Paging Dr. Google: Tales Of Misguided Patients And Annoyed Medical Professionals

March 11, 2020 | Scott Mazza

Paging Dr. Google: Tales Of Misguided Patients And Annoyed Medical Professionals

Throughout history, doctors have put up with a lot. Sure, doctors in olden times didn't have the medications or advancements that we have now—but they also didn't have to put up with patients who go to Google or WebMD every single time something feels a little off. The use of the internet to self-diagnose has become a veritable phenomenon. Let's be honest, a lot of us have done it. That said, most of us aren't straight-up idiots like the people in these stories. Doctors and other medical professionals have taken to Reddit to share their most outrageous stories about patients who attempted to figure out their own medical problems and came up with unbelievable explanations. Buckle in for these real-life tales of misguided patients and their failed attempts at self-diagnosis.  

1. Let's Wrap This up

I had a patient several years ago who had googled their symptoms and then came in thinking they had testicular and/or prostate cancer and surprise...they didn't. Instead, they had a really bad case of gonorrhea. But that's not even the worst part. We found out later that this guy was actually "patient zero" of a bad outbreak.

Several of his partners were hospitalized due to the resistant nature of the particular strain.

Doctors And Patients Stories FactsPixabay

2. Lady Problems

Not a doctor, but I had a co-worker come into the office with this, and it was utterly ridiculous. He was having nausea, fatigue, and frequent urination, and decided to WebMD that noise. We're chatting in the office one day and he says something like "Yeah, I've been feeling really bad lately, and it sounds like gestational diabetes, but I can't find any cases of men getting it."

I just slowly lowered my head into my hand and asked him "Do you even know what GESTATIONAL means?" He did not. Yes, it means you're pregnant.

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3. Where There's a Will, There's a Way

I asked a patient once if he was diabetic. He said no, but his condition told me otherwise. I then asked him if he had been tested. He said "Yes, and they said I was." Uh, okay, my dude. So I said, "Okay, so you ARE diabetic then?" His response was so dumb, I'll never forget it. He said, "No I'm not, because I choose not to be." Wow.

Learned Too Late in Life factsShutterstock

4. No Good Spiders

I’m not sure if she got it from WebMD, but she was convinced the spider bite she woke up with on her thigh was from a brown recluse. We don’t even have brown recluse spiders in our state.

Self Diagnose FactsWikipedia

5. Surprise!

Paramedic student here. Last week, a patient started having abdominal pain that would last a little bit and stop. And about two to three minutes later would start again. When she googled her symptoms, the answer shocked her. Everything she found was saying she was in labor. Well, to our surprise, unlike most people, she actually was.

She had no idea she was even pregnant, but as we walked into a room, the baby was crowning.

Heartbreaking Things FactsShutterstock

6. 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.

Self-Diagnosing Patients FactsShutterstock

7. 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.

Nurses Ghost Stories FactsShutterstock

8. From the Lungs of Babes

This will make my friend sound stupid, but 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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9. 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..."

Self-Diagnosing Patients FactsShutterstock

10. 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.”

Self-Diagnosing Patients FactsShutterstock

11. Doesn’t Hurt to Check Everythin11

I had a woman come to see me because of abdominal pain. I spent a good 10-15 minutes 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.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

12. 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.

Surrounded by Idiots FactsShutterstock

13. Beaned

I had a grade school kid tell me he had a brain tumor. Turns out he put a dried bean in his ear and forgot about it. The kid was nine or 10, so no stupider than your average nine or 10-year-old. He didn't really have a reason why, but they'd been using beans for some counting thing in math at school. I don't know what kind of bean it was—small and red.

It came out with tweezers. This was years ago, and he has probably forgotten all about it, unless his mom reminds him periodically (I would).

Self Diagnose FactsPexels

14. Half-Diet Soda

Was working at a clinic. I was speaking with a non-controlled diabetic patient about her sugar intake and she said she drinks a 32 oz. soda every day. I ask her if it's regular or diet, and she replies with "It's half-regular. I let the ice melt first, so there isn't as much sugar in it." Sorry, but that isn't how it works.

Dumbest Patient FactsPxHere

15. Red in the Face

I had a dad make a really big scene about his kid. He claimed she has internal bleeding and a clotting disorder, all because she had some red areas on her tummy and he googled it. He even claimed she was fading into unconsciousness. At that point, the child was dancing around the examination room. No trauma in her medical history, so he assumed it's a genetic clotting disorder.

We told him it's fine, she might have a rash, but if it doesn't go away we can see them again. Then he took it to the next level. He threatened the doctor, screamed in the hall, then demanded emergency MRI and blood transfusion because the internet said that's what we should do. We even had to call in security.

When we finally offered him to give her an ultrasound to rule out bleeding, he agreed, sobbing the whole time. He was clearly distressed, so even with his attitude, we tried to balance helping him (rather than the child, who was fine) and staying safe ourselves. A few minutes later, a supervisory doctor comes to take an ultrasound. The results were immediate and incredible.

The gel used in the ultrasound made the RED PAINT she had on her skin wipe right off. It was probably from some clothing. Needless to say, he was embarrassed...

