Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick’s Day Hazards

Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick's Day Hazards

Oh brother, this is going to take things to an entirely new level. St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. It’s bad enough when the holiday falls on a weekday, but with no need to go to work the next morning, this could uncap an entirely new level of partying – and trips to the emergency room.

Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick's Day Hazards

On a typical St. Patrick’s Day, emergency rooms get their fill of injured “Leprechauns” in various stages of dress, sobriety, and green. Alcohol lies at the root of many of the injuries; some of which simply require stitches and others that cause tragic deaths. Anyone who works in an ER is far too familiar with death so there is no need to discuss it here. Instead, we’ll take a more lighthearted approach and talk about the injuries caused by green paint, tight costumes, and green food dye. If you work in the ER you’ve seen it all, but it may be comforting to know that your colleagues across the country are knee-deep in the consequences of Irish antics as well.

Here is a sampling of some of the less severe injuries that ER staff have seen in years past:

Not Green with Envy


Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick's Day Hazards

A group of advertising executives had lunch together before meeting with a client. They drank green beer and then realized it had stained their teeth green. The green dye in the beer had stained the plaque on their teeth. They rushed to the ER to have their teeth whitened before meeting with their important client, however, only part of the green could be removed. It seems it takes weeks to whiten teeth after St. Patrick has wrapped his little green hands on them.

It Wasn’t an Irish Snake

We don’t know what exactly it had to do with St. Patricks Day, but a man in Indiana mistakenly took an extra dose of erectile dysfunction medicine. He then put on a tight leprechaun outfit that he had paid quite a bit of money for. However, as the medicine began to work, the costume got tighter and he couldn’t remove it to free his “snake”. He went to the ER where he was told the choice was clear: save the costume or save his important organ. He agreed and the costume was cut off.

Too Green to Tell


Some people will do anything to be green on St. Patrick’s Day. One man tried to paint his Honda Accord green using an enamel paint. It spilled all over his driveway and he slipped in it, hitting his head and breaking a few bones. The emergency staff said when he arrived at the ER he was so covered in green paint that they couldn’t determine his injuries. After cleaning him up, they discovered he had suffered a concussion and broken bones.

Erin Go Bragh Becomes Erin go to the Dentist

Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick's Day Hazards

There’s a lot of bite to St. Patrick’s Day, at least that’s what the data on emergency dentist visits shows. CNBC reported last year that there is a 65 percent increase in emergency dental visits the day after St. Patrick’s Day because teeth have been knocked out in bar brawls, and people falling flat on their faces. Ten states across the country have a more than 100 percent increase in dental visits the day after the holiday. Delaware is at the top of the list with a 188 percent increase and Vermont is at the bottom list with a minus 35 percent increase. Women won’t be left on the sidelines in Texas where their emergency dental visits are up 35 percent the day after the green holiday.   

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Green Teeth, Green Men & Bar Brawls: St. Patrick's Day Hazards

Before we close, let’s clear up some myths about St. Patrick’s Day, just in case someone asks.

  1. Green is not the color of Ireland. The official color, the Irish Presidential Standard, is known as St. Patrick’s Blue.
  2. St. Patrick was not Irish. He was born in Britain, kidnapped to Ireland as a slave, escaped to Britain, then returned to Ireland to teach Christianity.
  3. St. Patrick did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes are not native to the country. Christianity uses snakes as a metaphor for evil and snakes legend took hold to represent the work of St. Patrick driving paganism out of Ireland.

One thing we know is not a myth is that people drink beer, and lots of it, on St. Patrick’s Day. Sales of Guinness double on that one day, from 5.5 million pints a day globally to 11 million pints.

If you are working in the ER on St. Patrick’s Day, best of luck. Keep your sense of humor. The day will pass because thankfully it’s only 24 hours long.

Deborah Chiaravalloti is an award-winning writer and former hospital executive. Her insider experience helps healthcare clients launch medical procedures, products including artificial intelligence software and knowledge sharing platforms. Deborah writes websites, blogs, opinion pieces, and marketing strategy for elder care, health care consumerism, revenue cycle management (RCM), and the business of healthcare. Her printed pieces have been published and her radio shows syndicated nationally.

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