Doctors Vs. Dumb Patients

September 6, 2023 | Nia Williams

Doctors Vs. Dumb Patients

Doctors spend years studying in their medical field of expertise and have probably seen it all. But let’s face it. People can be quite stupid—especially when it comes to ailments and self-diagnosis. 

1. The Sign Of Ignorance

I asked a patient complaining of dizziness if she had ever been diagnosed with "vertigo". The daughter chimed in and said, "No, no, she's a Libra..."

I then laughed hysterically at her awesome joke. She was absolutely serious.

dumb patients

2. Try Not To Laugh

A patient came in with abdominal pain. "I think it's my gallbladder," he said.

Looking over their chart, I saw that they had their gallbladder removed 20 years ago so that was impossible. I mentioned this to him. His response floored me: “Yeah, but it grew back".

Man is talking with female doctor in her office.cottonbro studio, Pexels

3. Fatal Denial

I had a patient once arrive with some family members. They were some of the most frustrating people I've ever dealt with.

The patient was morbidly obese and had open sores and wounds in all her skin folds. Cleaning her was incredibly difficult. We found a floral pillowcase shoved under one fold and what we think was a smashed bread crust in another on.

Anyway, because of her weight, she wasn't a candidate for surgery and therefore there was nothing our team could do for her. I think about five or six different meetings were held with her family to discuss her prognosis. Her daughter told the attending physician that he didn't know what he was talking about and that her mother had been this sick before and pulled through. 

Her pH was so low it just read as "<6.8" and her blood pressure was a solid 60/25 despite every vasopressor under the sun running at three times the max doses. When the charge nurse pointed out her blood pressure on the monitor the daughter said, "I've seen lower".

When she finally passed, her family was livid that we didn't save her. We coded her for 20 minutes and they told us we should have continued for "at least an hour". I felt terrible that her last days were spent in such pain because her family was in such denial about her condition.

A couple are talking with young female doctor in her office.didesign021, Shutterstock

4. Don’t Judge My Stupidity

I had a patient come into the ER who was stone sober, but only because he had spilled all of his rubbing alcohol onto his pants, which meant he couldn't drink it.

The reason why he was in the ER in the first place was because he tried to burn the solution off of his jeans by lighting it on fire. He thought the fluid would burn and not his pants.

He had some pretty nasty burns from the calves down because he couldn't get his pants off of his shoes. To be honest, he was a pretty nice guy—absolutely the kind you'd expect to light themself on fire. He was very pleasant considering the circumstances.

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

5. Madam, I Am A Medical Doctor

I introduced myself to a patient as a doctor—her anesthetist. The patient said that I could not be a doctor because anesthetists aren't doctors. This statement came not long after another patient asked me if I had to go to university to be an anesthetist. Still, another patient asked me if I had to know as much as a pharmacist. 

Woman is laying at hospital bed and talking with a female doctor.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

6. Testing His Limits

I had an old coot (best possible description of the man) who was sweet but had clearly spent his adult years drinking away whatever brain cells he started with. He presented with a chief complaint of "I can't drink ale any more. Every time I drink one, I just throw it back up a few minutes later".

Well—it turns out Cooter hadn't been able to eat actual food in months. Instead, he was subsisting on pretty much just booze and hadn't defecated in over two weeks. But that didn't bother him a bit—until he couldn't have the booze. Then it was an emergency!

He had a big ol' tumor blocking the distal part of his left colon (so near the end of the road—intestinally speaking). Everything gradually got backed up all the way to his stomach. That's why he couldn't keep any ale down—there was just no more room at the inn.

I fixed him with a colostomy and he got better and left. He refused chemo and I figured he'd just go home and perish from cancer. But then, almost exactly one year later, he came back to me with just about the same complaint. This time, it was obstructed to the point of not being able to drink ale.

Except this time, it was that his ostomy had essentially retracted into his abdomen and the skin had nearly grown shut over it. He was defecating out of a teeny-tiny hole in his skin. Even my oldest partners had never seen anything like it. Yet once again, Cooter wasn't remotely fazed. 

He just wanted us to fix it so he could go home and keep drinking. I did and I haven't seen Cooter since. I kind of hope he's still out there, treating his cancer with drinking and just blissfully ignoring the Grim Reaper.