Self Diagnose FactsShutterstock

16. Tinfoil Hat Brigade

CMA here. Had a patient call complaining about a full-body rash and itching. His reasoning behind the symptoms almost made me spit out my coffee. He comes in that afternoon and very calmly tells me he had a flu shot two days ago and the worms the government hid in his body hatched and we're moving around under his skin.

Self Diagnose FactsWikimedia Commons

17. Sprung a Leak

Saw someone ER. She had a runny nose and was insistent that her cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds your brain) was leaking through her nose and causing her to have a runny nose. This is usually pretty unlikely, especially without a history of trauma. Order a CT of her head, but it doesn’t show anything and she otherwise looks fine, so she’s sent home.

We quickly found out this was a huge mistake. She comes back the next day with a jar of this fluid she had collected saying, “This isn’t snot!!” Ran some more tests and turned out she was right. I’m glad she was persistent.

Self Diagnose FactsScott Air Force Base

18. I’m Thirsty, Call 9-1-1

Not a doctor, but I worked at a hospital for a while. One of our doctors came back to the nurse’s station laughing because someone was fully convinced they were diabetic because they were "craving" water and WebMD said that makes them diabetic. Turns out, they are just human like the rest of us and require it to live…

Weird House Rules FactsPiqsels

19. Slow Clap

I'm not a doctor, but I'm a medical assistant and I room patients for the doctor. This is in the occupational health field, and we had a young gentleman come in who was pretty sure he had a groin hernia according to his Google search. He said he'd been lifting produce crates and experienced sharp, overwhelming pain in his groin.

When the doctor examined him, he burst into laughter. Turns out the kid had chlamydia, which had caused things to become swollen and just happened to get symptomatic while he was at work.

Self Diagnose FactsThe Blue Diamond

20. Be Persistent

I'm not a doctor, but in 2013 I was feeling awful. Shaking, puking/dry heaving, shaking, excruciating and debilitating pain. It didn't take WebMD for me to know something was wrong and that I should be hospitalized. I went to the ER had blood work done. I never knew what it said, and the doctor told me it was a gallbladder attack, gave me pain meds, and sent me home. Their mistake almost destroyed me.

Three days later I was even worse. Couldn’t eat, couldn't sleep, the only relief I felt was when I was in a scalding hot bath. I finally went back to the ER and they did more blood work and told me my gallbladder was septic and my pancreatic enzymes were 6,500 and rising (they should have only been 100-150) and I was dying.

I was admitted and when they did my gallbladder removal, my gallbladder was solid black and had 80 stones and a tar-like substance from sepsis. Come to find out the first time I went to the ER my enzymes were 2,000, I should never have been allowed to leave the hospital. Actually ridiculous. Listen to your patients.

Self Diagnose FactsShutterstock

21. There Goes My Brain

There was one time when someone was certain he had Herpes Encephalitis. I'd never heard of that thing, ever. Apparently, it's when Herpes travels from either your genitals or your mouth to your brain through nerve endings, then rots your brain and turns it into a bunch of pus. He said he thought his concentration and IQ were decreasing (law school student) and when he knelt down, he felt his skull "jiggle."

Therefore, he concluded that herpes was rotting his brain.

Self Diagnose FactsPexels

22. Skip the X-Rays

I have a funny story about self-diagnosis from when I was in a motorcycle accident. It was a head-on collision and I had gone over the hood and windshield of the car that hit me and skidded through an intersection. Was wearing a helmet, boots, leather jacket. I absolutely had a massive concussion but wasn't aware of it at the time. But then I made things so much worse.

I was not in pain; I felt disoriented and insanely thirsty, but no pain. I sat up and took off my helmet and there was a crowd of bystanders trying to get me to lay down, but I just wanted to go home. The thing is, no matter how many times I tried, I could not actually stand. When the EMTs arrived, I was sitting upright on the ground.

I then helpfully informed them that I thought my leg might be broken, because I had tried to stand and found it was not weight-bearing. One of the EMTs scoffed and said something like "You think?" or "No way!" I very sincerely insisted my leg might be broken, at which point he got serious and asked me if I had actually looked at my leg or not.

I hadn't thought to do that. (Bear in mind I had one heck of a concussion.) I looked down, and there was my bone sticking out from my skin and through the denim of my jeans. There was blood everywhere. "Oh," I said. "Yes, your leg is definitely broken," said the EMT gently. "Well," I said, reasonably, "I do we know yet? I mean, we should probably get an X-Ray." Shock, am I right?

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23. I Was the Patient the Whole Time

The nurse in charge said, "I saw him crossing the parking place gingerly, but when he entered the ER, he contorted with pain. He claimed that he had a severe case of gallstone and that he needed opiates. I noticed him immediately since he had been with us several times before with the same symptoms." Oh, but there's more.

I know this because he tried to use my identity at the time. He was my ex-boss. The trial will take place in August.

Death FactsPublic Domain Pictures

24. I’m Stroking, Get Me Google

Just had a patient come in the other night with a couple of stroke-like symptoms, so we called a code stroke. Did her CT scan, stat labs, and got a neurologist from USC to consult. The neurologist examined all the results and did a full neuro assessment. Turns out the patient just had a swollen tongue from an allergic reaction. But the patient's response was priceless.

