Doctors Share Their Horror Stories About Self-Diagnosing Patients

June 12, 2019 | Christine Tran

Doctors Share Their Horror Stories About Self-Diagnosing Patients

The Internet hosts information on just about anything, including medical advice. Thanks to apps like WebMD, it playing “doctor” has never felt so easy! Unfortunately, some things are better left to IRL media professionals, as the unfortunate patients in these stories can attest—that is, if they aren’t too stubborn. Doctors, nurses, and patients alike came to Reddit and shared horrific (and often hilarious) stories of patients who thought they knew better. Needless to say, human health is not a DIY project. Call the doctor on these wacky stories of self-diagnosis gone wrong.

1. From the Lungs of Babes

This will make my friend sound stupid, and she really isn't. When she had her first baby and was in that woozy/sleepless/new mom phase, she took the baby for her checkup and completely misheard when the doctor told her the baby had eczema. She got home and started Googling what she thought he had said, and called me in a panic, saying, "The doctor said the baby has emphysema!" Why that infant never smoked a day in her life...

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2. Pregnancy Goes Both Ways?

Just this week I was in our workroom when a senior physician sitting next to me who was on the phone suddenly grabbed my arm while desperately trying to keep a straight face. The senior physician was talking to a 24-year-old female patient and the conversation was going: "No ma'am, you can get absolutely get pregnant even if you don't orgasm."

"No ma'am, just because he's feeling nauseated the morning after doesn't mean you're pregnant..."

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3. This Remedy Doesn’t Hold Water

I’m a nurse, but my favorite was when a patient’s family member rudely insisted we give her mother who had a major stroke (resulting in nearly zero swallowing capability) as much water as she could drink because “I read a study online that said you can’t aspirate on water because your lungs just absorb it back into your bloodstream.”

I looked her dead in the eyes and said, “Ok, then explain drowning to me.”

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4. Doesn’t Hurt to Check Everything

I had a woman come to see me because of abdominal pain. I spent a good 10-15 minutes of asking her questions to get a better understanding of what could be happening. I ended up ordering an ultrasound to assess for an ovarian cyst and some blood work. As she’s leaving, she goes “Are you doing lab work for my prostate?”

I had to bite my tongue so as not to laugh and said, “No, because you’re not a male and you don’t have one.” She just said, “Oh.” and left. Spoiler alert: she had an ovarian cyst.

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5. Sexual Miseducation

Not a doctor, but when I was in middle school the internet led me to believe that it burned when I peed because I, who had not so much as held a girl's hand, had syphilis. Turned out I was just really dehydrated.

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6. A Mixed Bag of Make-Your-Own Diagnosis

I'm a nurse in pediatric neurology. We frequently have families who refuse to put their kids on seizure medications regardless of the EEG findings and the fact that they, you know, have seizures and stuff. One family "did the research" and attempted to cure the child's epilepsy with essential oils, over the counter CBD oil, yoga, and metal ion wristbands (to "balance" the brain).

They even went as far as having the kid's dental fillings removed and replaced with a non-metallic filling. There was the time that someone told us she didn't need medication because if you opened a fizzy can of Pepsi and put it under her nose, she would come out of a seizure. If that didn't work, you could whisper "Reese's Pieces" in her ear and she would stop seizing.

My least favorite visits are from parents who refuse to believe that their kid is twitching because they have motor tics and likely Tourette's instead of epilepsy. Like, if it was a choice between Tourette's and epilepsy, you should choose Tourette's all day long. Why these parents are hell-bent on giving their kids a diagnosis of epilepsy is beyond me. I just don't even know anymore.

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7. The Stones of This Guy

I've had a lot of kidney stones over the last 15 years or so. I’ve had two lithotripsies and passed at least another six (I can't even remember anymore). Depending on the quality of the health insurance I had at the time and the state of my bank account, sometimes I would seek treatment and other times I'd just tough it out at home with a heating pad, lots of water and profanity and tears, and whatever pain meds I had (either OTC or prescription left over from the last time).

