Doctors are supposed to be reliable, knowledgeable, and should take your concerns seriously. But when they don’t do that, you’re left with the question... Why are they a doctor in the first place?! These 50 people share stories of doctors who were ignorant, disrespectful, or just plain wrong.
1. A Bucketful Of Bolts
I went to the doctor with a friend of mine who had been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Unfortunately, she had discovered a large lump far too late to do too much about it, at least in the minds of conventional medical circles. She asked the doctor what her chance of survival was, and he answered, “I wouldn’t bet a bucketful of bolts on you”.
We were both stunned. What a horrible way to tell a patient that they were unlikely to live very long. The only thing that made a difference was the bottle we drank afterward. We spent lunch maniacally stating, “Not a bucketful of bolts! Not a bucketful of bolts"! Well, Doc, I wouldn’t bet a bucketful of bolts that any of your patients liked you.
2. Laughing Like A Rooster
I grew up on a farm, and we had chickens. When I was three or four, we ended up with too many roosters. They had problems, including them becoming significantly more aggressive. Combine that with me possibly antagonizing a bird slightly, and I got spurred in my wrist. For those who may not be aware, roosters have a long talon on the back of their leg that they use for fighting and defense.
This is why chicken fights are so bloody and brutal. They also walk around in poop all day. So after the initial accident my mom patched me up. I may have seen a local doctor, I don't know. The following days I started getting really sick, to the point where my mother took me to urgent care. When we finally got in to see the doctor, he asked what was wrong.
My mom said I had gotten badly injured and was worried the wound was infected. The doctor asked how I had gotten hurt, and my mom said I was spurred by a rooster. His reaction was disturbing. The doctor for whatever reason thought that was hilarious. Like bent over laughing… Maybe he thinks of chickens how cartoons portray them and couldn't imagine them being dangerous, I don't know.
The fact of the matter was I had blood poisoning, as we discovered later, and the doctor was laughing at a very sick little kid. My mother asked me to wait in the hall. I was little, so the memory isn't super detailed, but I do recall hearing her through the door threatening to “bring the rooster to your office so it can punch a bunch of holes in you, too".
He then examined me, far more sheepishly than before… then things got really serious for a little bit while they tried to prevent me from dying from an otherwise hilarious rooster attack.
3. The Doctor’s Chart
I was a young 10-year-old girl who had never thought about her weight. I wore comfortable shorts, and I loved this pretty summertime, colorful unicorn tank top that I had, I wore it a lot. All that little girl knew was that she was healthy, ate very healthy, and loved to exercise and play. Then that little girl went to the family doctor for a standard check-up one day. That was the day everything changed.
The doctor took out a chart and said it was a weight chart. She pointed to a point on the chart and said, “this is the weight you should be for your age”, then she pointed at another point on the chart and said, “and you’re waaaaaay over here. You need to stop eating as much sugar and start exercising more”. When I went home and looked in the mirror that day, I could no longer see that girl, that playful little girl who liked her body.
She was gone, lost forever to the world where your worth is measured by how much you weigh. The little girls’ comfortable shorts grew dusty at the bottom of her dresser, and as often as I had looked at that unicorn tank top and considered wearing it, all I could see when I put it on was fat, fat, fat, fat. So, I never wore that unicorn tank top again, the shorts I had outgrown without even wearing them, and I no longer wore dresses, just baggy sweaters.
The doctors’ words rang in my head, and I gradually became less healthy, started binge eating and starving myself. I can no longer see that playful girl when I look in the mirror, I can no longer see myself, all I can see is imperfection and hatred. I’m a teenager now and I probably would’ve become insecure either way, but my doctor shouldn’t have said that to me. I was just 10 years old, and I was perfectly healthy and active, there was no need for her to do what she did.
It’s been a long time but she’s still my family doctor and I still remember what she did, how she made me realize, how she made me start to hate myself. I know doctors make mistakes and I think she’s a good doctor, I don’t doubt her skills, but either way, I think it was quite stupid of her and hurtful to me to have shown me that chart and said what did to me.
4. Pointing My Finger
I was playing in a basketball league and jammed my finger, like I have many times before. This time was different though. I immediately noticed something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t straighten my finger. It was bent down, not all the way like in a fist, but about halfway down. I could push it straight with another finger but couldn’t straighten it on my own.
Two days later it’s still in the same condition. The swelling and pain had reduced but still couldn’t straighten it. So I made an appointment to see my primary care doctor. He does X-rays and verifies it’s not broken. He’s about to send me on my way. I ask him, “Well what about the issue where I can’t straighten my finger"? He tells me it will be fine, it will straighten out on its own in a few weeks.
This didn’t sound right to me at all. So I asked if he could refer me to a hand specialist. He said that was a waste of time and money. I said that’s ok, it’s my time and money. He was resistant, but referred me. Cut to a week and a half later when I saw the hand specialist, and he immediately knew what was wrong. I had a ruptured tendon in my finger, better known as mallet finger. It’s not an uncommon injury at all.
