No one really enjoys going to the doctor, but we all have to. From simple check ups and routine blood tests, to life altering news and extensive surgery, doctors sometimes behave unprofessionally, and even worse, make a mistake. People in various stages of life share their worst experiences with their licensed professionals that resulted in patient paranoia, and a fear of returning to the doctor.
“I felt really out of it and dizzy. And I didn’t do illegal substances or drink, so I ran to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with Mono. But I told the doctor there was no way because I had mono two years ago, and this isn't that. He said it was and then gave me a prescription to bring down the swelling in my tonsils (that I also didn't have). They then treated me with an antibiotic in my IV, which actually wouldn’t help the mono either (even if I did have it).
Then about a week later, I get a frantic call from the hospital saying that I have to go back to the emergency room as soon as possible. My labs came back and apparently I had meningitis. If they had not mistreated me for the wrong diagnosis, I would have died.”
“I had to have a lumpectomy done about four years ago. The anesthesiologist came in to speak to me about general and how I would be put under for the procedure.
Fast forward to the surgery room: I'm wheeled in, given some medication through my line, and I start to feel kind of loose.
Once my surgeon comes in, the anesthesiologist starts to tell her he's about to start my general. She gives him the look of death followed by 'She's not going under for this.' He looks at her kind of funny, and says 'No, I've told the patient we would do general and I think that's best for this situation.' But the surgeon doesn't agree. Granted, she was the surgeon, but the anesthesiologist should know what he’s doing too, because it is his job. Anyway, as I try to speak up, I'm vetoed, so in goes local.
Mid-surgery, I wake up attempting to speak, lifting my head, and freaking out. In response, the anesthesiologist flips his lid, grabs my line, and administers general. He paced through my recovery room for the next two hours waiting for me to wake up. As soon as I make eye contact and come to, he lets out a huge sigh of relief, and leaves the room.
Never seeing that surgeon again.”
"My mother's doctor wrote a whole batch of prescriptions after a routine checkup, (even though she was feeling fine before then). The next day after taking the meds, she felt sick as a dog. So the doctor told us to give it time, but she could barely get off the couch.
After a week went by, she called the doctor, and he agreed to 'allow' her to cut back on the medications. She still felt lousy and barely left the couch. She spent almost all summer like this, eventually got run down, and then caught a cold which turned into pneumonia. She went to the hospital for it, but somehow they forgot to give her the prescribed thyroid medicine, and she felt better than she had in months. But I told her to stop taking it and the doctor and I got into a heated argument over it- because I think he knew he had royally messed up, so he agreed. But sadly, the damage was already done.
She never really recovered from the pneumonia, and she fell at the hospital and broke her hip. She never left the wheelchair and was dead within a year."
"I went in for my appointment when I was home on break. They ran a full blood test, and told me my blood sugar is 627 and tried to immediately admit me, and start IV with insulin. My diabetic father stops them and points out A) I look fine and B) I had just driven eleven hours home from college the day before, and only stopped for lunch (no bathroom breaks).
I thought they would have at least verified the results before administering anything. I know from my father, and my own understanding that severe side effects of insulin shock include seizures, comas, and yes, death. So, they tested again, and my blood sugar was only 70.
Apparently, they had mixed up my blood with someone else's in the lab and didn't think to double check. And because I am not actually diabetic, insulin might have killed me."
"So this happened way back when I was either 11 or 13. I used to see a doctor (who we will call Dr. S). Now, every time I went to an appointment with Dr. S, she would never listen to me or my mom and would also tell her that I was making up my seizures despite the fact that my neurologist said that they were happening.
What was truly the final straw is when I came in for something that needed antibiotics. It might’ve been strep throat, I can’t remember. Anyway Dr. S, prescribed me some, and we go on our way to the pharmacy. Before we could go inside I looked at my prescription and saw that she had prescribed me amoxicillin when it clearly says in my file that I’m allergic to it. Needless to say my mom was not happy."
