Medical Professionals From Around The World Share Stories Of Their Dumbest Patients

Medical Professionals From Around The World Share Stories Of Their Dumbest Patients

Medical professionals are highly trained people who swear sacred oaths to do no harm and help all people in distress. But as any doctor, nurse, dentist, or specialist will tell you, there's only so much you can do to help your patients. After all, how are you supposed to protect them from themselves?

These medical professionals decided to share stories of their all-time dumbest patients in order to remind us how important it is to listen to experts who are trying to help you.

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40. I’m sure somehow it was the dog’s fault, too?

Guy is trespassing in a junkyard and gets his arms and legs chewed up by a dog. Have to clean out all these wounds.

Flash-forward to 3 a.m. that night, when I get called in to do a case .

Apparently the guy left the hospital to go get revenge on the dog, and the dog bit him in the face, breaking some facial bones and poking a few more holes in the process.



39. I can see the logic here

I was speaking with a non-controlled diabetic patient about her sugar intake and she said she drinks a 32 oz soda everyday. So I ask her if it's regular or diet and she replies with: "It's half-regular. I let the ice melt first so there isn't as much sugar in it." Sorry but that isn't how it works.


38. “You changed the oil in my car and then the wheel fell off!”

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 machine gives you glaucoma and we weren't going to pull that on him.

He told us his father got an exam and had glaucoma after using that machine. His uncle and brother also had no signs of glaucoma, and 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 genius just told me he has a very strong familial disposition to glaucoma, and refused to be tested for it.

Also, puff isn't that bad guys. Try contacts, your eyes stop fighting back pretty quick. The puff is a lot better than the old machine - it just hit you on the eyeball with a little ball on a lever.

I also have plenty of patients that don't understand family history. I interview patients directly so we don't have any real paperwork, and too many people can't answer simple questions.

"Do you or any of your direct family members have diabetes?"


...Yourself or your family?

Alternately, if yes to family members, they start listing their spouse's family or step children. Not how genetic disposition works.

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37. I shouldn’t have to say this, but Facebook is not a reputable source

Pediatric RN. Had a patient with severe status asthmaticus (continual asthma attacks), admitted as an inpatient. A standard treatment for this is albuterol (among other meds, like racemic epinephrine), delivered by a face mask. The face mask is important to actually get the medicine to the patient - otherwise the patient will get next to no medication and it’s a useless treatment.

Typically kids HATE the face mask, struggle and cry, and the parents/staff have to hold their arms and legs to keep them from fighting it. These parents refused the albuterol treatment, which would help their child breathe and not die, because the kid cried with the face mask on. Patient ended up okay to the extent of my knowledge, but I was floating at the time so I never saw them again. I do know the physician eventually went against facility protocol and allowed respiratory therapy to do blow by, which means they hold the albuterol a few inches from their face and hope that they get the medicine. They figured at least they get some medication, however small of an amount, rather than nothing.

Had another situation in the neonatal intensive care unit in which parents were refusing a blood transfusion their baby desperately needed to live. I watched the physician flat out tell them she would take emergency custody of the baby and give the transfusion anyways (which physicians are absolutely allowed to do, at least in GA, if they believe a child will die without the necessary). The parents agreed after that.

Of course the families were always educated about the consequences of their decisions, risks and benefits, etc. Sometimes it’s totally useless because apparently Facebook is more reputable than my degree and the degree of the physician. It can be infuriating.

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36. You can’t survive on goat milk

We had an elderly woman with severe malnutrition. Her hippie daughter wanted us to only give her raw, unpasteurized goat milk. We did everything we could to convince her that her mother wasn't getting enough nutrition. That included allowing her to bring in the raw, unpasteurized goat milk that we would supplement with the FDA approved formula we wanted to give her mother through the feeding tube. We finally had to become pretty blunt with the daughter and let her know that her mother was going to die due to malnutrition because of her unique views on what constitutes a proper diet.

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35. Kids are hard, guys

I'm a pediatric dental hygienist and it’s a minefield for people who think the are very smart but really have no clue.

"But why does my child have 17 cavities? We don't drink soda or eat processed sugars, all we drink is organic juice and eat those real fruit gummies!" 

"Well, fruit has a lot of sugar in it..." 


"Right, there's no additional sugar added, but there's already a lot in there naturally..." 

