These Unprofessional Doctors Were Totally Out Of Line
Doctors are expected to conduct themselves with civility and professionalism. However, the sad reality is that some of them have absolutely no idea how to treat their patients with respect. Just take the following MDs for example—their questionable behaviors ended up leaving helpless people in truly awkward positions:
1. A Little Too Late
My best friend went to the doctor’s because she was losing feeling on the left side of her body, from her lower legs to her shoulders. When she asked the doctor if it was her heart or something, he said it was just a pinched nerve. He didn’t even check her heart rate or blood pressure or anything. She went in, got told it was a pinched nerve, and left…and then a tragedy happened.
She later passed in her sleep from a clogged artery in her leg. She posted it all on Facebook at the time, documenting the progressing symptoms until she went to sleep. The worst part? Everyone in the comments defended the doctor.
I went to the doctor’s office for my yearly free physical. The doctor was about to move on to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) section of the exam when I let him know about some bad nasal polyps that I was plagued with. Mind you, he was about to look up my nose and see what I had described, I just wanted him to know that it was a chronic condition for me, etc. BIG MISTAKE.
He stopped the exam completely and told me that since I had informed him of a specific ailment, my visit was no longer considered “free”. Instead, it was now a visit for said nasal polyps. I was then charged for the visit. Completely dumbfounded, I dropped KP insurance the next day. When did going to the doctor become pay-to-play like that?
Maybe it’s just me, but it felt really scummy. Also, not the biggest deal, but that office was a noticeably uncomfortable 80 degrees.
3. Bunch Of Skeptics
My coworker showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, and was clearly jaundiced. We insisted that he go to the doctor as he literally looked like he was at death’s door. He told us that he suspected he had malaria, but after seeing two doctors and going to the ER, he was simply told that it was impossible for him to have malaria, as “Australia doesn’t see cases of that”.
They told him he probably just had the flu or some other viral infection. They are correct, we don’t have malaria here. But there was something they didn’t know. What they failed to understand was that this guy was an ex-pat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria five times already. So not only was he an expert in what malaria “feels” like, but he was also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hadn’t been to Africa in a few years.
He ended up having to go back to the ER and basically force them to run a test for malaria, after which they were like, “Oh wow, you do have malaria”. He was like, “I literally told you that two days ago”.
4. Test Subject
I went in for my first pap smear at the age of 15. I went to a community health center because I lived on my own—I didn’t have insurance and female health care was free there. An old man in his 60s was the doctor on site. I had my feet in the stirrups, and he asked me if I minded if a couple of interns came in to watch. Before I could even answer, seven young medical students came in and they each took turns having a look.
They talked about me as if I wasn’t there and every insertion was painful after the first one forgot to lube up the tool. I have never felt so used and disgusting in my life…It made me neglect my female health for a long time after.
5. Ambiance Is Everything
My wife suffers from various mental illnesses, depending on what’s in vogue in the psychiatric community every week. A while ago, when we were dealing with a real rough period complete with bad thoughts, our GP suggested, and I kid you not, that perhaps she should try a mood lamp and think happy thoughts. A mood lamp and happy thoughts…
6. Three Strikes, You’re Out
My hormones were out of whack. I was drinking 300+ ounces of water a day and I was still thirsty. I would go to bed with 32 ounces of water and wake up at night with a thirst to quench or a bladder to empty. I slept in 30-minute spurts every night for months. I went to three endocrinologists—and they failed me in every way possible.
One told me I was a drama queen and that if I really wanted attention, there were better ways to get it. “And you need to lose weight,” he added. The second told me, “You have a stressful job. Get a less stressful job”. The third walked in and said, “Get off your birth control. See you in eight weeks,” then she walked out. That was the whole appointment.
Turns out, I actually had a tumor on my adrenal gland. I found out when I had a CT scan for a kidney stone. It’s actually Stage 3 Adrenocortical Carcinoma.
7. Bad Timing
When my wife and I decided to start trying for a baby, she went to her doctor to get her IUD removed. She had read somewhere that after removing an IUD, you should wait a few weeks before trying to conceive, but she wasn’t sure if she believed that (FYI, turns out, it’s not true). So after the procedure was done, she asked the doctor: “How long should we wait until we start trying to get pregnant”? He said, “Well, you should probably wait until you get home”.
8. Becoming A Zombie
My doctor switched my anti-depressants to Lexapro when I was 15. I took it for a month and turned into a zombie. I wasn’t eating or sleeping, and I was very catatonic. At my next check-up, I told her I didn’t like how it made me feel and that I’d like to stop taking it. I even told her my therapist agreed that it wasn’t helping me. In response, she became super aggressive with me.
She proceeded to berate me, saying how I can’t run away from my problems and that I shouldn’t stop taking them just because they make me “a little uncomfortable”. My mom and I just walked out. A year or so later, my mom and my sister took me to the ER for a manic episode. While waiting in triage, my mom left my sister with me while she went to the car to retrieve my therapy handbook and meds.
