You'd think everybody listens to their doctors because they've spent years studying their profession, right? Wrong. These patients figured the internet and family members knew more than their experienced medical providers.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
Organs Just Grow Back, Right?
“A patient comes in with abdominal pain. ‘I think it’s my gallbladder,’ they say. Looking over their chart, I see their gallbladder was removed 20 years ago, so that is impossible. I mention this, to which they reply, ‘Yeah but it grew back.'”
The Witch Doctor Gave Him The Wrong Piece Of Advice
“Me: ‘Sir, I need to know why you stopped taking your antiretrovirals for your HIV.’
Him: ‘Well I met this witch online that-‘
Me: ‘Wait, did you just said “witch?”‘
Him: ‘Yeah, she sent me a bunch of herbs every month to cure my HIV, and they worked. Last time I checked, I was cured.’
Me: ‘Where and what tests did you do to know you were cured?’
Him: ‘I made an online test that the witch told me to, they were a lot of random questions but in the end, it said that I was free of HIV.’
Me: ‘O…k, we will need to do a blood test to confirm that. Now, can you tell me which herbs were you consuming?’
Him: ‘I don’t know the name, but I have them right here,’ as he points at his backpack.
Me: ‘May I take a look?’
I opened the bag and what I saw was nothing but ground oregano with something that smelled like chlorine… The patient, sadly, died from a severe sepsis a month later with a highly resistant microorganism. Just because a ‘witch’ in a website told him to stop taking his meds…”
Vaccinate Your Kids, Please
“I took care of a child that got chicken pox. The mother was strongly anti-vax, but was yelling at me, ‘How can modern medicine not have a treatment for chicken pox.’ She couldn’t grasp the concept that we do, she just refused it for her child.”
Now, Where Do Babies Come From?
“While I am a doctor, this happened to my wife, who is also a doctor. A female patient came in complaining of infertility. She said she and her partner had been trying to conceive for like five years and had ‘tried everything.’ At one point she let the pronoun slip ‘she and I…’ and my wife said, ‘Wait, let’s back up a minute.’
Turns out the woman had been in a hetero relationship for a few years and never got pregnant despite using no protection. She then entered a same-gender relationship and again never got pregnant even though she really wanted to, leading her to believe she was infertile. When my wife tried to explain that conception requires male reproduction as well as an egg, the patient was incredulous and exclaimed that she ‘didn’t need a man in my life’ and she didn’t like being judged. Perhaps needless to say, the patient was lost to follow-up.”
This “Medical Expert” Got On Their Last Nerves
“I work in a burn ICU — which is a weird little specialty — but the number of patients and visitors that come in knowing ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is annoying as heck.
Mayonnaise, mustard, and butter are not acceptable burn treatments. Leave the condiments in the fridge. I do not appreciate having to scrub three jars of mayo off grandma.
I had an incredibly sick patient with large burns, and ‘ARDS’- a serious respiratory complication that makes it very difficult to oxygenate someone- even with maximum settings on the ventilator and continuous medication to open up the lungs. He was then put on a rotating bed that we bolt patients into, and rotate them face down. He was also on continuous dialysis from sudden kidney failure.
Anyway so the patient was sick as heck and had 10-12 IV bags going at once; just a general mess of a person.
Here comes the family member with ‘medical experience.’ These are the worst. They always end up being a transcriptionist or a nursing assistant at a nursing home or some crap, but they enjoy coming in and trying to run the show.
Some highlights from ‘medical expert’ before I kicked her out of the unit.
‘WHY AREN’T YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO HIS BRAIN WAVES!?’ Yes, she yelled everything. She was pointing to the display on the ventilator, which has everything to do with breathing and nothing to do with the brain.
‘WHY ISNT HE ON PRO-PROPANOL!? IT’S NEGLIGENT TO NOT HAVE HIM ON PRO-PROPANOL.’ She meant Propofol (think Michael Jackson), but he was on other substances and versed because those worked like a charm for him, and Propofol was having some unwanted effects on him earlier.
