Disastrous Diagnoses

September 4, 2023 | Nur Karageldi

Disastrous Diagnoses

Everybody loves to speculate about what is wrong with their body. Some might overlook a dire problem, while others might overreact to a small issue. Diagnosing, on the other hand, should be approached with great caution because a wrong diagnosis can turn into a catastrophe. The following stories are proof of that:

1. So Close!

My grandfather was a doctor and had a patient come to his office complaining of a slight headache. His receptionist told him to wait in the waiting room.

They called his name, but the guy never came up to the desk. The consequences were dire—he suffered a major brain hemorrhage and didn’t survive, all this happened while waiting to be seen in the chair.

Doctor's Second OpinionShutterstock

2. Who Would’ve Guessed?

I knew a guy who was diagnosed with lung cancer in college at the age of 22. He was so young and lived a clean life, so it was confusing to everyone, even the doctors. They progressed very quickly with the treatment, and he was scheduled to start therapy.

He was doing some sort of pre-diagnostic meeting, and an intern was involved. The intern started asking some very different questions, and he eventually asked the patient if he had been in Kansas recently. The patient said he had spent the previous summer working in Kansas.

It turned out the intern had been writing a paper specifically about localized diseases, and there was this disease in Kansas that he had focused on. It had something to do with hay, but it wasn't hay fever.

The intern was telling the doctor to humor him and run this one specific test. The doctor agreed, and the test came back with results that suggested the intern was onto something.

The patient went in for treatments with a grim outlook, and he left with 10 medicines he had to take over the next five days. One week later, he was completely fine.

This was in the year 2001.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

3. Don’t Blame It On The Fish, Sir

As a paramedic, I responded to a dispatch for a "sick person".

When we arrived, this old guy was having a stroke. He said, "I just ate some bad fish" or something before taking a three-hour nap. Luckily his wife finally decided to call the authorities.

Paramedics using a radio inside an ambulance.Mikhail Nilov , Pexels

4. A Year Full Of You-Know-What

I'm a medical professional at a hospital. A patient came in stating that he had blood in his stool for almost a year and he was convinced that it was just because of hemorrhoids.

He only came in when he started to get abdominal pains—but by then, it was too late. It turned out to be colorectal cancer. The moral of the story is, that if you have blood in your stool, especially dark colored, don't ignore it.

Creepy hospitalUnsplash

5. It Was Just A Burn

An elderly man with dementia was brought in for suspicion of “toxic epidermal necrolysis”, which is a serious and life-threatening reaction where your skin peels off in sheets.

Nope. It was a very large burn because they left grandpa alone at the house and he spilled a teapot on himself, and the family was too dumb to figure it out.

Medical OMG EncountersShutterstock

6. Out Of The Blue

I was rushed to the ER as a kid because I woke up and my face was blue. My parents thought I wasn't breathing. I was 8 or 9 years old at the time, and everyone's sudden change in demeanor made me a little scared. All the while, I was just getting bluer.

At the ER, they were running all kinds of tests that didn't show anything wrong with me, until finally, my dad realized that I put the brand-new Toronto Maple Leafs pillowcase I just got on my pillow.

One washcloth later, I was all better.

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

7. Not A UTI

He had some belly pain and thought he had a UTI.

He also had weight loss, night sweats, and some other stuff. He had terminal pancreatic cancer and two weeks later, he was delirious and almost gone.

Hospitalized man lying in bed while doctor checking his pulse.Jacob Lund, Shutterstock

8. Oh Lord

I'm a nurse. I recently had a patient who claimed that he used to have diabetes, but Jesus cured him of it. His glucose was nearly 300 on admission and he was in the hospital to cut off a gangrenous toe that didn't heal because of the diabetes.

I'll never forget the doctor's note. It said: "Patient had a history of diabetes, but states Jesus healed him of that, but since his blood glucose was 289 on admission, we will treat him as if he were a diabetic..."

Male patient is laying in hospital bed an talking with a female doctor.Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

9. The Lazy Song

When I was 15 my mother was convinced that I had mono as I was coming home from school and sleeping for several hours, eating dinner then going back to sleep.

