Doctors do the best they can to keep the people in their communities as healthy as possible. It doesn't really help, though, if those patients don't even know the most basic facts about human biology. Everyone knows there's some really nutty people out there, but these folks take the cake!
A Very Troubling Ache
“Patient comes to ER, 19-year-old male, I’m getting his history. I ask the usual question: why are you here today? ‘Every morning when I wake up, my stomach hurts.’ How long has it been hurting? ‘All my life.’ Well what is different today that’s made you come here? ‘My girlfriend doesn’t think that is normal.’ More questions, exam by ER physician, lab tests. The abdominal pain always goes away after he eats. Always. He wakes up hungry. He thought it is pain.”
“This Is The Only Way She Stops Crying”
“Not a doctor (yet), but an ER tech for about two years. Mom comes in with her baby, plus two older kids. She complains that the baby hasn’t pooped in a while and won’t stop crying. As I’m settling them in with one of the nurses, the baby is bawling, like opera singer lungs bawling. Suddenly, the mom whips out a white plastic shopping bag and sticks an end in the kids mouth, saying, ‘This is the only way she stops crying.’ Nurse and I share a look and immediately order and emergency x-ray on the kid’s stomach. Turns out, she had ingested a good amount of these bags and it was blocking up in her stomach. Big deal, potentially life threatening. When we confront the mom about her baby feeding habits her only words of defense were, ‘Well I checked all over the bag and I couldn’t find anything that said non-edible.'”
He Did Everything Right…Until The Last Step
“We had a diabetic patient who kept coming back with extremely high sugars. We asked him if he was following the regiment we taught him: testing his blood sugar, using the sliding scale, measuring the correct dose of insulin in the syringe, etc. He went through all the steps and it sounded like he was doing everything right.
We asked him to demonstrate the steps he took so we could observe and correct any mistakes he may have been making. He did everything right…until the very last step. He drew up the insulin in his syringe, pulled an orange out if his bag, injected the insulin into the orange, then ate it.
Turns out, when he was taught to practice how to give himself subcutaneous injections with oranges, he didn’t realize he actually needed to inject himself for the insulin to do its job.”
He Swore He Was Taking His Inhaler
“I saw a patient for a follow up after three ER visits in as many days for asthma. He was from another country, so this was the first time I ever met him. His lungs sounded absolutely terrible, but he swore he was taking the inhaler every 2-4 hours with no relief. This raised suspicion to me, as the same medicines are working in the ER. I asked him to show me how he used it. He held it about a foot away from his mouth and did two puffs, like fresh breath spray Binaca, and swallows. I felt really bad, he had never received any education about his illness or medications.”
What Do You Mean, He Washes It After Every Use?
“I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment, she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people, it shouldn’t matter ‘because he uses protection every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use.’ I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the protection with hot water and soap before he used said protection again…”
I Thought It Was Weird When He Smelled My Head…
“I had severe asthma as a kid. I was intubated for a severe attack a few times. My parents were instructed to take better precautions in our home and went through instructions, more dusting, washing bed sheets and the big one: NO SMOKING inside the house. So my parents agreed to all of this.
Few weeks later, I’m back in the hospital. A doctor recognized me and came over to talk. Then he bent over and smelled my head (I’ll never forget that. I thought it was so weird). He told a nurse to sit there and not let me leave with my parents. When my parents showed up, he asked point blank, ‘Did you not understand what I told you last time? Do you understand these attacks could be fatal?’
‘But we open windows and have stopped smoking in her room when we put her to bed!'”
The Smell Was “Bad Enough To Gag A Maggot Off A Meat Wagon”
“My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80’s. She worked for an old WWII doctor who had gone into private practice when he returned back to the states. Well, one afternoon they had a patient come in who was running a high fever and complaining of pain in her pelvic area. There was a stench coming from the woman’s lap that could only be described as, ‘enough to gag a maggot off a meat wagon.’ She began to interview the patient, who told her that her and her boyfriend had been ‘active’ and that she has been in pain ever since. She thought the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her. The doctor arrived and closed the door, only to re-open it a few seconds later, mentioning about the need for fresh air.
