Health care professionals are in the business of reviving and healing people. Other than medical knowledge, probably the most important aspect of their line of work is inhabiting a gentle, empathetic personality with patients.
However, based on these stories shared by burned patients on Reddit, it appears that they are some doctors who simply do not give a darn about how you are feeling. In fact, they might have no problem figuratively kicking you while you are already down. These stories, edited for clarity, are firsthand accounts of the most insulting doctors in the field, as told by their patients.
“I Know He Was Trying To Make A Joke, But…”
“My firstborn kid was born early and we had to spend some time in the NICU. The first day, a pediatric geneticist came over to our bed and said that he suspected that she had Trisomy-21 (Down’s Syndrome). He ordered up a full panel to be done.
Two days later, the results come back and it was verified that she didn’t have Down’s. My wife and I, who were terrified of everything at this point, stared at him, and my wife asked, ‘Why did you think she had Down’s Syndrome?’
He looked at her and said, ‘Well, I looked at your husband, and it seemed obvious.’
I know he was trying to make a joke, but Jesus Christ, man.”
“He Asked Me If I Was Lying To Skip School”
“When I was in middle school until the 10th grade, I would get violent nausea anytime I got hungry. It felt like my stomach was on fire, and I would miss a lot of school from feeling like crap, although I was a good student and wasn’t falling behind in any way. After a lot of fighting with my mother who accused me of exaggerating, she agreed to take me to a gastroenterologist to be checked out.
Before agreeing to do an endoscopy, the gastro accused me of exaggerating because I was a teen girl and that’s just apparently what young women do. He suggested I was just making up these symptoms for attention. Then he asked me, point blank, if I was lying about my pain level to skip school and suggested I had a mental health issue I was trying to cover for.
I had freaking GERD and severe acid reflux, as confirmed by the endoscopy he reluctantly agreed to perform on me. Instead of letting it go, the gastro made a point of angrily telling me that I had ‘the stomach of an 80-year-old man’ and must have been intentionally eating in a way to mess up my stomach. I have a family history of stomach problems and GERD. I don’t understand why it was so implausible that my brother could have acid reflux at a young age, but I must be a hysterical liar when I claim to have the same symptoms in my teens.
I’ve undergone extensive tests in the following 10 years since receiving the diagnosis to confirm that nothing else is going on. One element my doctors think could have impacted my gut was that I was on massive doses of antibiotics in my first weeks of life, and then my first year of life from a staph infection, and then appendicitis, and a subsequent rupture that was not caught in a timely manner. That, with my family history of GERD, may have predisposed me at an earlier age. My brother started getting reflux around age 16. I was diagnosed around age 16, and had probably had symptoms since 12. So, not out of line with when it appeared in my family.”
Comments Involving The Patient’s Reason For Visit Only, Please
“I came in for something totally different and she commented on my stretch marks on my hips and around my chest. I was around 17 years old and had gotten them when I hit puberty because I developed so much in a short amount of time.
I explained this to her and she had a whole dialog with herself about her originally thinking it would have been because I used to be fat and, after my explanation, just lamented about how sad it was for me that I would have to live my entire life ‘with a body like that.’
Changed doctors the next day.”
George Costanza Could Relate
“Before surgery on my knee, the nurse was telling me how her daughter and I went to the same high school. It went like this:
NURSE: ‘So, are you from around here?’
ME: ‘Yeah, I went to this high school, but graduated a few years ago.’
NURSE: ‘OH, I live right next to it in that neighborhood!’
ME: ‘You must know Kelly’s family, then?’
NURSE: ‘Yeap! My daughter is a senior and we know everyone in the neighborhood.’
ME: ‘That’s cool.’
Then, she peeked under the gown and ‘snickered’. It was like a quick giggle-laugh. We were just chatting while she was doing the shave, then BAM – at the end, quick-peeked my member and left. It wasn’t like she up-skirted me and laughed. She sought out the peek.
I kept thinking, Do I say something? She knows who I am and her daughter might tell people about my junk if I try to report her or something, so I never did anything or really even told anyone. Can’t be lighting myself up to my friends about the nurse lady who laughed at my unit.
George Costanza covered shrinkage at pools, but didn’t mention a 62-degree hospital room in nothing but a gown, lying down, while nervous about surgery, and the effect that has. It is not a flattering effect.