‘THE DRESSINGS ARE DIRTY YOU NEED TO CHANGE THEM IMMEDIATELY!’ Ok screw right off with this mess. One, it takes at least an hour or so to change a full body dressing while they are in the rotating bed, AND the patient was so sick that if we rotated him from face down, to face up to get the dressings on his front, the fluid shifting in his lungs would likely have killed him. Also, burn dressings get ‘gross’ quickly.
I was super freaking irritated by the time I kicked her out. Never kicked anyone else out since but gosh dang, she was annoying.”
You Can’t Practice Bedside Manners On The Ignorant
“I’m a registered dietician/nutritionist.
I was counseling a patient who was morbidly obese, diabetic and had severe peripheral neuropathy.
He was also a chiropractor who had a hard-on for homeopathic remedies.
I couldn’t get out a full sentence without this guy trying to tell me that ‘a dilution of whatever the heck’ would do the exact same thing.
Finally, I just said, ‘Look, Doctor. You need to cut the sugar and eat something in the vegetable family with every meal. You can drink whatever potions you want on top of that. But 30 years of drinking your distilled water has landed you here, in my office, with a broken pancreas and no feeling in your feet. So let’s give this a serious try unless you want to take a chance with your flower remedies when the heart attack or stroke hits.’
He got highly offended and filed a complaint with our VP of Patient Relations. I was ordered to some bull sensitivity training where I was told that I should have listened to his opinion on care and validated him as being heard. I was also told, by at least three non-clinicians, that since he was a chiropractor I should have given more weight to his opinion since he was a licensed healthcare provider.
I finished the training and promptly began looking for a new job.”
This Mother Couldn’t Believe Her Daughter Was Growing Up
“A mother brought her 14-year old daughter to the ER due to hypogastric pain and spotting. We asked the daughter when was her last period. She said at least 2 months ago. We asked her for her intimate history, thinking this might be an ectopic pregnancy. The mother kept butting in, saying that she hasn’t lost her v-card yet and she has no boyfriend. We left it at that, until her mother went out to go to the bathroom.
The patient admitted that she had fooled around with a classmate of hers. We requested for a pregnancy test and hCG titers… It really looks like ectopic pregnancy. We advised the mother that her daughter needs immediate surgical intervention. She refused to believe us saying that the lab results are unreliable and untrue. She keeps on saying that her daughter hasn’t been deflowered. She stormed out of the ER with her daughter that looked really in pain.”
Apparently Only Harvard And Yale Grads Are Real “Doctors”
“Last week, I had a patient with Hepatitis B and the mother was screaming at me how stupid I was for not being able to prevent that kind of thing. I told her about vaccines and she said, and I quote, ‘Vaccines cause autism you freaking fool. What university did you get your medical degree at?’
I told her I went to the University of Chicago, and here’s her reply: ‘Oh please. They let anyone get into there. Go to a real university like Harvard or Yale, and then you can make a case for Autism-Causing vaccines.’
I called my co-worker over who went to Harvard, and gave the same diagnosis. The mother walked out and is currently compiling a case for a lawsuit.”
This Patient Couldn’t Believe Their Doctor’s Profession Was Real
“I introduced myself to a patient as Doctor ___, your anesthetist. The patient said that I could not be a doctor as anesthetists aren’t doctors. Not long after, another patient asked me if I had to go to university to be an anesthetist and still another asked me if I had to know as much as a pharmacist.
The number of patients I have seen who are acutely unwell because they stopped their medication does my head in. Almost always the reason they stopped the medication is that the condition they were taking it for went away. As a result of the medication. Makes me shake my head.”
She Didn’t Need A Doctor, She Needed A Shower
“A 1-year-old hospitalized with ingestion of an unknown substance. No immediate signs or symptoms. Mother said it is snow from her brother’s stash. Urine comes back positive for smack. Mom got very angry and defensive and told us it is ‘just’ snow and we should stop ‘accusing’ her of having smack. Like, lady why do you think letting your toddler try snow is so much nobler?
Another one I remembered back from my GP days out in the middle of nowhere. A lady came in with itching of the scalp. I looked at her head and she has matted, greasy, extremely dirty hair that actually smelled. I have seen a lot of dirty people, but it was really something else. She wanted medication. I suggested she wash and comb her hair regularly for a few days and see if it would get better. She said, ‘And what if I wash my hair and it DOESN’T get better?’ Well, I am sure you can accumulate the filth again in ten years or something so it is not a permanent loss.”
