These Dumb Patients Need A Cure For Idiocy
There’s a reason doctors spend so many years honing their skills in med school, but some people still think they know better than the pros. Whether they’re ignoring health issues or taking matters into their own hands, boneheaded patients always prove that human stupidity is endless. After meeting some particularly dumb patients, these doctors of Reddit were left with the most shocking, amusing, and downright unbelievable stories. Check them out below!
1. Sugar-Free Diet
My “non-diabetic” patient with a blood glucose of 1250 said, “I’m hungry, can I eat?” I replied, “Well, sir, your blood sugar is really high so let us get it under control first”. “He asked for a drink, and I told him I could get him some water. “No”, he says, “something else without sugar…like JUICE”. You’re kidding me, right?
2. Who’s Your Daddy?
A mother requested a maternity test for her child. You read that correctly. Not a paternity test, but a maternity test. She was convinced that her husband put another woman’s sperm in her when she was sleeping.
3. Waiting For The Tooth Fairy
I’m a dental nurse. My favorite case was a 30-something-year-old woman who came in for a checkup at the emergency low-cost clinic I worked at. Her teeth were broken and almost black. Her gums were swollen, bright red, and bleeding just from moving her tongue against them. She needed multiple hygienist appointments, scaling, and a debridgement.
The X-ray showed that the patient had all her wisdom teeth and 10 fillings. She needed root canals to try and save some teeth and at least three extractions. Her mouth was so messed up, I wouldn’t be surprised if she needed more work than that. I told her everything and did the usual explanation of proper oral hygiene.
Then I asked her if she had any questions, to which she says, “It’s okay if I lose this set of teeth, my others will come through”. Me and the dentist just looked at each other, probably a lot longer than we should have. We had no words. I couldn’t come up with a single reply to that comment.
4. Old Habits Die Hard
This lady was morbidly obese and had already lost a leg to diabetes. While on the basic medical floors, she and her family would consume large quantities of fast food. She didn’t have the strength to lift her own chest up enough, so she eventually went into respiratory failure and ended up on a breathing machine in the ICU.
When we finally weaned her off the machine and pulled out the tube, the very first words out of her mouth were, “Can I get some fried chicken from the cafeteria?”
5. The Name Game
This is a pretty classic case. I work in pediatric critical care, and at my first job we had this kid that was immediately post-op from a small surgery. He was doing great and was probably going to sleep it off and transfer to a general floor the next day. His mom wanted to knock him out with meds and kept on insisting he had pain.
The kid denied this, and none of his vital signs or actions suggested he was hiding anything. He was getting scheduled oral opiates and Tylenol, but this lady was insisting on something through the IV. When she didn’t get anywhere because the kid kept denying pain, she asked for something so he would sleep through the night.
The nurse said, “We can try some Benadryl”. The lady SNAPPED. She demanded a doctor, then she berated the nurse and essentially said we were mistreating her child. Meanwhile, the kid was like, “Moooooom, oh, my God, I’m FINE“, the whole time as he played Xbox. The doctor on service was this awesome, brilliant man who was tired of this lady seeking drugs for her kid.
He put on a smile and asked what the concern was. After listening to her complain about how the nurse had offered the kid Benadryl, he cocked his head and said, “Well, what about Diphenhydramine? Have you ever tried that? It’s a very effective sleep aid.” For anyone that doesn’t know, Benadryl is the brand name for Diphenhydramine. They’re the same thing.
Immediately, the lady perked up and said, “Difanhymeen? Yes, yes, let’s try that”. Meanwhile, the bedside nurse was struggling to keep from laughing. She says, “I’ll go get that,” and runs to the locked medicine room where she loses it. The kid got his Diphenhydramine.
A 20-something-year-old patient comes to ER. The chief complaint on the board is “private”. This should be good. I go in, and he is visibly depressed. He tells a story about how he slept with a woman, didn’t use protection, and then noticed she had a “plastic box on her”. She told him it was an insulin pump for diabetes, and he was mortified.
He came in immediately to be tested for diabetes.
