We trust doctors to give us sound, medical advice when our bodies tell us that something isn’t right. Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case. Here, outraged people share the worst advice a doctor has ever given them.
When in doubt, always get a second opinion.
1. Ignorance is bliss. Why not try it?
I went in complaining that I had bad diarrhea that was, by my estimates, 90% blood. Their remedy?
“Try to stop pooping for a while.”
My gyno said I had a genital wart and brought in the stuff to burn it off. I said I would get a second opinion. It turns out I had razor burn folks… razor burn. He was going to burn off razor burn.
That would have scarred my lady bits! No clue how he could not tell the difference. My new doc wanted to report him.
3. Close call.
I was given two different pills for gout by a walk-in clinic doctor because my family doctor was out of town. I started to get really, really sick a few days after taking the pills but pushed through it for another couple of days hoping that the horrible swelling/pain in my foot would die down.
I finally got so sick that my mother dragged me to see my family doctor (he had just gotten back to town). He took one look at my prescriptions and flipped out. Apparently I was going through the early stages of organ failure because the two pills I was given should never be taken together.
4. One million times worse.
“You have alcohol intolerance. Try different drinks. Stop using Google.”
I stayed not more than 45 seconds in his office, explained to him I had a really sharp, stabbing pain in my upper back 15 minutes after I drank my first drink from being sober, every single time. The only thing Google was telling me, was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I told him that. He didn’t even got up from his chair to take a look at me.
The story goes, 9 months later, bumps appeared on my neck, yeah, I had the cancer. And it was now stage IV. That was in December 2013, 8 months of chemo later.
5. Thanks for nothing, doc!
“The pain you are feeling in your right foot is normal, no more light duty for you” – US Navy doctor. My achilles ruptured the next week during a PT run (was in the Marine Corps). Thank you sir!
6. Interesting “medical” advice.
I was told by one doctor that the depression I was suffering from at the time was in actuality a spiritual crisis, and my body’s way of telling me I missed having God in my life.
I nearly burst out laughing in his face.
He also chastised my girlfriend at the time for being amoral because we were sexually active. A real class individual that fellow. Needless to say I never saw that particular doctor again.
7. Don Draper? Is that you?
I went to the doctor with a flu, discovered later that it was pneumonia. During the first visit my doctor advised me to smoke cigarettes, because they will kill the bacteria in the throat and thus ending my flu. Just wow
8. That was a little counterproductive.
I go in because I’m diabetic and am having trouble keeping my levels down. No tests, nothing, she tells me she’s taking me off the meds because I can control this with diet and exercise. I have already been trying but she won’t listen.
Six months later I’m in the hospital with sugar levels over 900. The ER doctor does some simple tests and determines I am not type 2 but type1 and my body is no longer producing insulin. I was on ICU for three days. I was on the verge of going into a coma.
9. Just walk it off!
I know you’ve torn a ligament in your leg, it’s ok, you don’t need crutches, just walk home, you’ll be fine.
10. Is that how it works?
When I was 14 my therapist told me that I would end up dying from AIDS because I like guys. I didn’t go back to see her after that.
11. Just go home and Google your treatment.
Went to a doctor about my bad back..
“Here do these stretches I read about in the NY Times.”
Writes NY Times stretching on Rx pad.
12. Pardon me?
As I was getting blood drawn for some tests, “You would have no problem doing heroin with these veins.”
Not really advice but it certainly made me think of some more life options
13. Just singe it off.
For my acne: “Rub 99% alcohol all over your face morning and night. Oh God, no.
14. Simple fix.
“Just take some Gaviscon.” No testing, no referrals to a gastroenterologist, nothing. Found a new doctor. Turns out, I have Crohns disease.
Also, saw a temporary doctor for cystitis and she prescribed some antibiotics as it wasn’t going away on its own. “Are you sure?” said the pharmacist “I think I’ll give her a call and check, these aren’t supposed to be mixed with your immunosuppressants”. The doctor assured them that it would be fine. It was not. I survived though!
15. Follow your gut.
One day in the middle of the night, my wife wakes me and says she’s having really bad pain in her stomach and that she needs to go to the hospital. We go, about by the time we get there, things start dying down – the doctor tells her (with minimal examination, just her describing her symptoms) that she has acid reflux.
The same symptoms keep happening over and over, and she talks to different doctors and is put on antacids and things like that – but it wasn’t happening. The doctors just said that having intense, overwhelming pain (where she had trouble walking/standing) in your stomach a few times a month that was relieved by vomiting was apparently how acid reflux worked. She was told – pretty much insisted – to stop drinking alcohol, and asked if she was sure she wasn’t pregnant. Well, she literally never drinks, and wasn’t pregnant.
I mean, neither of us had it, but I was growing pretty suspicious that it wasn’t it – but her doctors were adamant and wouldn’t do any more checking.
Several months later, where its frequency was increasing from once or twice a month to once or twice a week, she tells me we need to go to the hospital again – so we do. While they’re checking her in, one of the doctors tells me they’ll run a few tests, but they’re pretty sure it’s acid reflux. I’m pretty adamant to him that this is not the case. I’m not sure if my seriousness got them to do more tests – but they eventually realize that… surprise! It’s not acid reflux.
Instead, it’s gall stones that are getting stuck in the duct between her gall bladder and her pancreas, causing her pancreas to swell which is potentially fatal. Fortunately, at this point, they actually do something – but jesus this was infuriating to go through. Watching her experience it, it was clear that this was pretty serious – but as soon as doctors heard acid reflux, they just immediately tuned her out and said “NO ALCOHOL, STOP CONSUMING ANY FAT IN YOUR FOODS!” and that crippling stabbing pains would just go away.
