Just because a doctor gives someone advice does not guarantee that they will listen to any of it. These adult toddlers made some of the stupidest decisions, which resulted in either hysterical or heartbreaking consequences. Read on to find out which is which! Content has been edited for clarity.
"I've got two stories that stick out in my mind. The first is the mother of a toddler who came into the emergency room. The kid had this sort of crusty, bloody green 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. His mom was sure he caught a sinus infection and just wanted some antibiotics. I had never seen a sinus infection this awful. Now I know some kids like shoving whatever will fit into their body parts for whatever reason, 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. Ever. It took some convincing, but I finally got her to let me take a look. I gave a squirt of midazolam in the good nostril to settle him, then I 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. I don't want to know what would have happened had I not intervened in time. Hopefully he healed up well. Now important note: if a kid swallows a button battery, it can do a similar thing to their esophagus. This is an emergency and needs to be dealt with as soon as humanly possible.
Now when I was a medical student, I did an overnight ambulance ride-along. It was a very slow night, so I was super excited when dispatch finally called about what sounded like either a stroke or a loss of consciousness. We zoomed 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 blood pressure 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 she swiftly called 911. Of course, these numbers were going up because she was freaking out about the previously high numbers, causing a vicious cycle. Even though both I and the paramedic knew she was more than likely fine, neither of us were doctors, and so we 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."
"So I work in medical imaging, where patients have to drink this nasty substance that helps with image contrast for the internal examination.
Some folks really hate the stuff (it's so gross, but it's very necessary), and one patient, after being given the contrast to drink, just went outside and dumped it in the bushes. They came back inside afterwards and said that they had drank it. Our front desk lady actually saw this patient dump it in the bushes, so she told us about it, but we would have seen the lack of contrast in the image even if she hadn’t told us. I talked to the patient and firmly told them, 'We can see inside of you, we can tell if you drank it or not. Nice try.'
Unfortunately, some patients think that some parts of a procedure are arbitrary, and they can just decide for themselves whether or not to participate. They think it won't even matter if they ignore this crucial step. Another time, I had to perform another exam where the patient needed to have fasted for about six hours before their exam. The exam focused on metabolism of sugar in the body. Now the patient could not eat any sugar within the six hours beforehand, or it would totally ruin the entire process. I cannot tell you how many times prior to the exam, I asked the patient about their diet. I was told that they had not eaten or drank anything except for water since the previous night. Fortunately, the images do not lie. When the exam is completely ruined, the patients usually confess and say things such as, 'I just ate some candy, I didn't think it would matter,' or, 'What did you expect me to do? I was hungry!' or, 'I didn't eat anything, I just drank a soda, and that should not count!'
This is six hours people, you can somehow go a whole six hours without sugar. These people inevitably have to come back for a rescan, and they are usually upset at me. It's not my fault that they didn't follow the very specific and detailed preparations that I gave them before!"
"Nurse here. 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 he was in for, but he was about 400lbs, diabetic, had heart disease, you name it. Anyhow, I'm at the computer going over some admission questions with him and his ten family members who are crowded in the room with him. A few minutes into the process, he starts complaining that he's thirsty. He needs something to drink RIGHT NOW! So I get on my phone and call the nurse assistant, and I 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! HES ALLERGIC TO WATER!'
Well this is going to definitely be a problem. It turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but sprite and sweet tea for years, because of his supposed 'water allergy'.
The next question the wife had was, 'Where are we all supposed to sleep?'
The whole family, including ten people, were planning to stay at the hospital with him. You cannot make this sort of thing up."
"I'm not a hospital worker, but former patient, hear me out. I had really bad bronchitis, an asthma attack, and my o2 levels were really low one night, so they kept me overnight for observation after I could breathe again. The person in the bed next to me is on some sort of machine. At first, I couldn’t sleep because of the death rattle breathing. It felt a little close to home. My lungs were still aching so much. It was 2 or 3 in the morning. This crotchety old man comes in for the third time that week, screaming at anyone who would listen to him, that he couldn't poop. 'I STILL CAN't TAKE A DUMP, WHAT AM I PAYING YOU PEOPLE FOR?!'
