The Worst Doctors Ever
Doctors may go through rigorous training before they can practice, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. Whether foolish or just plain arrogant, there are some doctors out there who probably shouldn’t have earned their medical licenses in the first place, extensive schooling or not. If you need further proof, these Redditors recounted their worst doctor stories.
1. A Waste Of Time
I went to the doctor’s to get my chest checked. He basically just held and caressed me in a seemingly unprofessional manner, but at the time, I didn’t realize it. Due to my chest causing me a lot of physical pain, I asked him about my options regarding a reduction surgery. His response shocked me. He got visibly angry and told me to never even think about it.
He even went as far as to call them “beautiful and tender”. He was well in his 50s, and I was 18 or 19 at the time. So basically, I paid like 50 dollars for Master Roshi to ignore my health issues and leave me no choice but to find another doctor who actually wanted to help me find a solution.
2. Stop, Look, And Listen
I’m an emergency doctor in the midwestern USA. The patient was transferred from some rural nowhere to our tertiary care facility. We’re a big hospital with every kind of specialist. The transferring physician described a 21-year-old male who had a rapid heart rate and breathing rate, low blood pressure, low oxygen, confusion, and a severe opacification on his chest X-ray on the right side. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.
They gave him a ton of fluids, started antibiotics, and put him on a ventilator, but he wasn’t getting better. So they wanted to send him to us. We said sure, send away. An hour later, the gentleman arrived—he looked young, fit, and not the type to just drop from pneumonia. We rolled him onto our stretcher. What we saw made our jaws dropped to the floor.
We found a huge open wound in his back. The X-ray found his entire right chest full of blood. We put a tube in it, gave him back some blood, and he had to go for surgery to fix the bleeding. Lesson: Actually look at your patient.
3. You Mad, Bro?
I had a patient come in for therapy after his doctor yelled at him for being a hypochondriac. He told the patient that his symptoms were all in his head and accused him of just trying to fish for a disability. His symptoms were pretty obviously neurological, so I referred him for an MRI. To my shock, he had only ever had X-rays done.
Sadly, I had to tell the 19-year-old man that he had multiple sclerosis. With great satisfaction, I got to tell that doctor that he dun goofed and that I would be talking to our mutual chief of clinical services about the incident.
4. Not So Hip
My grandfather-in-law has severe dementia. He lived alone but my mother-in-law and I visited him three times a day to make sure he eats and takes his meds. A few weeks ago, he couldn’t get up in the morning and he said his hip hurt, so we drove him to the hospital. But because of the pandemic, she wasn’t allowed in the ER, leaving him sitting alone there for four hours.
Guess what he told the doctor when he asked him what was wrong? “I don’t know”. Of course, he doesn’t. He has dementia. He just sat there, not knowing what was going on. So the doctor calls my mother-in-law. I still cant’ believe what he said. He told her he was fine and that he could go home. My mother-in-law was skeptical, so she asked him point-blank: “Can he move? Can he go to the toilet alone?”
The doctor simply replied, “Yeah, he’s fine”. He then gave the order to load my grandfather-in-law up, but here’s the thing—two guys had to carry him in a special chair because he couldn’t even manage to walk the short distance into the house. All of this transpired on a Friday, and we proceeded to spend the weekend at his place to look after him.
On Monday we brought him back to the ER and guess what? No, really guess what was wrong with him. He had broken his hip. This man walked around for three days with a broken hip. But, sure. He’s fine.
5. One-Minute Diagnosis
I took my mom to see a neurologist as her primary care physician suspected she had Parkinson’s. After waiting almost an hour, the neurologist came into the room, took a look, told us she had Parkinson’s, then told us to watch some YouTube videos describing what Parkinson’s was before leaving the room. The whole encounter was under a minute.
The worst part is that they still charged insurance…but luckily, my mom is on Medicare, so it didn’t become crippling debt. I did not report the doctor because I just didn’t have the bandwidth.
6. All Pain, No Gain
When I was 13, I was rollerblading and I dislocated my knee. I didn’t have a cell phone, and I was in a secluded residential neighborhood alone at like, 1:30 in the afternoon on a weekday. So, I just laid there for a couple of hours until an adult found me and I called my grandma. Because I’d been laying there so long, by the time I got to the hospital, I was still in a lot of pain, but I had pretty much calmed down.
My knee had popped immediately back into place, so it was not visibly dislocated. They took my blood pressure, and it was normal. Between my lack of tears, my normal BP, and the fact that my knee was only swollen, the doctor refused to do any imaging. He told me nothing was wrong with me, and then lectured me about wasting the ER’s time.
He told me if I had truly suffered that injury, he would be able to see it and that I’d be howling in agony. His mistake will haunt me for life. I kept going to the doctor to have it looked at though because it kept hurting. Every six months for two years, I was still in a lot of pain. The doctor refused to ever do any imaging and just kept telling me there was nothing wrong.
At the year-and-a-half mark, he told me that I was never getting my hands on pain pills and he even went as far recommend that I see a mental health therapist. Turns out, I have a connective tissue disorder that both makes injuries like mine more common, and also causes me to have low blood pressure, meaning that my “normal” BP in the ER was actually an elevated one for me.
I was 15 when I finally got them to see something was wrong, and I was referred to PT. My knee never went back to how it was before the injury, and the PT told me I could have regained all my strength if Id pursued PT right away.
7. The “Pill Seeker”
I went to the doctor’s because I had a UTI. I was in my 20s and I was well aware of what UTIs felt like and when I needed treatment. The doctor gave me a long lecture about pill-seeking and how the overuse of antibiotics creates superbugs. After I left, I got a call from the nurse, not the doctor, who sheepishly told me that my test came back positive for a UTI and that they would send antibiotics to my pharmacy.
8. No Air
Last month, I was about to take a long trip across the Pacific. One hour into the flight, they asked for a doctor. I volunteered myself. I saw this lady literally gasping for air, waving her hands because she couldn’t breathe. I looked through the meds in the first aid kid. I listened to her lungs, only to hear faint wheezing and no air movement at all. I figured she was probably asthmatic.
They later grounded that plane because there were another sixteen hours to go and she was on the verge of being intubated. Later on, I got more of her story from a family member. What they told me was absolutely shocking. Apparently, she hadn’t been able to sleep well for the past two weeks. Her doctor just gave her sleeping meds and told her that that flying was not a problem.
I asked the family why she couldn’t sleep: “Does she wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, i.e., a classic sign of uncontrolled asthma?” They responded, “Yes, how did you know?” I explained to them that sleeping meds were probably among the worst things she could have gotten, and the doctor almost ended her life by saying she could fly.
If only patients knew what the doctors missed or whatnot. Half the time, I really think it’s like going to a bad auto shop and not realizing they’re just making up half of the stuff. The same thing happens in medicine, except people’s lives suffer because of it.
9. Respect Your Elders
My son was about one month old when he started excreting small amounts of blood. It just kept getting worse. The pediatrician ignored us because we were new parents. On our second trip to the pediatrician, I refused to leave. I said, “Something is wrong and we aren’t leaving”. At that moment, his diaper filled with blood. The pediatrician freaked out and sent us straight to emergency.
The doctors there ordered several different bacterial tests. Just before they sent the test upstairs, a very old doctor came in. He asked us a few questions and told the tech to test for one more type of bacteria. That was the one. C-diff. 25% fatality rate when left untreated. Even worse in infants. Thank you, old man doctor. You saved my kid’s life!
10. Red Eye, Red Flag
This lady was referred to me after two weeks of being treated for a red, painful eye. The PA and MDs that saw her tried allergy meds and antibiotics, thinking it was allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis, or hoping it was a mild virus that would resolve on its own. But when I saw her, I took one look and immediately knew that what she had was serious.
It was a herpes simplex infection in her cornea. She was in pain and had been mistreated for two weeks. We got her on antivirals, but only after discussing that it was odd she didn’t have any active herpetic sores, yet had a really bad cough that the ER said was just pneumonia and would go away with antibiotics. I told her to get it checked with a pulmonologist because it didn’t sound like pneumonia and it wasn’t getting better.
I saw her three months later to monitor her corneal appearance and she came in using a wheelchair. Turns out, the pulmonologist was blown away that the ER had dismissed her. She had a really rare small cell lung cancer. The reason the herpes infection manifested in the first place was that her immune system was compromised.
She told me the pulmonologist said I’d saved her life because they caught it early. It’s been a bit over a year. She’s still undergoing treatment, but her spirits are strong and she’s optimistic. So is the pulmonologist.
11. I’m Right, You’re Wrong
I had just finished a scan and I was told to wait thirty minutes to two hours for the results while being in the most excruciating pain in my life. In the meantime, the nurse walked in and went on and on about how it was probably just a UTI and I’d be out in no time. Never mind the fact that the doctor didn’t think it was a UTI at all, but she then got an attitude when I told her it definitely wasn’t a UTI.
Thirty minutes on the dot, the doctor ran into my room. He looked as white as a ghost. He told me I was going into surgery in five minutes. My intestines were twisted at a valve, and I needed that part removed immediately. The nurse came back in to help move me for surgery. At least she apologized to me then.
12. Gotta Be Kitten Me
One day, a stray cat came into the garage and had kittens. I took care of them, and they clawed my arms bloody. Later, I noticed some bumps on my arms, feeling sore and tired, and my armpits were swollen to the point where I couldn’t put my arms down without feeling pain. So, I went to the doctor to get it checked out.
There, I told him that I had Cat Scratch Disease. He asked me to bend down and touch my toes for some reason. Then he told me that I was out of shape even though I was in the best shape of my life at that point. He didn’t check for any other symptoms and just sent me on my way. Thoroughly unsatisfied with his answer, I took matters into my own hands.
I went straight to the ER. But by then, I couldn’t move my arms much and definitely knew I had Cat Scratch. I told the nurse, and she didn’t believe me either. After a lot of huffing and puffing, she finally let me see a doctor. The doctor came and asked me what was wrong. While he looked down at the scratches on my arms, I told him all my symptoms.
He asked how I’d gotten them, and I told him about the kittens. Then he said, “Yeah, you have Cat Scratch Disease”. I laughed and told him about my day. It made him angry since it could be fatal if left untreated.