7. Mr. Clean
I once thought I was having a heart attack at work, so I drove myself to the ER. After skipping triage and getting an EEG/EKG right in the hallway, I was placed in a bed with a curtain divider. One of the five other roommates separated by curtains was a 53-year-old man. He was there for a “burning sensation in his crotch.”
I know this because multiple people asked him about his condition, and he had no volume modulation. Everyone kept asking him, “Did you put something…chemical in it?” His response to each one was, “Yeah…I might have”. It took five nurses and a doctor before he finally admitted the horrific truth: bleach. He said he dribbled bleach INTO THE TIP OF HIS PECKER to keep from getting an STD.
The nurse was silent for a few solid moments. Then she asked why he did this and if he did it every time he was intimate. He said he wanted it clean, and that he wasn’t intimate with anyone at the moment. He wasn’t intimate with anyone. He had done it after fooling around with himself and was under the impression that he could infect himself with something he didn’t want.
The nurse had to lecture him that if he wasn’t intimate with another person, he likely wouldn’t contract an STD. She also told him that soap and water were a good way to stay clean in the future. I was frozen in my bed making that face from Edvard Munch’s The Scream with my wife mirroring it back to me. The man was moved elsewhere, perhaps to rebuild his urethral lining.
We were still too shocked to discuss it until leaving the hospital four hours later.
I had a Marine check into my battalion and tell my Corpsman that she was allergic to epinephrine. I questioned her, incredulously, about the circumstances of her allergy: “So, Staff Sergeant, your record says you’re allergic to epinephrine?” “Yeah”, she said, “when I went to the dentist, he gave me epi and I had a bad reaction to it”.
That piqued my interest, “Oh? Oh, really? How so?” She told me that it made her jittery. Okay, but that wasn’t an allergic reaction. I said, “Uh…no. No, you don’t have an allergy to epi”. She tells me that the dentist diagnosed her allergy. “I doubt that,” I stated. “Feeling jittery is a common side effect of epi. It’s adrenaline”.
“So what? It’s in my record”, she said. I tell her, “Yeah, and it shouldn’t be”. She asks why. I finally said, “You can’t BE allergic to adrenaline. You’d die in utero. Your body MAKES it. Naturally”.
9. Crossed Wires
I had an odd interaction with a patient after looking at her chart and seeing she had diabetes. I asked her if she had any medical conditions, and she told me that she didn’t. I asked, “Are you sure? You’ve never been told you have any diseases?” “Never”, she said. So, I asked, “What medications do you take?” With a straight face, she says, “Insulin…for my diabetes”.
10. A Sticky Situation
We were doing an auditory brainstem response test on a kiddo with severe developmental delays. At the top of the chart, in bold red letters, it says “ADHESIVE ALLERGY”. Well, to perform this test we need to use adhesive electrodes. Plus, the kid had already had the test in the past, so I was wondering how they did it before.
I went to talk to the kid’s mom about it and she goes, “Well, I just don’t like the way his skin looks after they pull all of that tape off him”. I just left.
11. Time To Celebrate
I was required to stop working while I was pregnant, so I went into the WIC office to sign up for vouchers. I was in line behind a woman who, when asked if her newborn was fully breastfed, replied, “Yes. Except for the cake and ice cream”. The staff told her that babies under six months old should only have breastmilk or formula.
I kid you not, this woman replied, “But it was her BIRTHDAY. She had to have cake and ice cream!” All these years, I’ve thought she was just a special kind of stupid.
12. The Undertaker
A doctor said this. I noticed that all the patients sent by a particular doctor were freaking out badly when they came for their MRIs. Now, some patients are claustrophobic but each and every patient? That is odd. So, I called the doctor and asked her what she was telling the patients. She answered, and suddenly everything made sense: “I tell them that having an MRI is like being stuck in a coffin and buried”.
13. Playing Catch-Up
One of my patients thought he was getting better, so he stopped taking his prescribed medication last week. When he started feeling sick again, he went ahead and got caught up on the medication—seven days’ worth at one time.
14. Three Snickers A Day Keeps The Doctors…Not Away
I was working in outpatient medicine and one of my patients came in for a normal follow-up. She was obese and told me that she’d read chocolate is good for your heart. She had been eating three Snickers a day diligently. Poor woman. I had another patient who proudly told me that she never received vaccines. I asked why.
