'Fortnite' video game sends Memphis 8-year-old to emergency room

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis family said their son was rushed to the emergency room because he didn’t put down the video game controller.

The family said the 8-year-old boy was playing "Fortnite" and he didn't stop to use the bathroom.


Doctors said this is becoming more common with young children. Even the World Health Organization named gaming disorder as a new disease last summer.

Doctors say parents should pay close attention to how much time their kids are spending in front of the screen and know when to shut it off.

A WHBQ-TV viewer said her 8-year-old son was rushed to the ER for constipation because of "Fortnite."

The parent said, “My son is stuck on that 'Fortnite' game and was holding himself from the bathroom to continue playing.”

Dr. Mark Corkins, chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Le Bonheur’s Children’s Hospital, said these kinds of incidents are most common for kids between the ages of 5 and 11, especially for those playing on a regular basis.

“We all have that kind of desire to win, and then it becomes so focused on the game that they likely ignore the cues,” Corkins said. “Those kids can develop significant constipation that can lead to things like abdominal pain, and some of them develop problems that they actually leak stool because there’s such a backup and they’re so full.”

Epic Games, the creator of "Fortnite" offers parental controls that include restrictions on playtime.

Corkins said parents should limit screen time for their kids.

He said the younger the child, the less time they should spend in front a screen.

“As a parent, you have to look at this and say 'What’s the balance here? Is my child doing some sort of activity? Are they doing something active?' And most parents have a sense of that, but they need to actually step in and say OK that’s enough.”

WHBQ-TV reached out to Epic Games for comment on this story but they had not gotten a response.

The viewer said their son won’t be playing "Fortnite" any time soon.