These Patients Were Beyond Dumb

Medical professionals have to deal with many different people—but not every patient is the sharpest tool in the shed.

1. She Had A Few Screws Loose

I was a surgical nurse who had a patient return to the OR who had some plates and screws put in their elbow for a fracture. The hardware was causing them discomfort, so instead of talking to her surgeon, she came up with a horrifying way to treat herself.

She tried to remove one of the screws with a blade and screwdriver. I got the case for the wound clean-up and replacement of said protruding screw. She was one of the strangest patients I had.

Dumb Patients


2. A Throat Of No Confidence

I was an ER doc. I once had a 20-year-old and his girlfriend come in at 2 AM freaking out because "something had tore his throat open". He seemed fine. There was no blood, and his breathing was normal. I had him open his mouth and saw nothing.

I didn't want him to lose confidence in me.

Clearly, something had happened, so I was looking and looking. There was nothing wrong with this kid’s throat. Finally, I said, “Look, it seems OK. What do you feel or see”? He replied, "I don't feel it, but LOOK, IT’S RIGHT THERE".

I asked, “Where”?, as I was looking and looking. It was his uvula.

Somehow this kid had gotten to the age of 20 without ever noticing his uvula. His girlfriend was also horrified. I told them it was normal, but they didn’t believe me.

So I told them I was about to freak them out and showed him his girlfriend's uvula.

Dumb Patients


3. Detached From Reality

I saw this young guy in the ER who had gotten into a brawl with some guys at a bar. When he woke up the next morning, he started getting some changes in his vision. He said that it was like a “black sheet coming down” on his left eye.

This is a textbook symptom of retinal detachment. It’s an emergency in ophthalmology because if it fully detaches, you get permanent vision loss.

You need to immediately go for surgical repair and then be extremely careful with that eye for weeks afterward. You even have to keep your head down most of the time for the next couple of days to help the re-attachment process take. Well, this patient decided to do the worst thing possible.

Naturally, this guy went and rode roller coasters all day at the local theme park with his buddies. He first presented to our ER two days later with permanent vision loss in that eye.

Dumb Patients


4. His Stupidity Fueled His Injury

I had a patient come in who had accidentally stuck a chainsaw in his leg the day before. He managed to cut his fibula and partially cut his tibia. He put some diesel fuel on it, wrapped it in duct tape, and kept working.

The next day he stepped off of something, and it snapped the rest of the way through.

He came in the front door with his leg flopping and bending where it shouldn’t be. To top it off, he rated his pain at a 6/10. He was a tough old man. We admitted him to ortho to clean out the diesel and necrotic flesh.

Dumb Patients