While she was gone, I started panicking. The security guard threatened to taze me if I “got any crazier”. When my mom got back and the ER doc finally came in, he said I was on my period and that I was just acting out for attention. Then they sedated me and made me lay on a cot in the triage hallway for 10 hours until the social worker got there.
At that point, I was so oversaturated with medications that I couldn’t even answer any of her questions. She reported that I was just tired and needed some sleep.
9. Well, That’s Embarrassing
I was 19, going to a gynecologist for a regular check-up. A little shy and nervous. After the procedures, the doctor started asking me standard questions and at some point, she asked how many partners I had that year. Mind you, I had three; but because I never actually thought of keeping a record and I didn’t expect the question, I blanked for 10 seconds.
The next thing I knew, the doctor smiled, looked at me, and said: “An active girl, eh”. I was so freaking embarrassed that I started mumbling something to regain my dignity, but it was too late. Too late.
10. Instant Life Change
I went to a walk-in clinic at the beginning of the pandemic because I’d been weirdly sick for days. The doctor walked in with my test results—and we had a shocking conversation. She asked me, “Who’s managing your diabetes”? I replied with a confused look on my face: “I’m diabetic”? She ignored me and continued asking, “What medication are you on? Why aren’t you taking your diabetes seriously”? I mean, I didn’t even know I was diabetic.
“Is that why I’ve been sick for so long? You need to start taking your health seriously. Are you on insulin yet”? Then I yelled at her: “Are you diagnosing me with diabetes”?! She stopped and rolled her eyes at me before saying: Well, you’re 30, this is what happens when you get old. Don’t worry, the diabetes should take 30 years to end you. That’s not bad for a man. Then she walked out.
A few minutes later, a nurse came in with a prescription and a requisition form for a blood test and that was it. Luckily, a different doctor walked me through the results of the blood test a couple of days later and referred me to a diabetes clinic.
11. Medical Gaslighting
For some context, I’m 27 and plus size—not too terribly big, but I definitely need to lose weight. Anyway, I started having undetermined tachycardia like five years ago and I was finally referred to a cardiologist. I never met the man, so it was my first time meeting him. As soon as he stepped into the room, he began treating me horribly.
He gave me a nasty look and asked, “Have you considered gastric bypass”? in a rather condescending tone. I felt shocked, upset, hurt, angry, and offended all at the same time. Not a “Hi, I’m doctor Johnston”! or any sort of greeting; just straight to that. As expected, he dismissed my concerns and didn’t take me seriously. And guess what?
The tachycardia episodes started happening more frequently and they were getting worse each time, even with the weight loss and daily exercise. But apparently to him, it’s all because I’m fat. On a similar note, I had gone to the ER when I first started having these tachycardia episodes. The ER doctor told me my tachycardia was because of another reason: acid reflux.
My heart rate was so high and sustaining that I could’ve gone into cardiac arrest. I was just astounded. I later met with my new primary care physician a week later and when I told him this, he was incredibly upset. It’s incredulous how often people are gaslighted by doctors. It’s incredibly disheartening.
12. Second Opinion
I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and I went to see a skin cancer specialist. He said it was melanoma and that I was going to need most of my scalp removed without even having a biopsy. He started telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that would totally disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He also told me that I’d need to start wearing a wig since my hair may not grow back.
I was petrified, and I went home in tears. Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy. It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there. Far out.
13. Jumping To Conclusions
I went to a new gynecologist who several women raved to me about. I expressed concern over my low intimacy drive (especially since I was only 25). Her reaction stunned me. She started giving me speeches and pamphlets on women’s shelters. I was so confused. She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her that no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem.
In fact, he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem. She just would not hear it even after I went into very vulgar and specific details to explain why I thought it was solely a physical problem. I Never went back. She even called several times to “check” on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean, there were literally no red flags…Quite the opposite. It was weird.
14. I Don’t Make The Prices
At the time, I had a job where I was on my feet 40+ hours a week and I had developed a really bad ingrown toenail. I tried to remove it myself but when that failed, I tried to just tough it out. Eventually, it started to turn purple, so I finally (and begrudgingly) went to the doctor. I live in the US and I didn’t have health insurance, so a podiatrist visit to remove the ingrown toenail cost me $1,300 out of pocket, which was difficult for a teenager making barely above minimum wage.
I told the doctor this and he still chastised me. He told me, “You know, it’s weird to see a teenage girl with a toe like this. It’s usually my male patients that decide to neglect their health to this extent”. I value my health deeply but had to save for months for treatment, so I was LIVID.
15. Biological Clock
I was 32 when I was pregnant with my kid. It was a horrible pregnancy. I spent most of it dehydrated from throwing up so much. I ended up in the hospital several times with fluids being IV’d into me. I also developed gestational diabetes and had to give myself insulin injections, but I ended up having some type of reaction to the insulin. I went into preterm labor, so they had me stop the injections.
I have had multiple fibroids which made having a C-section medically necessary at 38 weeks. I told my obstetrician multiple times during my pregnancy that I wanted no other children, and that I wanted to have a hysterectomy. She advised me against it, saying: “You might decide you want more kids”. I was then told for YEARS after that they would keep an eye on my fibroids.