13. The Judgmental Nurse
A couple of years ago, I had to get blood drawn at a lab. When they called me in, I sat down in the chair and laid my arm out on the table so they could draw the blood. At that point, some old self-harm scars on my arm were still pretty visible (and it’s something I’m very self-conscious about). The phlebotomist gasped when she saw it. Then she made a disturbing remark.
“How ugly! What could have ever made you do that to yourself?” She just stood there, expecting an answer. Her tone was not of genuine concern, but more of disgust. I told her it was private and then asked if she could just start the blood draw. I had to repeat that multiple times before she actually started. While she was doing it, she continued on telling me that I’m “too young to be depressed” and that the scars were “such a horrible thing to do” to myself.
I couldn’t get up and run out the door because there was a needle in my arm. My face was so red and I had tears in my eyes. I became so embarrassed and upset that I couldn’t say anything. I just waited for it to be done, and ran out the door. I found an online feedback form for the company and left a complaint there, plus a voicemail on their customer service phone line.
I got no response, but I just hope someone spoke with that person about it, and that no one with self-harm scars is made to feel as embarrassed and ashamed as I was.
14. What’s Hip With The Kids
My grandmother had her hip replaced, but the hip always hurt her. She waited a year, hoping it would go away, but it never did. She asked multiple doctors and did multiple X-rays, but the doctors said the replaced hip was fine. We finally made her go to a private clinic in my hometown, and the doctor saw that the replaced hip was fine and dandy. Or so we thought.
However, the bone around it was an entirely different story—it looked like it was a tad bit eaten by bacteria. So the new doc did an operation, and there was so much pus in the leg it was insane. If my grandmother waited any longer, her blood would have become infected and she would have lost her life. I cannot think of a more critical time for someone to have gotten a second opinion. Thank goodness she went to the clinic when she did.
15. A Long Stretch
My friend kept complaining about his elbow. He said that it felt like there was a rubber band running up his arm and into his shoulder. Doctors just told him to alternate between hot and cold packs and take some ibuprofen for the pain. But one day, he noticed something poking out of his elbow. When he recognized it, he couldn’t believe it. It was a catheter.
About 18 months before, he had a heart catheterization while getting treated for a serious work injury. Somebody had forgotten about it and left it in there.
16. Stirring Up Drama
A doctor once examined me because I had an irritation “down there”. He sent away samples for tests. While waiting a few days for the results to come back, he told me I had an STD. I had been with my wife for 10 years at that point, so you can imagine what the next few days were like. We both fought over who gave the STD to whom.
Just imagine the strain that put on our marriage with all of the implications and accusations of being unfaithful, deceitful, etc. All the anger, the hurt, the emotional damage, the betrayal…Turns out, I had a bladder infection.
17. Eye Of The Tiger
Eye doctor here. I had a patient who came in several months before their scheduled annual visit, which indicated to me that something could be wrong. But when she arrived, she had no complaints—she just wanted to get an update on her eye health before she got some new glasses. We decided to just run the regular gamut of tests anyway since she was already there.
She was a 50-year-old woman. It was a fairly normal exam. Perfect vision, healthy retinas, but something about her pupils really bothered me before I dilated them. I asked her if she had banged her head or had any trauma to that area recently. She said no. Then she suddenly revealed a disturbing secret she had been concealing.
Se had this crazy history of an old meningioma (a type of tumorous brain growth) that she’d had removed a few years ago. She had decided to omit this from her history with us as she didn’t feel it was important, but we went and put it into the charts anyway. It turned out she got a CT done two weeks prior to her exam with me, which she said turned up completely normal.
I told her she should tell her doctor about her pupils anyway, just to cover our bases. Fast forward a few months: the patient showed up in my office ecstatic to tell me that my examination revealed her tumor had returned with an incredible vengeance. She had no idea as was totally asymptomatic, and the CT scan she had prior to seeing me showed what was very literally the size of a speck of dust which the radiologist dismissed as an “artifact”.
On her return to her doctor, they decided to re-run the CT scan to cover their bases and they found a quarter-sized tumor. Within two weeks, the tumor had gone from the size of a dust particle to the size of a quarter. She was rushed into emergency surgery as the tumor was growing super fast and was close to a blood vessel, which could have caused a massive stroke.
She had it removed that day and returned to me after recovery to tell me. She is now a long-time regular patient I have been seeing for about ten years.
18. Hard To Ignore
“Nope, I can’t feel any lump,” the doctor told me. Still, I was convinced I felt a lump and that the doctor just couldn’t feel it. It ended up taking way longer than acceptable to get an ultrasound, roughly six weeks, and yes, it turned out to be cancer. I’m all good now, but that doctor was all nonsense. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer for men aged 20 to 35, so it annoys me how quickly he just dismissed my issue.
The lump itself felt like a small bead, so it was hardly noticeable. I also didn’t feel any pain, so it might have been more difficult to diagnose, but that doesn’t excuse the doctor’s unprofessionalism. I had to insist that I felt something when visiting the doctor and if I hadn’t, I don’t think I’d have gotten an ultrasound. If you feel something isn’t normal trust yourself.
19. Baby Face
This happened to my wife and I. She was three months pregnant and did an ultrasound. All normal. The baby’s heart rate was 99 and healthy. However, for some reason, the ultrasound tech forgot to measure something and the doc ordered a second ultrasound. The second appointment was about a month later, as my wife wanted to delay.
She hated having to drink so much and not pee in order for the ultrasound to come out clearer. I couldn’t be with her for the second ultrasound; however, she called me tearfully with some gut-wrenching news. She said that the doctor told her she had to lose the baby for her own safety and health. She insisted on calling me to let me know before she did the procedure.
Apparently, the baby’s heart rate hadn’t changed since the first ultrasound a month before, and this was bad enough to put mom at risk in pregnancy. I immediately flew to the hospital. I can’t remember how I got there, but I crossed heavy traffic to the hospital in about ten minutes for what is normally a 20-minute trip.
I parked on the curb, jumped out, and rushed to her room. Thankfully, nothing had happened to her yet. I just camped out there insisting on another ultrasound. I kept telling the doctor that it was a copy-and-paste error. You see, the heart rate from the first ultrasound to the second was exactly the same. I knew…I just knew what had really happened.
I knew that the tech copied and pasted the first report and forgot to update the rate. I screamed my throat raw if anyone would so much as touch my wife. Security was almost called until another doctor came in and ordered another ultrasound to decide the issue. The second ultrasound showed that the heart rate was normal. My son is now 10 years old, and I remember that fear and rage every day that I look at him.
20. Please, I In-Cyst
My wife went to the ER for pain in her pelvic region. The ultrasound showed a mass, probably an ovarian cyst, they said. “It will pop in time. Leave it alone”. She went to her family doctor about a week later and had to have surgery to pull it out. They did a biopsy on the mass. It was ovarian CANCER. She is now cancer-free, but what the heck??
21. Those Jokes Aren’t Funny
I’m a psych nurse and was escorting a resident from a mental institution to the public health department for a vaccine. The doctor asked for his address, and they replied with the name of the mental institution. The doctor then quipped, “Oh, is that where all the dangerous lunatics live?” with a big stupid grin on his face. Oh, but the worst was yet to come.
Bear in mind that this particular patient was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia AND had tried to end someone in the past. I was just like, what the heck, man? “Did he actually say that?” The patient just ignored it. The doctor gave him the vaccine injection in his arm and then said, “I just injected you with poison; what do you think about that?” with another stupid grin on his face.
I thought to myself, “If this patient starts punching the doctor, I’m gonna let him land a few punches before I intervene”. Nothing happened. I got out of there quickly, then later checked in on the patient. He was fine—he thought the doctor was just making stupid jokes which weren’t about him because he wasn’t mentally unwell. I made two complaints about the doctor—one to his boss and one to our chief psychiatrist.
22. Too Little, Too Late
30 years ago, I was pregnant and experiencing intermittent spotting that kept getting worse over time. I tried calling my OBGYN to speak to him sooner than my next appointment, but both times his staff brushed me off. They told me that spotting was normal this early in the pregnancy and I didn’t need to see the doctor. Boy were they wrong.
A friend later told me that if I had mentioned that the blood was dark red, the staff wouldn’t have written me off as an over-anxious first-time mother. Except I hadn’t known that and thought the bleeding should have been alarming enough. Well, two weeks passed, and my boyfriend was starting to think I was overreacting.
But it was getting painful when we became intimate, and the staff was still not listening. Without insurance or the internet, I was panicking. From the research I was able to do, I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. That meant it was already too late to save the fetus. I accepted it and just wanted to avoid dying.
One day, I feel the worst cramps I’ve ever experienced. I was pale and sweating a lot. So, I drove myself to the doctor’s office and practically crawled inside to see him. I was in the ER within 15 minutes. A few hours later, I was in the operating room for emergency surgery for…Surprise! A ruptured ectopic pregnancy.
23. Waiting For Nothing
I had an appointment where the doctor just never showed up. I was in the examination room for about 45 minutes when an MA walked in and asked me what I was doing there. When I said I was waiting for the doctor, she replied, “The doctor already left! We’re closing”. Instead of calling the doctor back, they made me schedule another appointment. I found a new office instead.
24. Going Green
The request for a second opinion came from an intensivist. I work in poison control and on this particular occasion, I had received a call from a very astute young doctor with a middle-aged female patient presenting with a vague 36- to 48-hour history of malaise, confusion, hypoxia from hyperventilation, and hallucinations.
On workup, she was noted to have pulmonary edema, i.e. lung fluid buildup, as well as metabolic acidosis, acute kidney injury, sinus tach, and signs of infection but no temperature. The initial diagnosis was sepsis. This keen-eyed doctor, pretty fresh out of med school, decided to do a salicylate level on this lady because the hyperventilation paired with metabolic acidosis and AKI was enough to suggest aspirin poisoning.
She had these suspicions even though the symptoms could just as easily be explained by sepsis as well. Nevertheless, the level came back high, which prompted her to phone me for a second opinion on how relevant the finding was in terms of the patient’s clinical picture. Simultaneously, the patient’s family investigated the property. That’s when the disturbing truth came out.