Senior man is laying at hospital bed and talking with female nurse.Gorodenkoff, Shutterstock

7. Hard To Fathom The Stupid

I was telling the family that the patient wasn’t going to survive. Her lab results were not compatible with life and was preparing them for the worst. Instead, they said that they were pretty sure that she would wake up if I put ice in her underpants. Well, I wasn’t going to do that.

When she departed the family still didn't believe that she had passed on. They kept trying to wake her up.

Doctor is talking with family members in his office.sebra, Shutterstock

8. Beyond Revolting

I was an intern in the ER. I have seen a lot of stupid people. It was a small town and all. The worst I think was when I walked in, and the floor smelled like... I don't even know. It was by far the worst thing I had ever smelled. 

I asked a passing nurse what the smell was, and he just shrugged his shoulders and told me someone probably defecated everywhere. Well, the doctor was preparing to go into this room, but I did not expect what would happen next. 

He opened the door, and I almost passed out. It was extremely hard to keep my professional composure. The guy had his leg wrapped up. The doctor asked him to unwrap it. It was gangrene—from his foot up to the middle of his thigh. The smell I had been smelling was rotting flesh. The cause?

"The four-wheeler I was riding caught fire six months ago".

Male nurse is seating at hospital hallway.Jonathan Borba, Pexels

9. Your Tests Prove Otherwise

As a doctor, I commonly get, “I know my body". One time, I scoped a guy’s knee after surgery. I told him that the joint looked perfect. He told me, "No, my tendons are all torn. I know my body". Another time, I told a lady that she was pregnant. She insisted, "No, I'm not. I just had a big lunch. I know my body!"

Now I absolutely agree that when something doesn't feel right and your doctor doesn't want to listen, then seek a second opinion. You know how your body normally feels. But if someone has performed an invasive surgery to look at your joint, or has seen a fetus on ultrasound, they probably know what they are talking about.

SHVETS production ,Pexels

10. Nope, This Isn’t Going To Pass

I once had a child who swallowed a sizable magnet that passed to the intestine and we were just waiting for it to pass in the stool. An easy fix, right? WRONG.

The next day when he came for follow up, we just found out that he swallowed another magnet. It got stuck to the first one in the intestine through the stomach wall resulting in intestinal obstruction. He was transferred to OR immediately to have them surgically removed.

Kid in hospital bedwavebreakmedia, Freepik

11. Doc, You Explain It

I had a 12-year-old patient come into the ER with her mom and grandmother because she was bleeding. The bleeding was not from trauma or a wound mind you. The poor girl had started menstruating. I was so confused.

Apparently, the mom didn't want to explain what was happening or started to happen, nor that it would continue to happen (as mom and grandma well knew). On the upside, it was a very quick ER visit once they were actually seen.

Pavel Danilyuk, Pexels

12. Unbearable Pain And Stupidity

I was an intern at the time and was seeing a patient who had mammarycancer. She was also in the medical field. She came in for a chest tube insertion to drain her pleural effusion which was suspected to be malignant.

After the procedure, I went home and the resident on-call had to deal with multiple calls from the distraught staff in her ward. The next morning, I was told by said resident—sporting a haggard appearance and blood-shot eyes from a busy shift—that she was my problem now. With that, the poor man left for home.

As I headed to see the patient, I was first accosted by the ward staff. They told me that right after the procedure, she legit refused all pain meds. This meant that the tube was scratching against her parietal pleura. Ouch. After the heads up from staff, I went to see the patient—who remember, is employed in the healthcare sector. 

She complained to me that the tube had been "pushed in far too much" and was "stabbing" her. Apparently, I needed to undo the stitch and pull it out a few centimeters. Um no, lady, I'm not authorized to do that. The x-ray was fine. No intervention was necessary.

I told her that she needed to take her meds if she wanted the pain to get better. Her response made my blood boil. She said—no joke—that "pain meds will further spread the cancer" and that I “should know that, being a student of medicine". 

She further added, "Look, there’s no need to tell anybody, you're a doctor. Use your own judgment and pull the tube out". Sigh. She was adamant. My professor was going to be late that day, and I obviously wasn't going to do anything without his permission. I documented her refusal and went on my way. 

She left by the afternoon—against medical advice. I felt bad for her, but what could I do? She flat out refused my help.