She said the last influenza vaccine stopped her heart. I thought maybe it was anaphylactic shock, but that couldn’t be it because she hadn’t been hospitalized or received any treatment. And her legs had some mysterious mild swelling at the ankles, which could be from a lot of things. I asked her how her heart had been restarted. She confirmed it was still stopped.
My grandfather has had diabetes ever since I can remember. So, at least two decades. He’s never changed his diet whatsoever. He still eats tons of caramels, loves salted ham hocks, and drinks a lot. A lot. He’s lost half of his right leg and half of his left foot so far, and for the life of them, my grandparents just can’t figure out why.
No matter what anyone says, they won’t believe his eating habits need to change. When he was in the hospital for his most recent amputation, my grandmother brought in a saltshaker and salted all of his food. His doctor had ordered a low-sodium diet and my grandfather “couldn’t live on that”. I’m honestly surprised he’s managed to survive this long.
16. Baby On Board!
“Wait”, my patient said, “second-hand smoke? Yeah, right, that doesn’t exist. Baby’ll be fine.” An hour later, he says, “No, my fiancée and I don’t want our daughter to have any of the vaccines, the vitamin K shot, antibiotic eye ointment, or PKU testing. It’s poison. Poking her with the needle is worse than the cold she’d get without the poison.”
He then drove his newborn daughter and fiancée home in a car that absolutely reeked of weed.
17. The Repeat Offender
When I was working in the ER, I had a guy come in with a gunshot wound to his leg. It was a simple injury, missing the major arteries and nerves in his thigh. All GSWs have to be reported, so I asked the guy what happened. The more he talked, the lower my jaw got: Apparently, he was upset that his neighbor had done something annoying. The patient grabbed a hammer and used it to “knock” on said neighbor’s door.
The neighbor answered the door holding a .22 rifle and told the patient to leave or else he’d blast him. My patient then tells me, “I didn’t think he’d do it again!” That’s right, “AGAIN.” Apparently, this wasn’t their first confrontation. They’d had an argument the previous year that had ended in the neighbor firing on him.
I can only speculate that it was justifiable since the neighbor wasn’t locked up. I couldn’t believe this guy went back to the house of a person who had previously blasted him, banged on the door with a hammer, and was surprised when he got shot again. Heck, the neighbor was nice enough to give him a warning. He even called an ambulance for the moron.
That patient was the dumbest human being I’ve ever met.
18. Freshening Up
One of my patients called me up and sounded worried: “You know those holiday air fresheners that you plug into a wall? Are they bad for you?” I asked, “Bad for you how?” They said, “My baby got into one and drank the stuff inside, so I put some in my mouth to see if it’s bad. Now, my mouth burns.” Mission accomplished.
19. It’s Taco Tuesday
The patient was in critical condition, intubated, sedated, and on vasopressors. His family brought in a bunch of tacos. After explaining that the patient couldn’t eat because he had a breathing tube and a ventilator that was giving him life support, the family paused and said, “Yes, but can we put the tacos down that tube?”
They were pointing at the breathing tube. I live in a community where people think food is love and can cure anything.
20. Sniff Test
My stepdad is a lung doctor, and he had a guy come in with trouble breathing. They took an x-ray and saw what appeared to be calcium build up. While the patient was in the waiting room, they saw him snort something. They asked him about it, and he said that it was an all-natural remedy for his cough. He bought it from someone on Craigslist for $200.
He said he did this because “doctors are liberal scam artists who think they know better with their poison pushing agendas, and ObamaCare money,” and he was only there because his wife made him be there. Suspecting drugs, they ran a test on the stuff. It was plaster of Paris. His wife confessed that he’d been using it for at least three months.
The seller claimed you could mix the plaster into your water to clear a cough, but the patient figured it was best to breathe it in.