The located some pretty startling evidence supporting the doctor’s hypothesis—numerous aspirin blister packs, suggesting she had been dosing herself for chronic pain, which was present in the medical history. Chronic salicylate poisoning is insidious and has been referred to as a “pseudosepsis” in the medical literature, as it often causes similar features.
Comparing a high level in chronic poisoning to the same level in acute poisoning, features are much more severe in chronic poisoning, i.e. pulmonary edema, hypoxia, AKI, etc. Basically, there was a disparity. We recommended certain treatments (all hail sodium bicarbonate), and the patient made a full recovery after a two-week hospital stay.
Whilst there was no question an infectious cause was present and contributory, I was impressed with the doctor’s intuition and willingness to consider other causes. I feel like it greatly improved the patient’s treatment.
25. Small Town Stereotype
During a consultation, the doctor refused to consider surgery as a treatment for my issue on the basis that he has the same condition and he could exercise just fine. He then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t need to pursue physical wellness because I looked okay, “especially compared to the average person” from my town, he added.
I left work and drove an hour to see this doctor, only for him to refuse to help me out and then insult my hometown. I disputed the $300 consultation bill on the premise that there was no service given and they dropped it.
26. We Hear You Loud And Clear
A bit of background. In my field of audiology, there are people who are licensed to diagnose not only hearing issues but balance disorders and other factors impacting listening and understanding. We also have another field that popped up when it was not considered ethical for us to treat those more serious hearing issues (i.e. with hearing aids), but they don’t need the same doctorate-level training.
Those guys are usually just barely out of high school or some college, depending on the jurisdiction. So I had a patient come in with a serious difference between his left and right hearing, and that in itself was considered a red flag because both ears are exposed to the same things over time. There are very few explanations as to why one side would get so bad compared to the other.
The patient could hardly understand words on that bad side, whereas the better ear was pretty good overall. It just had some very minor hearing loss that was perhaps age-related. Immediately upon seeing these test results, the ENT and I agreed to send this patient for an MRI of the head. At that moment, we both knew that something was very clearly off.
The patient confirmed no MRI or medical treatment had been recommended to him in the past. He was only told to wear hearing aids by this lesser-trained hearing aid dealer, who had been working for a popular U.S. chain. The patient had been wearing these hearing aids already for a few years. The MRI results came back. Sadly, he had a massive tumor on the hearing nerve.
The hearing aid dealer is now being investigated for malpractice and a violation of state laws regarding red flags.
27. Zero Manners
The doctor told me that if I wanted to pursue treatment and get a spot in the ward, I’d need to shave all my hair off. It’s worth noting that the treatment had nothing to do with my head. She had no bedside manner at all and she was rude to the other medical professionals. I told the nurse I was having doubts about agreeing to stay in the ward, but she convinced me to give it a try.
The first thing the doctor greeted me with on that first day was, “Hi, remember me? I’m that doctor you hate”. What the heck kind of way is that to talk to someone who is sick and mentally distressed?
28. Shame On You
I had developed diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, as a result of having type 1 diabetes combined with a severe stomach bug. I hadn’t eaten in days and I was having horrible diarrhea. When I was getting treated in the ICU, I had an accident and made a mess in the bed. I wasn’t allowed to get up on my own and no one was answering the call button, but I don’t blame anyone for that—people are actually dying in the ICU and I just needed frequent monitoring for an insulin drip.
The CNA had a new person shadowing her and when I got up, the newbie audibly gagged and acted super grossed out, swearing under her breath while changing the sheets. I get it, poop is gross, but I was already super embarrassed and ashamed. The main CNA told her to leave and apologized to me for her reaction. I just asked that she not come back, which they respected.
29. Feel My Wrath
I noticed an erratic but incredibly shooting pain in my left foot seven years ago. What started as random twinges progressed over the next four years into a constant cattle prod-like pain. I saw a podiatrist who at first told me everything was normal other than some swelling and inflammation. He said to take pain meds.
Over the next three years, I saw neurologists, general physicians, physical therapists, expensive pain management doctors, and countless rheumatologists. Nothing helped. Then it became excruciating. The third year, I developed a stress fracture on my right hip, which meant that I was on crutches for a month. So, I went to a sports medicine doctor.
He didn’t understand how a 26-year-old developed this kind of fracture with normal bone density. After I told him that it was because I couldn’t put weight on my foot and pointed out the lump on my calf, he told me that it was a muscle knot. This was what every single medical professional told me. And I was even in NYC!
These people were the top in their medical fields! I thought that it was a tumor, but everyone I told from friends and doctors rolled their eyes and laughed whenever I suggested it. Finally, one doctor recommended psychiatric help for my hypochondria, so I gave up. I would just have to get used to living with the pain.
I’ve never felt that unsure of myself in my life than when I tried to communicate my concerns to my friends and doctors who ridiculed and judged me. By then, I’d been suffering for four years, and the pain was unreal. I have a high pain tolerance and would sob silently at my desk and suffer sleepless night after night.
I wouldn’t wish the pain on my worst enemy. It was burning, shooting, stabbing, electric jolts that made me literally cry out. Near the end, it happened at 2–5 minute intervals all day and all day night. When no doctor could find a cause, my rheumatologist decided I needed immunosuppressant therapy due to my psoriasis. That was when I finally put my foot down.
Completely fed up, I threw a tiny tantrum in the doctor’s office. I had researched my symptoms and was convinced it was a tumor, so I demanded that I get it imaged before any treatment. Wouldn’t you know it, the ultrasound tech confirmed that I was exactly right. She applauded my self-avocation. The relief was indescribable.
Eventually, a top surgeon removed the tumor, which was an extremely rare hybrid of three different nerve sheath tumors that had grown within my nerve. I will never forget how stupid my doctors made me feel as a female and how quickly they dismissed my pain as hysteria. Be your own advocate!
30. Look Me In The Eye
I had to go to the ER for a severely infected abscessed tooth that made me lose vision in my right eye. They told me it was pink eye, but I explained that the pain happened over a couple of days and I literally felt the infection spread from my tooth, through my nose, and into my eye. They told me that wouldn’t happen. They were wrong.
All they did was just send me home with some eye drops. Three days later, my face was swollen twice the size that it should have been. I went back, and they removed the tooth and put me on a round of antibiotics.
31. Going Out Of My Head
I went to my family doctor with the worst headache of my entire life. She dismissed it, telling me it was a tension headache and that I should just take a Tylenol and lay down in a dark room. Over the course of the next month or so, I saw her a whopping total of 13 times, each time with worsening symptoms. First, it was just dizziness, then vomiting…then eventually, I could no longer see out of my right eye.
Every time I saw her, she told me it was just a tension headache or a “weird migraine”. All she would do was just give me a prescription for painkillers and send me on my way. The final straw was when I was no longer able to walk properly. I would try to take a step, but all I could manage was this weird shuffle. At that point, she finally, albeit still reluctantly, agreed to send me to a neurologist.
The next day, I showed up at his office and was in there for less than a minute. He took one look into my eyes and went white. He immediately called an ambulance. Turns out, I had hydrocephalus. My ventricles were five times the size they were supposed to be, and my brain was literally being squeezed out of my head. Go figure!
32. My Breaking Point
“I honestly don’t know what to do with you,” said my psychologist at a mental health clinic on an airforce base who proceeded to never schedule a follow-up appointment with me again. I was 19 and diagnosed with clinical depression. The dude had a Ph.D. in psychology and he was supposed to know what to do with me. If he couldn’t handle me breaking under the stress of college, then I really wonder what the heck he tells veterans.
33. You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog
On New Year’s Day, our little hound dog would not get out of bed. Her entire back was unresponsive and she would yelp in pain if anyone touched her. We took her to see the emergency veterinarian, which was the only place open for animals to get care during the holidays. We were there for six hours. The place was a madhouse.
Eventually, the doctor checked out our puppy. They took a bunch of X-rays and the doctor told us that there were no breaks, which meant there were likely lesions on our puppy’s spinal cord. Our options were either a very pricey surgery and significant quality of life decrease, or to put her down and save her the pain of it all.
They give us some pain meds for her, and we took her home to think about the options. The next day, we got into our regular vet’s office. The dog was still limping and heavily favoring a leg. Our regular vet inspected her and asked what the other vet said. After hearing the ER vet’s prognosis, our regular vet astonished us.
He advised us never to go back to that clinic. He then informed us that our dog likely banged her knee really hard on the bricks of our porch and was just being a baby about it. Two days later, our doggo was 100% fine.
34. It’s In Your Head
I’m not a doctor, but I’m glad my parents took me in for a second opinion when I was complaining about a bad headache. I left school one day and went to the hospital complaining about a bad headache. The doctor said it was “just a virus,” and that I should just rest and take meds. I went home, laid down, took some Advil, and just carried on with my night.
At around 1 am in the morning, I was screaming on the floor. My parents took me to a different hospital and they ran tests. Eventually, they did a spinal tap and discovered a ton of white blood cells. Turns out, I had bacterial meningitis.
35. Thanks A Lot, Mom
I was 17 when I found a lump in my breast. I was terrified. My mother took me to her gynecologist because she didn’t trust mine, who she’d never met. The doctor examined me and told me I had something called fibrocystic disease. He said hormones make it worse, and since I was on birth control, I asked him if I should stop taking the pill.
He said I shouldn’t be on the pill in the first place and walked out of the room without saying anything else. He didn’t give any explanation of what fibrocystic disease was, nor did he give any further instructions for care. I waited about 20 minutes for someone to come back to tell me to get dressed. Then, fifteen minutes later, a nurse came in, looked at me, and said: “You can get dressed now”.
I said, “I AM dressed”. She looked at me again, then turned around and walked out without a word. I left and never went back. I ended up looking up fibrocystic disease at my college library but I really couldn’t tell how bad it was or what I should do. I ended up going to a different gynecologist. Turns out, I didn’t even have the fibrocystic disease…I just had fibrous breast tissue.
I ended up having that lump removed because it caused so much pain. I haven’t had any lumps or pain since. That first doctor can go screw himself. Oh, and my mother, who is the one who put me on birth control and still said the doctor was right, can also screw herself. Nothing like feeling cared for and supported by your parents and your doctor…
36. Religious Reasoning
My mom had some symptoms and she was sent in for a scan of her brain. It sort of looked like she might have a tumor or some fluid in her skull or something. When giving her the results, the doctor said something that made my blood boil. “Maybe this is God’s way of saying it’s time”. My mom, who was in her 50s at the time, was absolutely livid and she went off on them—”God has nothing to do with this,” she told them.