It was hurtful because of her giggle and it stuck with me because she could have known me by proxy of her daughter or the family I knew in her neighborhood. I am insecure about how others think about me, so the fact she could have told her daughter is why it felt extra and comes up in those lovely anxiety plays my brain likes to put on while I try to sleep. It would have been a bit different if she was some random nurse with no connection to me, a friend’s family, my old school, or her daughter being in my sister’s grade
Most importantly, I am REALLY surprised at how many other guys have had the same thing happen.”
“I Had To Remind Him That I Was Assaulted”
“I saw my local doctor about my mental health, which took a turn for the worse after I was assaulted in the street. He then went into a lecture about how I perceived things, to the point at which I had to remind him that I was assaulted, and for no reason other than because the other guy was bored and showing off to his friend.
The doctor then berated me because I was ‘thinking of [the assault] in a negative way.’
I didn’t realize there was a positive to having a visible wound on my face.
To clarify, the doctor was a general practitioner, not a psychologist, and had a student doctor in the room so, god knows what impression that left on him. The wound healed and the scar is barely visible anymore anyway, so nothing left for chicks to dig.”
“Move Your Toes!”
“I woke up in the hospital and heard a nurse running out saying, ‘He’s awake.’
The doctor came into the room and told me to move my toes. I asked them where I was and what was going on. He just gets more insistent that I move my toes. I asked, again, where I was and what was going on
‘Move your toes,’ he almost yelled at me.
‘I am moving my toes,’ I replied.
Immediately, he said, ‘You will never walk again.’
That’s how I found out I was a paraplegic at 21 years old. I had been in a single car wreck. I had a seatbelt on but went off a small hill next to the interstate after clipping an end of the guardrail. Flipped the car down the hill and seat and seatbelt gave way under the pressure and I went out the driver door window. I was thrown 70-80 feet from the car. My back collapsed around the door sill and dislocated one vertebra next to the one below it. I was a big guy – 6’4″ and 235 at the time – and the force was too much for the seat structure. I found out all these details over the next few weeks while I was in rehab.
I don’t remember the car wreck, but that exchange with the doctor is burned into my brain. It was crazy to wake up like that to strange setting and having a concussion made things surreal to hear those words directed at you. That was 31 years ago.
I’m great now. It’s not what happens to you, but how you respond. I’ve had a great life, a great wife of 25-plus years, and worked in financial services industry in IT for 24 years before retiring a few years ago. I’ve traveled all over and raced cars (amateur) and generally had many adventures. I believe if you want to do something you find a way, except walking that is.”
“Lady, I’m Bleeding To Death. Hyperventilation Is A Symptom”
“So, I was having a miscarriage, right, and I was bleeding an amount that Google says is not OK. I was dizzy as heck, freezing cold, losing feeling in my extremities, waiting in the ER for a doctor to see me, and when one did, I was to be taken to surgery, put under anesthesia, and have my uterus vacuumed because my body was really bad at this. But, before that happened, when I was trying to communicate to a nurse just how badly I needed help, I told her that I could not feel my hands.
‘That’s because you’re hyperventilating. Try to stop that,’ she replied.
Lady, I’m bleeding to death. Hyperventilation is a symptom. Can you please be gentle with the person who has not only lost their child but is trying not to go down with them?”
At Least The Nurses Agreed With Her
“I went in for a pre-op appointment for a gallbladder removal about four days after having my first baby. I was already back to below my pre-baby weight. It was a very hard pregnancy and I was on a nonfat diet because of my gallbladder issues, plus terrible postpartum. He grabbed half an inch of belly fat (literally) and said, ‘I guess you’ll get rid of all this fat soon enough.’ He also told me not to worry about my floppy bellybutton (umbilical hernia) – ‘We’ll make sure to take care of this problem.’
I was in total shock. I went back to visit my daughter in the NICU and relayed the conversation to the nurses and they agreed with me that he was ‘totally sick!’
Doctors – they can be such inconsiderate and unfeeling imbeciles. I’m surprised he didn’t ask me if I wanted to get tightened up down there during surgery to make my husband a very happy man!”
“‘What The Heck Is Wrong With This Doctor?'”
“The suggestion that I had confused a panic attack for a seizure.
To clarify, this was my first grand mal seizure. My father had them prior, and my mother witnessed both him having one and myself having mine. According to her, it was identical. I even hit all the textbook marks of having had an epileptic seizure, from the memory loss to the postictal fatigue.
The emergency room doctor didn’t run any tests or examine my family history of epilepsy. He simply noticed the anxiety disorder in my medical history, assumed that I was just having a panic attack, and wrote it off as my only issue being that I’d hit my head.