So, she took me to the doctor who did an evaluation. It turns out that I didn't have mono; I was just lazy.

As a side note: This period of laziness was only a few weeks after the conclusion of varsity swim season, so I was naturally exhausted from months of training.

Sick Patient In BedRDNE Stock project, Pexels

10. What Happened To You?

I'm a medical assistant. I did my placement at a kidney and hypertension center. I had a guy come in complaining of painful urination and he thought he had a UTI. I gave him a cup, told him to pee, and set it in the window.

The lab took the cup and immediately brought him back to the room, which was strange because this place was packed, and it was all a first come first serve kind of thing. Well, this guy went back because there was blood in his urine. A lot of it.

This guy was beyond 300 lbs; just massive and extremely tall. Doctors got him in the room and stayed for maybe 15 minutes before we had him transferred to the ER.

He fractured his thing and he had no idea. The nurse above me said they lifted his gut, and his entire groin was purple and black, and his thing was at a weird, swollen angle. She said she'd never forget it for the rest of her life.

The guy never did tell us what happened or anything. He acted just as surprised as everyone else.

Sad Hospital PatientTima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

11. Congratulations, You Are A Mom

After a couple of years working in an emergency room, by far the most common egregious self-misdiagnoses involve pregnancy.

Tons of active patients come in complaining of morning sickness and gaining weight, and they are just sure they have some sort of GI issue or infectious disease.

When it comes to asking questions, they say: “Oh yeah, come to think about it, I haven't had my period in three, four, or five months!”

That's not to mention the people coming in fully in labor and delivering in the ED, truly shocked that they were pregnant at all.

Now I understand people can have irregular periods and there are many cases where the patient is reasonable in not guessing what's going on. But there is a large group of patients who miss a lot of obvious hints.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt I guess, and I do have empathy for patients in situations where they don't want to be pregnant and are perhaps subconsciously blocking it out of their mind. But a medical mystery it is not...

Young woman patient looking shockedZoriana Zaitseva, Shutterstock

12. Nurse Wanted Me To Be Pregnant

When I was in high school, I started getting nauseous in the mornings.

It seemed the more active I was in the mornings, the worse it would be, and it was troubling for me.

I had my mom take me to the doctor and the first thing the nurse asked upon hearing my symptoms was if I was active. I wasn't at the time, so I told her no.

That's when things got tense—she thought I was lying and that maybe I was too scared to admit it in front of my mother. She took me aside and asked me again in private, and I told her the same thing. She responded with,  "You know there is no point lying about this right? We're going to find out".

This honestly made me pretty angry; something was not right with me, and I wanted them to find out what was causing it. But if no one would take me seriously, that wasn't going to happen.

So, she ordered a pregnancy test. The test came back negative.

She ordered three more pregnancy tests. Yes, four tests in total. Those come up negative as well. Her face turned red.

She seemed angered by this, which I found to be profoundly unprofessional. This was all done by the nurse before the actual doctor had come to see me. And when the doctor finally showed up, I heard her say to the doctor in the hall. "She might be too early still and that's why it's giving false negatives".

Well, I was surely not pregnant and I was experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety. I overheard the doctor scolding the nurse for wasting resources by giving me multiple of the same test before I left. Made me feel a bit better.

My Patient Was Faking ItShutterstock

13. No Appy For Your Baby

One night, I started getting some excruciating cramps that were so bad I had to wake my mom.

She asked me where the pain was, and I pointed out the right side of my stomach. Instantly, she told me to get in the car, and we went to the ER.

She thought I had appendicitis.

We got there and they hooked up to morphine. They then ordered an X-ray. I didn't have appendicitis... I just had to poop badly.

Patients Faking ItShutterstock

14. Remembering The Night Before

I once thought I had a perforated colon because my poop was bright red.

I spent an hour on the toilet in pain googling symptoms, and then I remembered the night before and I crushed a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

My Patient Was Faking ItShutterstock

15. I Diagnosed Myself And Got My Medicines

I had a very nice gentleman come to the ED with severe weakness, going on for weeks. It all started with chest pain a couple of months earlier. He thought he was having heart trouble, and he knew to take aspirin for a heart attack...