This doesn’t get better on its own without treatment. Without some basic treatment, my finger would have eventually healed incorrectly and been left disfigured and permanently bent. The treatment for mallet finger was simple and easy. Put my finger in a splint so it’s held straight and keep it this way so my tendon could regrow and reattach.
I did that as instructed by the good doctor and like magic my finger is as good as new. Good thing I was not willing to listen to my primary care doctor who didn’t know what this common condition was.
5. The Worst News Imaginable
I went to the doctor for test results back in the day. The pain in my stomach had me worried I might have anything from an ulcer to Bigfoot growing in there. The doctor walked into the office and began by “I’ve got some bad news. You have cancer”. It felt like I was hit by a bus. Shock was followed by gloom and a hint of despair as the doctor began to outline what the plan of attack was, the next doctor I would have to see, and what my odds were for my kind of cancer.
I sat there stunned, trying to take everything in and thinking I should be asking questions or taking notes or something other than just sitting there. The doctor continued: “There have been a lot of good work in the past few years with this kind of cancer, but you still might want to go ahead and tie up loose ends to be on the safe side. The oncologist I’m sending you to will want to do his own tests, but he comes highly recommended and he’ll probably take an aggressive approach right from the start. But you’re young and you’ll have a fighting chance to beat this, Brian". What?! I did a double-take.
It took me a second, but I did ask my first question. “Brian"? The doctor didn’t even blink. “I like to use first names, but if you’d rather I call you Mr. Watley.".. “Watley"? Something was clicking in my head. “You’ve made a mistake", I say. “No, Brian. The tests are conclusive. You have cancer and—” I stood up. “Apparently Brian Watley has cancer...and I’m not him".
To be fair, the man had met me briefly before sending me off to have tests to determine the pains in my stomach and a nurse probably ordered the file folders on his desk, but to provide someone with a scary diagnosis without first being sure of who you are talking to was unforgivable in my mind. I waited as he found my diagnosis—a food allergy—provided me with some lifestyle changes, and sent me on my way with no apology in sight.
I found a new doctor who sent me to a nutritionist and has been my primary care doctor now for about 20 years.
6. Speak Up!!
I had jaw surgery years ago, and I was wired shut. At one point in the middle of the night I needed help because my IV was blocked and my arm was swelling up. I pressed the buzzer to get a nurse to come and over the intercom I hear, “Yes"? Well, being that I couldn’t talk, I pressed the buzzer a few more times and she kept saying, “What? What do you need, what do you want"!
Finally, the patient next to me in the room, who I couldn’t even see because the curtain was between us, yelled, “Her jaw is wired shut. She can’t talk"! and someone finally came. “Read the chart, you idiot nurse", is what I was thinking.
7. A Flimsy Follow-Up
Their statement wasn’t verbal but instead an email I received when I was 20. This was a family doctor we’d been going to for a few years then and I had come in due to feeling very awful for the last few months. Excessive thirst, nausea, excessive weight loss, always hungry but unable to keep anything down. Those of you that recognize the symptoms already know.
I saw him, he ran some blood work, but didn’t really advise me much of what he thought it was besides maybe a stomach bug. A week later I received an email with an attachment of my lab numbers that meant nothing to me and a very small note at the bottom that advised me I had Diabetes Mellitus but nothing else. No call, no follow-up or referrals.
I assumed it wasn’t that big of a deal if the doctor didn’t give me anything else and he never responded to the voicemail I left. I was so wrong. Two weeks later I was in the hospital for DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis, and was informed I was probably going to go into a coma that night if my mom hadn’t made me come into the ER.
8. Running Out Of Time...
My mom had become ill with a fungal infection called aspergillosis niger in her lung. She was in the ICU having managed to get an MRSA and C-Diff infection at the same time. She was also on oxygen for her lungs to help her breathe a little easier. Of course, being in the ICU, she had every monitor in the world hooked up to her.
Anyhow, we were sitting in her room, talking, and she just put her head back for a second and closed her eyes. Her doctor came in and asked what I wanted to do. I asked, “What do you mean"? He then asked if I wanted to unplug her life support system, which she wasn’t on, to let her die. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said, “Hmmm… it could be a possibility. Let’s ask her. HEY MA!! Want me to have you snuffed out today, or do you want to hang out for a while"?
My mom’s eyes popped open, she looked at me, looked at the doctor, called him some names, told him to get out of her room, and he shrugged and walked out. I started laughing, and my mom was so freaking angry which made me laugh harder. What an idiot!
9. Follow My Instructions
When I was in my mid-20s, I started gaining weight. A lot of weight. So, my doctor put me on a diet. I followed it religiously, weighing my food out to the gram. It was 1,200 calories a day, I was always hungry, never had any energy, and was still gaining weight. Two months later, I go back to my doctor, who starts by noting that I’m still gaining weight, and then asks why I’m not following the diet he gave me.
I told him I was, then I made the mistake of mentioning how hard it was. He looked me straight in the eye and told me “If you were actually following the diet I gave you, you’d have lost 30 pounds, not gained 30 pounds". I left that doctor’s appointment in tears. I felt like a horrible human being. I stopped seeing that doctor a few months later for completely unrelated reasons.
