Untold Stories of the ER TV Poster Image

Untold Stories of the ER



Medical reality show's reenactments can be very bloody.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series shows how emergency room staffs do their best to help patients, but these real-life stories are sensationalized for entertainment purposes aren't intended to be educational.

Positive role models

The emergency room doctors and other staff members are committed to saving lives, no matter how strange their patients or their symptoms are. Some of the doctors seem a little insensitive, while others seem a little too emotional.


The dramatizations feature patients yelling, screaming, and/or trying to attack emergency room staff. Burns and bloody injuries (cuts, bullet wounds, etc.) are clearly visible; some patients have knives and other objects penetrating their heads, necks, chests, and other areas of the body. Bloody surgeries featuring blood shooting out of veins, organs hanging out of the body, and other traumas are also reenacted. Some patients die.


The breasts and genitals of patients who are in various stages of undress are completely blurred. Occasional births, as well as discussion of pregnancy and birth control.


Reenactments contain scenes in which patients use inappropriate language, but words are bleeped, and it's difficult to make out what they're saying. 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent references to alcohol-related accidents, drug addiction, and potential drug overdoses. Patients in pain are often given morphine; over-excited patients are often given Ativan. The importance of quitting smoking is discussed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series -- which features sensational reenactments of interesting and/or strange events that have occurred in hospital ERs across the country -- has lots of images of bloody injuries (knives embedded in chests, acid burns, bullet wounds, and more) and graphic surgical procedures. Dramatizations sometimes feature some bleeped language; nudity is blurred. Alcohol and drug-related injuries are discussed frequently. Overall, the series isn't intended for young children, and sensitive viewers of all ages may also find some of the scenes difficult to watch.

What's the story?

UNTOLD STORIES OF THE ER showcases some of the most interesting, bizarre, and/or frightening stories from hospital emergency rooms around the country. To tell each tale, the show combines narrations by A.V. Kennedy with both first-hand accounts from doctors and re-enactments of key moments. Brief interviews with patients, various hospital staffers, and other witnesses are also included.

Is it any good?


Although each story is based on actual events, Untold Stories of the ER borders on the sensational by featuring actual staff members, patients, and family members re-enacting their experiences in the emergency room. As a result, the performances range from being extremely realistic to badly over acted. Some of the real doctors’ reactions to the incidents they're describing in their interviews seem a little extreme, too.

Younger and/or more sensitive viewers may have a tough time watching the dramatic scenes of bloody wounds and emergency surgeries featured on the show, while others may have a hard time with the stories about patients who die while in treatment. Bottom line? Some folks may find this sort of thing entertaining, but it’s definitely not for the squeamish.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about dramatizations and reality shows. Do you think

  • that a show that mostly features reenactments is presenting

  • "reality"? What makes it different from a drama?

  • Why would doctors, patients, and other people be willing to share their stories on television? Do you think that a doctor who tells a story about a patient is violating a patient’s privacy? What are the benefits of sharing stories like these? Disadvantages?

TV details

Premiere date:April 12, 2004
Cast:A.V. Kennedy
Networks:Discovery Health Channel, TLC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bycarlaken edy January 17, 2015

untold er stories, tv at its worst!

Bad acting, gruesome pics to attempt to get point across. Waste of time. Watched once, will never watch again.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byNASCAR101 July 22, 2013

best tv show ever

the doctors are positive role models help other. your kids will look up to them and the people with crowbars through thier heads.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byCommonSenseChristian May 3, 2015

Educational Show With Some Stomach-Churning Moments

If you or your older children enjoy medical drama or have medical personnel in the family, this show is for you. It highlights some of the more bizarre cases found in emergency rooms across the U.S. Some are funny, some are borderline tragic, and some just make you go, "Whaaaaat?" The show carries a lot of educational value, as doctors discuss how the body and brain works and how diseases and injuries are treated. For that reason, it's a good choice for older kids. Having said that, this show can get extremely bloody and gory. It's not uncommon for cases to involve plenty of blood or vomit, and one recent episode involved a victim covered head to toe in cow feces. Some patients come very close to death. Other patients come to the ER with sex-related complaints (one guy in a recent episode purposely got a camp stove stuck to his...never mind). Some patients also swear, and there are plenty of "Oh, my God's." With this in mind, suit up in some discerning scrubs before watching with your docs-in-training.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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