21. Suitable Living Arrangements
One night, when I was a paramedic, we received a call for respiratory distress. We arrived to find a middle-aged woman sitting cross-legged on her living room floor, completely bare and out of breath. Turns out she had heat-induced asthma and thought taking her clothes off “would help.” Meanwhile, 15 cats roamed her house, and she hadn’t refilled her inhaler prescription for months.
22. The Patient Is Always Right
One incredibly dumb patient stands out. He adamantly told me, “I can smoke with the oxygen on. I smoke through my mouth and the oxygen goes in through my nose. I know how this works.” Sure, you do, buddy.
23. Good Intentions
We got a call for a stab wound. Okay, not a good call, but depending on the blade and location, stab wounds are pretty in-and-out for us. It was the aftermath of a shady deal gone sour, and someone got shivved in the leg. The guy pulled the blade out, but his buddy read or heard that you should leave it in. So, he put it back in the poor guy’s leg.
The most outrageous thing I’ve heard was from a boy who was something like 20 to 22 years old. He came from a very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsilitis and refused to take any meds because all he needed to do was “bite the sun”. Basically, at noon he would look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and “bite” the sun so it would “burn” his tonsils.
He hoped this would cure him over the course of a couple weeks. When that wouldn’t work, plan B was to do the same at night but only under a full moon.
25. Ignorance Is Bliss
Optician here. We had a patient who refused to let us use the tonometer, a machine for checking ocular internal pressure to diagnose glaucoma. He said that the “puff machine” gives people glaucoma and we weren’t going to pull that on him. He told us that his father had an exam and got glaucoma after using that machine.
He said that his uncle and brother also had no signs of glaucoma, yet after getting the puff test, both people had been diagnosed with the disease. Glaucoma doesn’t have any outward symptoms before you start going blind. This moron just told me he has a very strong familial disposition to glaucoma and refused to be tested for it.
26. For External Use Only
I worked at a pain management clinic. To combat opioid use and addiction, a lot of patients were prescribed a medicated cream. It looked a lot like sunscreen. I watched the nurse carefully tell people how to rub it onto the skin. She used small, uncomplicated words and went through the motions of applying the cream several times.
But every so often, patients would complain that their cream “tastes bad”.
27. A New Scientific Discovery
I am an ER doc. I once had a 20-year-old and his girlfriend come in at 2 am freaking out because “something tore his throat open”. He seemed fine. There was no blood. He was breathing fine. I had him open his mouth, saw nothing. I checked again because didn’t want him to lose confidence in me, and clearly something had happened.
So, I’m looking and looking but there was nothing wrong with this kid’s throat. Finally, I said, “Look, it seems ok. What do you feel or see?” He says, “I don’t feel it, but LOOK, ITS RIGHT THERE”. WHERE??? Looking, looking…Then it suddenly hit me: It was his uvula. Somehow, this kid had gotten to the age of 20 without ever noticing his uvula. His girlfriend was also horrified.
I told them it was normal, but they still didn’t believe me. So, I told them I was about to AMAZE them and showed him his girlfriend’s uvula. It was great. Minds blown, and another life saved in the ER.
28. The Handyman
Turns out that using cement as a DIY cast for your broken leg is a bad idea. Turns out that the chemicals in the cement irritate and dissolve your skin. The patient became septic and almost died by the time he decided to come in for medical care. Emergency medicine: preventing natural selection one stupid person at a time.
29. Double Dipping
“I want an STD test”, my patient said. “I slept with two people without washing my willy in between”. I asked if he knew whether he or the people he slept with had an STI. He told me, “No, they don’t. But that’s how you get them, isn’t it?” I was confused, “I’m sorry?” He said, “You get STDs by not washing your willy in between women”.
I had to stop myself from cringing. “No. No, they have to already have…You should always wear a…That’s just bad hygiene.”
30. Recipe For Disaster
A patient came to the emergency department during a July heatwave. He was vomiting so much I had to admit him for intravenous fluids. I took the usual history, including what he’d eaten recently. There was nothing out of the ordinary. A few hours later, he called me over: “Doctor…I did eat some chicken and rice earlier”.
He told me, “My girlfriend made it yesterday and we left it in a pan on the stove overnight. I ate it this afternoon, do you think that could have been it?” I sighed, “Yes. Yes, I do.” We had a little talk about food hygiene.