For the last one, a year or so ago, I decided to go to urgent care. The usual doctor there was this good-looking but not too bright fella that my friends and I all called Dr. McDreamy. I knew my body and knew my symptoms, so I basically just wanted an X-ray to confirm and proof of treatment to cover my butt if I needed time off work.

Told the doc my symptoms and he ordered a urine test. I obediently peed in the cup and waited. He came back and told me I had a bad UTI. I was like, "...caused by...the stone? ..." and he literally rolled his eyes and said, "I guess we can get an X-ray." After I got my X-ray, he came back to give me the results. He couldn't look me in the eye as he sheepishly told me I had not one, but two stones this time. I called him Dr. McStupid after that.

Doctor holding urine sample cup.Getty Images

8. Who Says Comics Will Rot Your Brian?

Like a couple people have posted I've been on the opposite side of this, but if think it still fits. Back when I was a teenager, I was a really big fan of Humon comics, and she posted a PSA about a condition she was recently diagnosed with called Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, and listed the symptoms. Aside from the ones I couldn't account for like fertility problems,

I had nearly all of them, the biggest one being I hadn't had my period in over a year. My parents took me to the doctor who immediately booked me for an ultrasound. Turns out, I really did have it and my doctor commended me for coming to him about it. I'm very thankful to Humon for posting that PSA, I never would have known otherwise that what I was experiencing wasn't normal.

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9. A Mother’s Love Isn’t Always Accurate

A mother who was convinced her son had familial Mediterranean fever. He did not. She was repeatedly told this, nicely of course. Yes, the child had had genetic testing by the time I saw the family. Oh, but a small percentage aren’t detected by the testing! Thing is, her kid was fine. Healthy kid. Mom was just obsessed with this diagnosis.

Not exactly Munchausen by proxy, she never did anything to him to make him sick or subjected him to a lot of unnecessary procedures. But on that spectrum.

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10. Don’t I Nose It?

For a stretch towards the end of high school and beginning of college, I repeatedly had sinus infections. We're talking one every three to four months for the span of about two years. The nurse I got initially told me not to believe everything I read on the internet and to stop Googling my symptoms—just for my doctor to come in about two minutes later and say, "So you have another sinus infection?" knowing I was going to be right without her checking.

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11. She Thought It was Two Diagnoses for the Price of One

Veterinarian here. This is the worst I ever had, but not because they were wrong. A large lady wearing a muumuu brings a kitten into the clinic. She plops the kitten onto the examination table and says, "Pretty sure it's got ringworm." I examine the kitten, and sure enough, it has a couple of classical ringworm lesions.

Too young to give oral antifungals to, so I prescribe a topical therapy for it. Large woman asks if that would work on human skin too. I say it should. She says good, because the reason she knew the kitten had ringworm was that she found a lesion on her own body that she looked up on Google, and it looked like ringworm.

And before I can ask anything further, she flops out one large, saggy and obviously non-brassiere-supported tit through the neck of the muumuu to show me the ringworm lesion on the top of her left boob. Yes, that's a ringworm lesion on your pendulous breast. Now please put it away.

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12. Cut Me Open, Or Else!

I had a patient come into the clinic who insisted she had radiculopathy because her feet were numb and painful, and she wanted a surgical evaluation. I asked her why she felt that way, the only thing she could say was she looked it up on the internet. She was very aggressive about it, saying she needed an MRI and she was mad that her PCP didn't order one.

I explained to her what diabetic neuropathy was, and she insisted it wasn't that. I told her that the fact that she had diabetes, the stocking-glove pattern, and the fact that at least two doctors at her PCP office said this was diabetic neuropathy meant she didn't need further workup for back surgery. She threw a fit.

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13. A Doctorate in Comedy

I went to my doctor about a month ago. I had a spot on my back end that had me a little worried, more so since my mother had skin cancer on her butt. I had also recently been around someone who has shingles. Prior to this, I had pain in my foot and went online and found it to be plantar fasciitis. When I saw my doctor later that day, I told her what I found on the internet and she said "Yep! That's exactly what it is!!"