The doctor asked if he was eating under the diet that we prescribed, as well as taking the medication and fiber that we prescribed for him. He replied, 'YOU PEOPLE CANNOT MAKE ME EAT THAT RABBIT GARBAGE! I NEED TO POOP! DID YOU GET YOUR DEGREE OUT OF A PENNY MACHINE?'
I caught a few bits and pieces from him about how his life had been trying to get him to follow this particular treatment plan. Apparently, he was going to kick her out or divorce her after he finally pooped on the floor so we had to clean it all up. His wife didn't come with him because he was so upset with her. This process went on for hours and hours. The nurses kept checking in on me. I guess the readings on his monitor looked wacky. I couldn't stop laughing hysterically into my bundled up hoodie. At one point, the doctor came in and very calmly stated to this man, 'You have to do your part and meet us halfway and follow your treatment plan,' to which this nasty man screeched, 'I AM PAYING YOUR SALARY! YOU'LL MAKE ME POOP HOW I TELL YOU TO!'
The calmer that people were around him, the more enraged he became. That was the most fun I have ever had in a hospital. I still feel rather bad, because he most likely had dementia or something and I shouldn't have laughed, but he was seriously so hysterical."
"We used to have this young guy come in frequently for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). For those not in the know, DKA typically occurs with type 1 diabetics when their blood sugar, for whatever reason, goes out of control, triggering a chain reaction in the body that, if left untreated, is totally fatal. Every time this guy came in, he was extremely sick and practically knocking on death's door, and he would do this every couple of months. It was completely insane.
One night, I headed into work but stopped at the hospital lobby's Tim Horton's to grab a coffee. Ahead of me in line, I see that same guy. Our eyes meet so I say, 'Hey, so they let you out today?' because I knew he had been admitted to my unit over the last few days. 'Yeah!' he says excitedly. Then he goes up to the counter and orders a giant sugary donut. He literally chows down on it as he leaves and waves goodbye at me. In my head, I'm sighing and thinking, 'See you soon!'
We haven't seen him in a long time though, so I have to assume he's been doing better with his blood sugar control nowadays. I really hope he's doing better. He was a good guy, just had a bit of a learning disability, mental health issues, and a very unsupportive family, all of which contributed to his frequent hospital admissions. We did tons of education, got him connected to a social worker, and convinced his closest family member into getting involved as well. Since then, we haven't seen him. He could have moved away, too. Regardless, I just sincerely hope that he is doing alright."
"I recently had a 30-year-old insulin dependent male argue he knows when to take his sugar medicine. He had bilateral retinopathy and a severe vitreous heme in one eye. He was legally blind. He drove a car to my office. His last eye check was eight years ago, and he lost his glasses two years ago. He will need 4 or more surgeries including an inevitable cataract.
I had a patient tell me they clean their contact lens with MILK because it 'gets the acid off them'.
I had a patient ask me if it was okay to look briefly at the sun for short periods of time to improve their eyes. I was amazed and kindly suggested that they don’t.
I had a patient put EAR DROPS in one eye. The white part of eye (conjunctiva) scarred over the entire cornea and was left with no light perception. He asked me if he should have come in sooner. It had been four months. He needs a cornea transplant, which are extremely difficult and take over a year to recover from.
I had a patient with a retinal detachment, who told me to put more 'medicine in their glasses' to see better. This poor person could barely count fingers or feet in front of face. I had a patient wear contacts designed for two-week daily wear and left them in for eight months. They literally grew into and became a part of the eye. It was beyond repulsive. I had a patient with a 6-year-old translating for her. Basically, she had no clue what was happening besides her eye being in pain. Her hand was covering her eye. I asked to see the problem. Her eye looked like a shriveled up grape. The optic nerve was holding onto a shriveled up decayed eye, loosely hanging in the orbit. She wanted glasses.