Turns out, she was fine. Her symptoms were related to something else, and the ambiguous scan results could have been due to machine error or human error.
37. The New Normal
A 22-year-old guy came in to see me after seeing his primary doctor at another hospital. His mom was my patient and asked if I would see him, as I am an internal medicine doctor. He had told his doctor he had a headache. I did the usual full review of symptoms since he was new, and he also informed us that his left family jewel had a lump on it.
We did the exam and he was right. I knew right away that he likely had metastatic testicular cancer. One stat brain scan and an ultrasound later confirmed it. I asked him if he had told the other doctor about the lump, and he said yes. Apparently, the other doctor had just told him it was normal.
38. What A Wonderful World
Psychiatrist here. I was the one who made the misdiagnosis in this case. A 30-year-old man with mild depressive symptoms was in and out of the hospital fairly quickly. He was under pressure from his home life, due to living with four roommates who were making life a bit difficult for him. No life-threatening thoughts, but still not a good situation.
He was cleared of all psychopathologies by me and two other doctors. A few months later, he came back. He had the same symptoms; however, this time he talked about five roommates. It felt wrong, and I dug into his story. What I found out shook me to my core. He lived alone and was severely psychotic. I have no idea how he hid it so well from everyone.
A few more details: the patient talked, dressed, and acted normally on the surface. However, after admitting him for a longer period, we noticed he talked with his “roommates” often. He was single, had no contact with his family, and was somehow working. He had a routine job with little to no personal contact. After a few talks, he also claimed other people’s thoughts were sometimes “thrown at him and sitting on his head,” and he could thus read people’s minds against his will.
The interesting thing about this patient was that his internal world somehow fit in the external world. His roommates sounded like they would be perfectly plausible human beings. They were not “shadow people,” Vikings, 12-feet tall, etc. His only complaint was that they teased him by hiding his stuff, but otherwise, he ate with them, watched TV with them, and so on.
Normally, a person with paranoid schizophrenia (paranoid meaning all types of delusions) will have multiple symptoms, sometimes easy to see even for the untrained eye. The patients can dress, talk, and present themselves in odd ways, usually different from cultural norms. They can have incoherent speech, even make up words and phrases, and even separate themselves from reality.
For example, another patient of mine insisted that I was behind bars while medicating him. FYI, when we quickly “scan” a patient for psychotic symptoms, we basically look for inconsistencies in the patient’s experience of the world. The patients normally know “something is wrong” or “weird” or “different,” but they often believe it is the world around them that has changed.
This is due to a discrepancy between what they experience, a failed assessment of the inputs (due to the thinking disorder), and testing hypotheses based on failed assessments that collide with the real world. This will activate defense mechanisms such as denial, wild explanations, accepting both “realities” at the same time, and so on.
An example might be a patient who says: “I am not sick, therefore my doctor must be a bad guy for saying I am. Bad guys are behind bars, so my doctor must be behind bars. But my doctor is sitting right in front of me at the same time, so he must have an identical twin or this must be an alternate reality”. This is usually the way delusions are made.
To summarize: when we scan for psychosis, we look for inconsistencies between the patient’s subjective experience of thinking, being, and acting and the objective reality accepted by the general cultural norm. This patient managed to live in a subjective psychotic world that just fit so well with the objective reality that he tricked several psychiatrists.
39. Home And Away
The doctors they send overseas for our troops usually suck. Ask anyone. For the past four years, I’ve had abnormal pap results. Each year, they told me it was fine and that it hadn’t grown or become worse. But no one would look further into it. They insisted I didn’t need any other opinions. Since I’ve been busy with life and work the past few years, I decided they were right…because I’m an idiot.
Finally, when I got back home, my new doctor saw the results and became immediately concerned. She asked me if anyone had told me to do a biopsy. I explained what the previous doctors had told me. She shook her head and booked me an appointment with the dysplasia clinic at the first available opportunity. Turns out, I had cancer cells that, while not fully bad, put me at high risk for cervical cancer in the future.
They performed a LEEP procedure and successfully eradicated what could have developed into something much worse. I’m so thankful to my doctor for knowing what was up and taking action. She’s awesome and I’m going to be sad when she no longer works in my area.
40. First Come, First Serve
A man in his mid-thirties walked into my office one day with what looked like a broken blood vessel in the front of his left eye. He went to his family doctor and was simply assumed that he got punched or hit or something. His concerns were dismissed, even though it was noted that he had high blood pressure. A prescription for medicine was written along with a follow-up appointment in a few months.
The gentleman saw me, hoping to get another opinion on the matter. I looked at him and immediately started my line of questioning: “How long has it been there? Do you have a headache? When you plug your ears with your fingers, do you hear a “whooshing” sound?” His responses made my eyes widen—I very quickly determined that he had a cavernous sinus fistula (CCF).
I sent him directly to the ER, with his family of four in tow, and he was on the operating table within an hour of arriving. They saved his eye and possibly his life that day. The best news: He was a kitchen guy at my local diner where I frequently eat, and they still treat me like royalty there when I come to eat. They all remember the time I saved one of theirs.
41. “Standard” Questions
Unprofessional, but funny. I had taken my 92-year-old mother to a re-check appointment with her primary care physician. A new medical assistant was dutifully getting her history by reading off a checklist. When she asked when mom’s last period was, I looked at mom a little nervously: She was VERY old school, very dignified, and would typically never acknowledge to her sons that she had female parts.
I saw a rare twinkle in mom’s eyes as she calmly replied, “Well, I can’t give you an exact number of months, but I’m pretty sure it was sometime in the late 1960s”. The assistant had the good grace to laugh with us, apologize, then read the next question. “Do you think you might be pregnant?”
42. The Lung And Winding Road
This actually happened a few weeks ago. My sister went to urgent care because she had a bad cough and was having trouble breathing. They said it was a virus and they gave her antibiotics. My mom took her to her primary doctor who confirmed it. 10 days later, she still wasn’t better, so my mom took her back and insisted that she get an X-ray.
The doctor said, “I don’t know why you brought her back in. It’s just a cough”. Turns out, her entire right lung was collapsed, which showed up on the X-ray. It had been that way for almost two weeks. The doctor called us and said, “You need to go to the ER right now”. They then began an emergency surgery in the ER. She was admitted to the hospital for a week and they performed another surgery on her two days later.
The doctor put a tube in her through her back to inflate the lung and another to remove excess liquid. For the rest of her time there, she had the tube connected from her back to a big plastic clear briefcase-looking thing that filtered all of the blood and liquid out of her lung. Her second surgery was because her lung wouldn’t inflate back up. The reason? Surprise!
She had a big leak in her lung that they needed to repair. She was kind of hilarious because, while on morphine, she kept dropping F-bombs, like “Where is the [expletive] nurse with my food??” Nevertheless, she doesn’t remember anything from the hospital anymore. She has Down Syndrome, and the cause of the collapsed lung was actually due to an incident at the Special Olympics.
Her team of petite women played against very tall men with tattoos. A man bumped into her and he fell on top of her. We are pretty sure that this is what caused all of the lung troubles. She’s predisposed to these kinds of injuries because of her Down Syndrome, and she’d had open-heart surgery at the age of two for a hole in her heart, so she was already vulnerable in that area of her body.
Anyway, she’s a champ. She’s all better now and is excited because she’s been cleared to go to a special needs prom next Friday.
43. Baby Cooties
When my first daughter was one, my body started aching, I was constantly vomiting, and I had a fever, sore throat, the whole works. Dehydrated, I begged my husband to bring me to urgent care, but I ended up in the ER because it was a Sunday. The symptoms felt similar to strep throat or the flu, so they tested for both.
Oddly enough, both were negative, so they gave me fluids and sent me back home. Two days later, my daughter had spots on the palms of her hands and soles of her feet. The doctor told us that she had Hand Foot and Mouth disease, but the spots meant that the illness stage was over, so there was nothing to do except wait.
While I was there, I told the doctor about what happened in the ER two days before and asked her if I could have had it as well. She told me that it was a children’s disease and I didn’t have it. Another two days later, I found spots all over my hands and feet. At least it felt nice to know that I was right in the end.
44. Right There
My husband had been dealing with what we thought was a cold. But through the week, he was no better, and his cough was sounding worse. Plus, he had a high fever and was exhausted all the time. As an RN, I listened to his lungs and heard something in his right upper lung. So, the next morning, I sent him to urgent care.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go with him since I had work. I expected the doctor to do a chest x-ray, instead, he said that he had a cold that was almost over. He gave the usual plenty of fluids and rest. A prescription for cough medicine later, he went on his way. Two days later, his “cold” was getting worse, not better. I knew what I had to do.
So, I called our doctor for an appointment for the next day. I left a message with the nurse to have a chest x-ray done. I told her that I didn’t care what the doctor said and I heard something in the upper right lobe. I also wanted the doctor to call me after the examination. But the doctor still didn’t hear anything.
He called and told me that he was going to order the x-ray and call again when it was done. My husband went straight to the imaging center for his x-ray. First thing the next morning we learned that the x-ray showed a lesion on his right upper lobe and he needed to see a specialist as soon he could. I made a few calls.
I spoke with the pulmonologist at the hospital where I worked and got him in his office by that afternoon. My husband was admitted to the hospital that evening. Three days, a CT scan, a lung biopsy, IV, and antibiotics later, we finally had a diagnosis. Our doctor never second guesses me when I ask him to do tests now.
45. Holding It In
I was hospitalized after being in a bad car accident. Unfortunately, due to the surgery and general trauma, I had a hard time going #1. I could feel the urge to go, but I just could not get the muscles to relax. On the first day, they were just doing in-and-out catheters whenever I said I had to go. It was uncomfortable, but I managed…that is, until I got to the night nurse.
I told her at around 8:30 pm that I needed help, but when she did a bladder scan, she told me that there was “not enough fluid” for her to do the catheter. At 10:30 pm, I told her again and she was like, “I did the bladder scan, you’re fine”. I finally got her to do the catheter at 4 in the morning and she proceeded to take 1.3 liters out of my bladder.