"Back in 2008, I was in a car accident, and I didn't think I got injured. However, my hands started swelling. I went to an urgent care clinic nearby with my complaint, and the doctor prescribed a steroid. I started taking that, and the swelling on my hands went down. Unfortunately, three days later, I was in the emergency room going in and out of a coma because I was apparently an undiagnosed type one diabetic. And turns out, that particular steroid is the perfect thing to kill a type one in the most horrible manner possible.
My hands swelled due to the diabetic ketoacidosis stress, that turned my mild psoriasis into a full-blown psoriatic arthritis almost overnight. Since then, I’ve had to take shots and treatments every six weeks, But the swelling still happens periodically."
“A friend of mine went into E.R. one day with abdominal pain but was sent back to her family physician, and then to a specialist. Her abdominal pain was indicative for various diagnoses, so she had some scans and tests done, and I think even a biopsy.
She was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.
Cue tears, meeting up and enjoying life (i.e drinking). Dropped out of school. Has to get ready for chemo.
Then two weeks later, there was a mix up with paperwork. She actually had a benign growth that could be removed safely.”
"I have a genetic blood condition where I need to take blood thinners and have a monthly blood test to make sure that my blood isn't too 'thick' or too 'thin.' I've had this condition, and have been managing it well, for most of my life. But recently, I moved to a new city and had to find a new doctor. When first meeting my new physician, I was thrilled to learn that she had a similar blood condition (most doctors are unfamiliar with it) and thought that she'd be a great person to help me monitor mine, but boy was I wrong.
My excitement and relief quickly turned into a complete nightmare. Every time I went to have my blood checked, something would go wrong. Either they would not call me with the results right away (these tests are basically an instantaneous measure, so waiting a few days for the results isn't a good thing), or I would have no contact with my doctor for weeks at a time. The hospital would, however, ensure the timely arrival of my bill after every visit.
One time I called for my test results and the receptionist told me that the doctor wasn't in, but she had left a note on my results stating my tests were dangerously low (e.g. my blood is ‘thick,’ greatly increasing my risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, etc) and that she suggested I eat a lot of green, leafy vegetables. But here’s my confusion: green vegetables have high amounts of vitamin K, which thickens the blood. Knowing that eating green vegetables would be potentially deadly to me, I asked the receptionist to repeat again what the doctor had written, because I couldn't believe that she had given that advice. The receptionist was extremely rude and said that if I wanted to speak to the doctor, I would have to schedule an appointment. So, a $40 copay later, my doctor walks into the room and says that the receptionist had read the note wrong. My doctor had actually written that I probably ate a lot of green leafy vegetables.
Thankfully, I was quick enough to catch and question the mistake, yet I can't help but think about all of the other people who would have taken the ‘advice’ without questioning it! I stupidly continued going to that doctor because she was in the most convenient location for me. Unfortunately, my nightmares were only beginning.
A few months after the previous incident, I called to get my test results. The receptionist said ‘Your results are negative.’ This confused me because those results are usually numerical, not positive or negative, so I asked her what she was talking about. And apparently, they had given me a PREGNANCY TEST instead of the regular blood test that I had been coming in for (twice a month, for the past six months)! They then billed me for said pregnancy test.
After all of these incidents, and issues with the billing department, I finally found a new doctor. The office is further than the other, but my new doctor hasn't messed anything up or tried to kill me, so that's good."
“One sloppy decimal point placement led to getting ten times the dose of penicillin a 10-year-old should have gotten. And out of all of my wacky adventures, this is still the closest to death I've ever gotten. It nearly killed me. And now, I can never use penicillin again.”
“Years ago, my doctor was this super-cool hipster guy who had all kinds of new age treatments in addition to regular medicine- (the kind of doctor I would never go near now). One time, I went for my annual checkup, and he was on vacation, so I got a substitute doctor. And as part of my physical, he took a hair sample from the back of my scalp for a 'hair analysis.' A couple of weeks later I go for a follow up to hear my test results, and he tells me the hair analysis has revealed some serious problems:
He makes me sit down and then tells me, ‘Your kidneys are shot.’ To confirm the diagnosis, he gives me a large plastic bottle and tells me I have to save all my urine for two weeks. I'm pretty freaked out (young and gullible) so I do this, carrying my pee bottle around whenever I have to go out.