I had a guy clean his contacts in shower with shampoo, because he was convinced it was better. He had a raging red eye two weeks later. Homemade contact solutions are always fun to hear. Vinegar? Salt water? Spit is not cleaner than fresh solution. But please tell me more. I had a guy recently come in because his wife made him. He had a bit of metal lodged in his cornea. I tried with tweezers to remove metal pieces. It didn’t look pretty, to say the least. I removed the remaining metal rust with a needle and spinning burr tip brush. I told him not to do that again, but who knows? I had a patient CRUSH A PILL UP and put it in their eyes. It was an eye vitamin, but taken by mouth. Her eyes were angry. I had a patient walk in one day, with no glasses or contacts. He had a full penetrating cornea transplant in both eyes 17 years ago. His last eye exam was 12 years ago. He swore he could see fine. Clearly, there was a transplant graft rejection in one eye, with no functional vision as a result. The other eye was a gnarly looking 'good' eye. I barely got him seeing with glasses on the one eye, and he definitely can’t drive. He had uncontrolled diabetes too. Messy. I have had more than more patient argue with me about not seeing right. They either had two or more contacts in eyes or none at all. When they try to remove a contact that is not there, it causes a painful abrasion. Multiple women have used non-approved glues to glue on fake eyelashes. As a result, there were leaks and burns in their eyes. Just why?
I have had to convince a lot of people to not use HAND sanitizer in their eyes. Way too many, actually. I had a patient who was not taking her herpetic eye drops because she just wanted to pray instead. Yes, herpes on her eye. Luckily, I convinced her to do both medicine and pray. I could go on and on."
"I work for an optometrist, and it was the month before school started. This woman brought in her son to have his eyes checked out for the first time. It seems like a pretty reasonable thing for any parent, even if he was a little older than usual for his first eye exam. Better late than never I guess. The mom was well-spoken and appeared to be fairly intelligent. Everything went pretty normally at first, the doctor examined the boy and ended up prescribing glasses. Now the doctor had to explain to the mom that her son had to wear his glasses all the time, since he was nearsighted and basically can't see clearly past five feet in front of him. And he will definitely need glasses for school. For some reason, this caused a bizarre switch to flip in the mom.
She suddenly 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 sell glasses. 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 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!"
"Oh boy, it's my time to shine! One time, a guy brings his wife to the Emergency Room. Her leg has a wound about seven centimeters in diameter. It was a diabetic ulcer, with greenish yellow pus and what looked like a few maggots. Now I took one look at her and referred her to the Surgery department for admission. But the husband is adamant that he brought her in due to her apparent kidney disease. 'But doc, it's just a wound, you gotta fix her kidney first doc, I read online that diabetes can cause kidney failure, and you gotta do something for that!' I spent an hour convincing him that his wife would probably die before the kidney damage sat in by sepsis from the clearly infected wound.
During my pediatric internship period, one day I was in charge of general ward. My duties were limited to basic things, including looking after the kids, solving small complaints (such as a cough, breathlessness, etc.), and evaluating new admissions. Now where I work, interns are supposed to draw blood from children for tests. So I went about my job and there's one little tyke who's a bit too active and jumps around when he sees the needle. The mother gives me a vile look and says, 'You lot are just puncturing my child for your education!' Upon hearing her words, the kid just screams even harder. Yes, I'm studying a blood draw at two in the morning by waking up a kid. That's somehow what she thought. It took a fair amount of convincing her about my actual intentions, too!
I also once took care of a child that got measles. The mother and father was strongly anti-vaccine, but they were yelling at me, 'How can modern medicine not have a treatment for measles?!' At which point I told them there was a preventive method, but they didn't use it. The mom asked me what it was, to which I replied that the two of them should have vaccinated their child. She said, 'You're just one of them pharma lobbyists, aren't you?' Yes. Apparently, I am a pharma lobbyist who wants to kill children.