So, he took a couple of aspirin, every day for the next few weeks. The pain got worse and also started affecting his legs. He also started getting weaker.

Then, he pooped blood. A lot of it. That's what prompted the emergency department visit. When I checked his labs, his HGB was around 4, which is low enough to make me raise my eyebrows. Normal is 13 to 15,  and typically you'll start feeling weak or tired around 10.

So, his symptoms, including chest pain, weren't from heart trouble, they were from severe anemia!

Turns out he had a small bleed from his colon, and taking aspirin, which thins your blood and makes you bleed more, turned it into a large bleed.

So, I got him tanked back up with blood, we did a few tests including a colonoscopy to see why he was bleeding in the first place, and “Whoops”, we found a locally advanced colon cancer.

Thankfully it hadn't spread anywhere, so he eventually ended up getting surgery and therapy, and last I checked he's doing great.

So, this guy was incredibly lucky...by misdiagnosing himself with coronary artery disease, he took an inappropriate medication, which caused a side effect that set off a chain reaction that led him to me, and his diagnosis of a severe sickness at an early enough stage to be cured.

If he hadn't taken that aspirin, that sickness could have sat another year or two undetected and continued to spread, at which point it would have been incurable and he'd likely be gone right now.

I’m Not Faking It: Medical NightmaresShutterstock

16. I Complained, You Didn’t Listen

When my husband was eight years old, he complained about having intense pains in his stomach and he became so lethargic that he couldn't be woken up. His doctor said there was nothing wrong and that he had growing pains for two years.

But the truth was a lot more serious than that—it turns out his gallbladder had stopped working and would only function correctly a few days out of the month. After the doctor refused him a referral to another doctor for a second opinion, his mom took him to the emergency room and within 15 minutes he was going into surgery to have his gallbladder removed.

To top it off, they jam-packed him with so many pain medicines that he became so constipated, he couldn't use the bathroom for two weeks. He complained about his stomach hurting again and the nurses never once asked him when his last BM was, claiming that they forgot.

He had to receive an additional surgery later that week in which he had 15 pounds of matter removed from him. Talk about a bad time…

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

17. Nothing Is Wrong With Me

I was in high school, walking to class when I got a sudden sharp pain in my foot. I was running late and didn't have time to deal with it right then, but I only really felt it while I was walking; it faded quickly when I was still, and even then, it was minor enough that I figured it would go away on its own.

After a couple of weeks of dealing with it, I mentioned it to my mom, who thought it might be gout.

I was a really lazy kid, so it was a definite possibility. We went to the doctor, and he ordered an X-ray. IT turns out I broke one of the bones in the ball of my foot.

In short, I broke my foot and tried to walk it off for two weeks.

Medical MistakesShutterstock

18. A Doomed Generation

Pediatrician here—a lot of parents come in thinking their child has a severe sickness because they "won't eat anything".

But in reality, they just don't like vegetables and they stuff themselves to obesity with the stuff the parents substitute it with.

Dumb parents factsShutterstock

19. I Googled So I Know Better

I am a physician assistant who works in the emergency department here. I had a woman, around 45 years old, come in with her mother for a complaint of a spider bite to her back. It was an abscess.

No big deal, that's pretty common. People think abscesses are spider bites all the time. I incised and drained it and sent her home on antibiotics, a pretty standard procedure. Then I told her to come back in two days for a recheck.

When she came back, it was looking better. She and her mother thought it was something serious because it still wasn't all the way gone yet, but it was healing well and there wasn't much to do.

She and her mother came back again another two days later and told me it was gangrene. I tried to reassure them, but they both kept arguing with me that I didn't know what I was talking about.

It was a healing abscess and was looking for a lot better. Looked nothing like gangrene, which they had Googled. Had to get two of my colleagues to come into the room to reassure them but they still didn't believe us. I think they ended up going to another hospital.