46. Reluctant Or Just Ignorant?
I went to the doctor with a very painful UTI. The doctor said that if I kept wearing skirts as short as I did in these temperatures, my “lady area” would obviously keep “suffering from a cold”. I needed to go home, change, and wrap a blanket around myself to warm it up. She reluctantly agreed to take a sample, which ended up showing blood and a lot of protein.
She prescribed me some antibiotics after much debate, then gave me the skankiest look as I walked out. I swear I’m not making it up.
47. Something’s Really Wrong
I messed up my hip a few years ago. I went to urgent care and they told me it was a strained lap band. I told this to my sister—an athletic trainer—and she told me to lie on my side with a pillow between my legs because that would help with the pain. Oh my God, she was wrong. It did not stop the pain. In fact, it hurt so badly that every muscle I had was locked up.
My husband had to push me onto my back. I made an appointment Monday morning, and when I came in, I told the doctor what I was going through. She rolled her eyes. “It’s a strained lap band,” she told me. “You’re overthinking this. It will be fine if you rest”. I repeated the bit that my sister told me, and she basically implied my sister was out of her league in dealing with that type of injury.
She said she was just making me paranoid. I fought her on it a bit and she finally agreed to examine me. And let me tell you—I have no idea what she did, but whatever it was, it was not gentle and it hurt so bad that I actually yelled and started crying. Then she had the nerve to look at me and say, “Oh. That’s not your lap band”. Lady.
I was so upset that I actually put in a complaint. Turns out, I’d torn several connective tissues and chipped off a few pieces of the bone. I ended up on medical leave for almost four months. Yet, according to this doctor, I was just being a dramatic hypochondriac. Right.
48. Counting On Mom
I originally went to the doctor’s because I was really tired. The doctor waved it off, but my mom insisted I should get a CBC (complete blood count). They found that my platelets were extremely low, which resulted in them running additional tests to find that I actually had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. To this day, I have no idea why my mom made me go back to get a CBC, but I’m grateful she did.
49. A Major Screwup
I have a story about a friend who was severely mismanaged. My friend has been going to her doctor complaining about migraines, severe vomiting, and dizzy spells for the past two years. Every time she went, the doctor would order blood work, then tell her she was fine. But then one morning, she woke up and she could barely stand.
She was extremely dizzy and had a bad migraine. She told her husband to go to work and not worry, as their neighbor offered to drive her to the emergency room. She didn’t remember arriving. When she got there, she started acting erratically. They had to sedate her and once she was calm, they sent her for a CT scan of her head. That’s when they made a startling discovery—there was a huge mass in her brain.
The hospital wasn’t equipped to deal with that, so they sent her by ambulance to the nearest hospital that they could find, a four-hour drive away. This hospital immediately sent her for an MRI. It wasn’t a mass. They could actually see the “mass” growing as they did the MRI. No, she was having a massive stroke…she was in immediate need of surgery.
They put in a stent and had to remove most of the left side of her brain, as it was all severely damaged. Afterward, she was in a coma for nearly 72 hours. They were uncertain if she would ever wake up, and if she did, if she would ever recover. Thankfully, she did. It took almost a year of physio, and speech therapy, among a few other things, but she has made almost a complete recovery.
The couple even had their first child eight months ago. Turns out that she’d had incredibly high cholesterol. With all the blood work that was done, her GP should have caught it. When she confronted him, he told her that her diagnosis was wrong; that she hadn’t had a stroke and had made it up. She went after his license.
50. The Quack Doctor
My mom never went full anti-vax, but she was very into holistic-type medicine and other nonsense. When I was in the fifth grade, I needed a vaccine for school so she sent me to some holistic place. The alleged doctor seemed like she was very nervous from the start of the appointment. She stuck the needle in my arm, and let out a quiet “Uh oh”.
Then she collapsed to one knee on the ground. The needle was still stuck in my arm, gently bouncing up and down. The “doctor” stood back up and apologized for almost passing out. She said she had never been given a vaccination before. I was kind of surprised I was still alive at that point, and I was curious about what was actually injected into my arm.
I Googled the doctor later and she did have “MD” listed next to her name on her website, but now I’m suspicious that stood for “mock doctor” or something.
51. I’m NOT Crying Wolf
I had a period that lasted 20 days after a miscarriage. It wasn’t slowing down. I went to the doctor on the ninth day. He told me I wasn’t having a miscarriage. He was also standing in the hallway next to the waiting room and he yelled it at the top of his lungs before walking away. I went to another doctor on the 18th day. He told me to calm down and it would just magically stop. I was calm.
On the 20th day, I went to yet another doctor. This time, I was given medication to clot my blood. The period stopped on the 22nd day. I thought that would be the end of it, but it got worse. A month later, I had excruciating pain in my left ovary; so much pain that I’d puke and pain killers didn’t do anything. I went to the hospital 12 hours after the pain started.
The doctor there didn’t run any tests or ask me any questions. He never even conducted an examination. Then, he went on a rant about how women are hysterical and run to the emergency room for anything. Apparently, passing huge blood clots does not constitute an emergency.
52. Brushing It Off
I was given a condescending lecture on how I shouldn’t have come in if I just had a cold by both a doctor at a walk-in clinic and my general practitioner in a follow-up appointment the following week. I ended up getting rushed into resuscitation a few weeks later with a punctured lung that caused a one-way valve in my lung where air could escape into my chest cavity.
Because it was brushed off and not properly investigated, it caused a life-threatening condition called tension pneumothorax where the pressure that had built up over time on one side of my chest caused my lung to collapse completely and started crushing my heart. It also compressed the arteries, veins, and esophagus in my neck. Pretty serious stuff.
When they put a chest drain into my chest cavity, it literally sounded like it was deflating like a car tire puncture.
53. That’s Just Creepy
I apparently had to have my shirt and bra off in order for the doctor to conduct a proper exam. The doctor always gave me creepy vibes—for reference, he is in his early 50s and he has a wife. Anyway, one time, he told me that I needed to take off my shirt and bra, but he didn’t leave the room. Instead, my worst nightmare happened.
He stood there and watched me. I actually had to ask him to turn around if he wasn’t going to leave the room. Once my clothes were off and I was ready to be examined, he then proceeded to look only at my chest while talking and examining me. He also very subtly tried to feel them up in a very creepy way. I wanted to just get up and leave, but I was young and I didn’t know any better, so I stayed.
After the exam, he was writing things down and he told me he loved the way my chest looked. That was already bad enough, but then he took it too far—he also told me that if he wasn’t a married man, he would happily get intimate with me (he actually said it in a much more offensive way, but I feel uncomfortable sharing his exact words).
He also proceeded to complain about his wife, saying he liked how my “youthful” chest looked so much more than how hers did. Needless to say, I was out of there before the situation escalated and before could even hear a diagnosis. It seemed like he did more talking than actual diagnosing. Now, I go to a new, much younger female doctor, who I feel much more comfortable around.
I didn’t even tell my parents about the experience because I didn’t know if I was overreacting.
I took my son to the ER late one night because he was coughing and had a high fever. They took an X-ray, gave him ibuprofen, and told us he was fine. The doctor showed me the X-rays to prove it and gave me a dirty look when I asked what the dark spots were. I told her she was an idiot and took him to an urgent care facility four hours later.
The doctor who saw him was taken aback when immediately diagnosed him with pneumonia and confirmed it with X-rays. I flat out refused to pay for the ER visit and told them that if they persisted in trying to collect, I would press charges against their incompetence. They never called me again. I would like to thank all the fine medical professionals out there who actually do care about their patients.
55. Bathroom Break
I noticed blood in my urine and went to a family doctor. He said it was just a normal issue and that it would go away. Skeptical, I went to a urologist for a second opinion. After a bunch of tests, the most peculiar discovery was made—they found scar tissue built up in my urethra and that was causing inflammation. If left untreated, it would have caused the urinary tract to close.
So they removed the scar tissue and I cried while peeing for weeks after, even while on pain medication, until it finally healed. But at least I could still pee, and that was thanks to the second opinion.
56. Seeing Double
I had a doctor in high school who was unconcerned when I suddenly developed vertical double vision. It was freaking out everyone in the emergency department. I also suddenly lost about 60 pounds for no reason. Then, a year or two later, I told him that my arm would fall asleep much faster than normal when I raised it to ask a question in class. Only then did he start to think that there might be something wrong with me.
An MRI was ordered. They found a huge brain tumor in my skull.
57. Never Too Young
In the 80s when my mom was in her 30s, she couldn’t convince several doctors that she had breast cancer. She knew it wasn’t just a lump or normal pain. Every doctor’s response was that was “too young,” and did nothing. Then finally, she got one doctor to refer her to a specialist just to stop her from talking about it.
The specialist proved her right, which meant a possible mastectomy. Luckily, they were able to remove enough of the lump without having to go too deep. But my mom wasn’t about to let those other doctors get away with what they had done. She went to the first doctor she consulted and gave him an earful.
She said that if in the future, he was accused of malpractice, she’d make a statement against him. It wasn’t an empty threat either; she worked in the medical industry too, which is why she was so persistent. Then she told him to never tell another woman she was too young for breast cancer again.
58. At Least She Cares
I wasn’t feeling particularly well, so I went in to have my blood tested. The doctor was very professional, almost detached. “ Yeah, you look a little pale, is your heart rate normally this high? Well, we will look at the lab results and figure out what is going on”. He came back 10 minutes later, out of breath and in a panic. “Did you drive here?”
Yeah. “Well, you’re not driving out of here. If you can’t get a ride to a hospital (I was at a clinic) in 20 minutes, I’m sending you to one in an ambulance. Your hemoglobin is 6.2. You could have cancer!” Needless to say, I don’t remember much after hearing that. I do remember being really scared and shedding a tear in the parking lot waiting for my mom.
After getting a blood transfusion and about every test you can think of (in all the orifices), they found out I have a kind of anemia where I just have to take a B12 shot once a month. Much better than cancer. She is still my primary care doctor, despite her lack of calm at that moment, which some may see as unprofessional. I think she was just really concerned about me—she is amazing and she seems to care about my health more than any other doctor I have ever seen.