"Oh and we're an all natural household so we don't use fluoride toothpaste. And we don't floss because the material the floss is made out of is toxic. oh and a lot of times we don't brush their teeth before bed because we're too tired..." 

My favorite excuse for not flossing their child's teeth is, "DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FLOSS A KID'S TEETH?" I mean, I'm a pediatric dental hygienist, so... yeah?

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34. Children are basically dogs that learn to speak, right?

My friend who is a doctor on the children's ward in a rural hospital told me this. These parents bring in their child whose hair is infested with lice. The lice were visible to the naked eye and could be seen crawling on the child's clothing. While the medical staff examined the child, in order to determine a course of action, they discovered 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 fact, it was Sevin Powder and flea and tick spray they used on their dogs on the family's farm. Needless to say, social workers were notified about this case.

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33. This is like an episode of House

I'm a 4th year med student seeing patients on clinical rotations. A patient comes in with a laundry list of chronic conditions he suffers from -- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. Guy is wearing over-the-counter braces on all of his fingers and both thumbs, as well as both wrists, forearms, knees, and shins because of a rare bone disorder he has that I've never heard of.

"Well that doesn't surprise me," he says. "Doctors go to med school to learn how to prescribe drugs and make money, not heal people." Okay.

Patient tells me that he suffers from a rare disease that I've probably never even heard of called myalgic encephalomyelitis. True, I've never heard of it. Again: "That's because doctors don't care about educating themselves about illness and healing, they just care about giving patients drugs and getting money from big pharma." Okay, I don't have a vested interest in this patient thinking I'm smart, so it doesn't really get to me.

He continues "educating" me throughout the appointment, and I just make conversation with him. The third time he tells me about how all doctors just go to med school so they can put all their patients on drugs, I just say, "Lucky for you, pharmacology was my weakest subject!" That actually gets a laugh out of him, and I listen to his explanations of all of his rare diseases and disorders. Appointment ends, and he leaves.

I look up myalgic encephalomyelitis. It's the British term for chronic fatigue syndrome, which the patient also had. He has a weekly standing appointment with my predecessor, which is the only thing that keeps him from visiting the local ER every day, sometimes multiple times a day. His diagnosis is Illness Anxiety Disorder, although he would tell you it's 800 other things you've obviously never heard of. He swears that my preceptor is the only honest doctor in the country, because he basically just has him come in once a week and talk about all of his various illnesses for 20 minutes, after which the patent returns home feeling validated. The ER docs love my preceptor.

The patient is mentally ill, so I'm not insulted by him or anything, but you'd be surprised how many people come to the doctor to be treated for something, all the while telling the doctor how horrible they are and why all doctors are evil puppets of big pharma. It's like when I worked fast food and people would say "every time I come here you guys screw up," and I'd just think... Why do you keep coming back?!

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32. Drill baby, drill!

Was treating cavities on a very nervous 4-year-old. Had finally gotten into a cooperative groove when his genius mother looked up from her phone and noticed that I was drilling teeth (she was in the room the whole time - I had reviewed treatment with her, she knew we were fixing cavities). She proceeds to curse me out under her breath saying, "You're drilling holes in her teeth! This is ridiculous, you people are scammers making holes in people's teeth!"

I kept my calm and said, "Ma'am, if you have questions I will be happy to answer after I'm finished" I'm shaking with rage at this point because she was 20 minutes late to her appointment and I'm bending over backwards to make sure her kid has a good visit and doesn't end up scared of the dentist.

When the appointment is over, the kid jumps down, high fives me, and gives me a big hug. I turn to mom and ask her how exactly she thought cavities were fixed. She said, "You don't drill, my mother is a dental assistant." I then proceeded to explain in excruciating detail the scientific process of how we remove decay. She said, "That's not true." I then told her that she can go ask her mom, ask Google, or go to dental school if she wants to know more but I won't be treating her child anymore.


31. That’s not how this works

When I was a medical student, I did an overnight ambulance ride-along. It was a slow night, so I was excited when dispatch called about what sounded like a stroke or loss of consciousness. We zip over there, and the paramedic knocks on the door of a darkened house. A man opens the door - slowly - and says, "Oh, yes, she's in the back room." My sense of foreboding grew as we slowly made our way through the dim house, wondering what awful sight I would see back there.

Just before we get to the back room, the light flicks on and this spry elderly woman practically bounces out of the room, carrying her bag of meds, cheerily saying, "Oh good, hello gentlemen! Let's go to the dining room and I'll tell you what's been happening!"