Oh No Moments FactsShutterstock

20. Chain Of Unfortunate Events

I got incredibly tipsy one night and decided to finish off the night with an amazing Taco Bell feast. I woke up the next morning with an incredibly bad stomach ache. This continued for about three days, and I was constipated the whole time.

My roommates, all pre-med or nursing, thought it was just the Taco Bell causing some issues, but on about the fourth day, I couldn't take it anymore and had one of them drive me to the hospital. He continued to call me very bad words, and said they were just going to tell me to take laxatives.

But while at the hospital, they made a shocking discovery—they noticed my appendix was incredibly swollen and about to burst, so I was rushed into surgery. On my way to surgery, a doctor came running and screaming to stop and he showed the X-ray to the surgeon, and they decided it wasn't the appendix that was the problem, but my intestine.

Somehow my colon folded into itself like a sock and caused incredible swelling and build-up. I ended up going on antibiotics and other medicines for a couple of days.

I have no idea how this happened, and the doctors tried explaining the possibilities, but I was too tired of medicines to understand. I remember them asking me if I recently went to Haiti or the DR. About three years later, I started to have similar pain and went to the doctor immediately, and that time, they just took my appendix out.

Women Who Made History FactsShutterstock

21. What If?

When I went to see a physician a year back, I had severely shaking hands. I was told that it was a short-term problem that would likely go away in my late 20s.

I told him I was on medication, and he dismissed it as an unrelated issue.

Recently, I went to a different doctor. He assessed my symptoms. Jolting limbs, twitchy face, shaking hands, locking jaw, etc. Turns out I have tardive dyskinesia, which is a very rare side effect of one of the medications I was on.

It is irreversible after age 25. If I had listened to the first doctor, I would have had permanent brain damage as young as 25 years old.

Young male doctor is talking with young female, seating next to him.Ground Picture, Shutterstock

22. Doctor Almost Separated Us

A doctor diagnosed my wife with an STD, chlamydia maybe. We had a huge fight. My wife was emotionally crushed.

She accused me of cheating. It was messed up. I punched her symptoms into WebMD and told her it was probably kidney stones. Turned out to be kidney stones.

Young man is seating next to his wife and talking with a doctor at hospital.Pixpan_creative, Shutterstock

23. Apparently, I Was Sick

I was never overweight, but I had a muffin top I was self-conscious about. So finally, when I was 20, I decided to do something about it. I began going to the gym regularly, ate a healthier diet, and the pounds just started rolling off.

After a year, I was down nearly 50 lbs, and my mom was worried, so she took me to the doctor. That's when I  found out I had stage four lymphoma...

Never Go Through Again FactsShutterstock

24. Not A Pink Eye

I’m a pharmacy technician. I had a patient yesterday tell me they went to urgent care and the nurse diagnosed pink eye.

But the patient didn't feel right about that—and her gut feeling was right. She went to the eye doctor and was told she had an ulcer on her eye. If it went untreated properly, she would lose eyesight and possibly the eye.

Close up photo of woman with red eye.Julia Diak, Shutterstock

25. A Trip From BC To The Hospital

I went on a boating trip off the coast of BC. We went through various small channels of water and docked somewhere where we could go kayaking on the open water. 

We took turns managing various aspects of the ship, doing menial tasks such as watching for logs or otters and stuff in the water that might mess up the propeller or helping out in the extremely loud engine room.

This was over maybe three weeks.

On the last day of the trip, everyone started to get "seasick", myself included. We flew home the next day, and when we landed, I felt fine, For two hours, waiting in the airport and driving home, I started to feel worse and worse.

It was to the point where I was lying in the back seat of the car, and we had to pull over maybe 50 feet from my house to let me throw up. I had had migraines before, and it felt just like one.

Fast forward to later that night and it was so bad that even the little light coming in from the slit under my door caused incredible pain. We went to the emergency walk-in.

The whole time I was there I had to have my right eye covered, or the pain would overtake me. They prescribed something, I can't remember what, but it had no effect at all. 

The next day the pain was still there, and it was so bad during the day that I tried to claw my eye out whilst trying frantically to get a hold of my parents to take me to hospital.