Sick female patient laying at hospital bed is talking with female doctor standing by her side.Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

13. Just Tell Me The Truth 

I had an extremely frustrating dialogue with one patient who took about 45 minutes of my time and got nowhere. She insisted that she kept gaining weight even though she didn’t eat anything. I told her that that’s against the law of physics. 

She continued, “But it's happening to me. I tried a diet where I ate 800 calories per day for two weeks and gained 5 kg. So those laws don't apply to me". I told her that I didn’t believe her. So she retorted, “So you're calling me a liar!?"

I eventually proceeded to tell the person that if they were really generating mass out of thin air, then scientists around the world would want to study the phenomenon. This was the only time I have ever almost lost my temper with a patient.

Female patient is talking with a female doctor who is checking her blood pressure.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

14. Shaking My Head In Disbelief

I asked a patient why he stopped taking his antiretrovirals for his HIV. He told me that a witch online told him to stop taking them. After clarifying that he indeed said, “witch," he proceeded to tell me that she sent him a bunch of herbs every month to cure his HIV. And the last time he checked, he was cured.

When I asked where and what tests he did to know that he was cured, he said that the witch instructed to take an online test. There were a lot of random questions but in the end, the result said that he was free of HIV. I shook my head in disbelief. But it was about to get even worse.

I told him that we would need to do a blood test to confirm that. When I asked which herbs he was consuming, he happened to have them with him. He took the bag out of his knapsack and showed it to me. I opened the bag and what I saw was nothing but ground oregano with something that smelled like chlorine. 

Sadly, the patient passed from a severe sepsis a month later with a highly resistant microorganism.

Male patient is talking with female doctor at her office.stefamerpik, Freepik

15. Don’t Ask, Just Do It

I’m a radiographer. The ER doctor gave me a request for soft tissue neck x-rays and simply said, "Don't question it, just do it". Anyway, after the patient left the ER department, the doctor came in and told me that that patient came in at 3 am because he had hot milk three days ago and his tongue had been hurting ever since.

The patient basically burnt his tongue but was insisting on an x-ray to ensure that nothing was wrong.

Doctor is sanding next to a male nurse at hospital looking at camera.MART PRODUCTION, Pexels

16. Mystery Solved

I had a patient come in stating that he couldn’t bend his knee. When I asked him to remove his trousers so I could examine his leg, I discovered the problem. He had a plaster cast around the knee!

Checking his medical notes, it appeared that he had been sent numerous letters asking him to come into the hospital to remove this plaster cast. Since he hadn’t attended any of the outpatient clinics at the hospital, it was assumed that he had removed the cast himself.

Male patient is seating on the bed with doctor taking off his knee cast.HenadziPechan, Shutterstock

17. Bizarre Indeed

A female patient came in complaining of weird abdominal cramping and twitching. I suspect she probably had some kind of undiagnosed dementia, but it was definitely the most bizarre. When I asked her what she was feeling and why she was twitching her abdomen, she screamed, "It's like it's trying to get out!"

I asked, “What's trying to get out ma'am?"

She replied, "My—my SPERM!"

After calming her down, I told her that she didn’t have sperm.


Female doctor is talking with a patient and smiling.Kampus Production , Pexels

18. She Never Had “The Talk”

A female patient came in complaining of infertility. She said that she and her partner had been trying to conceive for almost five years and had "tried everything". At one point in the conversation, she let the pronoun slip and said, "She and I—" I told her to back up a minute.

It turns out the woman had been in a hetero relationship for a few years and never got pregnant despite using no protection. She then entered into a relationship with a woman and again never got pregnant even though she really wanted to. This led her to believe that she was infertile.

When I tried to explain that conception requires sperm (sourced from a male) as well as an egg, the patient was incredulous. She exclaimed that she didn't need a man in her life and didn't appreciate being judged. 

Female doctor is talking with a female patient , looking upset at her office.freepik ,Freepik

19. Healthy But Not Very Smart

There was a 24-year-old patient who was brought in from a prison in a rural county. He was working roadside cleanup when he found a bottle in a ditch. He thought it was a drink and quickly chugged it down. To be fair, it did look like a bottle of spirits. It wasn’t.

It turns out it was a substance that contained sulfuric acid. Its pH was less than 2.5 and just ate up the litmus paper when tested. So shortly after he gets to the ICU, he is in excruciating pain and vomiting blood.

The gastroenterologist took him to do an EGD (basically a procedure where they can look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with a camera attached to a flexible tube). The pictures were horrendous. You could literally see his stomach and esophageal mucosa eroding away.