“Her Last Days Were Spent In Such Torture All Because Her Family Was In Denial”
“I had a patient once with family members who were some of the most frustrating people I’ve ever dealt with. The patient was morbidly obese and had open sores and wounds in all her skin folds. Cleaning her when she was first admitted was like some sort of disgusting clown car. We found a floral pillowcase shoved under one fold and what we think was a smashed bread crust in a fold near her groin.
Anyway, because of her weight, she wasn’t a candidate for surgery and therefore there was nothing our team could do for her. I think about 5 or 6 different meetings were held with her family to discuss her prognosis. Her daughter told the attending physician he didn’t know what he was talking about and that she had been this sick before and pulled through. Her pH was so low it just read as ‘<6.8’ and her blood pressure was a solid 60/25 despite every vasopressor under the sun running at three times the max doses. When the charge nurse pointed out her blood pressure on the monitor, the daughter said, ‘Psh, I’ve seen lower.’
When she finally died, her family was livid that we didn’t save her. We coded her for 20 minutes and they told us we should have continued for ‘at least an hour.’ I felt terrible that her last days were spent in such torture all because her family was in such denial about her condition.”
She Mixed Up Her Human Anatomy With Astrology
“I asked a patient complaining of dizziness if she had ever been diagnosed with ‘vertigo.’ The daughter chimed in and said, ‘No, no, she’s a Libra…’ I then laughed hysterically at her awesome joke. She was dead serious.”
She Couldn’t Believe Her Bad Habits Wound Her Up In The Hospital
“A memorable lady was utterly convinced that her friend got cancer because she quit smoking (not because she was a smoker…duh). This lady had a mild goiter, and her reason for not quitting was that if she quit smoking, the ‘lumps in my neck would turn to cancer.’ Could not be convinced otherwise.
Then I referred her to ENT for her hoarse voice and she was surprised how fast she was seen. I said, ‘Well you’re a smoker, so they were worried you might have throat cancer.’
‘Smoking causes throat cancer?!’ I always needed a strong coffee after her.”
If Only These Dogs Didn’t Have Such Stupid Owners
“First off, plenty of people confuse heartworms and intestinal worms but I’ll give you a hint, heartworms are in the heart and intestinal worms are in the intestines. So occasionally, I’ll get the people who want heartworm treatment because they saw worms in their puppy’s poop, which is totally normal for puppies by the way. So we’ll have that conversation.
Recently I did have the reverse where a woman had a 6-year-old outside dog who’s never been on heartworm prevention. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos and we live in the American south, so the only way to prevent them is round the clock prevention for life, usually a monthly pill. So surprise, surprise dog has heartworms. Lady doesn’t want to pay for treatment, which to be fair can be extremely expensive. However, months later, she called upset that her dog had died even though ‘she did what the doctor told her to do,’ so I checked out the notes from the appointment. The doctor told her the dog needed treatment or at the very least a ‘slow kill’ method of a monthly pill that doesn’t actually work that well but is better than doing nothing. Turns out the woman had been buying homeopathic TAPEWORM medication over the counter because it was cheaper.
The most recent though, was when I had a woman come in just because she hadn’t brought the dog in for a while and also because he started peeing in the house at the age of 8 years. This happens for a number of reasons, but this woman, for god knows what reason, wanted a fecal test to be run. We said we could do one if she wanted, but we’d still need a urinalysis for the urine problem. Then she became belligerent. No matter how many times we explained that a fecal exam is not going to tell us anything about the dog’s urine, she legitimately did not understand why until the doctor looks her straight in the face and said, ‘THE POOP IS FROM THE BEHIND, THE PEE IS FROM THE FRONT, THEY ARE NOT RELATED.’ Then she got it.