Well, now 20 years later, it’s too late. They are “too large” and it is impossible for me to have a hysterectomy done laparoscopically. It would have to be an open abdomen procedure, which has more risks, and a much longer recovery time. I am also now more prone to blood clots and I have to be on blood thinners. If they had just taken MY request on what I wanted to be done to MY BODY when I first requested it, things would be so much better for me now.
16. Lost In Translation
This one time, I saw a Nigerian doctor with a thick accent. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I told him I thought I broke my ribs because I was in crippling pain and I couldn’t breathe. Even telling him that was excruciating. He poked it and said something under his breath. I was like, “What was that”?He poked it again and said something else.
Again, I was like, “I’m sorry, what”? He then grabbed my ribs with both hands, squeezed super hard, and angrily screamed: “DOES THAT HURT”??? I was like, “Yes, of course. I already told you I thought they were broken”. He just threw his hands up in the air, handed me an appointment card for an X-ray the next day, and stormed out. He was mad as if I was being a jerk.
17. Rate My Doctor
Before bandaging up my hand after a carpal tunnel operation, he asked me to test my motor skills by picking up my phone and then opening the camera app. I couldn’t believe what he did next. Without warning, he whipped out a QR code and asked me to leave him a review on Google and TripAdvisor as it was the first time he’d ever done that surgery.
I’m in the UK, but it was a private surgery. What he did would 100% not happen in an NHS hospital apart from maybe a patient survey. I think there might be a “Rate my Doctor” website too. Anyway, I ended up just photographing the QR code and writing the review in my own time. I may need my elbow done, and I will definitely ask for the same guy.
He was genuinely good at his job, and while I was on the table, he was showing me everything he was doing, from the tendons to the nerves.
18. Quack Doctor
I went to a chiropractor because I had migraines and one of the first things he asked me was if I was vaccinated. I said yes and he sighed. He told me that’s why I was feeling sick. He went on to tell me that vaccines are dangerous and he only vaccinated his kids because he didn’t want to homeschool them. Makes tons of sense, right?
19. Waste Of Time
After standing in the hallway outside the room, loudly talking about football with someone else for over 15 minutes, the doctor walked into my room and told me he did not have time to address my health concerns. Instead, he said he would refer me to a specialist if I wanted. Then he just left. I spent less than three minutes in the room.
I reported him to the medical group he was a part of and requested a change of physician with my insurance company that same day. I don’t know what happened to him, but If he made a habit of doing that to other patients, I hope he was fired.
20. Way Off Topic
As a teenager, I went to a doctor for a sore throat. I had symptoms that made me suspect I had it. Anyway, as he was examining my throat, he started asking me strange questions. For instance, if I had regular periods or not. I’m not sure what that had to do with a sore throat, but I replied anyway: “Yes, I get one every month. They average about every 24 days”.
When I used the word “average”, he thought my periods were indeed irregular. He then said to me, “You will never be able to have children”. I really wanted to say, “Okay doc, now that you’ve given me a totally irrelevant diagnosis, are you going to look up my backside to see if I have strep throat”?
21. Fight Response
When I was in my first trimester, I gained three pounds (I was 110 pounds before I got pregnant). At the obstetrics clinic, when you’re pregnant, you have to meet each doctor in case your primary isn’t on call when you go into labor. The midwife I met with told me if that I gained any more weight, both the baby and I would be unhealthy for the rest of our lives. Fast forward to me going into labor. Three guesses on who was on call?
Yup, it was that midwife. She came in to examine me and she said, “Wow, you’re so puffy, how much weight did you gain exactly”? My husband held me down so I wouldn’t attack her after I told her to get out of my room and the nurse who was also in the room with us went white as a ghost.
22. Doctor’s Orders
A couple of years ago, I switched doctors. I’ve had a regular Adderall prescription for years since I was diagnosed with ADHD. We were discussing how much I take, and he seemed concerned that I was taking 30 mg a day. I told him my Adderall prescription was MEANT to be for everyday use because I need it almost every day, to which he responded: “Yeah, but it’s good to take mini vacations from it”.
I told him that I don’t take it on days I don’t absolutely need it, but I’m a full-time student and my health is a concern when it comes to re-establishing tolerance after these “vacations”. My last doctor and I established over years of visits that it was better for me not to go too long without taking it because my weight drops like a rock when I don’t eat.
If I haven’t taken it in a couple of days, it destroys my appetite for the next few days. It’s a struggle to force feed myself just to not lose too much weight when I’m already very, very skinny. He raised his voice and blew up at me, saying: “Then you’re not going to keep taking it if you aren’t going to take it how I tell you to”. I barely knew how to respond.
My face must’ve been bright red because it was just like how my dad used to scream at me.
23. Don’t Try Me
A few years ago, my wife had an infection that led to sepsis. Thankfully, it was caught early and she recovered in time. In the middle of all that scare, the surgeon said he needed her medical records but her primary care doctor’s office wasn’t responding. So I called to arrange to pick them up myself, but the doctor told me that I needed an appointment.