Oddly enough, it only took my new doctor a few weeks to diagnose me with a small tumor on my pituitary gland. Tumor removed, I was able to go back up to eating 2,000 calories a day like a normal person and almost all the excess weight went away within a few months. I don’t think the tumor would have been serious if left untreated, but it’s appalling to me that a medical doctor would rather think a patient was willfully lying to them than look at why that patient’s body wasn’t behaving as expected of a healthy individual.
10. An Attention Seeker
When I was five years old, I developed migraine headaches. My parents took me to a doctor because they were afraid I had a brain tumor, which was a logical concern on their part—most little kids don’t have headaches at all, and I was having attacks once or twice a week where I would vomit and scream and be unable to bear light.
Anyway, the doctor looked me over and explained that the problem was that I was an only child, and that if I had a little brother or sister, my headaches would disappear. And he sent me home, where I kept suffering. To this day I’m still not sure what the basis for this “diagnosis” was, although since it was the 1970s and there were still a lot of myths around only children, he may have thought I was either spoiled and faking for attention, or just neurotic because of my lack of a sibling.
I did end up with a younger brother a few years after that, and a younger half-sister much later, but I kept having migraines throughout the rest of my childhood and well into adulthood—I still get them occasionally now in my late 40s.
11. One In Two Hundred
In 2018 I had a cancerous tumor removed from my right kidney. It was a Robotic Partial Nephrectomy. The first night I was in the hospital the surgeon came and told my husband and me that it was indeed cancer, Clear Cell Carcinoma. The next night he came to my room along with one of his residents and started to rattle off about how he had done more than 400 of these surgeries and this was only the second one that turned out like this.
This what? When the entire pathology report came back it noted that l have “positive margins”. For those who don't know it means cancer cells were left in the surrounding tissues after surgery. He seemed to me more concerned about his track record than what this meant for me. l found a Renal Oncologist at a well-known Cancer Clinic to take over my case instead.
12. Mind Your Manners
I was in the ICU and was taken off ventilation after 12 days, several of those days I was in a medical coma. If you have never been on ventilation, after having it taken out your voice is raspy and sometimes you get out of breath from talking. Well, 7 AM rolls around and new nurses are on the ward. One of these new nurses was a nightmare. She upset me enough that after texting my boyfriend about her, he called and talked to her supervisor to get her transferred to another patient.
What did she do? Well, I asked her, "Can you get me some ice chips"? She soon spoke up in almost a snarly voice “Please"? So I said please and she replied: “That's better”. This went on up till noon, her demanding please or she wouldn't help me. I was soon afraid to ask for help with anything, as I was still bedridden. Even being moved to the chair required a lift.
I had no problem saying please, but needed a moment before speaking again since most talking took a lot of breath. Her supervisor came to talk to me, apologized for her behavior, and made sure I didn't have to have her for the rest of the day.
13. That’s Literally Impossible
I moved into a home in Denver built in 1893. My job is an environmental consultant. I tested the house for lead paint, and it was there. The age and location of the house were strong indicators. At the next doctor's check, I asked to schedule a lead blood test for my kids because we had lived in the home for a few months and were going to be doing some renovations to remove some of the lead.
I wanted to make sure that my kids weren’t poisoned. The pediatrician said, “No need, there is no lead in Colorado”. Like, uh, dude, that’s factually incorrect. And this is my actual job…your job is to confirm my kids are healthy, and I need to have a lead blood draw to make sure my kids don’t have elevated blood lead levels.
Changed pediatricians very shortly after that. He was arrogant and this was just the first of a few responses of his that made me wonder how he could possibly be a pediatrician.
14. Hit The Undo Button
I had a gastric sleeve operation for weight loss about eight years ago. Since then, I have developed a pretty bad case of gastric reflux which is causing even more health issues. So I went to a gastroenterologist, had some tests done and the follow-up appointment was made with the physician’s assistant. She tells me the tests did not have very good results and my esophagus was basically like hamburger from all the acid.
I was doing really well at listening, it all made sense—until she said, now I know you are going to hate this, I know, honey, but you are going to have to have that gastric sleeve reversed. Say what? I tried to explain to her that you cannot reverse that operation. They actually cut out and remove 80% of your stomach. It would be like reversing an appendectomy. Can’t be done.
She kept talking over me, saying, oh I just knew you wouldn’t want that, but you are just going to have to do it! I left the office just shaking my head at her incredible stupidity, especially since she still couldn’t understand after I explained it to her. And, nope, not going back.
15. A Not-So-Difficult Choice
Several years ago, I had an accident where I broke six vertebrae in my spine. I also was a semi-pro athlete, and the accident happened during practice. I had one of the best neurosurgeons, who was also the head neurosurgeon for the LA Lakers tending to me. So, X-rays and MRIs were done, and the doctor came to talk to me about my options. I expected the best. He was actually the worst.
He told me that everything was swollen around the fractures, including my spinal cord. He then said my options were that I could have surgery, “or whatever”. It was a bit frustrating to hear that tone of voice from him. I said, “what’s that supposed to mean"? He said it meant that I could either choose to have surgery or not have surgery.
