.)

Let Air Out Of Hazardous Material Bags

I was a janitor at a hospital for a few years. My absolute worst experience was while I was being trained. There was not enough room in the trash buggy, so the other guy showed me how you can rip a tiny hole in the bags and let the air out.

The problem with this was they were all red bags (hazardous!)

The Bed Bug Invasion

I’m an on-call, but I get 40 hours a week.

It was my third day of work, and I was working a night shift. I was being trained on cleaning a heart room. We get a call to go take care of a bed bug situation, which sounded like an interesting adventure. I was pumped! We went and put on these white body suits and we looked like rabbits.

We arrive and lo and behold, a nurse had the bright idea of taking care of it herself, throwing the bed-bugged bed sheets with the other laundry. We had to prevent an outbreak, so we had to search for it. We searched for an hour and called quits. We did know which bin it was in so we marked that bin. Labeled it as hazardous and sent it on its way.

It’s An Active Job

I’m also a surgical janitor, it’s an interesting job. Picking up a lot of pieces of bones from knee and hip cases on most days. I’ve found it’s one of the most physically active jobs I’ve ever had. Room turnover is such a high priority in a surgical setting.

And the hospital I work at (St. Luke’s in Duluth, MN) on an average day has about 50-to-60 cases a day and I’m only one of two people that work the day shift. I’ve been wearing a pedometer for the past week and I usually walk about 10-to-15 miles per eight-hour shift, which is kind of nice because I can drink all the beer and eat all the fattening food I want and not really gain any weight.

And after a long day of cleaning up blood and guts, nothing is more refreshing than a nice strong IPA.