He had to be sent off to another hospital where they had an esophageal surgeon who could repair the mess. He of course needed multiple surgeries and had a very long hospital stay. I saw him a few months later when he was admitted for another issue. He was down to 90 lbs (from about 150 lbs) and was getting fed through a PEG tube.

He was very lucky to be young and otherwise healthy—but obviously not very smart.

Young bearded man in hospital bed is feeling big pain.Freepik,freepik

20. Not Your Area Of Expertise, Doc?

When I was a medical student, this middle-aged male patient from a rural area got it in his head that I knew absolutely nothing and he was doing me a service by teaching/talking to me. He was in a colorectal clinic for something unrelated and started telling me about the "gland" on the back of his neck that would drain every so often.

When he saw that I was unfamiliar with this particular "gland," he gave me this knowing look, laughed and started instructing me (the dumb little medical student) about this "gland". Apparently everybody has this gland for the immune system, but that would drain when he was "stressed".

No sir, I was being polite but you have a nasty flipping abscess on the back of your neck. I was hoping that the patient would try to explain this medical wonder to my supervisor when he came in, but, alas, he didn't.

Young male doctor is talking with male patient.pressfoto, Freepik

21. A Different Shade Of Intelligence

A patient freaked out that her skin “was turning black". 

After she rolled up her sleeve, I just licked my thumb and rubbed her arm. It turns out she was wearing a brand new black sweater and some of the fibers rubbed off on her arms.

Female patient is talking with a female doctor standing next to her.Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

22. Let’s Shake On It

I was recently talking to a patient about his upcoming surgery. I mentioned that the surgery would involve the use of robotic arms. Their use would help remove the tumors and allow for smaller incisions and greater precision.

After the consultation wrapped up and I had left the room, the patient started insisting that she meet the doctor. Thinking that maybe she had another question, I headed back in. The patient said, "I still want to meet the doctor". I pointed at myself and said, "I AM the doctor". 

The patient replied, “I know you're A doctor but I want to meet THE doctor!” Confused, I said, “I'm the doctor doing your procedure”. Finally, the hilarious truth became clear. “No, not you! I want to meet the robot that's going to do my surgery! I feel like we should at least shake hands first!”

Apparently, the patient was expecting some metal man to walk through the door. 

Shocked doctor is looking at, Shutterstock

23. Wake Me Up From This Nightmare

I saw a young woman in the Emergency Department. Her primary complaint, per the triage nurse's note, was "lethargy". But she was awake and alert when I went to see her. I told her that she didn't look lethargic and most patients who are lethargic come by ambulance rather than walking into the ER. So I asked her what she meant.

She started to tell me, "Well, last night while I was sleeping—", and I interrupted her because, of course, people are a bit lethargic when they are sleeping. But I caught myself, and asked her to continue. She then tells me this story:

"So last night when I was sleeping, I was talking in my sleep. People have always told me that I talk in my sleep: my family, roommates, you know. So anyway, I was talking in my sleep, and I was saying, 'Mary, (that's my roommate's name), Mary—wake me up!' And it was really hard for her to wake me from sleep".

"And that's why you're here today?"


Female doctor is talking with female patient at hallway.Freepik, gpointstudio

24. If Only Surgery Can Reverse Your Stupidity Too

I recently had a patient who was paralyzed from a low back problem that was reversible by surgery. The night before surgery, his blood glucose was getting pretty high—like 500ish and climbing. I told him we had to start an insulin drip to control it. No surgeon would do this surgery with blood glucose this high.

He then tells me that "it is against my religion". Okay. In fairness, I get religious issues all the time, so I try to be a good doctor and ask about it. He states that he’s Catholic. It took me a flipping hour of my life at 3 am to get him to take his insulin. 

He was ever so close to spending another day without the use of his legs because he made up a religious objection to insulin. I can't fathom the stupidity that had to be conjured in order to roll that dude.

Man in hospital bedTima Miroshnichenko , Pexels

25. Honey, This Isn’t Going To Work

During residency, when I was working in the ICU, there was a patient dying of end stage hematological cancer (can't recall which type exactly now), with ARDS, renal failure, sepsis.... 

The patient had very clear goals of care and did not want CPR performed. When I called the family to come in very early one morning as we felt the patient would die imminently, they proceeded to make the most idiotic request.