I wasn’t dying to be cut open, given I never had surgery much less stayed in a hospital before. I sat there waiting to hear the pros and cons so I could make an intelligent decision, and he just stood there offering me nothing. Finally, I said, “You’re not helping me decide what to do. What happens if I have surgery"? He said I’d heal, and be OK.
Then, I asked what would happen if I don’t have surgery. He replied, “Your spinal cord is very swollen, and the hole in the vertebrae passes through isn’t big enough to allow the cord to go through. Soon it will be too small, put pressure on your cord, and you’ll become paralyzed from the chest down". Oh what to do, what to do?
I just couldn’t decide…I have great insurance, so I could have it pay for a wheelchair, and so what if I could never walk again, and live with a colostomy bag and in diapers for the rest of my life… but a scar on my back might be so unattractive. I only had a child to raise, and as a single mom, it was no big deal, right?
Well, after pondering whether I wanted to be normal and self-sufficient, or be everyone else’s burden, I opted to undergo the corpectomy and fusion. I can’t run marathons anymore or ride horses, but I can walk with a pretty even gait. I just get worn out a little easier, that’s all. What kind of ignorant question was that to ask a patient stuck in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of everywhere?
16. Troubling Testing
My daughter was just at that age where she had begun menstruation and she wasn't doing well. She was very pale, bruised easily, was tired all of the time; classic anemia. I took her to the doctor at the local Air Force base, because my husband was posted there. The brilliant doctor that saw her, but after getting a list of symptoms, and without a single blood test, pronounced her to be a “troubled teen”. His suggestion was absolutely deranged.
He tried unconscionably hard to pressure me into having her committed to an institution. I was dumbfounded! After seeing a second doctor, out of pocket, he actually tested her, but before the results were in, he said that it was a “classic severe case” of anemia and that she would have been in great danger had she remained untreated.
The results proved that to be true. He prescribed a certain kind of iron and as long as she took it, she was as good as new.
17. A Perplexing Prescription
I was prescribed a neuroleptic by a neurologist. After a couple weeks, I was increasingly confused, weak and exhausted. I went to the follow-up, said all that. I already knew that the med sometimes caused sodium imbalance, with those exact signs, and was obviously concerned. He blew me off. I went to a different doctor, who checked my levels, and took me off it immediately and said I was close to needing an IV to fix the imbalance.
She prescribed and advised, had me come in and, checked my levels the next few days, but it took a while to level off. This involved me rambling something to him “I think I’m confused, and I can’t focus at all, but I don’t know how to tell if I’m actually confused like if it’s medical or whatever”. I think that’s sort of definably “confused", if maybe not severe.
18. Can’t Be That Bad
I had just come out of surgery, had my gallbladder and right adrenal gland taken out, and I was hurting so bad from the surgery and had my eyes closed, and of course, I was crying. They asked what was wrong. I told them I was hurting, but they said I must not be hurting that bad because my eyes were closed. I told the nurse that my eyes just being closed doesn’t mean anything, then advised her that I just came out of surgery and am groggy and want to sleep, but can't because I am hurting so bad.
19. Food Forgetfulness
I had to stay in the hospital once, and I have a wheat sensitivity. I had to explain to multiple nurses that bread, muffins, and cookies all had wheat in them, and I couldn’t eat them. I even had my allergies in my chart and the allergy bracelet on. I also had one of the nurses just not understand the term “grains”. I wasn’t really astonished the first time this happened as nursing is a hard and stressful job, but I was astonished at how often it happened.
20. A Cholesterol Conundrum
I went in for an annual check-up. My blood work showed my total cholesterol was high, it has been my whole life, but that my ratio was good because my ‘good’ cholesterol was very high. My body just naturally makes a lot of the good kind and diet and meds don’t change that. The doctor comes in and begins to lecture me on my diet and my blood work.
I told him I am vegetarian and although I eat eggs, I only eat egg whites and egg substitutes. He then told me that those have more cholesterol than regular eggs. I laughed and told him the yolks contain most of the cholesterol and I wasn’t eating those. I got up, refused the prescription for cholesterol meds and found a new doctor.
21. Don’t Worry, It’s Nothing
I was going to a doctor my friend thought was good. I was throwing up three times a week and she said that wasn’t bad! When it was almost every day, she finally sent me to have an ultrasound. When she saw the results, she must have felt awful: Turns out my gallbladder had too many stones to count. I had my gallbladder removed so no more throwing up. But what she said about the throwing up wasn't the worst thing she said.
She said to me, “You're overweight, depressed, and out of shape”. Obviously. Did she offer any solutions? No. That was the last time I saw her.
22. Just Say You Don’t Know!
One November night, my husband developed excruciating pain in his back and legs. It became severe enough that I insisted he go to an ER. Within 24 hours, he was in ICU intubated and sedated, in respiratory distress. Somewhere over the next two weeks, he lost any reflexes in his legs. Test after test was performed. Specialist after specialist was called to his bedside. It just kept getting worse and worse.