31. You Are What You Eat
When I was a med student, we took a history from a guy who drank more than 10 cups of tea every day. He put six sugars in each one and said that he drank them “for the thirst.” He also had six meals a day. These meals consisted of four bacon sandwiches with butter “for the energy.” That’s all he had every day. That’s it.
He couldn’t understand why his heart disease wasn’t getting better, why he’d put on weight, or why he was now showing high blood sugar and was borderline diabetic.
32. Squeaky Clean
We had a girl in the emergency room who got drinks poured over her while she was at a party. She went to the bathroom to get cleaned up but didn’t find anything to wash herself with, like a sponge or something. So, the girl used the next best thing that she could find and meticulously scrubbed her chest with steel wool.
33. Traffic Jam
I had an old coot who was sweet but had clearly spent his adult years drinking away whatever brain cells he started with. He presented with a chief complaint of, “I can’t drink anymore. Every time I drink, I just throw it back up a few minutes later.” Well, turns out Cooter hadn’t been able to eat actual food in months.
He was subsisting on pretty much just booze and hadn’t pooped in over two weeks. But that didn’t bother him one bit…until he couldn’t drink Then it was an emergency! The man had a big ol’ tumor blocking the distal part of his left colon, which is near the end of the road, intestinally speaking. Everything gradually got backed up all the way to his stomach. It was the worst case I’d ever seen.
That’s why he couldn’t keep drinks down—there was just no more room at the inn. I fixed him with a colostomy, and he got better and left. He refused chemo and I figured he’d just go home and succumb to cancer. But then, almost exactly one year later, he came back to me with just about the same complaint. He was obstructed to the point of not being able to drink.
Except this time, his ostomy had essentially retracted into his abdomen and the skin had nearly grown shut over it. He was pooping out of a teeny-tiny hole in his skin. What the heck? Even my oldest partners had never seen anything like it, but once again Cooter wasn’t remotely fazed. He just wanted us to fix it so he could go home and keep drinking.
I did. I haven’t seen Cooter since. I kind of hope he’s still out there, treating his cancer with Budweiser and just blissfully ignoring the Grim Reaper.
34. All The Colors Of The Rainbow
This lady came in with a fungal infection on her toenails. They had turned black and were falling off. She refused treatment and didn’t listen to anything the doctor said. “I’m curing this with essential oils,” she told us. “I don’t want any chemicals on me, and I don’t need to have them removed. I just came here because my husband kept bothering me to.”
According to the husband, this had been going on for a year and her nails had changed all colors, from yellow to black.
35. A Bright Idea
Not long ago, I had a lady come in complaining of dry eyes. I asked what she was using for it because you could smell the Vick’s from down the hall and her eyes were insanely bloodshot. Said she was using Vick’s Vaporub. I asked how much she used and how she was applying it. She proceeded to take the bottle and rub it DIRECTLY INTO HER EYEBALLS.
36. The Smell Of Defeat
I was an intern in the ER. I have seen a lot of stupid people—it was a small town. The worst I think was when I walked in, and the floor smelled like…I don’t even know. It was by far the worst thing I had ever smelled. I asked a passing nurse what the smell was, and he just shrugged his shoulders and told me someone probably pooped everywhere.
Well, the doctor was preparing to go into this room, but I did not expect what would happen next. He opened the door and I almost barfed. It was extremely hard to keep my professional composure. The guy had his leg wrapped up. The doctor asked him to unwrap it. It was gangrene, from his foot up to the middle of his thigh. The smell I had been smelling was rotting flesh.
The cause? “The four-wheeler I was riding caught fire six months ago.”
Emergency room nurse here. I once had a pregnant patient come in with some abdominal pain. After a workup, we ruled out emergent conditions, but couldn’t determine the exact issue. I explained to her that it was probably indigestion. “No,” she responded, “I just saw a picture of the ultrasound and I figured out the cause.”
“What did you find?” I asked. I wasn’t prepared for the answer: She pointed proudly to part of her ultrasound and said, “Right here! See this part of the ultrasound? It’s clearly a demon-face! That’s what’s causing my pain”. I had to stifle laughter for the rest of the conversation. Sorry, we didn’t diagnose your condition as demon-face, lady.