They insisted that if I just let them put Manuka honey through the patient's G-tube, then she would get better. I had to repeatedly tell them that all of the patient's organs had failed despite all treatments they had been willing to undergo, but they were fixated on this magical honey cure. It was very sad.

Senior woman in hospital bed ,looking at side.Flickr, Judy Baxter

26. Yes, I’m Healthy

A 40-year old patient came into the ER. When asked if he had any medical history, he said no, because he was pretty healthy. I looked over my notes and saw that he took metoprolol. I asked him what that was for and he said, “For my high blood pressure”.

“So you have high blood pressure?” I asked.

“No, because I take my pill”, he replied.

I then asked, “So what would happen if you stopped taking your metoprolol?”

The patient looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “My blood pressure would go up”.

I nodded then said, “Okay, so you have high blood pressure. What other medical history do you have?”

It’s surprising how many people think that their daily home medications "cure" them so that they no longer have any medical problems.

Man is talking with a female doctor standing next to her.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

27. And You Call Yourself A Doctor?

I once had a patient with raging diabetes who kept refusing to take insulin. Anyway, once her other ailments resolved, her high blood glucose levels were still high. It was the only thing keeping her from being discharged to go home.

The patient’s sister screamed at me and said, "Don’t you know that the only thing that works to get a patient's blood sugar down is walking around? You're supposed to be a doctor, right?"

Right on lady! Forget the insulin! Why would that work?!

Upset woman is arguing with female doctor.KAMPUS, Shutterstock

28. Too Painful To Watch

A two-year-old boy was in the ER crying in pain. The mom says that he was having trouble learning to use the toilet. During the exam, I noticed his prepuce ballooned out. The opening at the end was dripping a little urine at a time and his bladder felt full. 

The child was full of urine and had phimosis so bad that it was preventing the urine from coming out. I told the mother—the closest thing to a modern Flower Child that I'd ever seen—that he needed an emergency circumcision. She tried to tell me that I was wrong. "He'll grow out of it," she said. 

All this time, the kid is screaming in pain. I eventually got the grandmother involved and called the kid's father. After three hours, the mom finally gave in.

Kid laying on stretcher is pushed in hospital by doctor.wavebrakemedia, Freepik

29. You’re Testing My Patience

I had a young woman come in just recently with a sinus infection. After telling her as such and offering a script for Augmentin, she demanded to be tested for HIV. Basically, she was concerned because she had two colds this winter, and that was unusual for her. 

So, she put her symptoms into Dr Google, who promptly told her she might be immunocompromised and have HIV. No amount of reassurance convinced her. So after much crying on her part, I ran an HIV test, which was shockingly negative.

Female patient is talking with female doctor in blue uniform holding - Yuri A , Shutterstock

30. I Think You Fried Your Own Common Sense Away

It was a hot day in mid-summer. A mother brought in her limp, unresponsive infant into the children's hospital. The baby was in a full Canadian-winter level snowsuit.

After we got the baby's temperature down, I lost my mind a little bit with the mother. She kept insisting she had to have her baby in the suit lest the baby risk feeling chilly. I explained that the minor discomfort of having to cry for a blanket did not trump the risk of mortality and possibility of literally frying the kid’s brain.

I got quite nasty with my wording that she had almost taken her baby’s life and might have given it brain damage.

Female doctor is check in small baby wearing white ,Shutterstock

31. Let That Sink In

I once gave a friendly warning that taking testosterone shots without a prescription or a real indication for it (like measurably low testosterone) increased the risk of heart attacks and such. These hormones influence our good and bad cholesterol among other things like risk of cardiomyopathy.

The response the patient gave was, "If it's made in your body, it can't hurt you". He then went on to passive aggressively say I was part of a pharmaceutical company conspiracy.

Cancer is made by your body, so is acid. I wish I could have just done a little explanatory experiment where I gave him the same exact excess dose of stomach acid as the excess dose of testosterone he was asking for, just for a few seconds, to let the idea sink in.

Male doctor is looking at camera and make NO hand gesture.RollingCamera, Shutterstock

32. Let Me Demonstrate My Intelligence To You

A patient over 90 years old came into the neuro clinic with a very bad brain tumor. The cancer was terminal. Despite the surgery, there was still cancer left and it was a very bad cancer. 