Now, I joke when I am nervous, and I was plenty nervous due to the incidence of melanoma in the family. So, when I went in to see her about my spot, I told her that I had been on the internet and I was pretty sure I found out what it was that I had. She asked me to elaborate and I told her that I was pretty certain I had Shingles Cancer. She just about fell out of her chair laughing! :D

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14. The Heart Knows; Your Nether Regions Know Better

This is kind of the opposite, but still amusing in a sad, George Carlin was right kind of way. I was poor, but also a responsible adult, so I was at the free clinic down the block from my work for a routine exam. In walks an acquaintance with a woman who was clearly her friend, but unknown to me. They come over and we make introductions.

The acquaintance's friend is called shortly before I am. After the usual song and dance, I head back out. I see the acquaintance, now alone, and go to chat a bit more. She explains that her friend was sure she had a UTI, but it turned out to be gonorrhea. She was back asking how long she'd had it and trying her damnedest to work out where it came from since her long-term boyfriend couldn't possibly be the source because he would never cheat on her after the last time.

I ask who the boyfriend is, and it's this sleazebag in a band that was trying to try it on with me a few months back, but I was not into him. I had no idea he had a girlfriend, or I would have given her a heads up. Here she was, adamant that she must've had gonorrhea for several years but her immune system suppressed it until she recently got stressed out.

I told the acquaintance about his not so distance attempts at cheating with me, so she could maybe get the woman to see reason. I thought it would be better coming from a friend rather than a stranger. Not believing medical professionals over a serial cheater really burgled my brain.

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15. No Way, Baby

Rewind to three or so years ago. A coworker started missing periods, gaining weight (mostly around the stomach area), sick most mornings. Another coworker provided pregnancy tests. All came back positive. A trip to her alternative practitioner left her diagnosed with a borderline celiac/gluten intolerance disorder. Ate egg and bacon sandwiches for breakfast every shift but refused to touch flour (75% of her job at the time) as it absorbed through her skin and made her bloated, sick, and irritable.

Left work early one day with "kidney stones.” Left the kidney stones on her toilet floor to die where paramedics later revived him, and DHS got involved. She is never allowed custody of her kidney stones. Has mentioned several times about suing the local clinic for not telling her she was pregnant. The same clinic my girlfriend gets told to pee in a jar every time she has so much as a sore throat. In short: coworker was pregnant. Told so by everyone. Denied it and found a charlatan that gave her alternative advice. Now wants to sue for not being told she was pregnant.

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16. Great Minds Crawl on the Same Web

Opposite sort of happened to me, but I had some sores that were itchy and spreading across my stomach. Naturally, I looked up what it could be and pulled up a page on various spiders and what their bites look like. Thinking that I probably shouldn't use the Internet to self-diagnose, I made the decision to see my doctor.

While I was in the waiting room after checking in, noting the reason for my visit, I had to go to the bathroom which was past the doctor's office. I glanced in and noticed he was looking up something on the Internet and lo and behold it happened to be the exact same page on spider bites I was looking at myself. Shouldn't have to explain what his diagnosis for me was soon after. To be fair, in the end they weren't bites but rather a pretty rare skin disease I happened to contract. Doctors said it's often confused for bug bites.

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17. Better Late Than Never

A lovely healthy 50-something lady patient presented with her best friend because she was unable to walk. It turns out she had been becoming weaker over the past couple of months and now had been bed-bound for two weeks. As she talked, she waved her hand over her right breast and mentioned something about a problem there. I took a look.

She had breast cancer that was so advanced that it was ulcerating through the skin in an area about the size of a small orange. I'll never forget seeing that. It's such a shame because she was such a lovely lady. We talked for about half an hour and during that, I found that she had put it down to a lot of stress overwhelming her life lately to do with her son leaving home and a few other things.

She seemed like a spiritual lady, and she was so sensitive and overwhelmed at the time that I had to take things very slow with her. During that 30 minutes, I really felt that I connected with her and slowly helped her understand what was actually going on and that the next few weeks would be tough with treatments etc.

