These patients did not listen to their doctors orders and wound up paying the price.
Mr. Tough Guy Had An Accident With A Chainsaw
“Had a patient come in who had accidentally stuck a chainsaw in his leg the day before.
He managed to cut the fibula, I think, and partially cut the tibia. He put some diesel on it and wrapped it in duck tape and kept working. The next day, he stepped on something and it snapped the rest of the way through. He came in the front door with his leg flopping/bending where it shouldn’t be. And to top it off, he rated his pain at 6/10. Tough old man. We admitted him to the ortho to clean out the diesel and necrotic flesh.”
Hope Six Flags Was Worth It
“I saw this young guy in the ER once who had gotten into a crazy brawl with some guys at a bar. When he woke up the next morning, he started getting some vision changes. He said that it was like a ‘black sheet coming down’ on his left eye. This is a textbook symptom for retinal detachment. Picture an incredibly thin, delicate membrane on the back of the eye, slowly peeling off because of trauma. It’s an emergency in ophthalmology because if it fully detaches, you get permanent vision loss. You basically need to immediately go for surgical repair, and then be extremely careful with that eye for weeks afterward. You even have to keep your head down most of the time for the next couple days to help the re-attachment process take.
So, naturally, this guy went and rode roller coasters all day at the local theme park with his buddies. He first presented to our ER two days later with permanent vision loss in that eye. Six Flags was not worth it, poor guy. It is possible that it would have progressed to complete detachment on its own, but a day at the theme park definitely helped that process along.”
He Figured He Could Do All The Dental Work Himself
“I used to work at a mouth surgeon’s office.
A patient came in needing a tooth pulled and because the root was near the jaw, they needed to remove it under anesthesia.
The patient did NOT want to pay for the anesthesia ($350), so he decided to try and take it out on his own. He used pliers and ended up breaking his jaw. We had to go and fix his jaw and wire his mouth shut.
It all ended up costing him $9,000 instead of $500.”
Her “Sweet Tooth” Is What Got Her Into This Situation In The First Place
“I’m a tech.
This fairly large woman came into our unit with type two diabetes and diabetic ulcers all over her lower legs, toe amputations, and a wound that would not heal. Her husband frequently visited her and just before my shift brought her SIX tubs of the chocolate Pillsbury frosting icing because of her ‘sweet tooth’ and ‘they have insulin at the hospital to match the sugar.’
When I stopped to check on her, she had already finished tub #4 and said to me, ‘But I’m already at the hospital, I might as well’
Yeah, no one ever dies at the hospital.”
The Healing Power Of Crystals
“Nurse here. The condition was not worsened by the patient himself, but his choice of life partner certainly did not help.
The patient was utterly ravaged by advanced cancer. Several doctors told him and his wife that his condition was terminal. The patient seemed to understand when he was lucid. Wife said she understood as well. He was in hospice for comfort. One night, he had trouble breathing (as the dying tend to do), so his wife called 911 against the patient’s wishes. Thus began a three week pointless and painful ordeal that involved life support, dialysis, at least one round of CPR (on a man whose bones were riddled with metastasis) and diarrhea.
Wife was adamant that he would get better through holistic medicine. On top of being in denial, she was dumber than dirt. She filled the intensive care room with all sorts of new age trinkets, like inspirational pictures and rocks. She even refused pain medicine because it would, like, dim his chakras or whatever.
Wife left a crystal geode on the bed. The crystal worked its way underneath patient’s hip. The patient developed a raging bed sore that never closed, was nearly always soaked in feces and was incredibly difficult to dress. On a patient who wanted to die and was in already excruciating pain.
This was years ago. Still, I can honestly say I hate that woman.”
“Then My Vision Went All Wacky…”
“I got an itch in my eye one night and figured my contact had dried out. I went to remove it but the thing was stuck on my eye! So I started pinching, hard, trying to get it off, and then my vision went all wacky and my eye started to really hurt.
Gave up and went to the ER cause I couldn’t see. Turns out my contact had fallen out before the whole process started and I’d been scratching my eyeball. I had to wear an eye patch and put in some very unpleasant drops for a week or two.
Her Self-Prescribing Ways Hindered Everything
“I had a stress fracture in my foot that had to be surgically corrected. I was given a 60 day supply of Vicodin, but my now ex-husband was a recovering drinker who had me convinced that I was going to become horribly addicted if I took them for more than a couple days. He wasn’t looking out for me. He was an abusive piece of crap who happily took each and every one of his Vicodin when he had a procedure done. He also blacked out frequently and beat the complete crap out of me. When I think back to this experience, it illustrates his complete control over my life at the time. So I began taking Aleve because it was stronger than Tylenol and I only had to take one a day.
My foot healed very slowly. A couple months went by instead of the usual six weeks. I had to get a C-T scan, and I was very worried because this small little fracture just wasn’t healing.
My doctor asked what I was doing for pain, and I told him about the Aleve. Turns out, NSAIDs (like Aleve) interfere with bone healing. I cut out the Aleve, and my foot healed a few weeks later. I was in college at the time, and my biology teacher was sweet and regularly asked about how I was doing. We were pretty close the whole semester. When I finally got answers and I told her about how Aleve had been damaging me, she told me she wished I’d have mentioned it to her in passing because she knew that and started talking about osteoclasts and osteoblasts and other biological terminology.”