38. Sweet Tooth
I worked in an ER. A 30-something-year-old female came in around midnight complaining of abdominal pain. The doctor asked her a ton of questions and she finally admitted that she’d eaten half a bottle of gummy vitamins. He asked her why. She said she woke up and wanted something sweet but couldn’t find any other desserts.
The best part? She brought the bottle of vitamins with her to show the staff and continued to snack on them in the ER until the nurse confiscated them. Per protocol, we had to notify Poison Control. They literally didn’t believe the story was for an adult patient.
39. Monkey See, Monkey Do
I know a surgeon at my local hospital, and he mostly deals with trauma surgery or general emergencies. Let’s call him Dan. Dan was working on a really nice day in July, and he got notified that an ambulance was coming in. They told him that the patient had severe lacerations on his left hand and a couple missing digits.
They brought the patient into the operating room, but there wasn’t much they could do to save his fingers. The index, middle, and ring finger were cut off right around the knuckle, so Dan just cleaned out the wounds and sewed them shut. When the patient came to, Dan started getting some information about what happened.
Apparently, the man was doing some yard work and thought he could use his lawn mower to cut the top of his hedge perfectly straight. So, he hoisted his mower up and, for a moment, it seemed like his plan was working. He had started cutting when the weight shifted. His fingers got caught up in the blade. Shocking, I know. But the story doesn’t end there…
About three hours later, Dan was notified about another ambulance coming in. The new patient had severe lacerations on the hand and a couple missing digits. Dan said it felt like déjà vu and the injury was almost identical. Same fingers missing and completely mangled so they couldn’t be saved. Dan stitched the patient up and yet again asked about the incident.
The patient told him that he was driving home from work and saw someone cutting their hedges with a lawn mower. Apparently, he thought that was an excellent idea and decided to try it himself. And, well, you know what happens next. So, the moral of the story: Don’t cut your hedges with a lawn mower.
40. Anatomy Lesson
When I was a medical assistant, a patient came into the office with a gangrenous big toe. During the exam, the doctor told him it looked like it had to be amputated. He left the patient’s room for something. The patient came out to the nurse’s station to ask in all seriousness, “So, the toe’s gonna grow back like the liver, right?” I said, “Uh, not usually”.
He just stared into space for a minute before returning to his room.
41. Fun In The Sun
One of my stepdad’s patients organized a three-kilometer (two-mile) run for people with asthma. The patient kept leaving pamphlets in the clinic’s bathroom and in the waiting room. They also posted in the clinic’s Facebook group. The run was in the middle of a very humid heat wave in August, but there was still a good turnout.
Out of the 30 people that showed up with asthma, 10 of them—including the organizer—found themselves in the ER in less than an hour.
42. A Family Affair
Registered nurse here. One case that stands out was the time I was admitting a big guy to the hospital. I can’t really remember what he was in for, but he was about 181 kg (400 lbs), diabetic, suffering from heart disease, you name it. Anyway, I’m at the computer going over some admission questions with him and his 10 family members who are crowded in the room with him.
A few minutes in, he starts complaining that he’s thirsty and he needs something to drink RIGHT NOW. So, I get on my phone and call the nurse assistant and ask her to bring in some ice water. As soon as the words are out of my mouth the whole family screams, “NOOOO! NO WATER! HE’S ALLERGIC TO WATER!” Well, this is gonna be a problem.
Turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but Sprite and sweet tea for years because of his “water allergy”. The next question the wife had was, “Where are we all supposed to sleep?” The whole family—all 10 of them—were planning to stay at the hospital with him. You can’t make this stuff up.
43. Home Remedies
My friend is a doctor on the children’s ward in a rural hospital. These parents brought in their child whose hair was infested with lice. The lice were visible to the eye and could be seen crawling on the child’s clothing. While the medical staff examined the child and tried to determine a course of action, they made a shocking discovery.