This was about a month after I had started as a junior doctor. The next day, I got a complaint to my supervisor by the head nurse for taking too long with a patient, plus a whole lot of other made up stuff about being unprofessional etc. to make her claim sound better. Had to go to meetings with management etc. Anyway, the reason the patient couldn't walk was because of high calcium from metastases all through her bones.

I treated that and she was able to walk again a few days later. I looked up her file about three months after and she was still alive, on hormone therapy to slow the cancer's progression.

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18. Not a Spineless Argument

As a patient who looked up his odd symptoms online, I have to say never tell your doctor you looked up your symptoms online. I had an odd reduction of feeling in my pinky, ring finger, half my middle finger, along with that half of each hand. Also, reduction of feeling from halfway down my thigh and below. Also, Lhermitte’s sign.

Saw pretty dead on clues for transverse myelitis (lesion on the spine). Got sent to a neurologist who basically told me that I was feeling my symptoms because I sketched myself out searching online. Took me and my parents crawling up his butt to get an MRI scheduled. Lo and behold, a nice glaring lesion on my spine (C4 and C5).

He told me he would learn to trust his patients more from then on.

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19. Food for Thought

Worst self-diagnosis as a doctor: I was in a rough part of training, not sleeping, working 90+ hour weeks, and losing weight. I crawl into bed after 40 hours awake at the hospital, too tired to eat. I notice my laptop on my lap is twitching. I realize I can feel my abdominal aorta pulsing. I freak out thinking I have an aneurysm (even though I have zero risk factors). Then realize I am hungry and tired and thinner than I have ever been. I sleep like the dead.

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20. Shot Straight to the Bedroom

Just graduated medical school a few weeks ago. The most frustrating are the concerned parents who buy into all sorts of myths regarding vaccines. Especially frustrating are the parents who refuse the HPV vaccine for their daughters (and sons), not based on any misguided health concerns, but instead due to beliefs that it will encourage their daughters to be sexually promiscuous when they're older.

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21. This—Like Cancer—Will Grow On You

When my wife was having some odd symptoms and feelings, she started researching online. All her coworkers told not to do that because WebMD will have you thinking you have cancer. She did have cancer. It took about seven months of repeated visits to various doctors before someone finally did a CT scan. She had cancer.

If you think something is wrong, keep pushing. When her cancer came back, she had to guilt trip her oncologist to do a PET scan because he said it was too soon for it to come back. It was back. So, if you know something is wrong, keep pushing until you get the right answers.

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22. Never Too Smart to Fall for Fear

I was working with a physician, and we went to see a patient who insisted that he had tiny fibers and worms/ bugs coming out from his skin. He had extensively Googled his symptoms, self-diagnosed with Morgellons disease, and had even gone as far as to join a support group. He was extremely articulate and intelligent, but when confronted with the fact that Morgellons’s disease is a delusional parasitosis, he acknowledged this but couldn’t grasp that a delusion would mean that he is perceiving something that is not actually there (delusion = fixed, false belief).

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23. Face the Facts or the Facts Will Face (Off) You

I worked a death scene where a woman was using black salve to treat her skin cancer. Half her face was gone. Her daughter explained that the doctor told her he could remove all of it and gave a really good prognosis, but she was onboarding the internet’s bandwagon and she applied this horribly corrosive junk that doesn’t work until the day she died of cancer.

You could see her teeth through the hole in her cheek. Her computer was still pulled up to the FB boards where people were telling her “it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to, just keep to the protocol.” It was horrifying.

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24. Don’t Cross the Streams

Patient had diarrhea. It was yellow and liquid. The patient said there was something very wrong, and somehow the tubes got crossed inside of their body because the pee was coming out of their butt. Another patient calls 9-1-1 because they are in “cardiac arrest.” Not a family member reporting that their heart had stopped.

No, the patient made the call and said they were in cardiac arrest. Yet another patient comes in with a gangrenous toe. He says it will get better with antibiotics, he doesn't need to come into the hospital, he knows his body, etc. He left AMA with the antibiotics he came in for and told to return if anything changes. The patient came in the next day.