59. Seize And Desist
I suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury in October. The week after I got home from the hospital, I wasn’t acting like myself. I was refusing to eat and it just didn’t make much sense. My mom called the doctor a few times. They said it was normal, but suggested I come in if anything changed. She took me in a week later because I started slurring my speech and was unsteady on my feet—What they found was astonishing.
The injury caused my sodium levels to drop from normal to only 119. This, in turn, caused stroke-like symptoms, which were, in reality, a series of small seizures.
60. All In My Head
When I was 21, I dislocated my shoulder and it continued to hurt for weeks. I went to a specialist and he suggested that—get this—the pain was all in my head! After an MRI, he realized I had a SLAP tear in my shoulder, so I said, looks like it’s not all in my head. He looked at me with such contempt. I never went back to that incompetent jerk.
61. Third Time’s A Charm
I moved to a different country and soon after, my anxiety and depression started to feel unmanageable despite being happy. I moved to be with my now-husband, but adjusting to a new country and culture just seemed to be much more difficult than I thought. I started looking for a primary care doctor and made an appointment with one I found on Google.
As I started to explain what was going on, I ended up in tears. He seemed irritated and told me I should go out, get some sunlight, and exercise more. I was 5’9″ and was 130 lbs at the time. Later on, I broke down in front of my gynecologist, who decided to do blood work. She discovered I had a thyroid issue (which can cause anxiety). Over time, my thyroid got better, but things still felt off.
Four years and several doctors later, I was starting to self-medicate with alcohol and I took one last stab at getting some support. My new doctor assured me it was important that I take my mental health seriously. I was therefore referred to a therapist, who then referred me to a psychologist based on what I was sharing about my daily struggles.
It turns out I have been living with inattentive ADHD. I just started medication a week ago.
62. Bloody Mess
I had started taking new medication and started feeling symptoms of anemia. When I went to see my doctor, I asked her if my medication was to blame. She said no and that it was probably because I donated blood regularly. That confused me since I’d been donating since I was 18 and was almost 40 and never felt like this.
I kept bringing it up, and she kept insisting that it wasn’t the drugs. Finally, I asked about the side effects of each medication. We went down the list and got to one that she said could cause a change in my blood, which caused low iron, which caused low hemoglobin levels…a symptom of anemia.
63. Coming Of Age
I was expecting my period a couple of days before my 18th birthday when suddenly my stomach hurt more than it had ever before. I thought it was just bad cramps, but my mom panicked thinking it was my appendix and took me to the doctor. The ER dismissed me and said I was just faking it. But it didn’t stop the day after.
I went to the doctor again who gave me some strong pain medication to stop me from passing out from the pain. They sent me away again, but my mom brought me back to the ER even though I couldn’t feel a thing anymore. She’d insisted that they do an ultrasound until they relented. They said that everything looked normal. But my gut feeling had other ideas.
The doctor condescendingly told me that I should know already that cramps can be really painful. But I was admitted to the hospital anyway to monitor me. When the painkillers wore off the next day, I couldn’t walk, and all of my symptoms pointed to appendicitis. So, they finally opened me up to find out. It’d ruptured.
I had been suffering for three days before it burst because in the ultrasound, other organs covered it making it hard to see. The doctor waited for me to wake up to apologize, but I only realized how dire the situation was later. It was when I checked all my discharge papers. They told me that the three-day delay caused the rupture.
This was after my mom had already pointed out that it was my appendix in the beginning. And that’s how I got to spend my 18th birthday – in the children’s ward with cartoon characters on the wall and dry bread for dinner.
64. Passing The Buck
I’m a surgeon. Most patients come to me after having seen another physician who gave them a sketchy diagnosis. For example, I’ve been called to see more than one patient for appendicitis…even though those patients have already had appendectomies. I’ve also had cases of patients who never knew they had cancer, all because they trusted their doctor’s word that the small bump they felt was “nothing to worry about”.
It is always too far advanced for me to be of help, so I have to wonder….am I being called so I can be the bad guy and explain everything? Yes. The answer is yes.
65. Hurts When I Do This
I suffered from joint pain my whole life and assumed it was just a part of life. My hypotension always got me a, “with that blood pressure, you’ll live forever!” comment. Except it reminded me I couldn’t stand up for more than a few minutes at a time. I thought I was just a hypochondriac until one day I was kneeling.
I said out loud, “Right, I shouldn’t kneel like that. I might dislocate my knee again,” in front of someone. They asked me if I had the same genetic connective tissue disorder as they did. It seemed possible, and after some research, I needed an official diagnosis. But the lengths I had to go to? Ridiculous.
I went out of state because no one would treat me. Even with the evidence, the doctors weren’t willing to confirm my suspicion officially. I’m almost 35, and my quality of life was that of a geriatric. If it had been caught sooner, I could have done more to improve it. So now, I want to go back to every doctor who brushed me off and tell them to actually pay attention!
66. Take A Crack At It
I got into a car accident and I didn’t have insurance. My neck and shoulders slowly began to have audible cracking sounds with every movement. I got a job with benefits a few months later and while at the doctor’s, I was told: “Skinny people just crack more”. I looked my doctor in the eye and said, “I’ve been skinny my whole life, what the heck are you talking about”.
After that nonsense, I went to another doctor and found out I had microfractures on my spine, along with a snapping scapula and nerve damage. I’m pretty sure that first ortho was so used to dealing with old people that when he saw me, he thought I could just work out and make it better, unlike the old people he is used to dealing with.
Still, that guy didn’t even want to take any scans. I still have cracking issues two years later.
67. Too Far Gone
I have a very common birth defect called pectus excavatum that has been causing me issues since I was about 16. My sternum does not lay flat, it curves inwards, and puts pressure on my lungs, making it very difficult for me to do most cardio. Rescue inhalers also do not help because I don’t have asthma. I had a primary care physician, a nurse practitioner, and a geneticist tell me that I had a mild deformity in my chest wall.
I said okay every time. Then, I went to the ER for an unrelated issue and the MRI technician gave me a Haller index, which is a means of measuring the level of chest wall deformity. IIRC 0-2.5 is normal, 2.5-3.2 is mild, 3.2-3.8 is moderate and 3.9+ is severe. But my score was unbelievable. I have a 4.2. How do you mess up that bad?
68. Crossing The Line
I went to a new eye doctor in my early twenties. It looked like he dealt with a lot of elderly patients. Anyway, he wanted to give me a glaucoma test. Being young and very sensitive about my eyes, I refused, to which the doctor said, “Yes! OK, great, that’s fine”. Then he kissed me on the top of my head. I was incredibly uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do.
Part of me wanted to get up and say, “Screw you,” and go somewhere else for glasses. The other part of me was like, “The exam’s almost done, just cope with it until the end”. I ended up finishing the exam. I regret not telling him to screw off. I never went back though.
69. Don’t Mess With Mother
When my dad was first diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, he was having trouble going to the bathroom. He called his urologist’s office and explained that he couldn’t go. Then, with a look of absolute disbelief, he turned to my mom and said, “The doctor’s laughing at me”. My mom’s always been the more even-tempered one out of the two of them.
She said when my dad first started his doctor’s appointments, she was going to be patient and keep her temper in check. She’s always had a pretty good disposition, but when she does get mad, you better pray it’s not directed towards you. She snatched the phone from my dad and asked the doctor what the heck was wrong with him, laughing at a stage 4 cancer patient.
Had he no shame? What kind of doctor was he? What kind of doctor would laugh at a stage 4 cancer patient? She hung up the phone in utter anger. The doctor immediately called back and apologized. My mom, however, wasn’t going to take that apology. Nope. She verbally eviscerated the doctor again.
70. You Don’t Know How It Feels
“You shouldn’t be in pain. Just do more sports or something”. I have scoliosis and the pain I endure is horrible. I’ve tried to build muscle, but the pain just builds up daily. My curvature isn’t that much… it’s about 42 degrees and an S-shape (so there are three curves in my spine), and because I’m not visibility crooked or curvy, everyone just assumes I am normal and that I shouldn’t be in pain.
When my doctor said that, I wanted to just break down right there in front of her. It would have been better for her to tell me that the pain would never go away, rather than invalidate the pain I endure every day.
71. A Simple Fix
I had a headache for three months straight. Vertigo, nausea, fainting, the works. It took forever for them to find the problem. I told every doctor I saw that I have a hole in my eardrum and that I thought it was related to my symptoms. They all dismissed it. My MRI then showed all the bones in the side of my skull were infected, so we did a CT scan of my inner ear and found a cyst.
I went to the ear, nose, and throat doctor who told me that after three months of pain and finding nothing else wrong, the cyst would not cause a headache like this and only the right side of my head would hurt. I found a new ENT and had the cyst removed. What do you know, the headache went away.
72. Toughing It Out
I had a UTI for almost a year. Doctor after doctor, even female ones, ignored that something was even wrong with me. I was simply told what I was going through was “normal”. I even had one nurse even tell me that she had the same condition and she just let it pass, and then basically insinuated I was cheating on my husband. I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time.
She insisted it would just go away. I had to look up my symptoms on the internet to even figure out I had a medical issue because I was getting no diagnoses from any doctor. The pain was so bad that some days I’d wake up crying, and on several days I had to wear pads because I was wetting myself. It wasn’t until almost a year later that the answer came to me.
A doctor I sat with was finally like, oh, take these supplements and this cream. I did exactly what he told me to do and it went away in a couple of weeks. Luckily, nothing was wrong with my kidneys, but since then, I started to realize how often doctors dismiss women’s pain. It makes me not want to go to the doctor even when there are things wrong with me because I figure toughing it out is better than going in and being gaslit by people who call themselves medical professionals.
73. Your Incompetence Is Showing
“So what do you want me to do about it?” the doctor said when I told him about the right side of my body suddenly going completely numb. Turns out that two of my cervical vertebral discs had completely dried out and bone spurs on my vertebrae were crushing nerve roots in my neck. I needed surgery to replace the discs and grind down the spurs.
How the heck was I supposed to diagnose that myself?
74. I Was Just Following Instructions
When I went to law school, I was going to live on campus, so I had to take an exam to ensure I had my immunizations and all was good. A very young nurse walked in, I handed her the form, and we started the exam: height, weight, blood pressure, all of that. I was sitting in the chair, and she was going down the form, reading it out loud.