Once they finally took me to the hospital, they admitted me and took me in for a CAT scan. They found that I was suffering from sinusitis. This sinusitis had led to pressure on my optic nerve, which in turn caused a blood clot to form. 

I was in hospital for two months, under strict quarantine whilst the doctors pumped me full of blood thinners and an antibiotic concoction that removed all my white blood cells.

When released, they had me outfitted with a pump that pumped medicine through my arm and directly into my heart through a vein. 

I don't think anyone could have caught that diagnosis from light sensitivity and a headache, but I'm awfully glad I went to the hospital, and that the children in that city are one of if not the best in the world.

The trip itself cost about $8,000, and the treatment probably far more. Thank God I live in Canada.

Instant KarmaShutterstock

26. He Looks Healthy

My husband was almost gone because of an incorrect diagnosis in the urgent care clinic. He went in with horrible back pain and fever. The fever should've tipped off the urgent care doctor that something more serious was wrong, but she missed it.

He's young, 30 years old, healthy, no recent injuries, so she assumed he'd thrown his back out. "Go home and take ibuprofen" was her recommendation

A day later, I watched my healthy husband fall on the floor. He was unable to get up. Lost all ability to use his legs. We're on the third floor and he's 6'4". I'm 5' 4" and I had no idea how to even get him down the stairs, so we called an ambulance.

At that point I was freaking out, thinking it was what the onset of MS looked like, and that I was going to lose my husband.

We were in the ER waiting for tests all day, the doctors were perplexed. Finally, they found it: MRSA, antibiotic-resistant staph infection. It had expanded into a huge abscess running the length of his back, pressing on his spinal cord and damaging the nerves.

He was rushed for a five-hour emergency surgery that night.

As they were bringing him back, they were telling me, "Luckily the only spinal surgeon who could do this surgery can make it to this hospital. Otherwise, we'd have had to move him, and that would have been bad". 

I didn't realize until much later why they said that. If they moved him and the abscess burst, he would have been paralyzed.

It took him weeks to learn to walk again, but now a year later he's okay. If you're young and otherwise healthy, it's easy for a doctor to miss something serious because it's not what they're looking for.

Young man lying on hospital bed with oxygen mask on.SeventyFour , Shutterstock

27. Something Feels Wrong

I fell rock climbing directly on my knee and immediately went to the emergency room, I knew it was bad, and they took an X-ray and told me I dislocated my knee and that I might have a small fracture. It didn't look like a big deal though, and they recommended me to go to an orthopedic surgeon in the next week or so.

No prescription—they suggested I take Tylenol for pain.

I went to an OS later that week who immediately put me on painkillers and got me in for an MRI the next morning.

I went back the next day, and I had a very seriously broken tibial plateau, which is basically where the shin meets the knee, completely tearing my ACL, PCL, LCL, and meniscus.

He rescheduled surgery to get me in as soon as possible to place my knee with a plate and eight screws. I had another surgery six months later to fix everything else.

My medical moral of the story is generally if something feels wrong, something is probably really wrong.

Hilarious Anesthesia MomentsShutterstock

28. You Mean “Wind”?

I know a girl who woke up one morning and felt pain in her abdomen. She thought she had gallstones and she phoned the ambulance—but the truth of her condition was scoffable. 

Wind. All she had was trapped wind. I thought people only made these kinds of mistakes in cartoons.

These Patients Told The Dumbest LiesShutterstock

29. Back Pain To Heaven

I worked in a medical office. We had a patient come in because he was having back pain.

He figured he lifted something wrong working on his truck and the pain was just not going away on its own like it normally would. Turns out he had spinal cancer. He was gone about two months later.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

30. No Pain, Yes Surgery

I was 21 and I went to the ER. Technically, I was ordered to go by my NCOIC, because of pain in my abdomen. I had a right lower quadrant pain and high fever. I couldn't stand up straight, and the ER staff said I was turning green.

Doctors said appendicitis and sent me straight off to surgery.

They got me in the OR and my appendix was perfectly fine... It was actually a perforated colon caused by a ruptured diverticulum. They said that was rare for someone in their early 20s and even more rare for a non-Asian to have one on the right side.