The toe fell off. One patient gets diagnosed with cancer. Doesn't follow up with the surgeon, and many calls were made by the surgeon to get the patient to meet in the office. Six months pass, and the patient shows up in the ED for something unrelated. Ask about the cancer and how the treatment is going. The patient says they never followed up because "I had a lot to do that weekend."

The spouse was right there and didn't appear to know about the diagnosis. Some are funny, and some are just heartbreaking and sad. And unfortunately, the patients are not the only ones that make incorrect diagnoses, but occasionally the doctors do too.

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25. Shot Through the Heart, And You’re to Blame

This happened in med school. I was taking the history of a guy in the clinic and I asked about his past medical problems, including if he had had any heart attacks. He responded, "Oh yeah, I've had about 20 of those." I asked, "You've had 20 heart attacks??" He says, "Yup." I said "Which doctor(s) did you see about them? Do you have a cardiologist?"

He goes "Nah, I never went to a doctor. My wife is a massage therapist, and whenever a heart attack hits, she starts to massage some pressure points and it stops." I reply, "Uhhhhh, ok. What does it feel like when you have a heart attack?" He says, "I don't ever remember them. My wife tells me that I fall onto the floor and my arms and legs start jerking.

She says it takes about a minute of her massaging before it stops. I then get really confused and tired afterward, and I can't remember much of anything that happens to me until I take a nice long nap." The dude was having seizures and thought that they were heart attacks. They normally stop on their own after a few minutes (at the most), and his wife thought that her massages were curing him.

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26. Over the Counter Hogwash

During my time as an intern, a patient was admitted for anemia (hematocrit of 16) requiring blood transfusions. Turns out that at some point in the past, after she was diagnosed with an in-born error of metabolism, her primary care physician prescribed her vitamin B12 injections (your body requires B12 to make hemoglobin).

Instead of going back for refills after she ran out, however, she headed over to her local pharmacy, bought vitamin B6 tablets, and proceeded to take two per day, and went on to explain how, you know doc, it's the same thing! Yeah, no.

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27. Nothing a Work-Out Won’t Fix?

Someone thought they had "a strained muscle in their leg" because it locked up. They couldn't bend their knee, then an abscess formed at the top of their leg right at the pelvic bone, and blood/pus started literally pouring out, non-stop, for days. Eventually, he came to the doctor's office, then straight to the ER, and had an abscess in his psoas muscle caused by a perforation in his small intestine. Yep. Pretty far off on that guess there, but apparently it happened right after some heavy lifting.

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28. Just Ribbing You

I had a male patient come into the emergency department complaining of "breast lump.” He anxiously stated that the mass was very painful to touch and was convinced that he was going to die of breast cancer. After a battery of questions, I asked him to take off his shirt so I can examine and palpate (read: touch) the mass. After a couple of seconds, I turned to him and said, "Sir, that lump is your rib."

He called me a "dumb kid" and asked to see my attending (I was a student at the time). The patient asked the attending why, if it is a rib, that it would hurt so much. The doctor replied, "Sir, you've been rubbing and irritating the area for days now, you've been hurting yourself." I've never seen a man leave the hospital that fast.

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29. Office Supplies Just Aren’t Going to Work In This Case

While working as a nurse, had a patient who insisted that her abdominal pain was from a surgery she'd had done on her arm. She thought that a staple that had been used to close the wound on her arm had somehow traveled to her abdomen.

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30. A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Up

Patient had a cold, convinced it was "severe sinusitis" (a bit of a known hypochondriac). Saw a doctor, got a script for an antibiotic. Was convinced she was allergic to every antibiotic tried until all that was left was antibiotics which aren't usually used in URTIs at a sub-therapeutic dose (because she's "very sensitive to medications").

The infection wasn't going away so she took antibiotics for longer and longer.  She somehow got her hands on a blood glucose machine and must have had a reading that was slightly low one day, because all of a sudden she started buying bags and bags of jelly beans because "the infection is making my blood sugar go dangerously low" (fasting ~4mmol/L, so normal).