I said, “No, I don’t think you understand, I’m not the one who’s sick”. They replied, “Yes, but we require an appointment for you to pick up her records. “You mean an actual billable appointment where you bill the insurance company and charge me a co-pay, even though there is no examination or illness and I don’t need to be seen”?
The receptionist’s said yes, in a firm and unaffected tone. “So you’re engaging in what sounds to me like extortion and insurance fraud. I’ll stop by and the records had better be there, with no appointment. If they aren’t, I’m calling the Attorney General’s office”. “And while I’m at it, I’ve noticed that your hiring practices are interesting. You only employ women and only white ones at that. I’m sure the state would take an interest in that as well”.
I got her medical records in five minutes.
24. Money Is The Motive
Not to me, but to my sister. Our family doctor told her, “Make sure you never go to a walk-in clinic, even if you have to wait to get an appointment with me. If you need medication, I won’t make any money off the prescription”. My sister also went in once because she was wheezing (she’s prone to bronchitis), and our doctor refused to even listen to her lungs. He simply told her, “You’re lying, you just want a doctor’s note to skip your classes”.
I could hear my sister breathing from another room in our house. The doctor only gave in when my sister threatened to go to urgent care since he was refusing to care for her. The doctor’s response was literally blood-boiling: “Oh. You really do have bronchitis”. No apology. It’s so hard to find family doctors around here, so we haven’t switched yet, unfortunately.
25. Lucky To Be Alive
In 2017, I had to have major reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder and bicep. They had to reattach the bicep, a complete rotator cuff tear, and two labrum tears. The surgery took 3.5 hours on a Wednesday. The proceeding Friday, I didn’t feel right…Something in my body told me to go to the ER. My dad had to drive me since my right arm was slung with a pillow, completely immobilized.
By the time I hit the ER, I was having labored breathing. They took me back and my oxygen kept falling to 89/90, so they put me on oxygen. They did a ton of tests: CT scans, bloodwork, all sorts of stuff. But they still couldn’t figure it out. At that point, I was wiped out, barely coherent, and labored. The cardiologist was like, “Do you have panic attacks? Are you in a lot of pain from the surgery”?
He was very dismissive and he ended up writing me off as a hypochondriac. My oxygen couldn’t stay above 90 without an oxygen mask but he still wanted to discharge me. Thankfully, some internal medicine doctor was like, “No, stay. We don’t know what’s wrong, but you are definitely dealing with something. I’m going to admit you”. So boom…after spending seven hours in the ER, I was admitted to a room on the upstairs floor.
The next morning, they finally conducted an echocardiogram and the tech was like, “Huh…Okay, let me make a quick call”. It turned out I had pericarditis…which is when fluid leaks around the heart and causes inflammation. At the end of my first day in the hospital, they discharged me and I was feeling a lot better. I spent four months on meds and antibiotics, though I felt super weak for the first three weeks after the discharge.
If I had been sent home, I probably wouldn’t have made it.
26. The Foot Fiasco
My husband had his feet injured in a work accident, and one of them was in a boot for a while. He could hardly walk. At the follow-up appointment, the doctor said he shouldn’t be wearing the boot anymore since it was “overkill,” and that my husband could return to work the next day. My husband told him he was still having a lot of pain in his foot, so the doctor had an X-ray done of just his big toe and said the fracture was fine.
I told the doctor that I didn’t think he was ready to return to work, as he could still barely walk and he would have to wear boots for work that he could hardly even get on due to the swelling that was still there. He laughed and said that I “just like having him at home,” and released him back to work. My husband toughed it out and he almost couldn’t get the boot back off because his foot swelled even more, obviously.
I had him go to a different hospital the next day and the ortho team took X-rays of his whole foot this time. They found two other fractures that the first doctor never found. But yes, I just liked having my husband home.
27. Monster, MD
Four years ago, I had what I thought was just a sore throat, so of course, I tried to self-medicate and basically just manage my symptoms. However, it didn’t go away as a sore throat should—I had to miss over a week of work, and it just kept getting worse and worse. I finally visited the clinic (we had company-provided medical insurance that allowed us to go to their clinic for consultations) and I met with the ENT doctor.
Normally, I wouldn’t take verbal abuse (veiled or otherwise) sitting down, but I was really sick and hadn’t eaten anything properly before that. She then proceeded to lecture me about how it was unhealthy habits that led to my tonsillitis, which is what she diagnosed me with. But after the usual “not enough water intake” spiel, she began hinting about how a certain act in the bedroom could also lead to throat diseases…
So basically, she was just there trying to get me to admit that I engaged in such an activity. And she was becoming increasingly annoyed because I refused to answer her. I was just sitting there too stunned to speak because how the heck do you even respond to a question like that, especially when there’s nothing to admit? I tried changing the topic and asked if I could get a hospital admission referral. That’s when she exploded on me.
She asked me if that was the only reason why I went for a consultation. Looking back, I wish I put it all in the feedback form, but I really was just stunned by the experience. I don’t even remember getting out of the building and going home. I changed our medical insurance provider the following year. I still feel angry and humiliated by this memory, that monster.