The patient told the neurologist that she was wrong and that it was definitely a stroke because she looked it up on her phone. Hint: if you have enough motor skills to get off the gurney and get your phone from your bag, probably NOT a stroke.

The Universe Is Messing With Me FactsShutterstock

25. Follow Your Heart

Not a doctor, but the brother of the patient. My older sister diagnosed herself as having symptoms of systematic heart failure. Her new primary doctor agreed and gave her some basic guidelines of what to do, and had her visit her cardiologist. The cardiologist pooh-poohed her, saying there was probably nothing to worry about and scheduled a test in a few days just to be on the safe side.

One of the things her primary had her looking out for was sudden weight gain, and when she woke up two days later suddenly six pounds heavier, we went straight to the emergency room and they ran tests, including an echocardiogram. Her injection fraction was 12, and they immediately sent her to the biggest hospital in the area, where they ended up saving her life from congestive heart failure.

She had had at least two silent heart attacks due to the amount of damage they found.

Law Enforcement Creepy Calls FactsShutterstock

26. Nip-Bitten

I had an insect bite basically next to my nipple. It was itching like crazy, and my usual bite cream said not to be used on nipples, so I decided to Google what else I could do to relieve it. I got so much more than I bargained for. Found out that, apparently, no one else has ever had an insect bite on their nipple. Instead, it was even scarier.

It said that what looks like an insect bite on or right next to your nipple is almost certainly inflammatory breast cancer. Phoned up my GP and was in a right state because I thought I had this incredibly aggressive form of breast cancer. He listened to me for a minute, asked a couple of questions and then said, "It's an insect bite. Come back to me if it's still there in three weeks. Oh, and try deodorant on it."

The deodorant calmed it right down, and it had gone by about five days afterwards.

Spice Girls FactsShutterstock

27. No Guarantees

My most ridiculous diagnostic was actually a young, healthy man in his 30s who couldn’t believe that he had a heart attack, saying that it was impossible because he ate healthy, and exercised and everything. We couldn’t get him to understand that it just reduces the probability of a heart attack, it doesn't prevent it.

So yeah, he got ticked off and wanted to be discharged.

Hospital Horror Stories FactsShutterstock

28. Mystery Mono

Not a doctor, but once back in fourth grade, during winter break, I had some sort of illness that made me throw up, sleepy all the time, and a few other symptoms I can’t remember. So I was at my mom’s computer, and I decided to Google my symptoms since my mom wasn't there. Turns out I "had" mono, or also referred to as the kissing disease. My reaction was unforgettable.

I burst into tears and ran crying to my mom, hacking my guts out, while my mom tried to calm me down. And to this day, legend has it, I still don't know what I had, and I have never had it again.

Lazy People factsShutterstock

29. Dude-Smear

I'd say about three or four times a year I get a new, young, male who has googled their symptoms and determined they need a Pap smear. Yes, you read that right. A few men look for advice for their symptoms online and will end up on a female health site and see women telling other women to get a Pap smear test, without them actually knowing what it is.

I always have to leave the room to excuse myself whilst I have a laugh.

Self-Diagnosing Patients FactsGetty Images

30. No Swimming

I correctly diagnosed myself with dyshidrotic eczema. The pictures I saw matched the issue I had. Then, I read that there are often chemical triggers, then, I thought about all of the stuff I had done recently. Then, I remembered the lake in my backyard is full of chemical fertilizer runoff from the surrounding golf course, and I was in it about a week prior.

Crazy But Necessary Signs FactsPixabay

31. Sleep Paralysis

My friend once woke up and couldn't move either of his arms. Terrified, he called 9-1-1 using the tip of his nose, just to find out four mins later that he just thinned the blood supply in his arms by laying on them during the night and could move them perfectly fine. Ambulance was already called though, and he had to pay a big fine once they arrived.

Scariest Things They've Woken Up To factsShutterstock

32. Nothing to Do But Amputate

I am currently in med-school. When I was about 12 years old, I felt a painless lump inside my nipple. I thought this was something of low importance, so I continued to live my life. A few days later, when I was in the shower, I felt another painless lump inside my other nipple. I thought this was weird, so I decided to google my symptoms.

I thought about male breast cancer, and I knew it was a low chance of me having it, but I decided to look up some signs of the cancer. And there it was, In my exact words. "Symptoms of breast cancer include a painless lump in the breast." I was terrified. I informed my parents, and I was in tears. I didn't know what my future would look like, and this thought shook me even more.

Would I ever become a doctor? I then searched for treatments of breast cancer on google, and it said the only treatment was to amputate the breast. I was even more torn. The next day, my mom explained everything. She showed me an article about my "breast cancer," and it turns out that I was just going through puberty, and this was completely normal.

To this day, my family and I still laugh about the incident.

Abandoned Places FactsShutterstock

33. Downgraded to the Flu

I'm no doctor, but my mom was convinced she had myasthenia gravis when she was like 17, so she went to her friend in tears and told her she was dying. For those who don't know, you have to be old to have that. She made the optometrist test her for it anyway. My mom also once called her mom in hysterics because she thought she had AIDS. It was the flu.

Excruciating Minutes FactsShutterstock

34. Premature Burial

Med student here. This happened in a gastroenterology/oncology ward. A woman in her fifties is diagnosed with metastasized gastric cancer. The young resident has to break it to her during Saturday morning rounds. He does quite a good job, talks to her for a pretty long time, tells her that his attending will get back to her with more info as soon as he's in.

