She Should Have Avoided The “Charlatan”
“I once had a female patient in her mid-60s who had recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) over the years. She decided to see a naturopath for an obvious repeat UTI infection with classic symptoms. She kept going to a naturopath instead of me, even when she was developing urosepsis (according to family). Her family found her unresponsive at home and she ended up dying due to multiple system failure secondary to sepsis.
The family was furious with the naturopath, as was I. The quack is still in practice and the family plans on suing. It was such a simple thing to treat. I knew this patient for 10 years and we had a good relationship. I fully believe the naturopath was a competent salesman, but an incompetent clinician. He forced her to buy lots of cranberry extract, homeopathic antibiotic remedies, and God knows what else.
It’s an absolute shame that she passed away due to bad advice and a charlatan selling her lots of non-effective remedies.”
Their Cheap Ways Cost Them In The End
“A 3-year-old patient came to the ER in cardiac arrest and respiratory failure after she had a bad asthma attack and went into respiratory distress at her pediatrician’s office while there for a regular check-up.
The pediatrician called an ambulance but the parents didn’t want to pay for the ambulance ride. The child died in the ER after the parents drove her there in their personal vehicle, probably sitting in traffic much longer than needed.”
When Apathy Leads To Death
“My grandma died because her nurses didn’t care enough.
She was in a nursing home because she had such a severe Alzheimer’s that she couldn’t do anything alone and we couldn’t afford to hire a full-time nurse. She had urinary tract infections many times because they only helped her shower once a week, and she didn’t remember to do it alone. So we started helping her shower once a day and it helped a lot.
Anyhow, one time when we visited, she was warm and tired. We told the nurses to check for another UTI. One of them promised to do it but forgot. We called the next day and they promised to do it. They did this time. But it took FOUR DAYS for the doctor to confirm that she had one so they could start antibiotics! Four days for a UTI test. When I had one, they told me the same evening what kind it was. My mom and dad called there every day, even went over but the nurses were like, ‘Well, what can you do?’
Well, it got to my grandma’s kidneys. She was transferred to a different hospital and then she passed away. She was too old to fight it anymore. We told what had happened to the nurses in that hospital and they were absolutely shocked and angry. We are now suing the nurses and, I believe, the boss of that faculty so no one else dies because of their apathetic attitude.”
Don’t Push So Hard
“I worked as a janitor for a hospital and the only time I ever dealt with patients was when things went to Hades in a handbasket, and it was all hands on deck.
One day, I went in to clean the single occupant restroom by the family/waiting room outside the ICU and there was a dead guy on the toilet. I thought he had overdosed, so I called the people I needed to.
I found out a week or two later he had basically ruptured a blood vessel in his brain from straining too hard during his bowel movement.
I’m not sure on the exact science here, but it makes me hesitate to strain while crapping.”
The Family Should Have Known Better
“I know of a case on a special ward for immunosuppressed people. In this case, it was someone who had a bone marrow replacement for a rare hematological disease.
She was recovering quite well. The ward had positive pressure, airlocks, and other safety measures. However, that did not prevent a family from sneaking in a pizza from the hospital restaurant without staff knowledge.
The patient eventually died from an opportunistic infection because she had no immune system to speak of. Safety protocols have been updated since then.”
The First Fall Set The Course, The Next Cemented His Fate
“My great uncle went out front to get the paper, slipped backward on the ice, and cracked his skull. In his concussed state, he tried to get back up and slipped forward again, smashing his face right above his nose. He was knocked out and never woke back up.
He was probably the healthiest of all his living siblings, second youngest, and the craziest thing was it was like 40 degrees out, but his walkway was perfectly shadowed by the garage which both allowed the ice to remain and made it more difficult to see.
If he had waited another half hour, the ice would have been gone.”
The First Time He Lost A Patient
“I lost a patient in medical school that still sticks with me. He had an artery in his stomach rupture but he was stabilized and in the ICU. I presented the radiology report on rounds, which found a large pancreatic mass. This was really bad luck for this guy and we recommended his family withdraw care. We felt that it was better for him to pass peacefully rather than spending weeks in the ICU recovering only to pass a month later from pancreatic cancer.