A lady comes screaming into the Emergency Room. Now she's all dressed up, and so are her two grown daughters. All of them are screaming hysterically that their mother is going to die. I go by them and nearly get tackled by one of the daughter's husband. 'Save her, she's having an embolism!' Shaken, I examine the lady, asked her where she was coming from (a wedding, which explained the dress). She apparently had a bit too much of the potatoes. A shot of pantoprazole later, and her embolism is gone. She had a bad case of fart embolisms.
One thing I will never forget is how I learned never to be mad at a patient. Now this was when I began as an intern. A patient had intestinal obstruction. We inserted a nasal feeding tube, as the patient could not have anything to eat through their mouth before the surgery. The problem was that they would always come and complain to me about how I didn't stick it in properly (you have to stick the end protruding out of the nose to the nasal bridge.) After 2-3 such episodes where I reluctantly dressed it, they complained that the tube is out of the nose, and lo and behold it is out. It's very uncomfortable, as most patients try and pull the nasal tube out. I replaced it like four times, none of which was due to my placement. This poor patient was completely fed up by then. On the morning of the surgery, his wife comes and asks me, 'Doc, can you just remove that tube so that I can give him some coffee?' Now I got totally mad. I was working a 72-hour shift, so I scolded her by saying that if she or he didn't want the surgery, then I couldn't do anything and it would be nice if they gave me some peace. She didn't say anything. The patient, 50 years old with no other complications, died on the table. I couldn't face her. The moral of this story is that doctors know more things than patients, so it's not always wise to bite their heads off. I could have convinced her it was impossible to remove the tube before surgery in a calm way. Since then, I've tried to be a much better speaker to patients."
"Optician here. We had a patient who refused to let us use the tonometer, a machine for checking ocular internal pressure to diagnose glaucoma. This is the machine that gives a small puff of air to your eyes. He said that puff 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 moron just told me he has a very strong familial disposition to glaucoma, and refused to be tested for it. This puff isn't that bad you 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 stepchildren. This is not how genetic disposition works.
Or after getting 'no' answers to diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, thyroid problem, heart problems, etc, I ask if they take any medications. 'Yeah, atorvastatin, thyridizine, metformin, and low dose aspirin.' Oh, so you have everything I asked about. Check.
Want some more? Now way too many people don't understand presbyopia. As you age, your lens hardens and can't focus up close anymore. Of course when this is explained, I get a lot of people who believe they're way to young for bifocals. No. Sixty is not too young for bifocals. 'Why doesn't the doctor have to wear bifocals?'
He does. He's wearing progressives, you don't see the line. Or after trying to get used to multifocal lenses for a few days, giving up and demanding we remake them as single vision, and then getting mad at me again when they can't read with these glasses. 'I never needed bifocals before, why can't you just make me regular glasses? Regular glasses always worked just fine!'
Yeah, you used to be twenty. Also, you came to see us because you can't read with your 'regular' glasses. In the same vein, these same people complaining about their own insurance to me, because progressives are expensive. A lined bifocal is covered entirely. Progressives cost a lot.
'I can't have lines in my glasses like an old person!'
Then you want progressives. This easily triples the bill.
'Why are you so expensive? I need to be able to see!'
Yeah. You need a bifocal. You don't need a progressive, you want a progressive. Insurance pays for what you need, not want. I actually had a guy make me talk to his insurance agent about him needing 'medically necessary' progressives. A progressive lens is never medically necessary. Stop being cheap, and listen to what I say. I am not a salesman, I am a medical professional, stop acting like you know better than me."
"I work at a mouth surgeon's office, and the amount of tomfoolery and chaos that comes into our doors truly astounds me. Now patients who are sedated cannot consume any food or liquid for eight hours before the surgery, but they will still regularly walk in with a coffee. According to them, 'Coffee doesn't count, right?' One lady lied about drinking coffee beforehand and almost aspirated on the table. What a moron!