Well, soon her entire family comes to visit and, in the evening, the attending doctor. The attending and the patient talk through everything again, this time with her family. We were sitting in the break room when we heard a chilling sound.  There were weird cries of joy and laughter from that room. What had happened?

Previously, her semi-bright children had looked up the statistics for gastric cancer on Dr. Google and somehow found out that their mother had only like a week left. Don't ask me where they got that from. They had already told their mom and planned everything accordingly. So when the doctor told her she would probably live for at least another good six months or more, they were overjoyed.

Self Diagnose FactsShutterstock

35. Brushing it off

Not a doctor, but this happened with my mom.
 A few years ago my mom was getting violently sick after eating sometimes. One time in the middle of the night it was really bad, and my dad decided to look up her symptoms on WebMD. He concluded that she just had the flu and they waited her sickness out. My dad had never been so wrong.

My mom goes to the hospital the next morning, and it turned out she had something wrong with her gallbladder. 
So thanks for that, dad.

The Universe Is Messing With Me FactsShutterstock

36. Gastrointestinal Disease: Period

Not my story, but my dad’s. He works as a doctor in one of the bigger hospitals in my town. One day, he had a mother and her daughter come into the hospital because the girl was having bad stomach cramps and she was bleeding out of her female body part. At the time the girl was 13-14 years old, so it’s pretty evident what this is.

But alas, the mother thought her daughter had gastrointestinal disease. The girl was very clearly on her period. The mother's reasoning for this was because she took medical school and she did extensive google research.

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37. Drinking Disease

Student nurse here. I picked up a shift in the Emergency Department as a healthcare assistant. Completed a triage of a 19-year-old student on a Monday. Mondays in Emergency are absolute poo, it's either really poor people or just the worst. There's just no in-between really. This girl said she suffered "abdominal pain and vomiting" the Sunday morning.

I asked what brought her in today. She said, “Well, Google said so.” I was like okay...I told the practitioners and the leading triage nurse. Then the real story came out. The student then proceeded to tell the nurse she was vomiting mere hours after getting home from a night out. Apparently, she hadn't realized alcohol could make you vomit.

Unromantic Moments FactsShutterstock

38. Paying for Nothing

Long story short, I used to be in a relationship with a highly anxious hypochondriac. There were many spells of "OMG I'm dying..." that were laughable, then things would calm down and life would be good again. One time, for a handful of symptoms, headache, neckache, general sick feeling, she mentioned: "I think I have Meningitis."

Normally, it was just the process of calming her down, etc. etc. This time I thought, "Hmm I'll google that." Off things went, I bought into it. One long embarrassing call to the CDC later, there was nothing wrong. I figured they would know for sure, beats me what I was thinking. Another expensive as heck trip to the doctor confirmed that nothing was wrong.

That was embarrassing as anything, and about $200 in a wasted trip to Urgent Care.

Unromantic Moments FactsShutterstock

39. Fear of the Pink Sock

I'm a nurse. This crazy patient was convinced her rear end was collapsed and sticking outside of her body. It was not. Then she flipped out and whined about it. At first, she said she was a nursing student. Then she went from nursing student to being a nurse. Then, at the end, she said she was in nursing school for five years.

I asked her if she graduated. She said yes. So, I asked her if she was licensed. She said yes. I looked her up online—and finally learned the truth. She failed the nursing exam twice. Hard to get a license when you fail the exam...

Unfair Things Teachers Have Dona FactsShutterstock

40. The Bugs

Not a doc, but after I took a round of antibiotics, I had really bad runs. I mean I know antibiotics screw up your gut flora and can cause some poops, but with me it was disproportionate. So, I google it, and turns out a filthy bug called Clostridium Difficile can typically occur after certain antibiotics, and the ones I took were apparently very infamous for doing so.

Went to my GP, explained it, and she said that while she really would advise not to google your symptoms because according to Dr. Google, everything is cancer, she did think it was safer to have me do a stool test. Sure enough, I had C-Diff.

Lost Best Friend FactsShutterstock

41. Dr. Mom

Nearly a year ago, I was preparing for bed. I bent down to pick up the cat and I felt this excruciating pain in my back. It was so severe I couldn’t move and could barely breathe—I was terrified. I called my parents to come and help me, and when they arrived, I told my mum that I’d slipped a disc and needed to go to the hospital.

She said there was no way they were taking me to the hospital at midnight, and that it wasn’t a slipped disc at all. After being helped to bed (still in extreme pain) they came back the next day (this is over 12 hours later and I hadn’t been to the bathroom in that time) and I managed to convince them to take me to hospital.

Less than ten minutes after seeing the triage nurse, I’m given strong pain medication and I’m on a bed in the short stay ward. The diagnosis? Exactly what I knew it was. A slipped disc. I turned to my mum and said, "I told you so."

Gut Feeling Turned Out to Be True FactsPixabay

42. Unfortunately Correct

I’m not a doctor, but I once googled back pain causes because I had back pain. It came up with lots of reasonable, common and not so scary causes. Then it came up with a few "scary" and "rarer" causes. So did the ultimate Dr. Google move and convinced myself I had one of the rare scary diseases that caused my back pain.