She explains how she is on meds for high blood pressure, but instead of taking them as prescribed, she takes more or less depending on how she's feeling or something. Before bed she took her BP on her home automatic machine, and it was a little high, so she kept repeating it and the numbers kept going higher and higher. She thought she was going to stroke out so called 911.

Of course they were going up because she was freaking out about the previously high numbers, causing a vicious circle. Even though both I and the paramedic knew she was more than likely fine, neither of us were doctors and so had to take her to the hospital for assessment.

So yeah, either she didn't understand her meds and the machine properly, or she thought she was too smart to follow her doctor's instructions.



30. A little corny

A while back, I helped open an urgent care center for the first 2 years. When we opened the doors, one of our first customers was an adorable 85-year-old Asian lady who was really hard to understand but talked a lot. 

Anyway, this lady comes in for the first time complaining of a stomach pain. We attempted to diagnose her, but nothing added up for about 30 minutes to an hour of her talking. Finally she told us she just felt better. Okay! We don't really think anything of it until next week around the same time she shows up again with the same problem. And guess what the solution was? 

After about 45 minutes of listening to what she ate for dinner the last few nights, we eventually figured out corn was messing with her. But this never deterred her from coming in more. It eventually became a once-a-week occurrence, then a once-a-day thing, until we finally started becoming a busy urgent care and we couldn't really fit her inside our schedule. 

I swear this lady actually came in every day thinking she was on the verge of death, until we could convince her she was fine. In case you're wondering, I'm almost certain she's well over 90 now and still going.

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29. He may not have had Schisto, but he was certainly swimming in denial

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.”

The symptoms included bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and fever among other things. He insisted he had Schistosomiasis. He was being a real jerk about it like we’re wasting time since he already knew what he had.

So I asked when did he get back from Africa. And he said, “Africa? I’ve never been to Africa. What 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 or other rivers in developing countries like in Southeast Asia.

He got mad at me because he thought I was mocking him. He was seen and diagnosed with gastroenteritis (the stomach flu). The bloody stool? He had hemorrhoids.


28. Well, there’s your problem

Patient had a hard time getting pregnant. Finally conceived but miscarried. Patient has a D&C so she can try again, this time with medical intervention. We monitor her blood to ensure the pregnancy hormone is gone before beginning treatment. But she keeps coming back with high levels of hormone. Docs are worried because she might have some retained placenta or pituitary disorder and this could be super bad for future fertility.

We call her in for a conversation about the hormone levels not going away. After talking together about what might be wrong, they are going to go home and think about further tests. She says, "I need to go. I have an appointment at the weight-loss center for an HCG shot."

Turns out that she is on the HCG diet. HCG is the pregnancy hormone. And this was after an hour of the docs saying, "We don't know why you have these constant high levels of HCG in your blood and we are worried."


27. Brush your teeth, kids

I’m an OR nurse and I had an oral surgery patient who had a self reported history of 250+ various surgical procedures, a list of 20 some allergies, tons of reported health issues, plus her pre-teen son supposedly had dozens health issues as well. She refused to remove her glasses during induction, started screaming and crying about claustrophobia when we put the mask on her face. She also insisted on taking a stuffed animal to the OR.

Anyway, getting to the point. She was having oral surgery because she told us, insisted, that the last time she went to the dentist they told her not to brush her teeth for at least a year. So she hadn’t brushed her teeth in like a year and a half.

That was one for the books...


26. Don’t do this

One day in the pharmacy, a girl comes to the counter requesting a refill for her birth control. We pulled up her profile and realized we couldn't refill it because she just got a 28-day fill less than 2 weeks ago. When we asked what happened to the other one, she said she was out. Apparently, both she and her boyfriend were. taking a pill each. They were adamant that was how they needed to prevent pregnancy.

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25. This seems like borderline malpractice

I had a patient come in with unmistakable signs of BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), a condition where the salt crystals that fall on hair cells in your ears to tell you which way is down and which direction(s) you are accelerating in get stuck. When this happens, your ears and eyes disagree about your current position and acceleration and you get really dizzy.

She went to an urgent care where the doctor told her that she had BPPV. For treatment, he told her to go home, lay with her head hanging off the bed, and just let her husband (a retired accountant) shake her head around for five minutes.