The post-mortem found that he did not have a pancreatic mass at all. The tail of his pancreas was small, making the rest of his pancreas look large – the radiologist had missed it. I know it wasn’t my fault but I still remember my attending saying she expected the patient to recover fine, then me giving her the report, then her saying that we should withdraw care. It doesn’t cause me a lot of mental anguish, but I don’t know how to process it yet. Looking back on the situation, that was incredible mismanagement that I never would commit today but didn’t have the skill set back then to know.”
Well, That’s A Crappy Way To Go Out
“I had a patient who was attempting to deal with chronic constipation by using ‘natural remedies.’ This patient had chronic constipation due to abuse of laxatives and enemas – basically rendering their peristalsis non-existent.
I tried to speak to the family about it and stressed the need for the drainage tube and specific protocols for managing this. However, they read an article and found natural crap to take, which they claimed worked better.
The patient died choking on their own feces due to impaction and obstruction.
It’s very rare to see a case where you have peristalsis reverse (the movement of the muscles that moves food through your colon).
In this case – the patient vomited fecal matter and aspirated it. However, it also frothed on the face as I had to respond and then prep the body after the code.”
Are You Sure These Are Gluten Free?
“The freshman class president of my high school died from a french fry.
He had a severe gluten allergy. While out with friends, he asked the restaurant staff if the fries were gluten free and was assured multiple times that they were. They weren’t. He went into anaphylactic shock and while he had an EpiPen, his friends were unsure of how to use it, and he was incapable. He was brain dead for a week before his parents finally pulled the plug.
Allergies are dangerous, but especially so when a restaurant doesn’t follow proper protocols. It was never determined if the fries themselves had gluten or if they were cross contaminated, but I hope every single person at that restaurant that day knows that their incompetence killed a kid with a whole life ahead of him.”
Death By Sneezing?
“One night, a young female sneezed, collapsed, and became unresponsive. She was brought to my ER and was pronounced dead a few minutes later after aggressive cardiovascular resuscitation. All of this happened in a span of 30 minutes.
What happened? Well, the postmortem revealed a huge malformation of the arteries in her brain called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). They’d ruptured most likely due to the physiological changes in a sneeze and/or her head contusion as she fell. Her family stated that she was in excellent health, college-bound, didn’t smoke or drink and even played sports regularly. She never had any symptom as much as a headache.
It was quite heartbreaking because, as stated by her family, they were enjoying dinner and eating popcorn when it happened. It took a long time to understand why it happened and that there was nothing they could do. These brain AVMs are uncommon and usually develop some kind of symptom but her’s was silent and the bloody thing just ruptured at the slightest jolt.”
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Have Seen It All
“I’m a medical malpractice attorney. I’ve seen some stuff.
A young woman in her 20s went to the dermatologist for acne. Topical cream and injections were ineffective, so they prescribed Dapsone, a medication used to treat leprosy. The woman had a hypersensitivity reaction resulting in liver failure. A transplant was unsuccessful, and she died before a second liver could be transplanted.
I see a ton of cases related to bed sore resulting in sepsis and death. Now, there are some patients where bed sores are unavoidable – you are 90, break a hip, get pneumonia, have vascular disease, are on dialysis, and are a diabetic, chances are you’re not going to heal too well or be able to get out of bed to relieve pressure. Other cases there is just lack of understanding about turning and positioning and people end up septic and dead when all they needed to do is turn a little bit.
Misread mammograms are almost always the culprit in cancer cases. Some of the reads are bad. Spotting a huge, white, spidery looking cancer can be fairly obvious. That goes for a lot of failure to diagnose cancer cases when there is an obvious abscess and the reviewing doctor writes ‘impression: normal.’ The doctor will then tell you how all they do is sit in a room all day and view film after film. Mistakes happen, but man, it sucks when it’s you.
Pathology cases can be the same as well. If a pathologist misreads a slide, and it’s bad like cancer, that cancer can go unchecked until someone else thinks, ‘Let’s do pathology again.’ In plenty of cases, doctors will say, ‘Well, there are still complaints, but the pathology is fine, let’s check something else,’ before going back to pathology.