28. Wrong Answer
I was probably 13 or 14 at the time. I was having horrible, sharp pains in the side of my hip, like a grinding almost. I put up with it for a few days, but eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. Walking was painful and I was keeled over most of the time, so my mom finally decided that I needed to go to the ER. I was there for like five hours while they ran tests trying to see what was wrong.
One of the nurses’ bedside manners wasn’t very good and she kept saying it was my appendix even though the pain was on the wrong side. The male doctor finally came in after all the tests and he said they didn’t find anything. He assumed the pain was just from my period, but it wasn’t even my time of the month. I knew what cramps felt like and that was not what I was experiencing at all.
My mom got upset at the doctor and we just left after that. The pain went away after another few days and I never found out what was wrong with me. I do have a feeling that it was an ovarian cyst though…
29. Fake Science
A relative of mine started to notice dark spots appearing on her skin. The doctor told her she had type 2 diabetes, which didn’t seem quite right, but the relative in question did have a sweet tooth at the time. Instead of actually prescribing her anything though, the doctor ended up trying to push a pseudo-science treatment onto her; stuff like healing rocks and other such nonsense.
Turns out, the doctor had invested a great deal into a pseudo-medical company and was leaving his current practice soon. Needless to say, my relative was not convinced of his medical advice at all, and she got a second opinion from another doctor who actually treated her ailment. In the end, she in no way had diabetes of any sort.
Several years later, I still think about that experience whenever I deal with any kind of medical practitioner. It’s led me to be much less trusting and to take it upon myself to research symptoms and issues. Doctors are just people with a lot of education, which does not make them any less or more likely to be slack, or even malicious with their practice if they are focused enough on greed.
30. Eye See How It Is…
I visited an eye doctor once due to some issues I was having with my contact lenses. I was asked if I slept with them in my eyes and I thought he meant sleeping overnight with them or keeping them in for extended periods of time. I responded no because I never did that, and then she asked me if I took naps with them in. I responded yes because I’d take half-hour naps on occasion with my contacts in.
The doctor’s response irritated me. “So you do sleep with them in… That means you’re lying to me”. I was 15 and it felt very demeaning; almost like a “gotcha” moment for no reason. My mom was there since she took me to the appointment. I looked at her and she was not at all happy. I apologized for the confusion, finished the exam to get a diagnosis, and we left.
I told my mom I never wanted to go back there. She said I wouldn’t, and I never have.
31. Shame On You
My physician had recently divorced so she was very bitter. She also lost a lot of weight after the legal proceedings. I’d been seeing her for some time and at one point, I told her I was ready to make some changes with respect to my weight gain after having my son. While discussing weight loss plans, she tried over and over to get me on phentermine, since apparently, that’s what she had taken.
After researching and discussing with my husband in-depth, I explained I wanted to stick to exercise and nutrition. Multiple times we had this conversation. Finally, at my last appointment with her, she said in a huff: “Well, I just hope your husband doesn’t divorce you before you figure out I’m right”. That was my last appointment with her.
I immediately found a new doctor and blocked her as she kept trying to contact me.
32. Two-Minute Exam
I had a case of “infected sweat glands” or Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) under each armpit and my groinal area. My doctor got me an appointment with a dermatologist who specialized in treating that condition. I walked in and he never even got up to examine me. He looked at me for just a second and literally said, “You’re too fat and don’t bathe enough. Come back in eight months after you clean yourself properly and lose some weight”.
He then sent me away. I must have been in that room for less than two minutes. My doctor was livid. He couldn’t get me another appointment for eight months, and by that time, the infection had gotten so, so bad. The infection was destroying my skin and it had already traveled under my muscle tissue. The next specialist I saw actually examined me and said there was nothing she could do as it had spread too much.
I needed plastic surgery to cut out the infection and fix things. The second specialist was appalled at what the first one said and did. She actually reported him to the medical board, but I don’t know what happened after that. It took me over 10 bloody years to have all the operations, and I still have to have more to fix the post-operative issues I have from them.
I am practically housebound, as I can’t move about due to the pain. I’m also on benefits and putting on weight because I can’t exercise. Now my doctor is finding it neigh on impossible to get the now seven specialists that I need, from different fields, to sort me out. At this rate, I will be like this forever.
33. What A Jerk
“I mean, yesk you are slightly overweight, but not overweight enough to have endometriosis. You can’t have endo without being morbidly obese”. Um, what? 15 years later, I am still stumped. By the way, this was after I had a laparoscopy to confirm my gynecologist’s suspicion that I had endo. This idiot doctor literally looked at the notes about my laparoscopy and said that the surgeon was wrong because I wasn’t morbidly obese.
And no, my appointment had nothing to do with my weight or my endo. It was just a review of my medical history for a first-time visit about something entirely unrelated. That was the first and only time I saw that jerk.
34. It’s You, Not Me
Between the second and third sessions with a shrink, my sister passed and I found out our awful mother who nobody had spoken to in 20 years was back to claim my sister’s estate. This was right after I had nearly bankrupted myself taking care of her for two years. I sent a bunch of panicked emails because I was crawling out of my skin and I felt like something was really wrong.