I went to my doctor suggesting I have it, expecting to be shot down like the ridiculous hypochondriac I knew I was being. Instead, it was my worst nightmare. Turns out I actually had it. My back is crippled by Ankylosing Spondylitis at 24 years old along with Crohn’s Disease and chronic eye inflammation. None of them pleasant on their own, let alone all together.

Memorable Patient Experiences factsShutterstock

43. Not Quite

I improperly diagnosed myself as having a possible heart attack. Why? I had experienced some severe neck/back pain due to back spasms...but when it migrated to the front of my chest and felt difficult to breathe, I hightailed it to the ER. My BP was 200/110 (and my BP is normally 115/80). They got me on heparin almost immediately.

The MRI/Stress test then determined that a) my heart was in great shape for a 50+-year-old guy, and b) my back is totally screwed. I got a nice shot of Valium which unseized my back from the spasms and the pain in my back and chest went away. Now I have a script for Valium when I get severe spasms, which happen about once every few months.

Roy Orbison FactsShutterstock

44. Trust Gone in the Blink of an Eye

Not a doctor, but I got a cut on my eyeball when I was in high school. It healed up pretty quickly but then for a year afterward, my cornea would feel like it was tearing while I was sleeping. Just excruciating pain. I did some googling and "recurrent corneal erosion" seemed likely so I went to the doctor and mentioned this. He told me it couldn’t be that because eyeballs heal very quickly.

So, she sent me home with seasonal allergy eyedrops and asked me to come back in two weeks. I came back and it was still happening. She asked me which eye it was and I told her. Then she went off the deep end. She accused me of lying about it because she claimed that last time I said it was the other eye. Just FYI, when your eyeball is tearing every morning, you don’t forget which one it is.

So pretty much gave up on going to the doctor. Fast forward three years and it’s still something that happened on a weekly basis. So, I finally went to a different doctor and turns out I was correct about my self-diagnosis. This doctor even asked me if I was considering medical school.

Self Diagnose FactsPxfuel

45. You’re Depressed, Trust Me

Not a doctor, nor was my brother despite him thinking his Google-Fu is a degree. A couple of years ago, my brother decided that since I had been laid off and asked him for money, it meant that I was utterly depressed. Thus, he deduced that I needed to be institutionalized and took me to a doctor. I'll never forgive him for what happened next.

He lied and said he wanted me to just get a normal checkup since I hadn't had one in a while. I was, I believe, rightly ticked off and embarrassed but since I needed the money, I went along with it. So, he decides to just come into the psychiatrist's office with me while she is trying to ask me some questions and see how I am.

He starts throwing out terms like "Maladaptive Coping" and talking about how I needed treatment. She finally tells him to leave and I speak with her for a bit. Now I was a bit morose because I had lost my job and was embarrassed about asking for help, but I wasn't in mental trouble, and the psychiatrist agreed, stating that I just needed support.

Therapist listening to couple in couples therapy counseling session.Getty Images

46. The Doctor Conspiracy

The patient says: "I googled my symptoms and I have thyroid cancer, that's why I'm fatigued!" I reply: "Yeah, so your thyroid levels came in—no thyroid issues. Let's discuss other reasons you may be having exhaust-" Then they yell:  "NO! STOP LYING TO ME AND DISMISSING MY CONCERNS. MY LEVELS CHANGED FROM 2.5 TO 3.5 OVER A MONTH, SOMETHING IS GOING ON!"

I go on, "Yeah, that's still normal. Like how a heart rate goes from 60 to 100—totally normal range. Definitely no reason to suspect thyroid cancer." Then they blew my mind. They said: "Ugh, you're the second doctor to tell me this and lie about my results. You must be in cahoots with them." Yeah, all the doctors are in cahoots together to make YOU feel bad.

Sometimes people get worked up over nothing and it’s hard to help them.

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47. The Incredible Shrinking Head

ER doc here. Guy came in with insomnia and was very concerned that he had fatal familial insomnia. I asked if anyone in his family had the disease. They did not. Gave him some Ativan, told him to stay off the internet and discharged him. Another guy was a psych patient who was convinced that his head was shrinking. His head looked normal so I asked where exactly it was shrinking. Pointed to a spot on the back of his head, felt there, didn't find anything, he seemed satisfied and went home.

Had a physician (in a non-clinical field) come in with abdominal pain. Thought he had colitis, so he wrote himself for Cipro several days ago but wasn't getting better. The pain was epigastric, radiated to the back, worse with eating. Clearly pancreatitis, not colitis. Tests confirmed it. Told him to stop treating himself.

“I Called It” Moment FactsShutterstock

48. Good Guessers

My mother grew up with a father who was a doctor and a mother who was a physical therapist, while my father had worked for medical companies all his adult life. In my family, we love self-diagnosing, but the thing is we're usually right. Recently, I ended up with a more than 40-degree fever and breathing difficulties, and we realized it was probably mycoplasma due to a plethora of reasons.

It took the doctors more than two weeks, five different antibiotics, three trips to the hospital, three days in the hospital, two lost tests and blood samples to tell me it was mycoplasma and give me the correct medication. Those 17 days with a fever hovering around 40 degrees were even worse than the time a doctor failed to diagnose my swine flu.