I go back two weeks later and my regular doctor is back. While I'm waiting to see him, I hear the nurses talking in hushed whispers about someone, and I'm almost certain they're gossiping about the substitute doctor. Then, my doctor tells me there's nothing wrong with my kidneys and tells me to flush the bottle contents and throw it out.
Substitute doctor was a scammer, and he scammed my doctor, and all his patients. I changed doctors after that.”
“When I was 8 years old, I had an abscess on my molar due to an infection. The tooth had to be removed, and luckily as I was young, my mum was there the whole time. I had two injections of local anesthesia into the side and another two into the roof of my mouth. But the infection lowered the effects of the anesthetic.
And the dentist continued to try to pull my tooth, claiming I was being dramatic despite my crying and begging him to stop and my mum trying to intervene. I had another ten injections (which did nothing) until he eventually agreed to stop. Never went to that dentist again.”
“In middle school after a trip to San Diego, I had a cross-country race. Shortly after finishing, I went into a horrible coughing fit where I fell to the ground and was wheezing in after my cough really sharply.
This happened every day for a week. I woke up late one night coughing and had a really hard time breathing because of it.
My father took me to urgent care around two in the morning. The tired doctor asked about my symptoms, and I told him it was worse than any coughing illness I've experienced before. But he was convinced I just had a bad cold. He recommended I sleep more and drink more water, and wouldn't listen to my plea that there was no way this was a run-of-the-mill illness. But he wouldn't hear it and sent me home.
I'm the opposite of a hypochondriac, and I really don't want people to think I'm a cry baby or always think I'm sick. And I felt horrible for dragging my dad out so late for just a cold. A week later, the coughing fits didn't stop, and I went to my family care doctor. I had tested positive for pertussis, (also known as whooping cough, which is highly contagious). Then the CDC called my house and told me to not visit senior centers or hospitals. They were really worried that I had already visited an urgent care, and were even more upset at that doctors response.”
"My doctor let me live with six months of pain, puking, peeing blood, and losing 70 pounds because he thought I was overreacting to having stomach ulcers. He told me to just take some pepto and I'd be fine.
Finally, when I was visiting my sister, I had a melt down because of the pain, so she took me to the emergency room. Come to find out, I had gallstones the size of dimes, and they figured it out in ten minutes. I then had surgery the next day."
"I went to the emergency room on Memorial Day due to severe abdominal pain and vomiting. I had an ultrasound, and they found a mass on an ovary. I suspected I might have endometriosis for a while, but previous doctors told me my pain was ‘normal’ and that only surgery could diagnose it, so I shouldn't worry.
I laid in a room for six hours without anyone checking in with me (which is normal on a holiday, but it added to the stress). The doctor discharged me without even talking to me. I went out into the hallway in my stupid paper dress and found her and said, 'This is six centimeters wide, and the technician said it might be an endometrioma, are you sure it's not serious?’
She responded really loudly, ‘There is nothing to indicate this is a problem, and I'm very busy. Go home and talk to your own doctor.' She later balance-billed me for $900 which I had to contest.
A week later I followed up with my OBGYN who looked at the scans and scheduled me for surgery two days later, stating that it couldn't wait because the blood supply to my ovary could be compromised and I needed to have the mass removed for biopsy just to make sure. In the end, I had surgery, which meant I got my definitive diagnosis and I'm now on the right meds. So, I guess I should be grateful overall, even if that E.R. doctor was a nightmare.
I get that my problem wasn't life threatening by any means, and that it was probably small-potatoes to her, but even when something is small, I think it is important to be respectful and show some empathy when talking with a scared patient.”
“I was not able to eat and losing weight at a terrifying rate. And as my doctor was still trying to figure out what was wrong, she ran random blood tests. One was a cortisol test and it came out high. At the time I didn’t know it, but stress and radiation can cause those levels to be high, but regardless, I was sent to an endocrinologist.