The child was covered in a white powder and smelled heavily of chemicals. They asked the parents about the substances and the smells emanating from the child. The parents said, quite matter-of-factly, that it was Sevin Powder mixed with flea and tick spray that they used on their farm dogs. Needless to say, social workers were notified about this case.
44. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
I work for an optometrist, and this happened the month before school started. A woman brought her son in to have his eyes checked for the first time. It seemed like a pretty reasonable thing for any parent, even if the boy was a little older than usual for a first eye exam. Better late than never, I guess. The mom was well-spoken and appeared fairly intelligent.
Everything went as normal, and the doctor examined the boy and ended up prescribing glasses. The doctor was explaining to the mom that her son had to wear his glasses all the time since he’s nearsighted and basically can’t see clearly past five feet in front of him. He also told her that the boy would definitely need glasses for school.
For some reason, this caused a switch to flip in the mom. She absolutely LOST IT on the doctor. She kept saying that her son didn’t need glasses and that the doctor was only saying that he does because he wants to sell glasses. She said that she only brought her son in because there was some form for school that needed to be filled out.
She finished up by yelling that doctors were all con artists trying to push unnecessary medications and interventions. The doctor tried to calm her down. He explained that he was only trying to help them but that she was free to get a second opinion. He gave her a copy of the kid’s prescription and sent them on their way.
About four months later, the lady came back asking for another copy of her son’s prescription. Apparently, the first semester midterm results were in. Her son failed them all because he couldn’t see the blackboard in his classes and needed glasses!
45. Harder Than Stone
A patient came in, stating that he couldn’t bend his knee. I asked him to remove his trousers so I could examine his leg. After he removed his trousers, the reason that he couldn’t bend his knee was obvious: he had a plaster cast around it. After checking his notes, I saw that he’d been sent numerous letters asking him to come in for removal of this plaster cast.
And since he hadn’t attended any of the outpatient clinics, the hospital had assumed that he had removed the cast himself. I don’t know why he kept it so long.
46. Welcome To The Twilight Zone
I am a registered nurse in the emergency room. A young adult male presents with multiple abscesses on various parts of his body. He states that he was trying to get pregnant, so he injected his boyfriend’s sperm into himself. He tells one of the advanced practice clinicians that he should have gone with his original plan.
The original plan? He wanted to try it on his dog first. Psych clears him. He gets admitted to our floor and receives IV antibiotics. What the heck just happened here?
47. Fumbling In The Dark
We’ve had a patient with cataracts tell us the optometrist was incompetent. She said she couldn’t possibly have cataracts because she doesn’t have cats. There was also the patient who didn’t believe that he was severely legally blind. He kept telling us that we were lying and just trying to sell him glasses. We weren’t.
It was a government-mandated acuities test, and we weren’t permitted to make sales off those tests. The patient’s logic: since he had not been for a sight test in 17 years, there was no way that he needed glasses. The man got back into his car and drove off. We’ve never sent paperwork back to the authorities so quickly.
48. Dr. Google
I had a patient come in with several pages he printed off the internet. He kinda slammed them down and said, “This is what I have”. He had bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and fever, among other things. He insisted he had Schistosomiasis. He was being a real jerk about it, as if we were wasting time since he already knew what he had.
So, I asked him, “When did you get back from Africa?” And he said, “Africa? I’ve never been to Africa. What the heck would I be doing in Africa?” I proceeded to tell him that Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease one gets while swimming in the Nile River. It also comes from other rivers in developing regions, like Southeast Asia.
He got really mad at me because he thought I was being smart. He got seen and diagnosed with gastroenteritis, which is stomach flu. And as for the bloody stool? He had hemorrhoids.
49. Have You Seen The Gingerbread Man?
A patient came in breathing through his mouth. His mouth was opened as wide as he could stretch it. His breath sounded like someone sucking that last bit of liquid through a straw. Turns out he had snorted 250 grams (nine oz) of cinnamon after his mum’s boyfriend dared him to. He then tried to snort some water to wash it away.
His mucus became like a biscuit. He had a cold, too. I tried very hard not to insult their collective intellect.