They rejected my colon and took my appendix anyway since they were in there.

I probably should have been seen sooner, but it didn't hurt too bad until that day that I finally did get seen. I think my pain tolerance is broken.

My Doctor Said I Was Crazy…Pexels

31. That Pediatrician Is My Nemesis

My daughter had severe constipation as an infant to the point where we had to give her enemas every day. As expected this was traumatizing for both her and us.

Her pediatrician told me, my husband, and my mother-in-law who came with me to a few appointments that she would grow out of it. 

At almost five years old she was still suffering, although he did relent and put her on a daily laxative. We could not get her potty trained.

She was embarrassed about this as well and she tried her best, but she told us she didn't know when she had to go. I begged and begged her pediatrician to write us a referral to this potty-training program that I had read about where there was a very high success rate.

He finally relented and said it was not her primary physician who wrote the referral but the other pediatrician who shared the office. I'd always liked him but, on the day he wrote us the referral, he threatened my daughter by telling her he wasn't going to let her leave the office until she went on the potty. He then told me I was a neglectful mother for not having her potty trained.

When we left the office that day my daughter was in tears, and we never went back. I wish I'd made that decision a longer time ago now.

My husband had been going to nursing school and he decided that when the potty-training class ended up leading to nothing, we would take her to see a urologist. 

I wish I'd gone with them to that appointment. I was so frustrated and confused at that point and I figured it would be another appointment with no answered questions.

Nope. An ultrasound showed that she was missing the bottom of her spinal cord, the sacral nerves, which give the sensation of needing to go to the bathroom. 

She had sacral agenesis. Sacral agenesis and caudal regression. Because this disorder usually goes along with deformed feet and/or legs, no one had brought it up as a possibility before.

However, although it's rare, it's much more common in children with Type I diabetic mothers.

So basically, my daughter's pediatrician wrote me off as a hysterical mother. I'm assuming because I had her at a young age. Then, let my daughter struggle with a disorder for years before we finally were able to figure it out for ourselves.

There are so many days I have wished I had stormed back into his office and sued him.

On a positive note, my daughter has an exceptional pediatrician now who is very supportive and familiar with her disorder, and she is now happy and healthy as can be.

Coma Survivors factsShutterstock

32. Oops!

A 28-year-old male came in because he had a little pain in his testicles. He figured he caught it from his scrotum touching a toilet seat. On exam, he had a scrotum that was the size of a grapefruit and extremely inflamed.

The reality was hard for him to swallow—it turned out it was epididymitis from two STDs. The worst part was that his mom and girlfriend were in the room, and he insisted they hear the diagnosis against our advice.

We left to let him explain to them both how he contracted it from a toilet seat that also had you-know-what.

Weirdest Anesthesia StoriesShutterstock

33. I Outsmarted Doctors

Almost a year ago, I spent a week in the hospital. I went in with a super high fever, my hands and legs had that "pins and needles" feeling, my fingers were curled up, and I couldn't move them or even walk.

For five days they thought I had an infection. They put me on IV antibiotics. For some reason, the only room available was in the OB ward, where people were having babies. 

Still, five days later, they had no clue what was wrong with me; but I felt much better, and my fever was mostly gone.

I started getting a sore throat and red marks on my hands, feet, and face. Turns out I had hand, foot, and mouth disease which I diagnosed myself after Googling my symptoms one night. I told a nurse what I thought I had and she confirmed it.

Minutes later, two guys in biohazard suits came in, threw all of my belongings on my bed, and wheeled me into an isolation room with a biohazard sign on the door.  I had to dress up in protective clothing to enter.

I was allowed to leave three days later.

So anyway, my Googling helped me figure out what was wrong with me, and the hospital put me around newborn babies while I had that...

Issa Rae FactsShutterstock

34. Typo

Physiotherapist here.

I had someone come in with shoulder pain and said then someone came I think they meant labrum, but since they just came in to buy some exercise bands and weren't interested in an assessment, I didn't bother correcting them.