No definitive reason for his paralysis was ever found. When he finally left the ICU I asked his doctor why, and what caused this. His answer? “Sometimes things just happen”. No! Things always happen for a reason—and I am not talking about some spiritual meaning. I mean simple cause and effect. If you cannot determine what caused this paralysis, admit it.
But by and large, the arrogance of most doctors won't let them be honest that they don't know. A couple years after, I had another doctor tell me the same thing. By then, I had lost my respect for the medical profession for so many reasons, and I put him in his place. I left the clinic with explicit instructions to never schedule us with him again.
23. After The Extraction
I had all my wisdom teeth removed at once when I was about 18. In a follow-up, the surgeon asked what I’d been doing to get plenty of protein, since chewing was impossible with all four quadrants healing. I’d been eating egg whites, whipping them up and essentially making meringues. His response? “There’s no protein in egg whites". Egg whites are basically pure protein. From that point, I wrote off anything he said.
24. A Suspicious Splinter
I was doing some cabinetry work, something of which I had very little experience. I was using a router on a piece of poplar that I hadn’t secured adequately, and the machine shot the wood at high speed into my hand. I came away with a large splinter in the tip of my thumb. My wife and I each spent some time with a sterilized needle and tweezers, trying to extract the splinter, without success.
I applied some baking soda paste, bandaged it, and hoped it would work its way out. After a few days, it was getting more painful, and I decided I should see about having it removed by a doctor. I got an appointment with my regular physician. He sat me at a table, removed a needle from a sterile package, and went through the same motions my wife and I had tried at the beginning.
After a few painful moments, he announced, “I think I got it". I looked for the sliver of wood that would be evidence of this, and saw a tiny fleck, almost invisible. All I could do was stare at him. “I don’t think so", I said, “I can tell it’s still in there". The doctor looked again. “I’m pretty sure I got it". “Look, if you press here, you can feel how solid it is. It’s still there", I responded.
“You could be right, but I’m at least 50% certain I got it. Let’s leave it awhile and see if it clears up". I could tell further argument was pointless, so I left, quite sure nothing had changed. A few days later, my still-painful thumb brushed against my pants, and something felt strange. When I looked, I could see that the end of the splinter was now visible, protruding slightly from the skin.
I pulled at it and slid 9mm of solid poplar out of my thumb. Sometime later, I got the bill: $530 for “Removal of foreign object”. I called the office to let them know there was no way I would be paying that. I never heard any more about it, and they will never hear any more from me; I have already found a new doctor.
25. Just Use A Stick
Last year I was having great trouble with my hip and back and a condition called drop foot which caused me to fall repeatedly. I went to the doctor and she just said to either take meds or use a cane. Because of my age, she saw no need to do anything to be proactive and keep me active. I walk three miles a day to keep my blood sugar in check and keep depression at bay. I’m still mad at her ageist attitude.
26. Making Small Talk
A few weeks ago I went to a new cardiologist as I had outgrown my cardiologist from the children's hospital and the very first question he asked was “Are you new from around here"? The moment he asked that question I knew where he was going with the question, as there's not many Asians in the United States, let alone Nebraska.
Anyways, I said no, I was adopted when I was four, and have been in Nebraska since then. I don't even have a Chinese accent, so I don't know if it was a sad excuse for a conversation starter or if it was asked out of complete arrogance. Either way, I'd say it was a great way to start building a doctor-patient relationship.
27. Are You Sure About That?
I have Bechet's disease, which is a rare autoimmune vasculitis. It is more common in the middle east and in Asia, and as a result they have done more research there than they have here in the United States. I am a science nerd, so reading research docs is nothing new to me. I've written more than my share. When I was given the diagnosis, I think I read every single English-language article and report I could get my hands on.
Fast forward to my third or fourth appointment with the rheumatologist's office. Since it was just a med check, I was scheduled with a PA or something. I mentioned that I had not gotten much relief from the latest prescription. Her response was, “You obviously don't have Bechet's if that didn't do anything"! She said it with the most condescending tone you can imagine.
Now, I am not a doctor. I don't claim to know more or better than my physician, just because I read a few articles. Never mind that the drug was being prescribed off label, and was a secondary or tertiary treatment option, if even recommended in anyplace else in the world that has more experience dealing with Bechet's. It simply doesn't make sense.
You cannot have a condition diagnosed by multiple physicians prior thrown out because an off-label drug didn't work for you. I mentioned this to my regular doc and received a letter of apology in the mail from the department head, along with a referral. Much happier with my care now.
28. Behave Yourself!
I was at a same-day appointment for myself. Many US clinics offer same-day appointments for injuries and illnesses that need prompt treatment but aren’t emergencies. In this clinic, you saw whichever doctor was available if you needed a same-day appointment. I had to bring my six-month-old baby boy with me, no problem. I knew that the clinic had books and toys in every room.
So, my baby and I were waiting for the doctor in a room, and we were together on the floor playing with some toys. The doctor walked in and promptly insisted that we put the toys away so he didn’t trip. I told my son to put them away. He was cooperative and quickly did so. I got him out a book, and the doctor told us to put that away, too. We did. But this was just the beginning.