50. Charity Is A Virtue
In my first year of dental school, not even three weeks into the program, our class went down and did a Mission of Mercy trip. This is where dental providers from around the state provide free, 100% no-cost-to-you dental work. It can range from simple cleanings to full on root canals, flippers, etc. Keep in mind, at this point I had three weeks of dental knowledge, which equated to nothing.
I escorted a patient to the dentist that allowed me to assist. The patient bragged about how he never brushed his teeth or flossed and had good dental health. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Their breath smelled of rotting flesh and burnt hair. During the health history portion, the guy talked about his diet of McDonald’s, PBR, speed, weed, and more PBR.
We finally got to the portion of providing the dental care. All of his teeth were rotted or in the process of rotting. The patient grilled me on what to do and accused the dentist of lying about the decay. He asked me to help him out and said he didn’t need any procedures other than a simple cleaning. I tried to persuade him otherwise. The dentist tried to persuade him.
Eventually, he stormed off saying that the whole thing was some corporate greed nonsense even though it wouldn’t have cost him a cent.
51. Out Of Whack In The Outback
I work in primary health as a nurse. The patients I hate most are the ones who come in for something simple, like a blood test or a dressing, then just when they’re about to leave they say, “Oh, by the way, can you look at this”, or, “I need a new prescription”, or, “I’ve had chest pain since three o’clock this morning”.
We had a nuggety little man who lived in the bush and rarely came in. He lived on his own and had a real “She’ll be ‘right, mate” attitude—I’m Australian if you couldn’t tell. Anyway, he came in to see the doctor for a few prescriptions, and on his way out he told the doctor, “Oh, by the way, there’s something on my back. Can you have a look?”
Righto, mate. The doctor brought him down to me in the treatment room. The man lifted his shirt, and he had the biggest fungating cancer on his back. Google that if you dare. This thing stunk, was oozing, and raised like a rotten cauliflower. The mass was the size of both fists put together, and the patient had covered it with some Band-Aids and toilet paper.
The doctor and I just looked at each other in abject horror. We had to send the man to a specialist where they surgically removed the cancer in sections because it was way too big to remove all at once. How he had lived with that for what must have been months is beyond me. It stunk so bad and was so oozy. I can’t imagine what his bed and clothes looked like.
52. Equal Division of Labor
This girl came to the pharmacy to return her birth control. I asked her why and she said she got pregnant. I asked if she took it every day. She said, “No. On the days I didn’t feel like taking it, I made my boyfriend take it.” I couldn’t believe the stupidity. I made them answer a bunch of questions until they realized how stupid they were.
53. Don’t Forget Your Vegetables
I’m an oral surgeon. After a procedure, I tell patients to use ice bags on their face to minimize the swelling. If they don’t have that, I tell them to use a bag of frozen corn or frozen peas. A patient called the office late in the day and said, “We don’t have an ice bag and PEE is simply not freezing. What should we do?”
54. Hunger Pains
My patient was a three-year-old who needed surgery on her tonsils and adenoids. The day before the procedure, I told her father, “Don’t let her eat or drink anything after midnight”. While I was intubating the girl the next morning, she vomited scrambled eggs, causing her to aspirate them into her lungs. Then her heart stopped.
I did chest compressions on her for 25 minutes. We got her back, aborted the surgery, and transferred her to the pediatric ICU on a ventilator. Her father’s response made me want to scream: “She said she was hungry. I thought you were being too hard on her. It must have been something you did to her”. Sure, blame me for your inability to follow a simple direction. Idiot.
55. Don’t Put The Blame On Me
A woman comes into the Emergency Room with a six-year-old girl. The mother is frantic and crying, “My baby’s tooth fell out! It’s my fault”. I ask her, “How is it your fault? Did she fall or something?” She tells me, “No. It’s my fault because I didn’t give her the good juice with concentrate in it. Now all of her teeth are gonna fall out!”
Genuinely confused, I ask, “Concentrate?” She says, “If you don’t give kids juice with Concentrate in it…you know…the one with the big letter “C” on it, all their teeth will fall out!” “Ma’am,” I sighed, “your child is six years old. She is going to lose all her baby teeth now and get her adult teeth. She does not have scurvy”.
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