The Catheter Incident
“Grandpa was admitted for pelvic distention, pyelonephritis, and UTI secondary to urinary retention. Urologist placed a foley catheter in to relieve his bladder and drained three gallons of urine in one sitting.
Grandpa got a good day’s rest and all went well until one night we found him standing butt naked in the middle of his room with his member oozing a pool of blood at his feet and the catheter (with the balloon still inflated) clutched in his fist. He had a very calm, ‘What are you all looking at?’ expression as we reacted in horror.
His nurse quickly called the urologist again and he placed another foley catheter with orders for continuous irrigation and to transfuse a unit of blood. Kept him longer in the hospital than he really needed to be.”
Family Remedy Goes Wrong
“Oncology nurse here. We had a patient with a relatively treatable cancer fail to tell us about an herbal cure that his son bought for $300 a bottle. He was taking it while getting chemotherapy. He wound up basically shutting down his liver and kidneys, was hospitalized for weeks, which delayed treatment. So, yeah, the cancer spread. His system was too weakened to resume treatment. He’s dead and all because of the snake oil cure. Sad that families spend hundreds to thousands of dollars out of desperation, and wind up causing more harm/death. People that promote these ‘cures’ for profit need to be sued.”
Such An Eye Sore
“Contact lens wearers- please do yourself a favor and take out your contacts when you’re told to.
I had a patient who came in and she thought she scratched her eye taking her contact out. When we looked, she had a gigantic ulcer on her eye. Yes, like a canker sore that you get on your mouth, ulcers can be on your eye.
Ulcers, if deep enough, will eventually scar. Depending on where the ulcer develops, will determine if there is any long-term damage done. I would say if the ulcer was about .5 mm to the left, the patient would have lost some of her central vision. She already had five ulcer scars in that eye and eight ulcer scars in the other. This was not her first rodeo.
Turns out, she sleeps in her contacts every night and throws them out about once every three months to save money. A year supply of her monthly contacts was $120. That one office visit alone was about $100 plus about $200 for a tiny bottle of medication to treat the ulcer. Not to mention a copay for her follow up visits.
Of course, she has no backup glasses and obviously can’t wear the contacts with an ulcer, so she also had to pay to get a quick pair of glasses made. About another $400 setback.
Contact lens wear time is not set to make more money for the eye docs, your eye will literally develop a sore to tell you that it needs to breathe. Please help out your eyes!
Parents, especially, really think we want to charge their kids for contacts they don’t need. I’ll never forget this one kid who had a lot of blood vessels growing into his cornea. That usually happens when you overwear contacts.
When we asked how old his contacts were, he told us that he has been wearing the same trial pair that he was given at last year’s exam. His mother said that buying contacts is just a way to make more money and that pair would last. I wanted to punch that mom in her face. Also, I don’t know how on earth that kid did not rip or lose that pair for a whole year. We had a long talk with the mom.”
He Just Took Whatever Was Lying Around
“I had a patient the other day come in totally altered, with a blood pressure of like, 73/45. Turns out he tested his blood pressure at home and seeing that it was elevated, decided to take his blood pressure medications. The thing was, he had never taken these medications before, one being prescribed in 2016 and the other in 2017, by different physicians, who didn’t know about the other prescription.
After we got his pressure up and he started talking sense, he started complaining of a terrible headache. I told him, well yeah you have a headache, you just underpurfused your brain for who knows how long. you should be thankful you don’t have brain damage!
Moral of the story: always tell your physician ALL the medications you are prescribed, whether you take them or not!”
If Only She’d Followed His Advice…
“I’m a geriatrician or, as my six-year-old son likes to say, an old people doctor. Well, one day, a very fit 94-year-old lady walked through my door complaining of episodes of dizziness and lightheadedness. Since she was still living on her own and was relatively independent, our nurse specialist sat down with her to review her life so they could give counsel on what help she would need, which things she could still do independently, and what things she should avoid doing. Surprisingly, she told the nurse that she was still doing all the cleaning in her house, including getting up on a small step ladder to clean her windows. Not surprisingly, we strongly urged her not to get up on ladders anymore given her episodes of dizziness.
Two months later, I learned that she was admitted to the hospital after she fractured her hip when she fell down from the step ladder while cleaning her windows. After that, her condition deteriorated quickly and she died not long after that.”
Her Homeopathic Cures Caused Serious Headaches For Everyone Else
“I am a therapeutic radiographer (use radiation to treat cancers). We tell patients to be careful with what products they use on their skin because it can react with the radiation and give awful side effects.
We had this one patient who was a total hippy, probably would be an anti-vaxxer if we were in America. Anyways, she was having treatment and within a couple weeks, we had noticed her skin getting really burned and breaking. We asked her whether she was using anything on her skin (right at the beginning we told her ONLY to use simple moisturizers and to ask us if she wanted to use anything else). She was like I’M GLAD YOU ASKED! She pulled a pamphlet out from her bag that was about this miracle oil that supposedly treats cancer, she had been slathering it on every day and because of this, the radiation was making her skin literally fall off. We told her to stop using this immediately and that if she wanted to use it she’d have to wait until after treatment. She got all heated and started telling us we were a product of the system and we didn’t want her to actually be cured of cancer by this oil because then we’d be out of a job. She stormed out.