Talking to my psychiatrist later about the incident, he confirmed based only on my account (corroborated with mom’s details where I couldn’t fill in) that I had definitely had a seizure, and he sent the orders for further testing himself. He also couldn’t refrain from saying, ‘What the heck is wrong with this doctor?’
I’m glad that at least one of my doctors took my seriously.”
His Therapists Needed To Have Their Heads Looked At
“Three separate therapists – while assessing me following three separate suicide attempts – have accused me of feeling ‘sorry for myself,’ ‘looking for attention,’ and ‘seeking controlled substances.’ And they told me that my suicide attempts were ‘selfish,’ ‘you should be more grateful,’ and, ‘… you really don’t have “problems,” I don’t know what you expect me to do.’
I could go on further. It was a lovely way to spend 15-plus years of my life, and I can definitely understand why people never return to therapy after making attempts. After 20+ years and going through about nine therapists, I’ve finally found one in my thirties that I’m finally making progress with. I wish mental health care, and access to it, wasn’t such an uphill battle. I can barely afford the one I’m seeing now.
It seems ironic and cruel that the very population that needs compassionate, dedicated mental health care has to struggle so hard to obtain it, whether it’s wrangling insurance, geographic distance to providers, not receiving phone calls back, endless wait lists. It’s almost designed to be exactly what people suffering shouldn’t have to deal with: an awful and unnecessary barrier to understanding and healing. C’est la vie.”
This Nurse Made Nurse Ratched Seem Pleasant
“I was about three months pregnant and started spotting. I spent about 10 hours at the hospital – ultrasounds, lots of diagnostic testing. There was nothing they could do. They told me to go home and wait to miscarry.
I was a wreck. It was late, dark and rainy outside, but I didn’t have a way to get home because hubby was at work with our only car. We were very young and poor. The doctor said the nurses had taxi vouchers they could give me to get home.
I went to the nurses station and asked for a taxi voucher. The nurse said, ‘We only give taxi vouchers to women who have living babies.'”
“Until He Admitted His Mistake, He Was A Giant Jerk”
“I had to take my son to the ER when he was 2 because he was having trouble breathing. The ER doc said he most likely had asthma, so she gave us an inhaler. Flash forward three days when we went to have his follow up with his pediatrician:
Dr. Idiot: ‘So, he saw this ER doctor once in his life and you trusted her to make a lifelong determination that your son has asthma? That’s pretty ridiculous.’
Six months later, after three more ER visits with my son being unable to breathe:
Dr. Idiot: ‘It looks like I owe you an apology. It turns out your son quite likely does have asthma.’
I was shocked. He was a crotchety old military doctor, so pretty par for the course actually. It did partially change my opinion of him but, up until he admitted his mistake, he was a giant jerk. I could’ve changed pediatricians within that specific clinic, but there were only a handful, and the rest of them had schedules that we couldn’t accommodate. So, we were stuck there. Luckily, we took a permanent change of station after having only been there eight months.”
“It Would Have Been Less Hurtful If He’d Just Told Me I Was A Hypochondriac”
“My doctor didn’t actually speak. His reaction was worth a thousand words though: he literally rolled his eyes, threw his head back and sighed very loudly.
I had been having a semi-regular pain in my abdomen for years, a terrible cramping pain that would double me over in pain and would last for a day or two and then go away. I’m a man, so it wasn’t menstrual in nature. I had seen a few different doctors about it and none of them could figure it out.
I was seeing a gastroenterologist about another problem and mentioned my pain to him. He did some tests, tried a few things, did an endoscopy and told me he couldn’t find anything wrong. The next time I got the cramping pains, I went back to him and he performed his non-verbal routine mentioned above. It would have been less hurtful if he’d just told me I was a hypochondriac.
I gave up on figuring out the pain. Fast forward a few years and I was having a bout of these cramps. Middle of the night, I got up to go to the bathroom. I puked my guts out and proceeded to pass out on the bathroom floor for a few seconds. I made it back to bed without waking my wife and somehow fell back asleep. In the morning, I got up and needed to puke again. My wife went with me out of concern and I passed out on the toilet. She called 911 and I got whisked away to the hospital.
Turns out that I had a 99% bowel obstruction caused by adhesions that had been slowly developing on my intestines since an appendectomy that I had in 1980. The surgeon told me that it was so bad in a few places that my intestines had been twisted on themselves. He referred to it as a ‘rats’ nest.’ The surgery was in March, 2017, and not only have the cramps not come back once, I haven’t felt this great in decades.”