The endocrinologist tells me I have brain tumors causing Cushing's. And even though I recently had a CT scan, she explained that the tumors would only show up on an MRI. So, I’m like, ‘Okay, so what are the symptoms of Cushings? Being sick whenever you eat? Weight loss?’ ‘No,’ she says, ‘weight gain, hunger, high blood pressure.’ I'm underweight, haven't eaten in days, and look like death.
I am like, ‘Does it seem odd to you that I can't eat and am wasting away and have none of those symptoms? How do you explain the fact that I can't eat?’
She then says,(as though this isn't an incredibly messed up), ‘You know, after they saved the people from the concentration camps, the Holocaust victims threw up food because their bodies weren't used to it. You're like that.’ What the f-!?(I also happen to be Jewish, which just adds to it).
I left quickly.
After it all, I finally found out that I had Gastroparesis, which is a condition that affects stomach digestion. Not Cushing's.”
"When I was about 16 years old, my whole family got sick with rotavirus, including me. I was throwing up everything I ingested (even small sips of water), and my bowel movements were liquid. In other words, I felt like death. Went to the hospital, doubled over in pain, crying, and my stomach feels like it's bursting. They even gave me a wheelchair, because I could barely walk.
Here comes the doctor. His greeting was, 'No need to be hysterical, princess' in the most mocking tone possible, and instructs me to lay on the examination table. I slowly get up from my wheelchair, slowly sit down on the table and try to lie down. So, this dirt bag put his small fat hands on my chest and forces me lay down quickly.
Oh boy, did my stomach dislike that. I scream in pain. He then proceeds to (what seems like) to stab my abdomen with his hands. Naturally, I protest, screaming, trying to get his hands off me. His response? 'If you don't stop being hysterical, I'm going to send you to a surgeon, let him cut you open and see what's wrong.'
Luckily, the nurses were a godsend and calmed me down. Later that day he diagnosed me with salmonellosis. So much for a pediatrician.”
“I was having pain in my TMJ (jaw joint), so I went to the dentist. He told me nothing was wrong, but to eat soft foods, and it will go away. I asked if it could be my wisdom teeth. He said no. But the pain only got worse over the next two years. So finally, I went to another dentist.
He just looked in my mouth and said I had four impacted wisdom teeth. Long story short, I had to have my four wisdom teeth removed, and got braces. Then had four more teeth removed, as well as my jaw broken and wired together for eight weeks. Pain disappeared.
My old dentist was an idiot.”
"When I was in eighth grade, I had to go to the hemophilia office (I guess it was part of the children’s hospital or something) in Denver.
The doctor was really chill, wrote me a fancy PE note and ordered me a medic alert bracelet. And they had a physical therapist come in and torture me o correct the limp everything had caused.
Then the phlebotomist came in. She was new. She goes in to take my blood for labs and sticks me three times in my right arm trying to get my vein to bleed.
She missed it all three times. So, she tried my other arm. The same thing happened. For those of you who don’t know, someone fishing around in your arm with a needle and not being very gentle about it can be painful.
So, they called in another phlebotomist, who tried the same thing, but my veins had kind of shriveled up because I was cold and freaking out (I hate needles and wanted it to be over with). They ended up having to use a light kit on my arm to find the vein but still couldn’t get it.
At one point, they had every phlebotomist in the office in my room trying to draw my blood. They had me lay down and covered me up with blankets to get me to stop shaking. And finally, this really nice older lady eventually got it while talking about Elvis with me, and then drew somewhere along the lines of sixteen vials of blood for all the tests they wanted to run."
“I had a bacterial infection and had to go to an express clinic to see about some antibiotics. The dumb doctor took one look at the bump (that was so swollen on my leg to the point I could hardly move it) and said it was a flea bite and that my dog must have fleas (which he didn't, because he had just went to the vet the day before). The doctor gave me some cream and told me it would be fine in a day or so.
I ended up having to get it cut open and packed (to absorb drainage). To this day, I am convinced that doctor got his degree off of the back of a cereal box.”