Unfortunately, the old guy ended up with pretty bad delirium—likely from a combination of being super old, having had brain surgery, being on steroids, getting opioid pain medicines, being in an ICU, and oh yeah, having terminal brain cancer.

I was explaining to his family what was going on with his delirium and why he was so high risk, and I listed the risk factors. When I got to the "brain tumor" part, his daughter—who claimed to be an MD, said, "Oh no, the cancer was removed so I don't think that has anything to do with it".

Then she tried to get me to give him some homeopathic medication that she swore they used all the time at the hospital where she worked in Boston. I had to tell her that we don't give patients non-FDA approved outside medications in the neuro ICU or in our hospital in general.

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

33. Mom’s Don’t Know Best—In This Case

I am an ER doctor and recently had a young male patient who came in for about the fifth time, complaining of abdominal pain and vomiting. 

Looking over his records from past visits, I could see that his symptoms had previously been attributed to either acid reflux and gastritis, or cyclic vomiting syndrome secondary to daily heavy substance use. Anyway, he'd been told to take Nexium twice a day and cut back on the weed, as well as follow up with a GI doctor. But he had done none of those things. 

Instead, he tells me, "Doc, I Googled my symptoms and I'm sure I have stomach cancer. My mom has cancer too. So she gave me some of her chemotherapy pills and I started taking those". Well, the patient ignores the medical diagnoses and recommendations that he's been given. 

Instead, he decides he has stomach cancer and treats himself by taking his mother's chemotherapy pills. He wasn't sure what kind of cancer his mom had, but I tried to explain that different cancers require different medications. I also mentioned that chemotherapies are the most lawful narcotics we make and may be fatal. 

I said that he is very unlikely at his age to have stomach cancer and much more likely to have overproduction of stomach acid for which he should take the medicines he was prescribed the last several times he came to the ER.

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

34. Spare Me The Free Advice

My cousin, who is a chiropractor, said that I needed a second opinion after I was told that I needed to have my thyroid removed. If I didn’t, "my odds of diabetes and heart disease would skyrocket".

When I said that my thyroid had several nodules on both lobes and was making it hard to swallow, she insisted that it was just "hyperplastic tissue". Fortunately, I didn’t listen to my cousin. 

After the surgery, the surgeon came in and said that my thyroid had grown down into my chest cavity and was putting pressure on my aorta. I also had thyroid cancer with lymph node involvement. 

My cousin doesn't try to give me medical advice over Facebook anymore.

Young woman is laying in hospital bed and looking at side.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

35. There’s A Logical Explanation For Your Symptoms

I had a patient complaining of numbness in his left arm. When I asked about the frequency of his symptoms, he told me it only happened when he read at night while leaning heavily on his left elbow in his chair. He argued with me that it couldn't be because of leaning on it and had to be something wrong with his neck or shoulder. 

It's amazing how in denial people can be that their own actions can be the cause of their symptoms. 

Dark skinned young female doctor slaps her palm on her forehead ,looking shocked.Studio Romantic, Shutterstock

36. There’s Nothing Abnormal About That

I was seeing a patient who was 400 pounds and complained that she didn’t know why she was fat. She claimed to eat the same as everyone else, yet couldn’t lose any weight. I asked her if yesterday was a typical day, what did she eat? She said that she just had some cereal. 

When I asked her to be more specific, my jaw DROPPED. She said that she had four bowls of Frosties. Later, I found out that that equaled an entire 1 kg box. Apparently, she added a giant bowl of double cream with each serving. She genuinely didn't see anything odd with that breakfast. 

To describe the rest of that day's food would have been an essay, not to mention that was only part one of her breakfast!

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

37. Oddest Belief

I had a patient once who I was taking a medical history from. He told me he had undergone bladder surgery as a teenager. Apparently, he had a pig’s bladder transplanted into him. When I told him “that’s not medically possible," he retorted, “Then why have I got a pig's bladder?”

I told him that he didn’t and to show me where the scars were. He explained that the surgery didn’t leave any scars. Then, I challenged him some more and asked how the pig bladder got inside of him? He said that he didn’t know. “How do you normally put them in?”

Young doctor is looking at side with arms up and surprised face.FS Stock, Shutterstock

38. Dumbfounded And Dumb

I am an ER doc. I once had a 20-year-old and his girlfriend come in at 2 am freaking out because "something had torn his throat open". He seemed fine—no blood—normal breathing. I had him open his mouth, and saw nothing. I didn’t want him to lose confidence in me. Clearly something had happened. 