So, she is taking more and more glucose (moved onto the straight glucose powder now) to control the "dumping syndrome" (I don't think she even read the Wiki on that one...) that the infection caused. Symptom of her "dumping syndrome": blood glucose dropping rapidly (because she is on a diet consisting of pretty much solely pure glucose) to "dangerous levels" (~4mmol/L).

She is testing her blood glucose on average 20 times a day and taking about 250gm of pure glucose at least (from us) plus supplementing with lollipops from the supermarket for some variety. We've consulted with the doctor. Nobody can convince her otherwise, we've all tried. She's put on ~15kg in the last month or so and will definitely end up with diabetes soon.

The doctor made a mistake the other day. In exasperation, she said to her (in her third appointment that month) "You should count yourself lucky, there are people far worse than you that can't even get out of bed". She now gets deliveries because she is so sick, she can't get out of bed...

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31. Young Enough to Know Better

Had a 19-year-old girl come in asking for antifungal medication because she was convinced that she had oral thrush. She and her boyfriend had Googled her symptoms, and at 19 you're never wrong. When I suggested that perhaps we check an EBV antibody to rule out mono, she looked at me like I was actively drooling on myself and refused, because there was, "No way I can have mono."

Eventually I convinced her to have some diagnostic testing done, and sure enough she had mono. I tried to explain that having oral thrush as a 19-year-old could possibly be much more concerning than mononucleosis, but she didn't seem to get it. I will give the caveat that if a patient volunteers that they were looking up their symptoms online.

I'll always ask them what they think they have and why. This can sometimes give insight to symptoms or concerns they may not have let on about that help me to make a correct diagnosis. Besides, taking an active role in your health is certainly not a bad thing. As long as you're not being a douche and acting as if I'm some moron, I welcome that kind of discussion.

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32. Pink Doesn’t Pair Well With Black

Had a friend come to me claiming she was surely dying and had colon cancer. She had a dark stool, among some other things; the bloody stool being, "the smoking gun." I asked her what she had been taking to help with her stomach pains. She said Pepto-Bismol of course. I told her to stop taking the Pepto-Bismol and told her to go see her primary physician about it. Sure, enough it was just the Pepto-Bismol.

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33. When Crunchy Goodness Isn’t Covered By Your Dental Plan

As a self-diagnosing patient...One day notice a white, hard, jagged object protruding from my back gum. Can't believe I'm having a tooth come in, especially since I'm 23 and had my wisdom teeth taken out years ago. Go to the dentist to get some X-rays and it turns out to be a piece of a tortilla chip.

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34. Put a Pin On That

I also want to add my favorite correct patient diagnosis. A female doctor I know at my school likes to tell this story as an example of why one must always ask for patient attribution (i.e. "What do you think is causing your problem?") Really old guy came in complaining of foot pain. He was diabetic. Lady doctor already has a diagnosis in mind but goes through the whole shebang.

At the end asks, "And what do you think is causing the problem?" He goes: "I think I have a tack in my shoe." He had a tack in his shoe and couldn't bend over to get it out. She helped him remove it and he went on his way.

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35. Baby’s First Attempted Chemical Lobotomy

So, I'm a therapist and I work with kids. Worst misdiagnosis was a family with a two-week-old who was convinced the baby had 1) anxiety—because he cries, 2) autism—little eye contact, and 3) bipolar disorder—because the baby would seem content then suddenly angry. I spent HOURS explaining child development, what these diagnoses mean, how they would present in kids.

I provided them with books, handouts, etc. They insisted on going to see my co-worker and a psychiatrist as I was surely lying to them. Even after meeting with the other two professionals, they still weren't convinced. They requested psych meds from the doc.

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36. You Can’t Treat Your Body Like a House

I remember seeing an emergency room show where a building contractor had a fall on a building site and turned up to the ER a week later, complaining of a temperature and some nausea. He'd broken his ankle and had made this makeshift cast from concrete. The cast was removed to reveal an extremely nasty, red looking foot.

He was re-cast, placed on antibiotics and sent back home after it looked like everything had settled down. He returned a couple of days later feeling worse with his temp way up etc. The doc asked him, "Did you sustain any other injuries during your fall that you didn't mention?" to which he answered, "Oh yeah, I cut my side, but nothing serious.”