As she was ticking off the items, she very casually said, “And I’m going to need a sperm sample”. I swear, my jaw hit the floor. She reached back and handed me a sample cup and continued, “There is a bathroom two doors down, and when you are done, just bring it back in here”. I hadn’t had a physical or medical exam in years, so I didn’t know what the protocol was.
I got very quiet, but she was very professional about it, so I got up and took the cup to the bathroom. The room was a small, all-white clinical bathroom with a toilet, sink, mirror, and medical waste trash can. There was no stimulation anywhere, so to speak, but I began the process of trying to provide a sample into a cup.
After about ten minutes, as I was starting to ramp up, she knocked on the door and said, “Are you okay in there?” I awkwardly replied, “Yes! One moment!” and then she left. Eventually, after a few more minutes, I squeaked out my reward and sheepishly walked back to the examination room. I went ahead and placed my cup on the table.
She was sitting there filling out the form and said, “Okay, just a couple more items, and then we can get you a tetanus shot because you are due, and then we…” She stopped because at that moment, she glanced at the cup, wheeled her chair over to the table, picked up the cup, looked into it, took a long pause. Then she suddenly turned beet red. She exclaimed, “I am so so sorry. I meant a urine sample”.
75. Saving His Appetite
I went in to have my private area checked, but when I went into the doctor’s office, I was told they needed to reschedule because he didn’t want to look at someone’s private area before his lunch. I wouldn’t want to either, but it seemed immature and very unprofessional to me.
76. That’s Nerve-Wracking
A needle pricked my finger in the trash at the hotel where I worked. The manager took me to the hospital and explained it to the doctor. He began his response with “Even if that’s what really happened…” People lie about that kind of thing, so I understand, but it still caught me off guard. I had to take HIV medication for six months and have regular blood tests every two months. All clean.
77. Jumping To Conclusions
I went to a gynecologist when I was 19 because I once started bleeding and cramping up really badly in between my cycles. The only thing the doctor asked me was if I was active, which was fair, but I was abstinent for three months because my boyfriend was out of state at the time. Then she asked an awful question. She wanted to know what my race was.
I told her I’m Latina and she immediately chimed in with, “Oh okay, you’re probably pregnant, you guys get it on like bunnies”. She did a pregnancy test on me and after it obviously came back negative, all she said was to come back if it happened again. That was all that had happened during that visit.
78. The Stigma Is Real
I had back pain so severe that I couldn’t walk. I was even wheelchaired into urgent care. I didn’t ask for narcotics, nor would I have accepted if the doctor offered. But she saw my history and said, “You and I both know you can walk out of here”. I cried the entire way home. It was the first time I experienced stigma as an addict in recovery.
79. Approximate Area
A patient came into the dental clinic complaining about pain in the upper right part of his jaw. He told us that his jaw was broken even though there is no “upper jaw”. After an initial evaluation, he had mild gum loss on the upper right teeth, but it was nothing that serious. However, his X-ray told a different story.
It showed a minor fracture in his jaw that calcified over time. It was nowhere near where he said the pain was, but technically, he was right about having a broken jaw.
80. Doctor A or B?
Just last year, when I was diagnosed with brain cancer, the doctor walked into the room to chat about my diagnosis. The first thing out of his mouth was, “So I hear you’ve been talking to another doctor” with a passive-aggressive tone. Later that morning, we met with the other doctor who ran through the pros and cons of my perilous situation with us on our whiteboard.
After seeing the stark difference in professionalism, we immediately ditched Doctor A and went with Doctor B. I haven’t regretted that decision for one minute.
81. A Darwin Stan
When I was working with mentally and physically disabled children, we had this really sweet girl. She was around 10 years old and she had down syndrome, but she was one of the happiest human beings I had ever met. She became really sick (I don’t know what it was) and she was delivered to a hospital. When I visited her, she lost a lot of weight.
I asked the doctor why she didn’t receive artificial feeding. His answer sickened me. “A ‘normal’ person would get fed, but she isn’t for natural selection”. I was shocked and told the girl’s mother. She was just sad because it wasn’t the first time something like that happened.
82. Spotty Indicator
Both of my sons got chickenpox when I was pregnant with my third. I hadn’t had it before, so I panicked and told the pediatrician. I had been exposed many times but never sick. The doctor was adamant that I was wrong, and I ended up not getting it that time. Then four years later, I now had four sons who all got sick.
It looked like chickenpox. The same pediatrician said that there was no way that my two oldest had it again. I started getting feverish and itchy, so I brought us all to the doctor’s office. When the doctor came in to see us, he just stood there with his jaw on the floor. My two boys did indeed have chickenpox again.
I finally got it at 30 with 13 exposures. So, nothing’s impossible!
83. My Body, My Choice
My best friend went from an A cup to a DDD cup in about a year and she was having back problems. She went in for a consult for reduction and the doctor who was a female said she wouldn’t even consider doing surgery on someone that young. She was 19 at the time, and the doctor said any decision about her chest needed to include—get this—her future husband.
She wasn’t even dating anyone at the time.
84. Getting In Line
Not a doctor, but my doctor said this to me. I had a PICC line. This is like a long IV that stays in your arm for a while for infusions. I had a complication that resulted in a type of allergic reaction, which caused an ulcer that got infected. That infection was dangerous as it could spread through a line very quickly and turn into sepsis because the line went right into my heart.
I was sent to the hospital by my infusion nurse, and the doctor at the hospital told me he didn’t have any knowledge about central lines. He sent me home without doing blood work or looking at the site. I went to a better hospital in a nearby city the next day, and the whole line had to be taken out. I was also put on a course of two antibiotics. The doctor there called the other one an idiot.
85. In The Fine Print
I went to the doctor and told him that I had a kidney infection. He asked me some questions, and I responded honestly. I guess I hadn’t checked off all his boxes since he told me that I didn’t have one. So, I asked him to write my symptoms and the fact that he denied me a test on my chart. He did not like that request. He became borderline rude but ordered the test. He personally called me when the results came back that I was right and apologized.
86. Mind Your Manners
My son started passing out one time. We took him to the ER via ambulance. We thought he was choking on a cookie his aunt gave him. The doctor wanted us to visit a specialist just to make sure his brain was OK since he was shaking a lot during the episode. We went to the specialist and he was 90 minutes late. He came in, acted like a jerk, and signed off that our son was all good. Then he went a step further.
When we were leaving, his assistant apologized for the wait and the doc snapped: “DON’T APOLOGIZE TO THEM, I’m the doctor, they should wait for me and be happy that I showed up”. I kindly told the doctor to “screw off” and then went about my business, since I knew I’d never see him again. Be kind to your patients.
87. Save My Life, Will Ya?
She tried to give me essential oils and told me to come back the next day while I was having a life-threatening allergic reaction. My throat was swelling up, I couldn’t breathe, my eyes were swollen shut and covered in puss, and my whole body felt like garbage. This was all after she had been advised by the ER to give me a shot if I came in with the reaction.
Her office is closer than the ER, so they told me to go to her next time instead of wasting that precious time driving myself all the way to the ER. In the end, I had to drive myself 45 minutes to the ER AND 10 minutes to her office, plus the time that was spent arguing with her to save my freaking life.
88. What An Idiot
“You are just stressed and also overweight. Get fit and go on some nice dates, you’re a young woman!” I had gone in with hair loss, broken fingernails, joint pain, brain fog, and sudden and unexplainable weight gain. It ended up being my thyroid, which needed one single blood test to diagnose. Fun plot twist: I only got the blood test after starving myself for months to get rid of the excess weight. The late diagnosis is still causing issues.
89. Benadryl-Denying Betsy
This is what a nurse told me after I requested a Benadryl for intense itching post-C-section: “I can’t give you anything for random itching. You are breastfeeding and it will cause drowsiness for you and the baby. You’ll have to suck it up”. She handed my son over to me from his crib and told me skin-on-skin was best. I was burning up and my son, while content, wasn’t latching or otherwise interested in eating.
She put the crib just far enough that I couldn’t move over to put him back. Every part of my skin burned like stinging nettles. 45 minutes later, I was covered in hives, crying from hormones, itching all over, and I really thought I was having an allergic reaction to something. My son was falling asleep on me while I was itching until my arms bled.
I rang my bell. A different nurse came in and said, “Oh good Lord, you are having a reaction to something! Poor thing, you look uncomfortable, let’s get you sorted out!” I asked her about breastfeeding and she was like, “The baby won’t starve and you won’t be feeling much if you’re scratching your chest off now, will ya?” She gave me Benadryl on my IV and a bit of extra pain medication.
I guess I had some weirdo immune response; not an actual reaction to anything like medication or whatnot. She took my son and dressed him all up in a couple of outfits that I brought (he was born on Hallowe’en) and she kept him up at the nurses’ station for about 90 minutes while I slept. When my husband came by later (he was taking my older son to my brother’s after grabbing him from daycare), the nurses were all taking turns holding my eight-hour-old son and I slept a solid three hours.
I felt like a million bucks. I didn’t see Benadryl-Denying Betsy again.
90. I Know How This Goes…
I went in because I thought I had a UTI. I had been on birth control for a while, so having to go do the whole “pee in a cup” thing wasn’t new to me, but I did have to give a sample at this appointment. No big deal, I knew the drill. The doctor, however, got really weird about it. He kept asking me if I knew how to give a sample or if I needed to know any details on how to do it.
Mind you, this was after I’d already handed over the sample, which he was aware of, and it was literally clockwork at that point that it was so easy and I knew I didn’t do it incorrectly. He kept pressing the whole “peeing in a cup” thing, and he said, “Do you ever get any on yourself? Do you get pee on yourself?” To this day, I swear it had to have been some sort of fetish of his or something because I was appalled.
One, no, I don’t have that issue, and two, why is he so interested in it?
91. Indoor Voice, Please
I’m a fourth-year med student and last year during my surgery rotation, I had the utter misfortune of working with a jerk of a pediatric surgeon. He was notorious for being nasty to students and residents, but honestly, with all the horrible treatment I had been getting since starting my third year, I just brushed it off as normal. That is, until we went to see a six-year-old with lymphoma.