The most stupid thing anyone has ever done, though is actually terribly sad. It breaks my heart every time I tell it. This about puppies that didn’t survive, so please don’t read further if you can’t handle it. An adult man came in with his mom one day with puppies that just were not right. They were occasionally vomiting white foam and when they weren’t vomiting, they were crying non-stop and running into walls. We learned through the course of the discussion that the guy had allowed his two 4-year-old labs to breed in his backyard to make some extra money on the puppies, but neither dog had ever been vaccinated and neither had the puppies. They couldn’t pay for any testing, but the vet told them it looked a lot like Distemper, and the puppies most likely would not last a week. He got very upset because the last puppies his dogs had got Parvo, which is at least has a chance of recovery…but ‘the girl at the pet store’ told him bleach could kill parvo, so he made all the puppies drink it. I had to leave the room to vomit and I still cry about it. He didn’t have a disability or anything, but even if he did, his mom was with him and should have known better. That’s honestly the dumbest patient I’ve ever had, it’s just unfortunate that stupidity kills.”
For Someone In The Medical Field, This Lady Had No Idea What She Was Talking About
“A woman with chest cancer came in to see me one day. She was in the medical field too, so I am unsure why she said the things she did…perhaps she was still in denial? I don’t know…
Anyhow, so I was the intern when she came in for a chest tube insertion to drain her pleural effusion (it was obviously suspected to be malignant).
After the procedure, I went home and the resident on-call had to deal with multiple calls from the distraught staff in her ward, for reasons I shall explain below. The next morning I was told by said resident -sporting a haggard appearance and blood-shot eyes from a busy shift – that she was my problem now. With that, the poor man left for home.
I went in to see her and first get accosted by ward staff, who told me she legit refused all pain meds. Right after the procedure. Which entailed a tube scratching against her parietal pleura. Ow.
So I went in and was told, by this woman, who, let me remind you, was employed in the healthcare sector, that the tube has been ‘pushed in far too much’ and is ‘stabbing’ her and that I need to undo the stitch and pull it out a few centimeters. Um no, lady, I’m not authorized to do that.
The X-ray was fine, no intervention was necessary.
I told her she needs to take her meds if she wants the pain to get better, and she said, no joke, that ‘pain meds will further spread cancer’ and that I ‘should know that, being a student of medicine.’ And she further said, ‘Look, no need to tell anybody, you’re a doctor, use your own judgment and pull the tube out.’
Sigh. She was adamant. My professor was going to be late that day, and I obviously wasn’t going to do anything without his permission. I documented her refusal and went on my way. She left by the afternoon, against medical advice.
I feel bad for her, but she wasn’t letting me help, so yeah.”
The Patient DEFINITELY Isn’t Always Right
“When I was a medical student, this middle-aged male patient from a rural area got it in his head that I knew absolutely nothing and he was doing me a service teaching/talking to me. He was in the colorectal clinic for something unrelated and started telling me about the ‘gland’ on the back of his neck that would drain every so often. When he saw that I was unfamiliar with this particular ‘gland,’ he gave me this knowing look, laughed and started instructing me (the dumb little medical student) about this ‘gland.’ Apparently, everybody has this gland for the immune system, but that his would drain when he was ‘stressed.’
No sir, you have a nasty freaking abscess on the back of your neck.
I was hoping that the patient would try to explain this medical wonder to my attending when he came in, but, alas, he didn’t.”
This Is Why You Shouldn’t Take Your Family’s Medical Advice
“A 20-year-old girl and her fiancé find out that she’s pregnant
Me (part way through taking her history): ‘Do you smoke?’
Her: ‘Yeah, about a pack a day.’
Me: ‘You should definitely stop that.’
Her: ‘Well, my sister told me that if I stopped smoking, the baby would go into withdrawal and die.’
This Med Student Became The Teacher For These Dumb Patients
“I’m a med student, but I have had two winners.
When discussing a precancerous skin lesion on a patient, they opted to use their ‘laser ray’ instead of classic treatment. It was a cancer laser ray that was bought online. It also apparently had ‘frequencies for arthritis.’ They insisted that the vibratory frequency can be tuned to destroy cancer cells, just like a trained singer may be able to use her voice to break a crystal glass. The patient did not believe that cancer cells and regular cells would have the same frequency.
Another patient insisted that his cancer had been properly treated at home with baking soda (he gave me a website like phkillscancer.com or something). The patient also had with them a surgery report in which it appears their baking soda consumption resulted in a build-up of abnormal calcium in the wall of the stomach, which had to be removed.”