The doctor noticed there was discharge from her privates and began to question the patient about her love life, was it protected, non-protected, etc… According to mom, the patient said, ‘No doc, we always use a rubber.’ The doctor looked down then noticed that there was a small rubber band coming from the woman’s privates. The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone’s mouth…one rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes. Finally, once they were all removed, the Doctor had ‘the talk’ with the woman about education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by ‘wearing a rubber.’ Then he wrote her a prescription for Abx.”
That’s Not How You Get Gingervitis
“I’m a dental hygienist and once told a patient after a cleaning that she had gingivitis. She replied, ‘I must have caught it from my boyfriend.’ Had to explain to her that it’s because she doesn’t brush/floss enough. She was 36.”
He Followed The Instructions A Little Too Closely
“When I worked as a nurse in urgent care, we had a guy with a bad abrasion on his leg stemming from a fall down a flight of steps. He was prescribed a topical cream, among other things. Directions on the tube: apply to the affected area. Sounds simple enough, right?
At the follow-up, we noticed the wound was gross and not healing at all. He insisted he put the cream on the affected area and it just wasn’t working for him!
The doctor suspected something, so he had the patient demonstrate how he applied the cream so we can maybe offer some further help. The patient says he can’t, because we’re not at his house.
And that’s where the stairs are.
This man was rubbing the cream on the stairs he fell down because the instructions said to ‘rub on affected area.'”
Dentists Have To Deal With Some Pretty Crazy Problems
“Dentist here. Things I’ve had to explain to parents:
- Milk CAN cause cavities
-Don’t put your kids to bed with a bottle with Coke in it. They then switched to Diet Coke…
-Don’t wiggle out your permanent teeth just because the tooth fairy will give you money. There was a little guy, probably 8 years old or so, who had wiggled out his four lower PERMANENT incisors (front teeth) after wiggling out his four baby teeth in the corresponding spots because his family made such a big deal about giving him money from the Tooth Fairy. They were in my office asking when the new teeth would be coming in…
-You can’t brush cavities away with toothpaste or any of these new Internet fads (oil pulling, honey, chocolate). Once your cavity is deep enough, it needs to be fixed by a dentist.
-Fluoride isn’t poison any more than table salt is poison. Small quantities are good for you. Anyone who tells you otherwise has been lied to and believed it.”
Why A Pre-Teen Boy Was Prescribed…The Pill?!
“My dad is a pediatrician. He told me the story of a teenage boy (around 13 years old) who was referred to him. When he asked him if he was on medications, the boy’s mom pulled out some birth control pills. Apparently, his family physician suggested birth control as a way to treat his acne.
Yes, you read that correctly. A licensed doctor told a teenage BOY that was just going through puberty to take female hormones as acne treatment. I think he had been taking them regularly for the past year…”
A Life-Long Infection
“A woman came to her OBGYN for an exam as she had an infection of some sort. The doctor did the exam and asked the usual questions, ‘Are you active, etc,’ and nothing seemed to obviously be the case. At some point though, the woman lets slip that she’s sick and tired of dealing with this infection that she’s had her whole life. That perks up the doctor’s antennae and so the doctor tentatively asked her which direction she wiped when she used the toilet. This 30-something year old woman had been wiping back to front her whole life and didn’t have any idea of the problems that could, and was, leading to.”
How Did The Other Four Kids Survive?
“Not a doctor, but a nursing student. I was checking the car seat and walking a postpartum mom out of the hospital. Mind you, this was her fifth child. Five. She had raised four other children to adolescence. But for this one, on the way outside, she took a blanket and tucked it around the baby’s head and face, nice and taut.”
You Can’t Fix Stupid
“I’m an EMT. I had to tell a patient with severe pneumonia (and the patient’s family) that you don’t get sick by leaving your skin exposed. The family was vehemently debating me on the fact, claiming that I had no idea what I was talking about because I’m not a doctor.
My attempts to explain to them the necessity for a foreign body to enter your system was the most preposterous thing to them.”