So I was looking, and looking—but there was nothing wrong with this kid's throat. 

Finally, I said, “Look, it seems okay. What do you feel or see?"

He said, “I don't feel it but LOOK IT'S RIGHT THERE"!

“WHERE?” I asked, quite exasperated. I kept looking down his throat. 

It was his uvula.

Somehow, this kid had gotten to the age of 20 without ever noticing his uvula. His girlfriend was just as horrified and dumbfounded. I told them it was normal but he didn’t believe me. So I told them I was about to blow their minds and showed him his girlfriend’s uvula. Minds exploded. Another life saved in the ER.


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

39. Losing My Marbles

A mother brought her eight-year-old son to see me. She insisted that he had oppositional defiant disorder. She said she diagnosed him with being a regular eight-year-old who didn’t want to do things he didn’t understand the benefit of or sit still when he could be running and playing.

She basically admitted that she didn’t want to be judged as a bad mother for having a poorly behaved son. So she wanted to be able to attribute his behavior to an illness.

The mother came back again after two other doctors refused to diagnose him. I explained to her that there were parenting classes she could take instead. The answer was not to have her child formally diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder on a record that would follow him the rest of his life.

She asked if she could see a different doctor at the hospital.

Mother holding her young son is talking with a young male doctor at his office.Dragana Gordic, Shutterstock

40. Can’t See Or Think Clearly

I worked at the ER during my internship and met a female patient who had increasingly painful and red eyes since a couple of days back. The last 24 hours had been horrible.

I asked about all the normal stuff, and she claimed to have no idea why she had this eye problem. She had never had anything wrong with her eyes before. I proceeded to drop some dye in her eyes to check them in a microscope. When I did this, that’s when I realized that she was wearing contacts.

Apparently, she didn't like her natural eye color, so she had bought a set of blue-colored lenses eight months earlier. She never removed them—not even during night time. She never once thought to mention this to me and even claimed to have no "foreign materials" in her eyes.

Needless to say, I gave her quite the harsh lecture and a referral to an ophthalmologist.

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

41. Define Stupid

I had a patient who kept trying to go outside of the hospital to light up. Our facility is very strict against lighting up so I told her I frankly could not allow it. 

I said that if patients leave without our consent, it would be considered leaving AMA (against medical advice) and they wouldn’t be allowed to come back to our unit, it would be considered trespassing and they could be fined $500 fine, etc.

She told me it was discrimination because she has a real medical condition where she physically HAS to light up. I chuckled and said, “Yeah, I know addiction is real”. She went on and on, saying how rare her condition is. That only 3% of the population has it. 

If she stopped lighting up, she would get ulcerations in her mouth. Her esophagus and lungs would weep and cause her to DROWN. Apparently, she was diagnosed with this rare medical phenomenon after seeing thirty specialists. 

None of the doctors at Mayo, Johns Hopkins, or Stanford could figure it out. But THANKFULLY, a doctor “right here in (states our little normal town with mediocre healthcare) was able to figure it out”. I wanted to ask her, “was it a psychiatrist?”. It’s so rare that they don’t even have a name for it yet.

Like how freaking stupid do you think I am? I went to college for eight years (two 4-year bachelor degrees) and I work IN HEALTHCARE so obviously I would know a thing or two about diseases.

Young female doctor is looking at front with upset face.pathdoc, Shutterstock

42. Next Time, Read The Instructions First

I had a patient come in who had recently been diagnosed with asthma. She told me that she found her new Ventolin inhaler to be ineffective. I asked her how often she was using it and she said every few hours.

Naturally, I got her to show me in case her technique was wrong. Low and behold she shook the inhaler, took off the cap, proceeded to lift up her shirt, and spray on to her chest.

Doctor is holding an inhaler in her hand.Duet PandG, Shutterstock

43. Homemade Repairs Gone Wrong

The patient was a farmer. He was involved in some sort of equipment accident where he had broken his ankle and received a large laceration on his chest. He decided to use a horrifying DIY treatment. For the ankle, the guy made his own cast out of concrete, and for the laceration he used copper wire to sew it shut.

So now he had chemical burns from the concrete and a blood infection from the wire. Amazingly he survived.