Within a couple of minutes, my bored child was fussy. I bounced him on my leg to calm him, which helped a little. He was still fussing, which included making unhappy noises. I couldn’t do much about it and still interact with the doctor. The doctor said, “He isn’t very well-behaved, is he"? My jaw dropped. This man expected a baby to sit quietly and do nothing?
He just took away all the toys and books! He was lucky my son was well-behaved, or it would have been a lot worse! Despite my shocked stare, the doctor went on as if nothing had happened. He treated me for whatever I’d gone in for. There were comment cards in the lobby. It’s the only doctor’s office I have ever seen with comment cards, and I filled one out. I sincerely hoped that the administrators did something about that doctor’s attitude.
29. A Long Road
My second child had an additional newborn screening in the hospital. The nurse jinxed it when I asked what they were asking me to sign and said, “You don’t need it, they never come back positive”. I told her that she had jinxed it now, so I had to sign it. Three weeks later, they called and the testing was inconclusive and had to be redone.
Two more weeks and the doctor’s office called and said you need to get to the city hospital now, we found a doctor who’s heard of the condition. Then they gave us an hour to get to the hospital. Turns out if they had known what they were doing, they could have sent us the medication without seeing us first. They did all kinds of testing including genetic testing on us, the parents.
Then months later, they tested our older child who was also positive. This child had been vomiting two to three times a week for three years. When the doctor called with the results, he said, “We would have caught it eventually”. Are you serious? Even the neurologist at the hospital didn’t test for it until finding out about it from treating our sons.
30. A Twisting Toothache
I had an infected tooth that ultimately required a root canal, but it prompted a display of dentist ignorance along the way. One doc told me that my aching tooth requires plaque removal. Another told me it ached because three months ago, I had done a filling on the same jaw without anesthesia. Only the third doc in my doctor-shopping experience understood it was an infected tooth, prescribed antibiotics, and ultimately performed a root canal.
In total, this parade of stupid dentists cost me about four months of horrible tooth pain.
31. What Else Do You Need?
I used to be a nurse. Back in July, I fell, breaking off the radial bone, dislocating the radial bone, and breaking my humerus bone. After six weeks with metal external fixators , placement of a titanium elbow, casts, and currently a brace, I still have stiffness, and radial hand palsy. The PA told me not to worry, they would be able to get me back to work because, “As a nurse, all you need is for your thumb and first finger to work”.
I wanted to smack him. I shudder to think that they actually have so little knowledge of the nursing profession.
32. Caught In The Middle
I had just changed primary care doctors several years ago and had to see this new doctor for the first time. I can’t remember what for, but probably a sinus infection or something equally simple and treatable. Since it was my first time meeting him, he was making conversation and asked if I had any children. I said not yet, and that my husband and I were looking at possibly adopting.
He asked if there were medical issues that made adoption necessary. I said no, it was just something that I knew would always be an option for us. He told me, “If you can have your own biological children, don’t adopt. You won’t form the same kind of bonds with an adopted child that you will with your own”. A nurse was in the room at the time, and she jumped in before I could even begin to respond.
I just sat and watched as she tore into him! I was in 100% agreement with her… She said something like, “Why would you assume that? I know lots of people who have both adopted and had biological children”. He actually tried to argue with her. He said, “But I bet if you got them to be totally honest, they would tell you that they are closer to their biological children”.
I was witnessing a heated exchange between nurse and doctor, and completely siding with the nurse who put him in his place for expressing his opinions about something I had not asked him about. Neither one of them backed down. I suspect they continued to have words after I left; thankfully I had already gotten what I needed from the appointment. And thankfully, I didn’t listen to him.
My husband and I went on to have two biological children and we adopted one child. And I can very confidently say that we love all three of them with all our hearts. Each one is very different. And for that, I am thrilled and grateful.
33. Bed-Wetting Blues
When my daughter was four, I took her for her yearly check-up. I stated she was still peeing the bed at night, so I was putting her in pull-ups. The doctor said the reason she was still peeing at night was because of the pull-ups and that I should immediately stop using them. I felt like I was a horrible mom so for the next year, multiple times a week, she would wake me up because of a wet bed.
I would help her change, strip her bed, and remake it. Some nights I would just make her a bed on the floor. I was exhausted and cranky because I also had a newborn waking me up at night and I was not always patient with her. A year later, I went to a different doctor and told her of our dilemma. She simply asked, “Why aren’t you just using pull-ups"?
I almost screamed right then and there. After that, we all slept through the night and life was so much sweeter. Thankfully, she did grow out of needing it around age eight.
34. Maybe Stick To Eyes
Once at an eye doctor appointment, my doc was trying to figure out why my left eye was not responding to light or focusing the way the right one is. He quizzed me about my medical conditions. When I told him that I have narcolepsy, he asked what that entailed. I told him that my brain does not regulate sleep properly, and when I do sleep, my sleep cycles are out of whack.