I remember, even she has surgery to get her gall bladder removed – I asked if the doctors thought it would stop the symptoms that caused her to come to the hospital in the first place – and they said no (they did).
16. From zero to one hundred.
Was lectured loudly for about 5 minutes by my GP about drug-seeking when I asked her not to prescribe me opiate painkillers for a moderate shoulder issue I had come in for.
She then told me they needed over $200 in blood tests and to stop by the little blood test center thing in the office on my way out to have the draw done. I mentioned that I just came in because my shoulder pain had lasted too long and become a little more than I thought was normal/acceptable. She left the exam room without saying a word and didn’t come back. So I left and did the same.
17. Words of “wisdom.”
“Visit the Amazon Rainforest. Then you’ll know what life is really about”.
Jeez, I was just coming because my shoulder hurts, not to be weirdly lectured for 45 minutes.
18. Turns out she did need that MRI.
“You don’t need an MRI. You have a torn ACL.”
Two months later, an MRI revealed an aggressive giant-celled bone tumor that had completely destroyed my right knee and half of my femur.
19. The proof is in the pudding.
I was really sick last summer and because of my symptoms my mom called our good friend who was a GI doctor. The GI doctor heard my symptoms and said it was very likely E. Coli. I was really sick in an adult diaper so we went to the ER as per his instructions.
The ER doctor was very very old. I told him my symptoms and what our friend told us to explain why we came in. He started saying, “You couldn’t have that because only the really old and the really young get that!”
I was like, uhhhhhhh……
They gave me tons of fluids and sent me home. Fine whatever.
Turns out 5 other girls came down with the same symptoms in my sorority and one was diagnosed with it.
20. “You’ll get over it”…nice.
After I had my son, I went to my GP and broke down in tears saying that I was having flashbacks from his birth and panic attacks, that I wasn’t coping and I was thinking about suicide. Her response?
“You should feel lucky that you have a healthy baby, some women don’t. You’ll get over it.”
Well, I didn’t, and it took me another year to finally get help. I still suffer with depression and anxiety now, nearly 8 years on, although I am doing much better these days. It took me a lot to go and ask for help and she just confirmed in my head that I was a crappy person.
21. Ice, ice baby.
Maybe not the doctor, but I feel like school nurses in general always had the crappiest solutions. At least my school’s nurse did.
Scrape on your knee? Here’s an ice pack.
Break you thumb? Here’s an ice pack.
Stomach Bug? Here’s an ice pack.
22. Major plot twist.
Doctor to my wife’s mother when my wife was four: “Your daughter has flu. No I’m not referring her to the hospital. Go away and stop bothering me.”
PLOT TWIST: it was Leukemia.
23. Well that’s a little much.
My daughter’s doctor told me at her one year checkup that she was ADHD because she didn’t want to sit still in the exam room for 15 minutes.
We got a different doctor after that.
24. Anyone is at risk.
“Since you’re a lesbian, this is the only pap smear you will ever need.” That’s what my former doctor said to me at age 26 (I have since had a lesbian friend die of cervical cancer, and some others with abnormal paps).
Though it is more rare in lesbians than straight women, we can still get things wrong with our privates. It’s not just the penises that spread HPV.
25. Fruit juice = no sugar? Hmmm…
Not me, but a doctor told my brother that he should drink more fruit juice and eat yogurt to help reduce his blood sugar.
A psychologist told him he should find a horse to ride and stop playing video games.
26. She knew the answer from the beginning.
The worst advice I got was when I was 13.
I have dopa-responsive dystonia (neurological disorder, Parkinsonian-type symptoms that were getting worse and worse, I was nearly wheelchair bound).
All I needed was a little bit of l-dopa everyday and I would be 100% fine. They were already treating my cousin this way with perfect success, but my parents couldn’t get the doctor to prescribe l-dopa.
Instead they gave me Haldol, an anti-psychotic usually given to schizophrenic patients. It took what little dopamine I was producing OUT of my system, and made me so much worse.
It was horrible and, being 13 had no idea what was going on. Then I had withdrawal symptoms when my mom made me stop taking it. Just after that I finally got my dopamine pills and have been fine ever since, but what a traumatic ride.
27. Proved her wrong.
When my ex and I were going through infertility, our insurance changed and there was only one doctor in our area who was covered. We had already experienced a few early miscarriages and had a basic plan of action with our prior doctor.
The new doctor latched on to my PCOS and weight and began blaming me for everything rather than trying to help us. She insisted that all I needed was to lose weight and said I should eat low calorie. Despite my protests that I had tried that in the past and also went to the gym 3-5 days a week, I agreed to try.
In one month, with a combo of low cal, the gym, and some medication for insulin resistance, I lost two pounds. I was thrilled – I had never been able to lose weight in my life, and attributed it to the medication.
But at my next appointment, the doctor rolled her eyes at my progress and called me a liar when I detailed my food and exercise for her.
She eventually made the recommendation that we try IUI, which we were explicitly against due to the high risk of multiples. We weren’t ready for that, and had been told we were good candidates for single transfer IVF. The new doctor refused to even consider it. With more eye rolling, she said, “So you get twins or triplets and your family is done in one go. It’s really not a big deal.”
We did not go see her again.
The joke’s on her – I now do Keto and I’ve lost about 70 lbs. Although I no longer want children, my doctor believes my fertility is now greatly increased if not fully restored. And I don’t exercise regularly or eat low calorie.
28. That escalated quickly.
I went to an A&E for an X-ray and waited 4 hours to be told there was no fracture in my foot and to start walking when I can.
I got a phone call the next day. I had broken my 2nd, 4th and 5th metatarsals.