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49. Dr. Google Says Cancer

Not a doctor, but my sister once burst out crying when she googled why mum had a lump in her finger. Turns out Google said our mum either had a very dangerous cancer or a tumor. It was actually just an inflammation at the joint, nothing too bad.

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50. Doctor Lecturer

Just got back from urgent care for my husband. His left testicle began hurting and a lump was there that wasn’t there three days ago. Yes, I googled it. I saw that it could be benign like enlarged veins to very serious such as testicular torsion. We waited overnight and then he called the insurance’s medical advice line. What we heard made our blood run cold.

The nurse told him to go immediately to the urgent care and if he was throwing up, to go to the emergency room. Turns out, though, that it was the benign varicoceles. I stated to the doctor that was what I had hoped it would be based on my research and I got a lecture from the doctor about googling the symptoms!

Um, we are here because the nurse on the phone told us to come in and not because I looked up why my husband’s left nut suddenly hurt and had a hard lump! Ticked me off a bit.

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51. Too Young, Come Back Later

Not a doctor. When I was 19, I had severe stomach pains and Google kept throwing up all sorts that could be wrong with me. One doctor took me seriously and would try to help me check for anything we thought or Google thought it could be. I was in and out of emergency frequently but "nothing serious could be wrong with me I was too young" according to the doctors there.

After three years of debilitating pain and being told I was making it up, "Oh it's just IBS." I had tried cutting out everything and this hadn't helped. Also, my symptoms didn't align with it. I could barely eat, and even drinks would come back up. I lived and breathed next to my sick bowl; it just became a part of life. I finally got an ultrasound and two endoscopes.

The first time, they couldn't get down to the bottom of my stomach as I had to take so many tablets for the pain. 22 a day. But they saw a tear in my stomach the second time. They scheduled earlier so I wouldn't have to deal with the pain as long. Then I had three tears in my stomach. Two were rather large and the bottom part of it had gone green and moldy looking.

Suddenly I was taken seriously. I had gastritis (this was something WebMD had suggested!) and was finally given the correct medication. Now I don't have to take any but do have to stay away from NSAIDs, can't have too much caffeine. I can't drink frequently but I never have anyway, and have a pretty steady diet away from trigger foods.

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52. 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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53. 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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54. 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. Well, I got the last laugh.

My doctor comes in about two minutes later and says, "So looks like you have another sinus infection."

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55. 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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56. 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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57. 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 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. Since she'd believed me previously, she probably wasn't prepared for my absolutely ridiculous answer.

She asked me to elaborate and I told her that I was pretty certain I had Shingles Cancer.

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58. 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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59. 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). I got sent to a neurologist who basically told me that I was feeling my symptoms because I sketched myself out searching online. It 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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60. 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 I realize I am hungry and tired and thinner than I have ever been. I sleep like the dead.

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61. Painful Reaction

It started with a standard allergic reaction to an antibiotic: hives, swelling of tongue and throat, difficulty breathing. I panicked and went to the hospital. When I got there, they gave me a shot. Now, I handle pain and take shots quite well but hear me when I say, "it hurt." I started cussing a blue streak. I thought the nurse broke the needle off in my butt (where the shot was administered), it hurt so badly. They told me to chill out.

Then it felt like someone was turning up the volume on the pain. The intensity went up and up and, every time I thought I had a handle on it, it just got worse. I jumped off the table and even started hopping from one foot to the other in some sort of comical "make the pain stop" dance. The terrified nurse went to get a doctor who told me I was having a rare reaction to the shot.

So rare, in fact, they had only read about it and most doctors never see it. The pain lasted for two weeks at varying levels. I will still get that shot if I ever need it but that pain makes death look tempting.

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62. 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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63. 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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64. 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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65. 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 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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66. 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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67. 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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68. Nothing a Work-Out Won’t Fix?

Someone thought they had "a strained muscle in their leg" because it locked up. The answer was so much worse. 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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69. 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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70. Office Supplies Just Aren’t Going to Work In This Case

While working as a nurse, I 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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71. 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. She 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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72. 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 jerk and acting as if I'm some moron, I welcome that kind of discussion.

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73. 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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74. 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. So I go to the dentist to get some X-rays done. The dentist wanted to murder me. It turned out to be a piece of a tortilla chip.

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75. 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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76. 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 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 to reveal an utterly gruesome sight. It was 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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77. 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 and realize his mistake. It said, "ephedrine" and 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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78. Sleeping Beauty

EMS here. I had a patient who pretended to suddenly be paralyzed. Very dramatic, on the floor, saying she couldn't feel anything below her neck. After assessing her, we had her stand and get on to the stretcher. Which she did without difficulty. Despite being "totally paralyzed.” In the ambulance, she told me how she "sometimes goes code blue" and said that if that happens I must NOT rub her chest or cause her pain.

The best way to revive her was to turn the lights low and talk softly and soothingly to her. She told me all about how she "went code blue" in the hospital over a dozen times last time she was admitted, and how the doctors were so scared they almost couldn't revive her. During transport, I asked her for her birth date. Instead of responding, she did something ridiculous.