The next day, we saw her handing out these pamphlets to every patient that walked into the department, she was refusing to continue with her radiotherapy claiming that we were only harming her and the oil will cure her. We had to get security to take her out and get her doctor to sit down and talk to her. We then had to take the pamphlets back from our patients and give a big PSA as to why what she was saying was false. We never saw her again. Thankfully she didn’t have a very aggressive tumor; I’d like to think she opted out of the radiotherapy but found other treatments that helped her. Or who knows, maybe the oil worked. Wish we could have been able to help her, though.”
“I Thought You Guys Were Exaggerating!”
Once we treated a patient who had a very severe corneal ulcer in his right eye. We tried everything to treat the ulcer – antibiotics, aciclovir, antifungal eye drops, everything we could. The ulcer would not heal. We asked the patient if he was using any other substance in his eye, such as corticosteroid drops or ophthalmic anesthetics. We explained to him that he could never use these kinds of eye drops for his condition because they could make everything worse. He would always be empathic, saying that he’d never do such a thing. We then scheduled a corneal transplantation, even if it was a risky procedure, but it was the last chance we had.
Then one day, I was talking to him and he seemed very confused about the eye drops and their posology. I asked him to show me all the eye drops he used to explain their posology, one by one. And then he takes a bottle of ophthalmic anesthetics from his bag. I asked him how long he had been using those, he said that since the beginning of the treatment, he started using them to get rid of the pain – which means he’s used those drops for basically eight months, every day, four times a day. I asked him why he did that, even after we warned him not to do so. He said, ‘I thought you guys were exaggerating.’
Because of his crazy anesthetic use, he made a very simple corneal ulcer become a very severe one. His eye ended up having a perforation after that, and a corneal transplantation was performed. After the surgery, he stopped going to our service so who knows what he’s doing to his own eye by now.”
“Some People Are Too Stupid To Be Allowed To Have Children”
“A woman who I was taking care of was experiencing heartburn while in labor, so she was sucking on a Quikeze to get rid of it. However, she was also sucking on the gas and air, which we’d provided for pain relief, at the same and she sucked so hard that she choked on the Quikeze and we had to call a code blue because she couldn’t cough it back up. We eventually sorted her out and she was okay and went back to laboring.
She did literally exactly the same thing ten minutes later. Had to call a code again.
This was one of the times I really wanted to be able to tell a person that they couldn’t take their baby home because they were too stupid to be allowed to have children.”
Your Daily Dose Of “Listen To Your Health Professional”
“I had a patient that came in with cancer to the hospital. She was Middle Eastern (forgive me, I don’t remember exactly where from, I just remember she was wearing a hijab), had a 3-year-old kid, and was in the middle of a divorce. Her cancer was not very advanced, she was recently diagnosed. When my ER doctor asked her what treatment she was getting for cancer, she said she was doing alternative medicine (basically some sort of antioxidant tea and homeopathic medicines).
He looked her in the eye and flat out told her, ‘Alternative medicine is not going to help. You’re going to die if you don’t get surgery, or chemotherapy, or what an oncologist recommends. Look at your 3-year-old and think. He will be left without a mother because you’ll be dead in a few years if you don’t get treated with Western medicine.’ I think no one had told her this flat out in those words because the look of horror in her face and her immediately agreeing to an oncologist consult in the hospital said it all.
I still think there might have been better ways for him to tell her all this but in the end, he might have saved her life by being so forward.”
The Exact Wrong Thing To Eat At The Exact Wrong Time
“I WAS a nurse for 20 years, but this is a story about my husband.
The man has a very high pain tolerance and is always hungry, so one day when I met him for lunch I was worried when he wouldn’t eat and said his lower abdomen hurt. I talked to a doctor friend and husband was sent for an immediate CT scan. Husband was sent home to wait for the results. I, his wife and a nurse for about 15 years at that time, told him not to eat.
So, him being him, he decided he felt better and ate two chili dogs with Fritos. Of course, when the doctor called and told him to get to the hospital NOW because his appendix was about to rupture, husband had to be kept in a holding pattern for 12 hours because he’d eaten a big meal. I may have shouted at husband a little bit that day.”
His Priorities Were Totally Out Of Whack
“When I was on medicine wards in med school, we had a patient with a Zenker’s diverticulum. It’s essentially a weak spot is his esophagus which kinda makes an outpouching where food and liquid get stuck. He can then regurgitate the food and aspirate, leading to pneumonia and other bad stuff. We were the primary team and the surgery team was going to take him back to the OR on Friday.
Thursday night, he left the hospital and no one knew where he went. He came back Monday to the ED and got readmitted. When we asked where he went, he said there was a big food festival that weekend that he didn’t want to miss, so he went. Instead of getting the surgery he needed, he left to go eat fatty and thick fried foods which literally could have killed him.”