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

44. Idiots Doubled

I had to talk to two DUMB IDIOTS—who happened to be gay—about their lab results. One was 40 and his partner who was even dumber, was around 30. The younger one was overweight and probably never exercised a day in his life. His triglyceride level was over 4,000.

When I told him this, his older partner literally shouted, “SEE I TOLD YOU!” Then he looked at me with a serious face and said, “Right. Tell him, Doctor. Instead of having a triple meat, he should have a—” I thought he was going to say a “salad” or something. Instead, he turned back to his overweight partner and said, “DOUBLE MEAT?!”

I smiled, thanked them for their time and walked out the room.

Young doctor is laughing at camera on red background.RealPeopleStudio, Shutterstock

45. Complete Lunacy

I had a patient come in for hyperglycemia, high blood sugar. Normal levels are between 70-100. Her reading was in the 800's.

Once we managed to get her blood sugar stabilized to a whopping 300, this moron ordered Chinese food and a medium pizza delivered to her hospital room. After eating all of it, she called and asked to have someone bring her some cereal. The nurse on call said that she was checking her blood sugar instead. 


No amount of education in blood sugar levels would satisfy the patient who stated, "If my blood sugar is less than 300 it's too low and I have to eat". We tried to talk to the patient but she signed herself out against medical advice. Are you kidding me? I could write a book on idiot diabetic patients.

Young woman is screaming at camera.Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

46. This Story Is Hard To Swallow

I saw a young man about 20 years old. He was from a very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsillitis but refused to take any meds because all he needed to do was "bite the sun". 

Basically at noon, he had to look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and "bite" the sun several times so it would "burn" his tonsils and cure him over the course of a couple weeks. When that wouldn't work, plan B was to do the same at night but only under a full moon.

Young man is looking up with open mouth on white background.pathdoc , Shutterstock

47. Nothing To Smile About

I encountered this patient who was in her early 40s. Apparently, she was a frequent flier for prescription pain meds. Since she had become known in the community (this was a small city in West Michigan), she was no longer able to trick doctors into giving her meds. So what did she do? 

She pulled out her own teeth. She had tried to do a couple but they wouldn't come all the way out. She did eventually get one out but only after a few attempts. This wasn't the stupid part, however. She felt that this may not do the trick. 

So she waited for a few days knowing she would get an infection and we would have no choice but to be given what she wanted. Well, it didn't work. She was given over-the-counter painkillers and antibiotics.

Young woman is covering her mouth with her hand.Ketut Subiyanto ,Pexels

48. Baffling Explanation

I once had a marine come in complaining of a rash he had for two weeks on his right forearm. This was his first visit for the issue, and hadn't had anything like this before, so he was worried. Apparently the symptoms had gotten worse since the initial onset.

When I asked about any prior skin issues, he told me he had ringworm just before he got this rash. While examining his arm, it looked like a mild second degree chemical burn in a rather circular shape, with blisters on the edges. What got me was the exact definition in the burn edge. 

I finally asked the young patient how he got that. Boy oh boy, did his answer surprise me. He replied, “Well that's the burn I got from the bleach I poured on my arm". When I asked him WHY he poured bleach on his arm, he said, “Well, how else was I going to kill the ringworm?"

Man wearing military uniform is seating and looking at side.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

49. Make It The Same Size, Doctor

In medical school at the urology service clinic, I was sent in to see a 20-something-year-old man who was complaining that there was something wrong with his "downstairs".

The patient was in a gown, sitting on a table. He began by telling me that one was bigger than the other. Apparently, they had been that way for months and he wanted them to be the same size.

I had him stand and lift his gown. His right one was about the size of a grapefruit while his left was normal size. But that wasn't what blew my mind. He looked at me and said, “See, they are not equal. I want the left to be big like the right”.

Unfortunately, the right one had cancer in it and it had spread.

Man in hospital bed wearing hospital pajamas.Freepik,tonodiaz

50. Stubborn To The End

A lady came in with shortness of breath. We checked her troponin levels and they were elevated. We told her, "Ma'am you're having a heart attack". She replied, "No, I'm not".

We repeated, "Uh... yes, you are". She insisted, "No, I'm not". Her primary care physician came into the ER and fired her as his patient. She signed an against medical advice waiver and left. BIG MISTAKE.

Unfortunately, she passed the next day—of a freaking heart attack. Yeah.

Medical OMG EncountersShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit

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