The kid obviously didn’t want to sit still for an exam because, hello, he was only six years old and in a boring hospital, no less! The surgeon got all huffy and left the room, shouting, “It doesn’t matter, he’ll be gone soon anyways!” The patient and his mother heard every word. The worst part is nothing was done about it because hospitals protect surgeons.
92. Welcome To The World
My dad is a pediatrician specializing in neurological issues. He was seeing one of his patients at the hospital and got dragged into the NICU unexpectedly by a nurse who insisted that a baby wasn’t well. The attending doctor insisted the kid was fine, and that he was just tired from a difficult vacuum assist delivery. My dad could tell the baby wasn’t okay and managed to talk the parents into a brain scan.
The NICU doctor insisted my dad was nuts to the parents. Little did he know his arrogance would cost him, big time. The kid had a brain bleed and was rushed to surgery. The baby would not have lived without the nurse bringing my dad in and the parents listening to him. The delay caused by the NICU doctor almost certainly cost the kid some brain function. I’m proud that my dad did the right thing.
93. Seeing Green
When I was in my early twenties, I took someone to the emergency room one time with a badly infected wound. When I told the middle-aged doctor that it was an infection, he chuckled and said, “don’t be silly. I’m sure you just mean that it’s inflamed”. I said yes, but it was also infected. He just rolled his eyes at me.
The nurses and other doctors chuckled. But then when the doctor looked at the wound, he said, “oh man. That is really badly infected”. After that, he wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I didn’t know why he had to argue with me and make me feel dumb in front of everyone.
94. A Tough Pill To Swallow
I went to a walk-in clinic because I couldn’t swallow anything. The doctor pressed on my forehead and asked if it hurt. When I said it was tender, he told me I had a sinus infection and prescribed me antibiotics…which I still couldn’t swallow. He then sent me on my way. After getting. a second opinion, I finally found out the truth. It was darker than I could have ever imagined.
Turns out I’d had a stroke and ended up spending three weeks in the hospital when it was discovered.
95. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
I was a 19-year-old male patient at the time. I’m 33 now. I felt sick for about a week, with flu-like symptoms. I didn’t want to eat; I just felt bad all over. One day at work, I felt a very uncomfortable cramp in my abdomen, so I went to one of those 24-hour clinics. At that point, I was slumped over and couldn’t stand up straight without an insane amount of pain.
I was just generally uncomfortable and hating life. After a few hours at the clinic, they told me: “You probably have kidney stones. Go home, drink fluids, and sleep it off”. That seemed fine to me. I was ready to go home and take the doctor’s suggestions. All was good. But my girlfriend at the time wasn’t a fan of the diagnosis and drove me to the ER, against my wishes of course.
After a few minutes at the ER, they confirmed that I was in greater danger than I initially thought. They determined that my appendix had ruptured and that I was going septic. Apparently, I was pretty lucky to have lived. I did pick up bacterial pneumonia while in the hospital, so the recovery kind of sucked. Now, I just have a crazy seven-inch scar on my belly to remind me to not be afraid of going to the hospital when I’m sick.
96. Between A Rock And A Hard Place
My boyfriend had to bring me to the ER because I was practically screaming in pain passing a kidney stone. The nurse kept asking me what I did to myself, and, through tears, I managed to get out, “It’s a kidney stone”. I then sat in the waiting room passing in and out of consciousness until my boyfriend said something.
I could barely walk, and the nurse asked me, “Well, are you coming?” My boyfriend, frustrated, yelled at them to get me a wheelchair. Six hours and a round of morphine later, I passed the stone. The uncooperative nurse said, “Oh, look at that. It was a kidney stone”. Unbelievable.
97. Got A Tell
I became a dad at 18 but broke up with my son’s mom two years later. Despite our problems, I stayed engaged in my son’s life. When he turned five, she went in for a hysterectomy. Then the day after the surgery, her mom called me asking me to go to the hospital. Apparently, she was “in a mood” and wouldn’t talk to anybody.
She thought that I could get her to talk, so I visited later that day. She just stared at me while I talked. After 20 minutes, I decided to give up and went for a hug. I noticed she was clenching her fist. At the time, I thought nothing of it and left. At home, I thought about how one-half of the brain controls speech. And that’s when I had a terrifying revelation.
I remembered her clenched fist and did some research online. I looked up strokes and quickly figured that was what was happening to her. I called the nurse at the hospital to tell her my realization and got to sleep thinking I’d done a good deed. Except in the morning, her mom called saying she was getting transferred.
Apparently, due to her history of depression, doctors assumed she was acting out. I talked to my boss and asked for a day off to go to the hospital. When I got there, everyone ignored me since I “wasn’t a family member,” so I sat with her for a little. Eventually, a doctor came to sign off on the final transport orders.
I was upset. When he asked me why I was crying, I told him that she’d obviously had a stroke, but no one could see it. He told me to leave the room, and two minutes later came out confirming that she did have a stroke.
98. At My Wit’s End
When I was a kid, another child in my class was institutionalized for acting out. Turns out, the kid wasn’t actually crazy, just upset at being constantly mistreated by the adults he lived with. When the mistreatment stopped, she stopped getting upset.
99. He Was Itching For Some Help
I was in the hospital following a motorcycle accident. My hospital roommate, who was beside me, had been in an 18-wheeler accident. He was complaining that his back itched and someone finally came in and rolled him on his side. When they turned him over, their faces dropped—his back had pieces of glass stuck all over it. I still don’t know how that was overlooked.
100. Shut My Mouth
I’m a dermatologist. I was reading a patient’s notes and found out he had been diagnosed with deadly skin cancer and was booked in to have his whole upper lip removed. Obviously, this would leave the patient quite disfigured. On a whim, he’d booked in to see a dermatologist at our hospital…who advised it was just a cold sore. He prescribed some medication and the problem was resolved.
101. Didn’t Get The Memo
After my heart operation where they went in through my femoral artery, they forgot to tell anyone outside the theatre that they had given me anticoagulants. Long story short, when I got back to the ward, my mom and dad came to visit and see how I was doing—only to walk into the room from hell. I had two doctors and two nurses around me, caked in blood with the back wall of the room dripping with it.
I should have been in this tourniquet thing for like 12 hours minimum after surgery, but they removed it and asked me to get up and move around after four hours. Suffice to say, it wasn’t pretty and the first nurse (the one who removed it) went absolutely white. No one answered the emergency buzzer for about 10-15 minutes to help her, either.
She just kept panicking and saying, “You are bleeding out!” to me. Oddly, I was completely calm and kept offering her advice. I think it was the shock, since I tend to get very analytical instead of scared. I should also mention that the advice I gave was rubbish: “Would you like me to hold that while you go and get some help?” She met this with, “You’ll be dead before I get back”. “Oh ok, best for you to hold it then”.
102. A Fly On The Wall
I’m not a surgeon, but I had a screw put in to hold together a fracture in my wrist. At the last moment before surgery, the anesthetist told me I could have the surgery with a local rather than general anesthetic as planned. So I let her make the call for me to be awake. That’s how I heard everything the doctor didn’t want me to hear.
See, he didn’t realize I wasn’t under, and it was one eye-opening experience. During the drilling, my surgeon started complaining at length about why he hates the drill he’s using and how it’s inferior to the other type of brand. It was apparently the only one he could find at the time and he didn’t want to reschedule. So not great so far.
Once the screw is in, the surgeon says to close up. Someone asked if the screw should protrude as much as it was, to which he responded, “No, but we can get away with it, and you never want to take a screw out and put another in, because it will wear out the bone”. Then silence for about 10 seconds while I feel them shifting my wrist around, followed by, “Actually we better put a smaller screw in”.
When I was in recovery, the surgeon was surprised how quickly I woke up and had a slight look of surprise when I told him I was only under local. Next thing he said was, “Surgery went well…”
103. Writing On The Wall
I am an operating room nurse. We had a patient who was getting a mass removed from her underarm and breast area. This other genius male nurse takes a medical marker and writes, “Solid. Call me”. with his cell phone number on her breast while she was under anesthesia.
104. Surgery Complications
Last year, when I went in for surgery to fix a broken leg. It was a routine procedure—until something went horribly wrong. I woke up 18 days later with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). When I woke up I couldn’t see, move, or speak. I can sort of walk now. I can’t see faces or read well, and I slur my words when I speak but I’m largely functional for caring for myself.
105. The Rear View
Nurse here. A very panicked nursing assistant came running to the desk one day, saying, “You have to see this! I don’t know what this is!” She then brought me into a private room where she was giving the patient a bath. She pointed to an area on the patient’s buttocks. “What is that?” I leaned in for a closer inspection, and my face went white.
The patient then started to turn back around and said, “IS THAT MY EYE?!” Sure enough, my patient had a prosthetic eye that came out of the socket at some point and it became suction-cupped to her buttock. I left the room and had never laughed so hard in my life. Truly one of the most bizarre and hilarious moments in my career.
106. Odd Anatomy
I’m a biomedical scientist, and my officemate was a medical doctor working on his PhD. He once did an appendectomy and cut into this person’s abdomen—only to find no appendix. He started freaking out. The support nurses in the room, however, started snickering at him because they knew right away what the problem really was.
Occasionally, they see someone with a rare genetic disorder where all their left-right asymmetries are reversed. This patient’s appendix was on the other side.
107. Always Check The Decimals
I very nearly injected a premature baby who had Down Syndrome with ten times the amount of Lasix I was supposed to give him: I had put the decimal in the wrong place when I did the math on the dose. That baby would almost certainly have died if I’d given it to him. I had the liquid drawn up in the syringe and had the syringe actually in the port ready to push through before I looked inside the chamber and realised how uncharacteristically full it seemed.
Paediatric IV doses of anything are simply tiny. I was supposed to give him 0.1 mls, and nearly gave him 1.0mls. I needed a very large cup of tea after that.
108. A Tickle Under The Rib
I saw this one patient with a really odd condition. While she was asking me why she gets rib pain so often, she literally reached under her own rib and jiggled it with her fingers. Turns out, there were a lot of other things she could do that she shouldn’t ever be able to. I attributed it to a variant of Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which causes connective tissue abnormalities.
I was so distracted by the popping in and out of her rib that initially, I didn’t even notice how horrifying it was that she could get her hand under there.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
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