Imagine being on the most intense rollercoaster you've ever been on, feeling like you're going to throw up, and then having someone who has no medical training shake your head around for five minutes. She spent the next two days throwing up before she could get in to see me.



24. Weird flex but okay

I'm a nurse who worked in the OR at a trauma center. Was doing surgery on a 19-year-old who tested positive for some illicit substances who was grilling the anesthesiologist about every drug we were going to use in surgery because he "doesn't like putting chemicals in his body."

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23. Very superstitious

I'm still just a medical student, but our hospital sees a lot of poor and poorly educated patients since we're a big tertiary hospital in a developing country. Worst I've seen so far are the old ladies who everyone in the family turns to for health advice, their only qualification being seniority. They usually have a bunch of superstitions that end up contributing to the patient's condition in the first place.

I once saw an infant brought to the ER for a really bad oral infection, and the mother clearly hadn't taken a bath since the delivery (it's a common superstition here that mothers shouldn't take a bath a week or so postpartum), so we figured that's the source of the infection. While we're assessing the patient, the doting grandmother in the background decides she has to comment on everything we're doing (remember she's probably the one who advised her daughter not to take a bath).

I just had to shut her down because it was late and people were running out of patience in our understaffed, under-equipped ER and they were more worried that pulse oximetry is hurting the baby's toes when there's freaking pus leaking out of the baby's very inflamed salivary glands. I mean, I get that infections like these are a disease of poverty, that their poor education is just indicative of a wider systemic problem that society fails to address time and again, but by golly does it get annoying.

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22. This is like lying to your dad about what your mom said

I work in physical therapy and often get expert patients who don't want to trust my judgment as a clinician. They are so certain their doctor gave them instructions that are far from what is clinically safe or recommended. Then when presented with a kind but stern response, they want to make it seem like I haven't been licensed for many years. 

At this point in my career, I've seen hundreds of hip and knee replacements and even have spoken to most of the big name orthopedic surgeons in my area. I know what I'm doing and I know what these surgeons expect of me during my physical therapy. If we don't get the right outcomes they will not send patients to us, so it's important that we know what we are doing to ensure job security. 

I had a patient last week that was giving my co worker a hard time over their weight bearing status, so I stepped in and told them that we have to follow the most recent doctor's orders regardless of any verbal orders a patient receives. If the doctor didn't transcribe an order, it's not valid. This patient was so sure of themselves, so I called the orthopedist on speaker to confirm the order. The orthopedist was very angry that they were lying to us and scolded the patient. Apparently they had been pressuring the doctor for increased weight bearing to progress their walking but the doctor had wanted to play it conservative and limit weight bearing for a few more days. It was pretty gratifying to watch the patient's reaction and see them scolded for lying. 

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21. Doctor in disguise

I am a dental student. One patient in particular is a pathological liar. During one visit, they claimed to have gone to medical school. Next visit they claimed they did dental. Last visit the story was that they had a PhD.

The patient will say things like, "Hey docm do you need me to move my head mesial or distal?" No. I need you to move your head right. "Hey doc, are these cavities being caused by the anaerobic pathology microbes?" No. They are cause by you eating snacks all day and not brushing.


20. But I read online that artificial sweeteners will give me cancer

I have had several arguments with diabetics about Coke/Koolaid/Sweet Tea vs drinks made with artificial sugar. I tell them, look, don't drink sugar. If you have to have something like that, use an artificial sweetener. "No way! That stuff is poison! It will kill me!" Ma'am, your A1c is 14. Sugar is already killing you.

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19. Sometimes you just have to use your common sense

I'm a doctor of pharmacy and sometimes it can confuse people that may think I'm a medical doctor. Anyway, this story happened a few weeks ago.

Had OB nurse call me to talk to a family about vitamin K shots. These are given to newborns to prevent hemorrhages and excess bleeding. Now there is some controversy regarding the practice of giving vitamin K and is kinda similar to the anti-vax movement. That's not why the parents were concerned; they read online the shot contains benzyl alcohol. Benzyl alcohol is not uncommon to have in some injections because it inhibits microbial growth to keep it sterile. It is very dangerous for newborns, and is never in injections meant for them. 

The parents didn't know that part. They were upset because they thought that the alcohol is equivalent to giving the baby a drink. The parents were in their 40's.