I get mostly REM sleep, so my sleep is not refreshing. His expression brightened. “Ahh! You’re so lucky! REM is the best kind of sleep"! What? I just finished telling him that REM is not the part of the sleep cycle that actually restores a person. How am I lucky to be constantly exhausted no matter how much I sleep? I had to explain the sleep cycles to him, and he still insisted that I was “lucky” to have narcolepsy.
This seriously made me mad. I considered changing eye doctors, but I was born with cataracts, and every eye doctor I go to wants to dilate my eyes every time I go in. It takes several visits spanning over several years before a new eye doctor will understand that the cataracts are not changing and are nothing to be concerned about.
I decided to stick with him. Even though he is pretty ignorant about sleep disorders, he’s still a good eye doctor.
35. Read The Label!
A US orthopedic surgeon prescribed me Percocet and Aspirin despite the fact that I am taking citalopram. Percocet with citalopram is not a good idea because of possible psychiatric effects. Also, citalopram has some very mild blood-thinning effects, and pairing it with a strong blood thinner like aspirin will cause a synergy and bring about blood vessel rupture and internal bleeding.
This fact is stated boldly in both citalopram and aspirin info sheets. Needless to say, I refused both prescriptions.
36. A Useless Procedure
My husband suffered from severe stomach pains, light-headedness, and chronic nausea. We went to the ER and the doctor immediately prepped him for surgery and removed his gallbladder. The next morning, a different doctor came in to check up on him in recovery, but my husband was still having the same symptoms. When the new doctor checked the charts, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. He had no clue why the first one decided to take the gallbladder when all the tests showed there was nothing wrong with it.
Before he was discharged, he was diagnosed with diabetes and now that it's under control all the symptoms went away.
37. But That Doesn’t Happen
I have issues with my joints; I think it’s pretty bad. I get this pain in my right arm that picks a joint to start it and slowly and painfully spreads up to my shoulder blade and down to my fingertips. The pain is excruciating sometimes, to where my hand hurts so bad I can’t close my hand tight enough to grasp almost anything, especially small things like paper, writing utensils, or eating utensils.
My shoulder will hurt so, so, so bad I can’t even lift my phone on that side. Also, my hips pop and crack and click with most movement, and my one hip dislocates sometimes too, and that loud POP and shooting pain with it is kind of concerning. That happens in my right knee as well, as it locks up, it won’t bend mid-walking/running stride and trip me even down the stairs.
So, I’ve seen a few doctors for it. And the first question is “When did it start"? and my answer is always “It’s been that way for as long as I can remember but it’s getting significantly worse”. So, they say, “Why didn’t your parents take you"? and so I reply “My parents were neglectful, and I believe that most of my physical issues stem from that”. And 99% of the time I’m met with “That doesn’t happen, your parents love you”.
38. A Silver Lining?
I have severe neurological diseases. I was having difficulty opening my mouth, and I asked the neurologist if the symptom was the result of my disease. He asked me how far I could open my mouth and commented that it was severely compromised. His next follow-up statement was “at least you’ll lose weight”. I was not overweight, and he made no further recommendations.
Eventually when this progressed, a week later, it was discovered to be a life-threatening reaction to a medication I was taking.
39. Painkiller Predicaments
While fighting cancer, and simultaneously suffering with fibromyalgia, I had kidney stones for good measure. Imagine the pain you would be in? I was given Toradol. Not treating a patient’s pain has been the most ignorant use of power I have seen, and I have seen it over and over in my care. three oncologists refused pain meds for me after my chemo regimen changed.
I was still getting bags of meds, but these weren’t the kind that your hair falls out anymore. It caused sores all over my arms and caused pain in my joints and hands. I woke up from my cancer surgeries screaming, shaking from inadequate pain meds. Choosing to treat all humans like drug addicts is the most ignorant thing I have seen.
40. What Do You Know?
There was a group of doctors trying to decide if I needed a hysterectomy, since all my symptoms had vanished and since the problem had disappeared, I might be fine. I explained to them that I had undergone three months, living abroad, of enormous stress, misery, and a harrowing experience after which the symptoms appear, and then I came home and there had been several months of recovery and healing.
The head doctor said dismissively “Your mental state has no relation to the pathology of your uterus”. I assume every woman who has suffered PMS would snort at that.
41. Sufficient Scans
I was 20-something weeks pregnant and was having severe migraines. I was admitted to the birthing floor to be seen, and the doctor ordered a drug test. Okay, whatever. Maybe they’ll test for other things as well, right? Wrong. He only ordered the drug screen to see if I was taking things. I’m sent home after the drug test comes back negative for everything. That doctor never once even stepped into the room.
Fast forward a few months later, and I give birth. After getting blood work done and vitals checked the next morning, I’m diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. That same doctor from before was the one there that day and refused to let me leave or my boyfriend leave to check on our pets, so even if he left, he wouldn’t be allowed to return.
I felt fine and said I’d go to the ER if my boyfriend or I noticed anything off. The nurse allowed my discharge and made me promise to go in even if I had severe headaches. I ended up having those headaches a few days later and, per my promise, went to the ER. The doctor there said my levels are returning to normal and suggested I go up to birth, but acknowledged it wasn’t required; it was only a suggestion.