Her eyes fluttered shut and she went quiet. We drove in silence for several minutes while I worked on documenting the very detailed and unrealistic story she told me. Eventually, her eyes fluttered open and her hand went to her chest. She says "Oh! I think I went code blue there for a minute!" I replied, "Nope! No worries, you didn't!"

I continued, "You're totally fine and your vitals were pristine! You don't have to worry, you're safe! So, what's your birth date?" She looked super annoyed.

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79. 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.

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80. 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 for some patients. 

Like the 50-year-old male who walks in and says, “I think I have caught the Down’s syndrome,” or the young woman who thought she had testicular cancer.

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81. Flea Treatment

I have one. I got this from my friend, who is a doctor on the children's ward in a rural hospital. These parents bring in their child, whose hair is infested with lice. The lice were visible to the naked eye and could be seen crawling on the child's clothing. While the medical staff examined the kid in order to determine a course of action, they discovered the child was covered in a white powder and smelled heavily of chemicals.

They asked the parents what the substances and the smells emanating from the child were. Turns out they had googled their way into their own version of a remedy. The parents said, quite matter of factly, it was Sevin powder (a garden insecticide) and flea and tick spray they used on their dogs on the family's farm. Needless to say, social workers were notified about this case.

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82. Protect Yourself

Lady walks into the office. The smell of cigarette smoke is so strong on her that I start coughing. Her dry leathery skin cracks while she talks, from years of sun abuse. She then tells me, "I've stopped using sunscreen because I researched that it causes cancer."

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83. One Disease at a Time

A guy brings his wife to the ER. Her leg is just...the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen. She has a 7cm x 7cm wound (diabetic ulcer) with greenish-yellow pus, and what looked like a few maggots. Now, I took one look at her and referred her to the surgery department for admission. But that's not even the worst part.

The hubby is adamant about his wife's kidney disease. He says: "But doc, it's just a wound, you gotta fix her kidney first doc, I read online that diabetes can cause kidney failure, and you gotta do something for that." I spent an hour convincing him that his wife would probably die before the kidney damage sat in by sepsis from the clearly infected wound.

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84. DIY Plastic Surgery

Not a Google victim, but close. A male patient injected kitchen oil into his own cheeks because he saw a plastic surgery TV show where a surgeon injected something similar to a model. He was amazed that the bumps of the oil didn’t go away, and were turning red and painful.

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85. Yahoo Answers

I’m not a doctor, but I’m a patient whose mother was like this. The doctor had to speak to me on the side because of it. My grandmother has Crohn's disease. Very, very badly. It skipped my mother and her brother. When I was 15 years old, over the course of six months, I went from being 5'9” tall and 190 pounds to being 110 pounds.

I was a skeleton, extremely anemic, and coughing up blood. My mother was CONVINCED it was something else. I forced her to bring me to a doctor and she spouted off all these possibilities. She then talked about what she Yahooed. Not even Googled. Yahoo. About genetics and such. And "Crohn’s can't skip generations."

Well, the doc said, "Just in case. We're gonna run some tests." Long story short, I have Crohn’s in my throat and small intestine. So does my cousin. It just skipped a generation. Thanks for relying on YAHOO, mom.

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86. Bacon Wrap

We had a diabetic foot patient a couple of weeks ago who read somewhere that wrapping his foot in raw bacon would help get rid of bacteria. He’d apparently been doing it awhile, ‘cause it cost him four toes.

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87. Shove It up Your Nose

I've got two stories that stick out in my mind. The first is the mother of a toddler who came into emergency. The kid had cruddy stuff coming out of his left nostril, and a lot of redness and swelling of only the left side of his nose and the adjacent cheek. Mom had googled and was sure he caught a sinus infection. She just wanted some antibiotics.

Now, I know some kids like shoving whatever will fit into their bodily orifices, and that this was more than likely given the one-sided nature of his condition. But Mom was insistent that he NEVER puts things in his nose. It took some convincing, but I finally got her to let me take a look. Gave a squirt of midazolam in the good nostril to settle him, then dug with some tweezers through the crud until I pulled out a big ole button battery—like the kind they use in watches.

It would've been burning his nose for a couple days. Hopefully, he healed up well.

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88. Wishful Thinking

I'm part of a military medical unit, not a doctor, but I once had a patient tell me that there was no credible research that smoking was bad for one's health. Okay.

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89. Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt

I had a patient come in with several pages he printed off the internet. He kinda slammed them down and said, “This is what I have.” He had bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and fever among other things. He insisted he had schistosomiasis. He was being a real jerk about it, like we’re wasting time since he already knew what he had.

I knew exactly what to do to put him in his place. I asked him when he got back from Africa. And he said, “Africa? I’ve never been to Africa. What the hell would I be doing in Africa?” I proceeded to tell him that schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease one gets while swimming in the Nile River or other rivers in developing countries, like in Southeast Asia.

He got mad at me because he thought I was being a smart aleck. He got seen and diagnosed with gastroenteritis—regular old stomach flu. As for the bloody stool? He had hemorrhoids.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

90. Puppy Love

I put a very expensive implanted device in a patient with government-funded care. She came to the follow-up appointment with a gaping wide infected wound. She said that she had read that it would help healing if she had her dog lick it. The device had to be removed and discarded.