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18. Maybe the people who went to school for this know more than you

I was interning at the same hospital I graduated from. As a part of our internship program, I was posted in a small clinic that deals with minor medical issues which don't require any major investigations.

So one evening this guy walks in with a complaint of neck pain. After asking a few questions it was clear that he had slept in a weird position which was the cause of the pain. I tried to explain to him that the pain is temporary and there really is no need for him to take any medication. But the guy was adamant on getting a medication. So I prescribed a painkiller, and since this particular painkiller was known to cause gastritis, I also prescribed a drug called ranitidine as well.

This guy knew that rantac was something that doctors prescribe for stomach pain. And he had no idea what the other drug does. But once he saw that I have prescribed, rantac he threw the prescription literally on the floor and started to complain to the nurse that we  didn't know anything and that we have prescribed a medicine for stomach pain when his complaint was neck pain.

I turned to the nurse and just explained to her why I did what I did and once he heard that he silently took his prescription and walked away.

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17. What do you mean the thing I do every week is making it worse?

Over the summer, I was doing my orthopedic internship. Working with a female patient, early 60s, just moved into a senior living community but hated the label it gave her and liked being really active (bike riding, walking, golf, etc). She is at the clinic for a right meniscus tear, and is trying the conservative approach to avoid having to get surgery on her arthritic knee.

Now, I need to emphasize that this woman LOVED being active. Like, even during therapy, she would keep up her golfing, pickleball, etc. I would always remind her to not do so much to let the knee heal and to focus on her exercises, and to lay off those high-stress activities. No matter how much I told her to do less or stop altogether, she just continued to play. I couldn’t stop her, so instead of ruining my rapport with her, I just reminded her at every session we had.

Well one fine session comes along, she tells me her knee is hurting a bit extra (surprise surprise) after playing pickleball all weekend long. I told her once again to lay off those activities, and to avoid golfing tomorrow (she would golf on Tuesdays). Of course, she says no, then follows up with this: “Ya know, golfing takes the stress of the knee with how it moves during your swing. So it’s good I’m doing that.”

Except it doesn’t. Literally, three special tests used in examination to assess the presence of a meniscal tear mimic the motion done by the back leg in a golf stance. I just smile and say okay, while I’m internally screaming inside.

This was also during my last week of the internship, so when I saw her again later that week, I became a bit more adamant about her activity level and her condition. I handed her an article about meniscal tears and the involvement of the rotational aspect that can lead to further tears, told her that while I know that I can’t convince her to quit all her hobbies, that she has to stop most of them or she will never recover conservatively, and that she can absolutely replace it with a water aerobics class that her community runs.

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16. That's not how pacemakers work

Was working as a paramedic. We had break and decided to grab something to eat from the next supermarket we spot. As soon as we went in there, someone approached us and in my mind I was already like, "Oh no, more work I'm hungry."

The market manager approached us and told us an old lady fell on the floor. She was unconscious but has since come around. So we went into action mode, got our stuff from the car, took all measurements and asked her to come with us because her blood pressure was extremely low. The the old lady explained to us that she "has heart problems but doesn't want to go to her cardiologist because all he wanted to do was get her a pacemaker. Also pacemakers are evil things that do nothing and just make you bleed inside." We got kinda puzzled and asked her again to come with us to the hospital, but she refused.

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15. Puberty sucks

I had a 15-year-old girl come in with frequent headaches and stomach aches. Exam was completely normal as were all her labs. I told her mom, who was in the exam room, that it could be stress. These two symptoms with no physiological evidence were typical for individuals who are stressed out. Just a thought. 

The girl looked at me pleadingly when I said that, but the mom said, "What does she have to be stressed about?!" Blew my mind. This woman wasn't that far removed from adolescence herself. But I'm a professional and I told her that whereas just a few years ago her daughter was simply an anonymous child happily playing with her friends, now her body was changing. She was filled with all sorts of new thoughts and emotions due to her hormones. She was probably getting all sorts of unwanted attention from boys and men. She's getting all sorts of mixed messages from the media and who knows what kind of advice from her friends. Coping with so much change and outside influences would lead to lots of stress. 

What I didn't say was she clearly can't discuss it with you, you clueless idiot. But I censored that.

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14. Seems like a fair point

We've had a patient with cataracts tell us the optometrist was incompetent.

She couldn't possibly have cataracts because she doesn't have cats.

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13. Dogs are robots that will self-destruct at the drop of a hat, right?