It turned out that all the stuff I had thought was just psychosomatic was actually undiagnosed kidney disease). She replied by email saying something like: “I can no longer offer you compassionate care. You need to see an addiction specialist”. I replied that I was not taking any medications outside of a doctor’s supervision and she just gave me links to doctors…not even a handoff, just their publicly listed contact information.
I’ve thought about it a lot and I can’t decide if she thought I was making it all up, or if she thought I was high on meds and hallucinating it, or if she just didn’t want a complicated patient. The worst thing is she seemed well qualified and even teaches at Columbia. I was optimistic…hopefully, she at least preaches better care. I still think about filing a formal complaint somewhere.
This was in the middle of a three-year period where everything just kept going wrong in my life, and I felt like death all the time. I went from 150 lbs to 220 lbs because a sugar coma was the closest thing I could get to achieving calm or sleep. I barely even noticed the weight gain. I would wake up every two hours with my heart racing at 110 bpm…I’m honestly surprised I survived.
35. The Biggest Scam
During a physical, I messed up. I told the doctor the truth about a slight allergy I have. The doctor tried to sell me an EpiPen, but I told him I couldn’t afford it without insurance. He then told me he couldn’t sign off on the physical that I needed to get a job (since I had been unemployed for 12 months) because he wasn’t going to “sign off and send me on my way” just to never see me again.
Finally, I told him I would capitulate and buy the EpiPen (for $500, which is one month’s rent). The worst part about this is that he was on his high horse about medical ethics. I was just worried because I couldn’t afford the medicine. Eventually, I talked him down and he signed off on the physical. He never even put his hands on me. He didn’t take my blood pressure and he didn’t feel for lymph nodes or a hernia.
I wasn’t even concerned about the few issues on my chart that hadn’t been corrected because I couldn’t afford the surgeries to fix them anyway. I suspect he was worried about his medical license and he didn’t want to leave himself vulnerable to a malpractice lawsuit if I passed of anaphylactic shock or something. I hate medicine. I hate the industry. I hate insurance. It’s all just a scam.
36. Power Trip
I have had chronic pelvic and bladder pain for over 20 years. A male gynecologist said to me, “I don’t want to see you here again until your pains are so bad that you are unable to walk”. He then told me I only required paracetamol for pain relief as he couldn’t find anything wrong with me. It took 18 years for me to discover that he believed my pain was due to trauma from my mental illnesses.
He was so highly regarded that every specialist I saw at other practices sided with him. Sadly, I never knew he thought my pain was due to mental health problems as no one ever told me. I was doubled over in pain for years and it made parenting my daughter even more difficult than it was. I will never get that time back and I still struggle to find a doctor who is willing to treat me.
The same gynecologist attempted a laparoscopic procedure on me but he couldn’t proceed as the camera showed too much scarring in my pelvic area. As the camera was unable to see my organs behind the scarring, no one would consider the operation due to the risk of causing a perforation, even though that operation is the only way to cure me. I’m now on heavy pain relief and every day I worry about what’s going on inside my body.
They suspect endometriosis but since they can’t properly diagnose my condition through laparoscopic surgery, I’m still left untreated. If I wasn’t discriminated against for my mental illnesses, I may have received the care I deserve. Now, I’m left to suffer while the rich doctor enjoys his retirement.
37. Passed Around
I was at the hospital for pain management after being diagnosed with a dying gallbladder. I was topped up with meds but still in pain because they made a mistake and gave me muscle relaxers. A random nurse came up to me and said, “Next time, you should use protection so a miscarriage doesn’t happen, sweetheart”. That same night, another doctor wrote “Munchausen’s” on my chart despite the results showing my body was shutting down. I had to threaten legal action to have him take it off.
Later on, I went to a therapist to discuss the trauma I developed from that health scare. Despite the medical evidence of my body shutting down, multiple psychologists testified that I had a healthy mental relationship with food, as well as diagnoses of debilitating IBS and GERD. She told me to eat the foods that hurt the most to “overcome the mental barrier” preventing me from eating.
It landed me in the ER a week later and caused bleeding in my lower esophagus. I fired her after telling her how badly her advice messed me up. The crazy part is I was only 16 years old when this all happened. I nearly passed and I’m disabled now. Rural towns suck.
38. Gill Girl
I was given two different pills for gout by a walk-in clinic doctor because my family doctor was out of town. But I started to get really, really sick a few days after taking the pills. I pushed through it for another couple of days, hoping that the horrible swelling and pain in my foot would go down. I finally got so sick that my mother dragged me to see my family doctor when he had gotten back to town.
He took one look at my prescriptions and flipped out. Apparently, I was going through the early stages of organ failure because the two pills I was given should never be taken together. The same walk-in doctor once told me that the reason my throat was so swollen (when I went in for a cold) was because when I was a baby and my “gills” never grew over completely.
My friends went on to call me “Gill Girl” for a month.