Ridiculous Patients factsdogtopia

91. Cancer Diet

Paramedic here. I was driving with my partner and patient in the back. The patient was fine. The patient's skeezy boyfriend was riding in the front with me and apparently saw a golden opportunity to ask a question that had obviously been on his mind for some time. He asked me: "So when cats and dogs eat grass, that means they have cancer, right?"

 Adult Patients Believed This factsBullyade

92. Anti-Vaxxer Sources

Med student here...on my pediatrics rotation a mother refused vaccines for her kiddo after "educating herself." When prompted as to what she was using as her source, she replied, "my own brain." Lovely.

Trashiest Holiday factsShutterstock

93. People Should Know Better

Not a doctor (yet) but an ER tech for about 2 years. Mom comes in with her baby plus two more older kids. 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 mom whips out a white plastic shopping bag and sticks an end in the kid's mouth, says, "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 are, "Well I checked all over the bag and I couldn't find anything that said 'non-edible.'"

This mom had been letting her baby teethe on plastic bags because she didn't know they weren't edible.

Adult Patients Believed This factsmissMUM

94. Uvula Discovery

My friend is a student doctor and is on placement at a small-town doctor's office. She had a 70ish-year-old woman come in with complaints of a small but painless growth that was visible at the back of her throat. She googled, and the results were dire. Well, it turns out it took her 70 years to notice her uvula.

 Adult Patients Believed This factsJennifer Jill Schwirzer

95. Technical Dummy

I had a patient insist: "I didn't have a heart attack, I had a myocardial infarction." That's just the technical term for a heart attack, genius.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

96. Decide for Yourself

My aunt (who has varicose veins, pretty obvious to anyone who sees it) once asked me why her legs hurt and what those bluish lines under her skin were. I almost went on to explain to her about dilated veins, when she interrupts and decides for herself that those are her nerves. Dying nerves. And the blue stuff was blood clots inside the nerves. I’m a med student.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

97. Probably Never Heard of it

I was a fourth-year med student seeing patients on clinical rotations. The patient comes in with a laundry list of chronic conditions he suffers from—fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. Guy is wearing over-the-counter braces on all of his fingers and both thumbs, as well as both wrists, forearms, knees, and shins, because of a rare bone disorder he has.

When I say I’ve never heard of it, he says, "Well that doesn't surprise me, doctors go to med school to learn how to prescribe drugs and make money, not heal people." Alright. He tells me that he suffers from a rare disease that I've probably never even heard of called myalgic encephalomyelitis. True, I've never heard of it. Again: "that's because doctors don't care about educating themselves about illness and healing, they just care about giving patients drugs and getting money from big pharma." Ok.

I don't have a vested interest in this patient thinking I'm smart, so it doesn't really get to me. He continues "educating" me throughout the appointment, and I just make conversation with him, the third time he tells me about how all doctors just go to med school so they can put all their patients on drugs I just say, "Well, lucky for you, pharmacology was my weakest subject!"

That actually gets a laugh out of him, and I listen to his explanations of all of his rare diseases and disorders. The appointment ends, and he leaves. I look up myalgic encephalomyelitis. It's the British term for chronic fatigue syndrome, which the patient also had. He has a weekly standing appointment with my teacher, which is the only thing that keeps him from visiting the local ER every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

His diagnosis is Illness Anxiety Disorder, although he would tell you it's 800 other things you've obviously never heard of. He swears that my teacher is the only honest doctor in the country, all for a heartbreaking reason. My teacher basically just has him come in once a week and talk about all of his various illnesses for 20 minutes, after which the patent returns home feeling validated. That's really all it takes to placate the patient.

The ER docs love my teacher for sparing them. The patient is mentally ill, so I'm not insulted by him or anything, but you'd be surprised how many people come to the doctor to be treated for something, all the while telling the doctor how horrible they are and why all doctors are evil puppets of big pharma. It's like when I worked fast food and people would say "Every time I come here you guys screw up," and I'd just think, then why do you keep coming here?!

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

98. Allergic to Everything

Registered nurse here. I see some crazy stuff, but one thing that stands out was the time I was admitting a guy to the hospital. I can't really remember what for but he was diabetic, had heart disease, and was generally unhealthy. Anyhow, I'm at the computer going over some admission questions with him and his 10 family members who are crowded in the room with him.

A few minutes in, he starts complaining that he's thirsty. He needs something to drink right now. So I get on my phone and call the nurse assistant, and ask her to bring in some ice water. As soon as the words are out of my mouth the whole family screams: "NOOOO! NO WATER! HES ALLERGIC TO WATER!" Well, this is going to be a problem.

Turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but Sprite and sweet tea for years, because of his "water allergy." The next question his wife had was “Where are we all supposed to sleep?" The whole family, 10 people, were planning to stay at the hospital with him. You can't make this stuff up.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

99. The Milk Is for the Baby

I saw a patient who was concerned because she was still lactating, despite the fact that she stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She said: "Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my husband sucking on the breasts. He says he's trying to drain the milk for me." I had to explain to her that breastfeeding her husband will lead to continued lactation.

 Adult Patients Believed This factsMadamsabi

100. 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.

Self-Diagnosing Patients FactsMax Pixel

Sources: , , , , , 67, , , , , , , 

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