After surgery, you cannot use straws, smoke, or stifle sneezes for a week, in order to best prevent a dry socket. Want to guess how many idiots have to come back to our office after a week of blinding pain because, 'I didn't even puff that hard!' Fun fact: you can't really treat dry socket. All you can do is to manage the pain while it heals on its own. Dry socket is not something that I would ever wish on my worst enemy.
At one point, some loser had been totally sedated, and he had his driver circle the block and return him to our office, so this sedated man could get his own car back and drive himself back home alone. We called the police on him, and he was arrested for wasted driving. Also, there are so, so many people who want illicit substances for themselves. One guy purposefully broke his tooth, so he would have an excuse to come back to our office for another surgery, in order to get more pills. Like whoa, that's so horrible!"
"Oh wow, where could I possibly begin? There was the patient who refused to get in an ambulance when he was having a heart attack until we let him have a smoke. There was the patient who, while having a stroke, insisted that he was fine and was just going to go home and nap. We got his niece to come and bring him to the ED. There was the patient who insisted that he knew his body and was able to frighten his paralyzed limbs into working correctly, and that was why he did not need an ambulance to go to the hospital for the stroke he was currently having. His limbs were paralyzed because of his first severe stroke. This was his second.
There was the addict who refused free vaccines because they didn't want unsafe substances in their body. There was the other addict who wanted to know the safest way to take in one illegal substance, because their dealer kept mixing it with another illegal substance. We told this patient that there is not a medically recommended safe way to use either of those substances. This person just decided to switch dealers. There was the mother who was totally convinced that her kid had hearing trouble. The kid's hearing worked fine, they just totally ignored their mom. There was the patient who was completely convinced that we were going to hurt him during a specific minor surgical procedure, needed to diagnose his health problems. He just screamed at anyone who visited him. We have never forced him to get that procedure, nor do we even provide it onsite! Finally, there was this especially poor patient who refused to discuss her will while I was in the room. Specifically me. I think she believed I was trying to steal from her?"
"We had a guy show up at the Emergency Room requesting an ice cooler full of ice. After a lengthy discussion, this is the narrative sorted out, as the story he gave to use was rather erratic. This guy went to a party and met a woman, who asked him over back to her place. She definitely wanted to hook up, but she asked him to kick things up a notch. He said, 'Why not?' Well, she pulled out a syringe and injected a substance into his privates to make him harder and last longer. They both proceed to have an excellent time. Several days later, things are very sore for this guy. Something is not quite right down there. There are some red spots that continue to get more red, larger, and darker over time. Things start turning black and smelling very, very bad. He somehow decides that this would be an excellent time to take some initiative. So naturally, he pulls out a knife and starts sawing at his privates, trying to carve out the dead skin. That's when he hit a nerve.
Carving clearly wasn't working for him, so he tried alternative methods. He covered his privates in olive oil and wrapped it in saran wrap. Apparently, this was his version of fixing things! Some more time passes, without him acknowledging how completely insane this process was. At one point he was going to the bathroom in a restaurant. He pulls down his pants, and his junk slides off of his urethra, like a corn dog off a stick. It lands on the floor next to him. He picks up the body part, walks over and gets a cup of ice from the vending machine, fills the cup with ice, and puts his privates in the cup to keep it fresh. For some reason, this man wanders around for a few more days, then decides that this cup of his is getting too smelly. So he finally comes to the ER and asks for an ice chest full of ice.
We take him into the ER. The doctors consult the Urology department. So it turns out that when he goes to pee, the urethra just flings around everywhere like an unbridled firehouse on full blast. The hospital won't let him keep this body part, as it is a bio-hazardous tissue at this point. This man wouldn't let the hospital take it until they set him up with an urological surgery consultation. The private part was taken to wherever they incinerate that sort of stuff. Moral of the story: do not ever inject things into your junk. Even if this substance comes from a random stranger and you are in the mood."