“The Witch Was Trying To Make Me Flinch”
“I had a gynecologist visit at a very nice hospital in Mumbai. The crabby old witch questioned why should I possibly want STD testing unless I had been with dirty men. She actually asked me, ‘Or is it that there were so many men that now you don’t remember?’
She was like, ‘Well, if you are a good girl [I was 30. I’m a woman, dammit], then it is an unnecessary test, and if you are promiscuous, then what’s the point?’
What the heck?
I told her straight up that my personal life was none of her business, and since I was paying out of pocket, I could request any darn test I wanted. So, she stopped arguing with me and ordered the test. Her head snapped back like no one had ever barked back at her, and said something very bad about me in her dialect to her assistant.
After our little ‘chat,’ we moved to the exam part and she was rough as heck. The witch was trying to make me flinch.”
“He Rushed In And Out Of Appointments And Didn’t Listen”
“Pregnant women have to take lots of blood tests. I was married and knew my husband and trusted him. My doctor told me I had an STD. I said I didn’t and that his test was wrong. I didn’t have any of those symptoms. The doctor ignored me and wrote me a prescription. My husband was in the car during my physical exam. I got in the car crying, because the doctor wouldn’t listen to me and had hinted that Hubby had cheated and given me an STD. I was not concerned about hubby cheating because he’s the most stand up guy ever and he didn’t take kindly to the doctor ignoring me and making me cry.
My irate hubby went back into clinic and demanded the lab test him right then and there. He’s a brick house of a dude so he surely scared the pants off the lab technician. When Hubby called for results (which they aren’t supposed to give out on the phone), they told him. His test was negative.
I went back in for next check up. I was just a body to him, apparently, because he rushed in and didn’t even look up from his chart.
‘And did you finish that course of medication?’ he asked.
I pulled the prescription out of my purse and said, ‘I didn’t even take it.’
He looked up then, annoyed. I told the doc how he rushes in and out of appointments and doesn’t listen. Then, I told him I didn’t have that STD. I told him Hubby was negative and I need to be re-tested.
‘How do you know he doesn’t have it?’ he asked
‘Because he came right in here and took a test the day you told me,’ I replied. ‘He called and got his results.’
‘They aren’t supposed to tell someone over the phone! You mean to tell me your husband punked the lab into giving him his results?!!’
After he processed that info and apologized for how he ignored me, he ordered another blood test. Of course, I was clean and there must have been a mix up somewhere. I found a new doctor and had a healthy baby girl.”
“She’s A Jerk For Shaming Me In A Place I Should Feel Safe”
“I went in for an update for my glasses prescription. The doctor had been our family optometrist for a long time and she was friendly with my mother.
DOCTOR: ‘Are you on any medication?’
ME: ‘No. Well, just birth control’
DOCTOR: [makes disappointed face] ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were like that…’
ME: ‘Uhhhm… Doctor, I’m married now.’
DOCTOR: [looks relieved] ‘Oh, that’s good! Congratulations! When are you having kids?’
ME: ‘Oh, we’re not sure if we want children.’
She moved on with the exam, finally, and, as we were finishing up, she started asking me about religion and if I went to church. I told her no. I don’t belong to a church and I don’t go regularly. She then proceeded to say that she is GRATEFUL my husband and I are not having kids because the child would not be raised in a Christian home. I was speechless. She then told me how she has gotten suspended for preaching to her patients in the past, but she doesn’t care, she’ll keep doing it.
I really wish I would have reported her. Or at least stuck up for myself. I’m a woman and, at the time, I was 25-years-old. So, the heck what if I was on birth control?? Even if I wasn’t married. She’s a freaking jerk for shaming me like that in a place I should feel safe. If only I could go back in time.”
“That Doctor Really Messed Me Up For A Long Time”
“I had gained a lot of weight around my mid section a few years back and my periods stopped. I was scared, young, and thought I was pregnant, but the tests came back negative. I went to a doctor to have myself checked out and she did some basic tests before telling me, ‘There is nothing wrong with you. You’re just fat.’
I already had some body confidence issues, but hearing it from my doctor when I was trying really hard to get in shape, really hurt. I worked hard to lose weight, but my belly wouldn’t shrink. I was starting to feel really sick and went back to the doctor who, again, told me it was that I was just fat. I was crushed.
A year later, I went to the hospital for something unrelated and it was discovered that I had a giant Ovarian Cyst, about the size of a newborn. It was throwing off my hormones, making me gain weight, among many other issues. I have since lost weight and am feeling super confident now, but that doctor really messed me up for a long time.”