I swear, some people just want to die. Diabetics with unchecked blood sugar, cancer patients smoking, liver damage patients drinking, Hepatitis patient refusing to get a transplant dies of liver failure, suicidal people taking too many unprescribed meds, people deciding they don’t want to take a certain life-saving medication but not telling anyone they have stopped…never underestimate the power of stupid.”
The Slip Was Only Her First Mistake
“Several years ago, there was a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook who posted about slipping in the shower and smashing her head on the soap tray.
This girl went on to say that she hit her head so hard that she immediately started vomiting and was dizzy, and in pain. THEN went on to use hashtags like #strong #canthurtme or some kind of ridiculous garbage.
Her comments section blew up with everyone telling her to go to a hospital, pointing out that those are all signs of a severe concussion and she could have a brain injury. She commented back to multiple people again pointing out how tough she was, that she was a #survivor or whatever and that she wasn’t wasting her time going to a doctor.
She was dead about a day later. From brain trauma.
The post about her death again made it to my feed simply due to the number of comments (like the first post). Everyone was expressing their sadness while simultaneously pointing out that she was an idiot for not going to a doctor (as nicely as they could without sounding callous). There were comments like: ‘If she had listened and gone to a doctor, her 1-year-old son would still have his mother.’
Easily the dumbest reason anyone I’m remotely connected to died. Flat out arrogance – enough to go post about it on social media and then continue to shut everyone down telling her that her health/life was at risk.”
You’ve Gotta Watch Out For Those Allergies
“During my rotations, I saw a couple of people die from bee stings. I once saw a young man die from a fish allergy (fried chicken that he was eating was fried in the same oil as his girlfriend’s fried fish; very sad.) Don’t mess around with allergies…especially food allergies.
I’m a neurosurgeon. I get probably two to three patients a year who blow aneurysms while getting it on with their partners. They all present with massive intracranial hemorrhages. All very sad.”
There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Training
“A young adult died after he trained too much.
He thought if he just powered through the pain and the burning sensation and just train and train and train, he could get through it.
He died from rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly.
Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion. There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat. Some of the muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.”
I Wouldn’t Trust This Vet After This
“I was shadowing at this veterinarian clinic for a while and there was this one vet tech who was working a later shift (the actual vet goes home after all the appointments are done). This one dog came in and obviously had something blocking its windpipe because its tongue was blue from asphyxiation.
Instead of calling for emergency help, she just checked in the dog to be boarded overnight for when the vet came in the next morning. Of course, the dog ended up dying. She told me this on my first day there. It would be one thing if it was just a stupid mistake that she learned from and regretted, but she talked about it like she wasn’t in the wrong and how was she supposed to know and everyone just overreacted. Jesus.
It was obvious that all the other techs couldn’t stand her. The next time I came by, she was fired. You shouldn’t be in the career of having live animals or people depend on you if you can’t even recognize your own mistakes, sheesh!”
Essential Oils Are Not Essential To Wellness
“I once had a male patient with Parkinson’s and neuropathy. Both were well controlled with medication. His family thought that essential oils would cure him. He believed them and quit taking his meds and started using tea tree oil instead. Shockingly, it didn’t work. The patient decided it wasn’t working because using it topically was the wrong way to go. So he drank the whole 4 oz bottle. He felt the need to vomit and tried to get to the toilet. Neuropathy makes it so you lose feeling in the affected area. He lost his footing and smashed his head into the corner of his hardwood desk. Died of a subdural hematoma.
The key part in this is that while essential oils have some benefit, they should not ever be used in place of prescribed medication. Diet and lifestyle changes are also great. However, they cannot replace medical care with a progressive disease like Parkinson’s.”
If Only Her Medical Records Were Handy…
“An 8-year-old female patient was presented with a foreign object in her chest. The nursing notes were reviewed and we came to the conclusion that the girl was impaled by a tree branch about an hour before she arrived at the hospital. An x-ray revealed she had both blood and air trapped in her lungs, so we inserted a thoracic tube into her chest. A chest CT showed that there were pieces of the branch in her left pleural cavity.
Upon further inspection, a surgeon recommended an emergency surgery to remove the tree branch.
Seems pretty cut and dry, right? Well, this little girl had no parents and as such, no medical records. The surgeon removed the object, but it ruptured her pericardium. It turned out she’d had previous heart disease.
He would’ve known that, had he waited for her records.”