Lawyers Share “I Rest My Case” FactsShutterstock

35. I Don’t Know The Name Of My Illness

My uncle is a retired nephrologist. My favorite story was about the woman who came to him and said she had “fireballs of the Eucharist” which, correctly translated, were uterine fibroids.

Not In Medical SchoolShutterstock

36. I Am Worse Than I Was

My girlfriend in college was pretty scatterbrained. She was. generally high-energy and had boundless enthusiasm and interest in a wide variety of things.

My friend and I who both had ADHD diagnoses told her she had it too. She called her dad who was a psychiatrist and told him, so he prescribed her the newest ADD medications, which if you don't know are almost always uppers. Her actual diagnosis took us by surprise.

Turns out what she had was manic depression and that you really shouldn't prescribe medication to your kids, especially if they aren't in the same state as you and you haven't seen them in months.

Stimulants are dangerous to give to manic-depressives.

Not In Medical School Not In Medical School Not In Medical SchoolShutterstock

37. Stop Laughing!

I loved reading as a kid, and one day while I was at my mamaw's, she had one of those old-time books that talked about the bubonic plague. 

I didn't think much of it until I came down with a cold a few weeks later, which made the glands in my pits and neck sore and swollen, so my mom took me to my doctor.

My pediatrician, this sweet old man from India whom I adored, came into the room to check on me and asked what was wrong.

I told him apparently, I had the "boobie" plague. I meant bubonic plague. I couldn't understand why he was laughing, and ran to get the nurse, telling him about my boobie plague.

I can't remember what it was I had though, but I got a bunch of stickers from him that day, which was nice.

Messed Up Kids FactsShutterstock

38. Don’t Freak Out

Thought I had a tapeworm once. Seeing what looked like a foot-long worm in my stool, I decided to drive to the hospital first thing in the morning.

That night I brushed my teeth, flossed, then dropped my dental floss into the toilet as I usually do before realizing I was panicking over a piece of string.

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

39. This Is Not A Cold

I work in a medical office.

My mom brings a 14-year-old kid in for a cold and shortness of breath, which turns out to be a spontaneously collapsed lung.

The kid is admitted to the hospital and discharged.

Two days later, the kid came back into our office, and what do you know, his lung had collapsed again.

That was a fun report.

Male patient is talking with doctor and holding his stomach at hospital.Suwit Rattiwan, Shutterstock

40. Probably Something More Serious

My mom was losing weight and had lost her appetite for a long enough time for her to go to the doctor.

She thought it was just a cold, and the doctor said it was a fever. Nope—it was worse than that. It turned out to be leukemia. Fast forward seven years later, and all is fine.

This doctor also thought my cousin's mono was just a cold.

Female doctor is listening to big (fat) female patient's heartbeat at her office.New Africa, Shutterstock

41. You Cost Me My Teeth

I lost two of my teeth thanks to an idiot orthodontist. He made me remove only one of them.

When I finally went to a competent orthodontist, she was horrified with what happened but suggested I remove the one on the other side anyway since my teeth wouldn't align symmetrically otherwise.

I still cannot believe my parents didn't ask for a second opinion the moment that idiot told them about extracting my tooth. Still mad.

Secret Possessions ExposedShutterstock

42. Stubborn Mama vs. Appendix

I am not a doctor, but my mom was a nurse for almost 40 years. She gave birth to 11 kids. Later in life, she got some abdominal pain.

She self-diagnoses all sorts of stuff. Finally, after about a week, we took her to the ER since the pain was not going away. My sister says it looked like appendicitis to her. Mom says, "No way. They took my appendix out when I was kid number eight or nine."

She tells the hospital staff the same thing when they suggest appendix issues as well. Mom says, "No way, I don't have an appendix".

So, they move on to other stuff and do some scans. Nothing jumps out, but after a week, my mom is getting sicker and sicker.

They decide she has a colon blockage and tell her they are going in to remove the blockage and she'll probably have a colostomy bag the rest of her life. Being a nurse, mom wasn't too pleased with that idea, but too sick to fight about it.

They tell us it will be four or five hours for surgery. So, we wait, and after 75 minutes, we see the surgeon come out. Everyone gasps, thinking the worst.