The doctor asked to see the wound, and the man removed his shirt revealing a very infected 5" cut that had been closed with makeshift copper wire stitches that the patient had applied himself with tools from his building site. I was just astonished when I saw this LOL.

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37. No Choice But to Break It Down from Scratch

My sister is a paramedic. One day she and a team are sent to house. A man had called about a broken arm. I don't know how he broke his arm the first time but had read somewhere on the internet that if he just kept breaking his arm, then the pain would go away. He had tried around three times by jumping up and smashing down his weight on his arm, and it shocked everyone that he proceeded after the first time.

In the end, the guy had to get four surgeries on his arm, but my sister isn't sure if it wasn't eventually amputated or not, since she was pretty sure by the look of it and the x-rays that it would have to be.

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38. The First Thing That Goes Is Your Ability to Hold Your Own

I’m not a doctor, but I did take my very elderly Nana to the hospital after I showed up to her house and found her slurring her words and behaving very strange overall. Now, my Nana is a major hypochondriac; when she was admitted, the first thing she told the doctor is that she believed she was experiencing the beginning signs of Parkinson’s.

It turned out that she had mixed up a bottle of non-alcoholic wine with a bottle of regular wine, had drunk the entire bottle, and was completely hammered.

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39. Choose The Information You Need

Serious answer: I try to ask my patients if they have Googled their symptoms. It gives me a lot of information about what they are worried about. I then try to stay humble about their findings and try to not be a jerk about that. Trust is not built by telling people they are stupid. However, it is hard to keep a straight face when a 50-year-old male walks in and says, “I think I have caught the Down’s syndrome,” or when a young woman thought she had testicular cancer.

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40. Look for the Clues, Miss Your Wife

Sad and long story, but to keep it very brief: lady on four vasopressors, including high dose epinephrine, was going to die in the next few hours. The husband was convinced that epinephrine was causing low blood pressure and low heart rate. He kept going back and forth from home to the hospital with online printouts despite myself, my fellow, and my attending, and the nurses all telling him that this medication is keeping her alive.

We looked at his first printout, it said, "ephedrine" we're like um, first of all, that’s not the same medication. Anyway, I actually tell him that if I was him, I'd stay with her and that she may only have minutes left. He's threatening to sue us, and he's convinced he's right; he goes home again to get a new print out, and she ends up dying while he's at home.

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41. Too Protective of Her Profession

My fiancée is a nurse and she and her nursing colleagues have all agreed I was well within my rights to be the jerk in this scenario. I'm usually extremely polite to everyone but you know...pain. I went to the emergency department because I couldn't move anything above my waist and was in horrific agony. For no reason whatsoever, my back stopped working.

This was on Christmas Eve and I left it til the 28th to go in. Go into triage and I'm waiting around for hours, still in pain and trying to move in any way. Eventually, triage nurse shows up and asks, "So, what's the problem?" I say, "Errr, back is in agony, can't move, I haven't injured it, think it's maybe a slipped disc or trapped nerve or something, I'm not sure."

They said, "Are you a doctor? You’re not are you? So, don't come in here trying to guess what it is!" I then asked, "Errr ok... Are you a doctor?" She stormed out without saying a word and the doctor came in five minutes later, took a look and determined some swelling had trapped a nerve, got some heavy duty diclofenac and I could've danced 30 minutes later...

Twins FactsShutterstock

42. Sometimes You Have to Trust Your Gut

The only time I self-prescribed was when I thought I had rhabdomyolysis. Never had even heard of it before. I woke up that morning feeling like I’d been in a car accident (had done a very heavy workout two days prior) and wondered why it was literally the worst soreness of my life. I didn't start doing any WebMD stuff though until after I went to the bathroom and realized my pee looked like Coca-Cola.

What's funny is even going to the ER I was thinking, "This is a total waste of time and I'm going to be laughed at by a doctor today for being a dumbass who looks up stuff online." Then I spent the next five days in the hospital and went through 70 IV bags before I was finally discharged.

Coma Survivors FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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