I worked at a veterinary clinic, so about 70% of the clients (and their "breeders") think they are smarter than I am when it comes to their beloved pets. My favorite though will always be the girl who had an Alaskan Malamute she had gotten from a breeder; must have been about 2 years old. 

They came in for annual wellness check up and vaccines. She needed to know how many rabies shots the dog had received previously (only one at this point) because her breeder told her that if the dog got more than two rabies vaccines in its life it would die. This, of course, is ridiculous because rabies vaccines are meant to be given regularly throughout a dog's life (every 1-3 years depending on the vaccine). But she was adamant that the dog could not have another vaccine after this visit because he would apparently immediately die.

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12. When you gotta poop so bad it stops your heart

I’m an emergency doctor. Had a guy in his 60s come in, never been to a doctor before. Clutching his chest, sweating, breathing heavily.

Him: My constipation has gotten so bad it woke me up from sleep. It’s putting all this pressure on my chest! 

Me: When was your last bowel movement? 

Him: Yesterday. 

Me: So why do you think you’re constipated? 

Him: Well. what else would be causing all of this pressure in my chest?

Got an EKG, show’s he’s having a heart attack.

Me: Sir, you’re having a heart attack. We need to transfer you right away to another hospital where a cardiologist can treat you. 

Him: No way, just give me a laxative

We argue back and forth for 10 minutes before he lets me transfer him. I called over to the other hospital and they said he argued with them for 45 minutes before he let them take him to the cath lab.

He had nearly complete occlusion of two major vessels in his heart. Two stents and a brief ICU stay later he’s now back on the streets living his life.

Probably still thinks I’m an idiot for making him go through all of that just for his constipation.

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11. Making your child do things is like 90% of parenting

The moment that still sticks out in my mind and haunts me to this day happened ten years ago when I was working at a pediatric clinic. A father came in with a four-year-old child who had apparently never eaten solid food. He told me, "She just doesn't like it so I never make her do it." 

I told him in a very serious and unequivocal way that four-year-olds absolutely need nutrition and not just the infant formula she was drinking. She was very thin and lethargic and I was very worried. But the stupid dad just kept saying the whole time, "You don't understand, I'm not starving her, she just doesn't want to eat." He became irate with me saying, "I don't know why you're trying to suggest I torture my daughter and force her to eat before she's ready." 

I was honestly almost crying by the end of it because I felt so badly for the child. Apparently, the physician never got any further and we ended up having to report it to the authorities. But I never heard the end of it due to confidentiality reasons. It just horrified me to think of an otherwise healthy four-year-old wasting away of malnutrition because her dad was too nervous to make his daughter do something.

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10. How is this the better option?

We had a patient come into our hospital with anorexia requiring treatment, which, as usual, she didn't want. However, she appeared to be eating her prescribed meals. After a few days it becomes clear she's not putting on any weight, but the room is clean and she's supervised for her bathroom visits, so we know she's not flushing it away.

Turns out her family are going through some tough times and her dad's down on his luck and out of money. So when he's coming to visit his anorexic daughter in hospital every day, he's eating the food prescribed to her because he can't afford to feed himself.

Meal time is unsupervised if there's a family member there. Dad was blocked from visiting when the daughter fessed up.

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9. Please stop sneaking blood into people's urine

Did a fingerstick for a patient, ensured the little cut stopped bleeding, and then put a band-aid on it. Told her to collect a urine sample for testing. Test came back strongly positive (4+ reading) for blood. She complained to the doctor that there is NO WAY she has blood in her urine, and that the blood from her fingerstick must have entered the urine, throwing off her reading. She said it was my fault that I did her blood test before her urine test, and I obviously made a mistake.

Later that afternoon, she repeated the test later in the afternoon, still at 4+. Came back a week later, still at 4+. The look on her face when I told her "sorry, ma'am, your result is still positive" was priceless.


8. Sometimes you just have to ignore ALL the evidence

I once had a patient tell me that there was no credible research that smoking was bad for one's health.

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7. Oh man, he really got them

Picture a middle-aged man; his index finger is 5 x the size of the rest of his fingers. It smells, it’s leaking pus, there’s necrotic tissue. Basically one huge infected cancerous finger. He was a firm believer in not taking any sort of medication, including antibiotics or chemo. Died a few weeks later, but he did manage to tell us we were all idiots before he passed away.