The surgeon is angry, but his assistant is laughing. Mom had an appendix after all and it had ruptured many, many days ago. It had somehow encapsulated itself or something so the infection just stayed in one place.

They took it all out and cleaned out the infection.

Mom wakes up a bit after surgery and I say to her, "Guess what! No colostomy bags! It was your appendix! Mom groggily mumbles, "No Way. I told you people I don't have my appendix! Now get me back in surgery and do the darn bag!"

Took a bit but we finally convinced her.

My Patient Was Faking ItShutterstock

43. Don’t Imagine The Worst Kids

I thought I had an ear infection, it turned out to just be a glob of earwax sitting on my eardrum and causing all the discomfort, hearing loss, and pressure.

I’m Not Faking It: Medical NightmaresShutterstock

44. Nothing Abnormal Here

I had a teenage girl come in because of "strange bumps" on her chest after she'd started a diet and lost some weight. The scans made me shake my head.

They were her collarbones.

Doctor's Second OpinionShutterstock

45. Scoop Scoop

Cardiologist here.

I see a lot of patients with chest pain, and if they're younger than 40 it's almost always benign.

One young man in his 20s came in convinced he was having a heart attack while working out. After getting an ECG, ultrasound of his heart, and stress test, nothing panned out. I finally sent him home with a Holter monitor to record his heart rate at the gym.

When I got the results, I was impressed to see his pulse shot up to 160, and stayed like that for two hours several times a week.

After pressing him further, I had already asked about meds and supplements, and he finally admitted to taking four scoops of pre-workout every day before the gym. After some research, he was drinking the equivalent of 20 cups of coffee in an hour.

Heartbreaking HospitalShutterstock

46. What The Flu

When I was four or five years old, around 1980, my mom was pregnant, about four months along. She went to the hospital because she felt terrible. She was kept there for a couple of days, they said she had a really bad case of the flu.

On the third day, the doctor she'd had was off, and some other guy came in, looked at her sheet, looked at her, and said, "You don't have the flu".

After some tests, turns out the thing had landed in the fallopian tube. If they didn't take it out, she probably wouldn’t survive.

Well, the thing came out, and her tubes got wrecked, and she couldn't have any more kids. And at first, they said it was the flu.

Sick girl on bedAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

47. If You Say So

ER doctor here. I had a patient insist she had a fever once and when I pointed out that our thermometer did not record a fever.

She told me "I'm not sure they taught you this in medical school but when Asians get a fever their temperature doesn't go up".

Yeah, I missed that lecture.

Strange factsShutterstock

48. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

At the psych hospital, we had a difficult patient. He was making wild accusations, completely psychotic. 

During the treatment team meeting at the psych hospital, when we were working out her treatment plan, she suddenly started screaming that she'd gone blind, that she couldn't see, and if we cared anything about her, we'd help her.

This time, she had a point, though—the lens of her eyeglasses had fallen out and landed in the pocket of her shirt.

Worst Things Teachers Have Ever SaidShutterstock

49. What?

I had a patient a few weeks ago who was in her late 80s come in worried about having STIs. She goes on to tell me that she hasn't done the deed since her husband passed away.

In 1994.

I am an allergist.

HOW Did They SurviveShutterstock

50. Don’t Listen The Shaman

Veterinary student here. I've had some dude with a super aggressive dog diagnose the poor thing with "neural instability", causing his aggression, from an online consultation with a homeopathic shaman.

He then came into the clinic with instructions from the shaman that he wanted the vet to carry out, including rubbing the dog all over with a $200 "healing stone", even though the vet had the more reasonable explanation.

He didn't want to believe leaving a dog in the backyard without much human/animal interaction for most of its life could cause aggression. Go figure.

Man on a couch for a session with therapistbbernard, Shutterstock

51. Overreach Much?

Pharmacist here. I've had more than one patient run to me screaming that they looked up their rash on WebMd and must have Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Actual diagnosis: contact dermatitis from laundry soap.

Male pharmacist writing prescription pharmacy counter in white uniformJacob Lund, Shutterstock

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