39. Thanks For Nothing
I tripped on my birthday and broke my hand. My left hand hurt the entire time that my right hand was healing, and I thought maybe I had messed it up too. I finally went to prompt care about two months after breaking my right hand to have them X-ray the left and I discovered that I indeed broke two bones. I had a fifth metacarpal base fracture along with a fracture in my wrist.
I don’t have health insurance, but I am signed up for it and I’m currently receiving charity from the hospital group I’ve gone to since I was born. The male nurse at the prompt care said to me: “Well, it looks like you actually aren’t faking the pain. There are two healing fractures on that left hand. We could splint you, but it’ll cost us $80 for a splint. So I printed out a link to a splint you can buy off Amazon”.
Whilst he handed me the papers for the splint, he added: “But if you can’t afford that, you’ll be fine with some duct tape”! And walked out of the room. I’ll throat punch that guy if I ever see him in public.
40. The Dental Fairy
I went to see a doctor about this weird swelling in my face. He looked at it, told me it was a dental issue, and referred me to a dentist. I have my own dentist, who’s this manic little Korean man who was actually experiencing a blackout at the time of my visit. He somehow managed to get me an X-ray through the use of generators, hand-cranks, frantic yelling, and voodoo sacrifice. My teeth were fine! But there was a horrible mass in the fatty tissue of my cheek.
Visions of cancer began dancing in my head, so I went back to the doctor, relayed my information, and waited for the sweet release of a needle in my cheek. The doctor asked if I saw the guy he referred me to, and when I answered in the negative, he loudly decried the ineptitude of this wonderful dental fairy he’s never met. He still thought it was a dental issue at that point, and he wouldn’t draw from my cheek until I saw his guy.
I thanked him, left, and began shopping for a second opinion. Over the intervening period, my cheek grew from “worrying and slightly noticeable” to “plague victim”. The mass was now pressing into my mouth and sinus. I said screw it and went to the ER. Fluid was drawn, and oh, look, I had cellulitis. Antibiotics were given, and I sat in the dark until I was capable of facing the world without wearing a leper mask.
I haven’t seen that doctor since, but I do have an appointment with the dental fairy in two weeks.
41. Mental Challenges
“Your bipolar disorder isn’t real. You’re just not very good at dealing with life”. For the record, I have severe type I bipolar disorder with mixed features and a history of psychosis along with generalized anxiety and self-harm ideation. There’s a ridiculously strong family history of bipolar disorder on my mother’s side—she has it along with her sister and their mother, and my great-grandfather passed in a mental hospital in the ’50s.
Also, six separate psychiatrists have independently given me the same diagnosis, two of which were in-patient doctors who I saw during various psychiatric hospital stays. I should also point out that I’m not bad at life. I’m what my psychiatrists and therapist call “high functioning” (for lack of a better word). I’m a successful research scientist with a Ph.D. that I earned at 24 years old.
I work as a senior researcher, leading my own department at a big R1 university. I’ve trained several Ph.D. and M.S. students and I currently supervise six permanent staff. I have published over 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters, and I’ve secured over $6 million in grants, all before the age of 40. I also have a beautiful, wonderful, and hugely supportive wife with whom I have an equally wonderful daughter, and I absolutely adore them both.
I’m not bragging so much as just demonstrating that I don’t suck at life. I just have a really broken brain.
42. On A Scale Of 1 to Dead…
I had an ear infection once and I managed to perforate my eardrum. I went to the doctor and when he had a look in my ear, he decided that the eardrum would likely heal by itself (which, to be fair, it did). He also said he’d give me antibiotics to help with the infection. Then, he turned to me and said, “Now I can see from your medical record that you’re allergic to Amoxicillin, however, I want to prescribe it to you anyway. Just how allergic are you”?
After a few moments to recover from the shock of my primary care physician apparently wanting to cause me to have an allergic reaction, my deadpan “Allergic enough…” seemed to make him reconsider. He prescribed me Erythromycin instead, which funnily enough worked perfectly and did not cause an allergic reaction!
43. Shared Incompetence
One day in the middle of the night, my wife woke me up and said she was having really bad pain in her stomach. I took her to the hospital and just as we got there, her symptoms started to go down. The doctor told her, after minimal examination, that she had acid reflux. The same symptoms kept happening over and over, and she talked to different doctors about it.
They put her on antacids and things like that, but nothing was helping. The doctors just said that having intense, overwhelming pain in her stomach a few times a month that was relieved by vomiting was apparently how acid reflux worked. They advised her to stop drinking and also asked her if she was sure she wasn’t pregnant. Well, she literally never drinks, and she definitely wasn’t pregnant.
Several months later, the frequency of her episodes increased from once or twice a month to once or twice a week. She told me we needed to go to the hospital again, so we did. While they were checking her in, one of the doctors told me they’d run a few tests, but they were pretty sure it was just acid reflux. I told him adamantly that I believed that was not the case.
I’m not sure if my seriousness got them to do more tests, but they eventually realized that… surprise! It was not acid reflux…it was something much worse. Instead, it was gall stones that were getting stuck in the duct between her gall bladder and her pancreas, causing her pancreas to swell which was potentially fatal. Fortunately, at that point, they actually did something; but man, was that infuriating to go through.