I declined considering my levels are going back to normal, so hopefully this should just pass. My boyfriend took me to get breakfast that same morning, so as we were waiting for McDonald’s to open, I got a phone call. That same doctor called me from his personal phone and demanded that I return to the hospital saying I’m definitely going to have a seizure.
One, I didn’t have a seizure. Never did. Two, the whole headache episode passed during the next day or two. Three, my daughter is now eight months old, and we’re all doing just fine. I know some people might think this doctor was “just looking out for a patient”, but I personally feel he was trying to cover his own behind.
I was diagnosed with HELLP after being falsely accused of being on illicit substances. Never once did he screen me for my preeclampsia. I wish I had the energy to get him on malpractice for that, but it’s honestly too much work. My main OBGYN retired. I miss her.
42. Seems Normal To Me
When my son was born, he had severe feeding issues. We were changing his clothes 12+ times a day because he was throwing up so badly. His doctor said he was fine, it was normal baby spit-up. We were in his office every day because he was so sick. He was constantly hungry, but he just couldn’t keep anything down. We tried a different formula every seven days.
His doctor only recommended we move him to a larger bottle size, and then he recommended a sippy cup. Finally, one day we saw a different doctor because his normal one was out. That might have saved my son's life. We were there for maybe ten minutes into his appointment before she said he needed to be admitted to the hospital because she thought he was having seizures and he was severely dehydrated and borderline malnourished.
When he left the hospital, he was now on a preemie bottle, he was not having seizures—they were actually full-body muscle spasms from how dehydrated he was—and he was put on a high-calorie diet to try to gain some weight. He was also diagnosed with acid reflux, and he was apparently lactose intolerant as well. Oh, and he also now had a new doctor!
43. Get Well Soon
I was an outpatient awaiting my recovery to be discharged from having a liver biopsy. My recovery was declining rapidly, and I was found to have an artery in my liver leaking internally. I could not explain the feeling of pain, lack of breathing ability, and begging for pain meds! The hospital called in two specialists at 11 pm before having a cauterization.
The doctor that performed the biopsy came up to me and put his hands up shrugged and said, "Mistakes happen”. If I had any strength, I would’ve hit him. He said this in front of all the other staff, and I still wonder why no one stood up for me. Do they teach bedside manners in med school? He could’ve just visited me at least once during my one-week stay with a cup of coffee. I was almost flown to another facility.
44. So Last Century
When my father first went in for back pain which turned out later to be cancer, his original doctor never took an X-ray. He assumed it was arthritis in his spine. When the pain didn’t go away after the usual pain medication, he diagnosed my dad with lumbago and anorexia. Lumbago, because this doctor went to school around 1800, and anorexia because the man was in so much pain he wasn’t eating and had lost a lot of weight.
This was in the 1990s, but still lumbago was already laughed at. Dad wasn’t diagnosed properly until he went to the ER while that doctor was on his honeymoon and got someone else. He was then in the hospital for tests so fast he didn’t have time to change his clothes. It was too late by then. Technically, it was too late from the beginning, but a quicker diagnosis would have saved Dad from months of pain from bone cancer.
45. Worrying Wheezing
The local doctor in our small town did not believe I had asthma, even though I had been diagnosed when I was a little baby. I had to take a day off work every month to see him, before he would refill my medications. I bugged him until he relented and made an appointment with a large medical teaching school that was known well for their outstanding work; Loma Linda Medical University, which had taken great care of our special needs child.
They ran their tests and sent them to the doctor, so I asked why I still had to come in each month. His answer was, “They made a mistake”. Months later, during the spring, I was having great difficulty breathing. I went to the doctor. He would not see me, but had his NP, nurse practitioner, see me. She took one look at me and her face went white. She called him over for a consultation outside the door of my room, then she came back in to see me.
The nurse told me she was going to get in trouble, but she told me to cross the parking lot and go into the emergency room. I walked in the door and headed toward the check-in counter. I was intercepted by two men and a gurney. They waylaid me and hurried me into the ED. I was connected to oxygen, given a shot of tetracycline, adrenaline, and a breathing treatment.
Twenty minutes later, another breathing treatment. Then they called in the doctor. At least he got what he deserved. They had him stand fifteen feet from me. Then they, the two ED doctors, chewed him out. They let him know that if his nurse had sent me home—as he had told her to do!—I would not have lived through the afternoon, much less the night.
That was the last time I, or any of my family, saw him. After that, we drove to where there were better doctors. Our old doctor retired, thankfully.
46. Knowing Your Anatomy
A few years ago, I felt a very sharp pin-point pain in my abdomen. It got worse over the course of the day, so I went to the local hospital. The surgeon who saw me started prodding and poking, as they do. At one point I winced. She asked if that was where the pain was. I said, no, it’s just that you pressed my solar plexus. She looked surprised and said that the solar plexus was in the back.
Your solar plexus is in front of you. Luckily, I didn’t go under her scalpel that day.