30+ Cups Of Coffee? EVERY DAY?!
“That the 30+ cups of coffee he was drinking every day could possibly be the cause of his chief complaints of anxiety and insomnia. He said he was not willing to give this up or try decaf.”
Jenny McCarthy Isn’t A Reliable Source Of Information
“‘I don’t want my baby to get a vaccine because Jenny McCarthy’s book says her son got Autism from the Thimerosal in his MMR vaccine.’
-Jenny McCarthy is a one time Playboy model who wants to sell you her books.
-MMR is a live vaccine and does not contain Thimerosal.
-Thimerosal contains Ethylmercury, which clears from your body in about 10 days, unlike methylmercury which stays for months and actually causes damage.
-Measles killed 135,000 people in the world LAST YEAR.
-Autism has a strong genetic component. If one identical twin has it, there is a 75% chance the other will as well.
-Andrew Wakefield faked the research linking autism to MMR vaccine, lost his license to practice medicine, and made millions helping lawyers sue and selling books. He lives in a mansion in England.
I went to school for 11 years, spent 10,000 hours studying and just want to make sure your child stays healthy. Quit thinking your five minutes of internet research means anything, get over yourself, and vaccinate your d— baby.”
How Teens Become Adults
“A mother came in with her son to discuss treating his acne. Son was about 15 years old and didn’t really care about the acne, but mom did. After going over treatment options, she asked if he just needed to ‘do it’ to get rid of the acne. A grown woman, with a child, thought that by him having him get laid his acne would magically go away…”
What’s The Cane For, Again?
“Got placed doing a rotation in the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in a rural area of Southern California. I was doing my rounds and saw a patient out of bed and walking around the floor following a knee replacement. She had a cane in her hand which she was carrying like as a soldier would carry a weapon. I asked what she was doing and what she thought the cane was for. She replied she thought the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she’s now ‘handicapped,’ not that it was to help her walk on her post operative knee.”
If Looks Could Kill…Literally
“I am not a doctor, but I do work at a doctor’s office.
So a person came in with conjunctivitis. They proceeded to ask questions on how it was transmitted. With the most serious look on their face, they asked if it was contagious and can be passed on by glare.
While this is hilarious, take a minute to think, WHAT IF ANYTHING WAS CONTAGIOUS BY GLARE. That would be so d— frightening…”
“Do You Know What Thirst Is?”
“Here in Mexico, we have something called social service. Our college education is free in some institutions, so we have to pay for it with one year of free work in a rural area.
So my first month, a woman in her 30s came in to consult because she was feeling weird in the mornings and this had been happening her whole life. I asked what her symptoms were and she told me that every day she wakes up with her mouth dry, though the feeling disappears in about one or two hours. ‘Well, how much water do you drink?’
‘Hmm, one or maybe two glasses, one at breakfast, and one midday.’
‘Do you know what thirst is?’
‘Yeah, when you drink water so you can pee’
So I had a conversation that took one hour long about what thirst is and how it feels.
Pain Pills Are The Answer…No, Really
“I’m an ER doctor and see this far too often with young and middle aged people with minor aches.
Patient: ‘I have some [insert pain in random joint/limb/back] since yesterday.’
Me: ‘Did you take anything for the pain?’
Patient: ‘No, I didn’t.’
Here’s where I get multiple, equally stupid, answers from people:
A: ‘I wanted to see a doctor first.’
Why? These people have mild pain and are willing to wait for hours for no reason.
B: ‘I don’t know what to take.’
How does anyone from the age of 15 onwards not know about Tylenol/Advil/generic over the counter pain medicines is beyond me.
C: ‘I don’t like taking pills.’
The f— do you think I’m going to do, lay hands and make it better?”
There’s No Cure For That, Lady
“I did my residency in a clinic. A very pleasant 50 something lady came in for a physical. Everything was going fine when she casually asked if there are any new vaccines out. She was up to date with everything, so I asked if she had any specific concerns. She was asking to see if she could vaccinate her gay, adult son against homosexuality. Very nice, always had a smile on her face, even when I broke the ‘bad’ news to her.”