Watching her experience it, it was clear that what she was going through was pretty serious, but as soon as doctors heard acid reflux, they just immediately tuned her out and said, “NO DRINKS, STOP CONSUMING ANY FAT IN YOUR FOODS”! Even though she got the surgery to get her gall bladder removed, I asked the doctors if they thought it would stop the symptoms that caused her to come to the hospital in the first place. They all said no (but the symptoms did return).
44. Loner Problems
“Don’t you have friends to talk about that”? The doctor said that to me after I requested a therapist. In Germany, I think you can get up to three therapist appointments a year covered by insurance, but you need a general doctor to prescribe them to you. I was once in a tough spot family-wise—my mom has a mental disorder and she trashed the relationship she had with me and my little brother completely.
I was 19 and in the middle of paying a loan to buy off a house from my dad (so that it wouldn’t go to my mom if he passed), and there were several parties with their own interests involved trying to influence me. Then my dad fell off a ladder and injured his head. He survived but at that time, I didn’t know if he’d ever be the same again. Plus, I was the only adult with whom my brother (who was 11 at the time) had a relationship.
So after I told the general doctor (and her intern who she just took with her) all of this, she asked me if I really needed an appointment…
45. Seed Of Doubt
After I had my son, I went to my family physician and broke down in tears, saying that I was having flashbacks from his birth and panic attacks. I told her I wasn’t coping and that I was starting to have bad thoughts. Her response? “You should feel lucky that you have a healthy baby. Some women don’t. You’ll get over it”. Well, I didn’t, and it took me another year to finally get help.
I still suffer from depression and anxiety now, nearly eight years later; although I am doing much better these days. It took me a lot to go and ask for help and she just put it in my head that I was an ungrateful person.
46. The Tums Solution
I was having anxiety attacks, but I thought it was the stomach issues I was having at the time that were causing chest pains. I was advised to see a doctor as a follow-up to an ER visit. I was looking for a new doctor and went to this one place. I waited two and a half hours in a crowded waiting room, with kids screaming the entire time. I saw this doctor as she waddled in, looks at me and we talk.
Her advice? Take Tums. Forever. I asked if there was any other avenue to take, or if she could at least conduct more testing, and she said no. Just take Tums. Forever. She must have stock in their parent company.
47. An Extremely Close Call
I suffered a bladder rupture after an accident I was in. I had a relatively full bladder at the time and I was in extreme pain; the worst pain I’d ever experienced in my entire life. I was literally seeing shooting white lines in my eyes, and I nearly blacked out a few times. The ER doctor who looked at me said I was crazy for thinking something was wrong with my bladder because ruptures in the bladder were “impossible”.
He said, “Sometimes what we think is a BIG pain is actually caused by a SMALL problem, honey, and you probably just have a little gas”. He had me released immediately and I had to make my way home by myself. I lived about a half mile away and it was 3 am, but since I couldn’t get ahold of anyone at the time to drive me, I walked. I laid in bed for 14 hours, trembling in excruciating pain, and vomited numerous times.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I passed out several times, and eventually, I called 9-1-1 again. They had to break down my front door because I couldn’t move. I nearly passed that day and despite seeing the same doctor later (after a different doctor had confirmed my bladder had indeed ruptured, which in turn caused a ton of other horrible problems), he insisted his initial diagnosis was correct and that I must have somehow ruptured my bladder after I left.
“Big pain, small problem”.
48. Just Plain Useless
My wife had a placental shift when she was seven months pregnant. At 3 am one morning, there was blood everywhere. I put her into the truck and drove as fast as I could to the local hospital. This was in northern rural Thailand. The “doctor ” looked about 16 years old. He messed around with an ultrasound machine for a couple of minutes before telling my wife: “Yeah, sorry, the baby’s gone”.
I put my wife in a wheelchair, took her to the truck, and sped to the nearest international hospital in Udon Thani about two hours away where real doctors stabilized her. My son is now 10 and playing Minecraft.
49. Out Of Left Field
My wife has a collection of auto-immune diseases. She had a lot of pain that they couldn’t account for. Eventually, she saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed her with fibromyalgia as well. During the course of that appointment, my discussion with him went to the topic of genetics and what the various studies said about the likelihood of her diseases being passed on to our children.
As the doctor was leaving the office at the end of the appointment, he stopped halfway out the door, turned to us, and said: “I bet you wish you knew her genetics before you married her, huh”? I’ve never before or since been literally speechless like I was in that moment. I hope he knows how the reputations of doctors get spread amongst support groups.
My wife told everyone what he said! And for the record, no I don’t wish I knew! I wouldn’t deserve my man card if that made any lick of difference to me. I vowed “for all time and eternity,” which certainly includes chronic illness.
50. A Fatal Mistake
Not one, but two doctors said to my dad: “You’re too young to have prostate cancer. No need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem”. He passed 15 months later from an aggressive cancer that spread throughout his entire body and created a network of tumors.
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