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6. This sounds like child abuse

My mother is both the dumb patient AND the medical professional. She's been a pharmacy technician for 20+ years, and is convinced she knows more than the doctors about any given medical condition. I had chronic ear infections as a child, and after a few months of going in circles with my doctor my mother decided to just stop giving me medication, refused the doctor's recommendation of surgery, and decided to just let me suffer. So I was in agony for most of my childhood and now have partial hearing loss, thanks mom!

She also used to keep a VERY well stocked medicine cabinet at home, and forced me to choke down pills and medicines every time I so much as sneezed. She refused to acknowledge that I have allergies, so in her mind my constant sneezing and stuffy nose were just some kind of permanent cold which warranted a constant regimen of cold medicine and cough syrup. I was a heavily intoxicated kid.


5. The guy must have thought he was a stuffed animal

I was an R1 resident physician when this happened. I was in the ER and two young adult males came rushing to me. They both had this worried look on their faces.

I calmed them down and took the ER triage slip they had, it's a small piece of paper that gets filled in by the triage physician who's the first contact for every patient before they go into the emergency room for their full evaluation.

I quickly scanned the triage slip as I usually do before proceeding to ask them what had happened. This particular slip was quite bizarre, it was obviously filled in a rush, all it had was the patient's vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate etc.) and a note that said "umbilical hernia" under provisional diagnosis.

So I asked the guy, what seems to be the problem? He said there was this weird "white stuff" coming out of his belly button and he's really worried about it. So I proceeded to take his full medical history and then asked him to lay down for an abdominal examination. One of the attending physicians volunteered to help with the examination, thinking it was possibly an infection and the "white stuff" was possibly discharge from an abdominal abscess, which would require surgical drainage.

Any how, we expose the patient's abdomen and proceed with the examination only to discover that the "white stuff" was fluff/cotton from his underwear. The attending and I looked at each other for a moment and were about to burst out laughing but somehow managed to contain it.

The attending explained to the guy what it was, calmed him down and gave him some advice about personal hygiene and that was it. To this day we're both not sure what exactly happened. Both men were clearly sober and not under the influence of any drug.

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4. You're allergic to what you're made of?

 I see some crazy stuff, but one thing that stands out was the time I was admitting a guy to the hospital. I can't really remember what for but he was about 400lbs, diabetic, heart disease, you name it. Anyhow 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. He needs something to drink RIGHT NOW. So I get on my phone, 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, 10 people, were planning to stay at he hospital with him.


3. Shame that the Doctor lied to her like that

I work for an optometrist. It was the month before school started, and a woman brought in her son to have his eyes checked for the first time. Seems like a pretty reasonable thing for any parent, even if he 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. The doctor examined the boy and ended up prescribing glasses. The doctor explained 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 5' in front of him. For some reason this caused a switch to flip in the mom and she spazzed out on the doctor, saying that her son doesn't need glasses and that the doctor is only saying that he does because he wants to make money. 

She says that she only brought her son in because there was some form for school that needed to be filled out and that doctors are all a con artists trying to push unnecessary medications and interventions. The doctor tried to calm her down and explain that he's 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 is back asking for another copy of her son's prescription. Apparently the first semester midterm results were in, and her son failed them all, because he couldn't see the board in his classes and needs glasses!


2. Can confirm, kids put everything in their mouth & nose

The mother of a toddler came into the ER. The kid had cruddy, green, bloody stuff coming out of his left nostril, and a lot of redness and swelling of only the left side of his nose and the adjacent cheek. Mom was sure he caught a sinus infection and just wanted some antibiotics.

Now I know some kids like shoving whatever will fit into their body orifices, and that this was more than likely given the one-sided nature of his condition. But Mom was insistent that he NEVER puts things in his nose.

It took some convincing, but I finally got her to let me take a look. Gave a squirt of midazolam in the good nostril to settle him, then dug with some tweezers through the crud until I pulled out a big ole button battery. It would've been burning his nose for a couple days. Hopefully he healed up well.

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1. Just go buy platform shoes, dude

Had a client come in and ask me to work on his legs. At first I thought he wanted to stretch his leg muscles and get them feeling more limber due to scar tissue build-up from a previous accident. After about 2-3 sessions he was unsatisfied and said, "I was hoping by stretching my legs, that I would end up several inches taller."

I hope he never finds a medieval torture rack.

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