The Coldest Doctors

June 26, 2023 | Violet Newbury

The Coldest Doctors

In an ideal world, doctors would be empathetic and have a good bedside manner. But that's not always the case. When asked what some of people's coldest interactions with physicians were, they did not hold back. After reading these stories, there's no doubt that these cold-hearted doctors deserve to get a taste of their own medicine.

1. Heart Pumping Head Case

I was in the second grade when I got really, really sick to the point that I was hospitalized due to dehydration. I couldn’t keep ANYTHING down for days on end, not even water! Even so, I got better, and I was discharged from the hospital with flying colors on all the tests.

I was healthy by their standards, yes. But I was never the same after that illness. Even though the illness was gone, I began to get odd symptoms. I began to experience chronic nausea, acid reflux, and stomach pain. I had regular cluster headaches that didn’t respond to any pain medication.

I was dizzy and tired all the time, especially when I stood. I was unable to run and play like a normal kid; I would pass out or throw up. I began not wanting to go to school, not wanting to see my friends, to leave the house, to do anything. I couldn’t eat much, I couldn’t sleep much, and I couldn’t play much.

I would cry to my parents and the school, telling them how sick I felt and how I just wanted to go home and go to bed. It was brushed off as anxiety. When I was nine, my parents finally took me to a doctor to see what was happening. The doctor looked at me and told me one thing that changed my life forever. "It’s in your head".

After that tiny statement, I was told I had anxiety. I felt like I was crazy for years and YEARS! Finally, I began to believe them. I started to develop actual anxiety due to being told I had anxiety all my life. I went to therapist after therapist, and none of them could help me.

Then when I was 16, I went to the doctor for a routine check-up when he noticed my heart rate was 101 bpm. He decided to try something to see if standing and sitting affected my heart rate, and it did! When I went from lying down to standing, my heart rate rose from 100 to 160.  My doctor knew something was wrong.

Finally, he ordered tests for me. Apparently, I developed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome after being sick, a chronic illness that causes every symptom I had. Being validated was the most wonderful feeling in the world. I was sick, and it wasn’t in my head. There isn't a day that goes by when I am not angered by this man for not believing me.

Meg Giles

coldest doctors

2. A Real Pain In My Gut

I was hit by a tractor-trailer on the side of a highway while working as a firefighter. The impact almost ended me, leaving me with crush injuries and fractures to my femur, hip, pelvis, eleven ribs, and clavicle. The back of my knee had been ripped open, big enough for you to fit your fist in it.

I also had abdominal injuries with severe internal bleeding from a liver laceration. I was in a coma for several weeks, during which time my abdomen was cut open and packed to stop the bleeding. When I finally woke up, I was in horrible pain.

I wasn't going to be able to walk for several months, I couldn't lay on my side, and everything I did caused me the worst pain I could imagine anyone going through. Almost immediately, a select few doctors told me, "We need to get you off pain medication".

About a month after my crash, I was discharged from the ICU and sent to a rehabilitation center to try to help improve my ability to care for myself and transfer myself to a wheelchair. I ended up developing pain in my abdomen that was worse than any of the pain I had previously in my recovery.

I was transferred to the ER because of how bad it was. Tons of IV pain meds would not touch it, and the pain was not going away. Scans and blood work were performed, but I was told nothing was found, so I was sent back to the rehabilitation center. Then disaster struck. I was sent back to the ER after hours of worsening pain and screaming for them to help me.

When I arrived back in the ER, I was treated coldly by the doctor and the nurse. Eventually, I was told point blank, "Nothing is wrong with you, you are a healthy young man with no reason to have abdominal pain. You are obviously looking for pain medication, but we will not give you any more". My wife and I were flabbergasted.

My injuries were still fresh and something was very wrong inside my abdomen, but I was being treated as an addict. Luckily, I saw a different doctor walking by and we caught her attention. She was the Director of the ER and looked into the situation. Apparently, the treating doctor did not even read my file, so he had no idea about the injuries I was healing from.

I was assigned a different doctor and nurse, who did a thorough assessment and found a huge amount of blood in my stool and fluid in my abdomen. I ended up being diagnosed with a rare type of infection in my small intestine. Needless to say, I will NEVER go back to that ER.

Dave Johnson

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, freepik

3. Normal Suffering?

From my middle teens onward, I had bad menstrual cramps. Nothing helped, but I got through life the best I could. I graduated high school and my cramps got worse and worse.I couldn't move when they hit me, and I decided to see a gynecologist about it.

He merely did a general internal exam and said my cramps were normal and to try not eating meat. Meat doesn't affect cramps, as far as I know, so I just suffered. I lost many jobs being unable to work due to the severe pain. I went to many different gynecologists over the next ten years, all to hear the same story after a simple inspection.

They would say, "It's normal period cramps", and the one that made me fully give up said, "It's all in your head". I believed them and life went on. Years later, I moved to a small town in Illinois. By that point, my cramps were going on for 23 to 27 days of the month.

The only time I didn't have pain was during my three-day super ultra-heavy period. I couldn't stand, squat, lie down, or sit. Something had to be wrong because no one else I knew suffered as I did. So I went to desperate measures. I found one of the top women's health centers and made an appointment.

I went in and, to my shock, the gynecologist listened to me and did an ultrasound. Instantly, I was told they were going to set up a laparoscopic surgery to see more, as the ultrasound showed things weren't very good inside. I got dressed and burst into tears, telling the doctor she was the first person to take me seriously and not say it was normal or all in my head.

A few weeks later, I got my exploratory surgery. I was called in for the results and was told that I needed a hysterectomy immediately. I had a severe infection around my uterus, massive endo, and huge fibroids. My uterus had a huge internal fibroid that was the size of a 6-month pregnancy, and the endometriosis had petrified my uterus rock solid.

My gynecologist/surgeon said it was the absolute most horrific thing she'd ever seen and she'd been doing that kind of surgery for 19 years.

Kaedyn Walsh

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4. Wasting My Breath

I was in 6th grade and had recently been diagnosed with asthma. Our pharmacy took about two weeks to fill a prescription, so my mom had planned to pick it up that afternoon. On this particular day, we were taking the pacer test in PE. I was in the twentieth lap, and I started to feel out of breath.

My PE teacher noticed, and she wrote me a nurse pass. When I got to the nurse’s office, I told her that I had asthma and that I needed to call my mom so she could bring my inhaler to me. "There’s no mention of asthma in your file" she said as she looked at me skeptically.

I told her, "Yeah, I know. I just learned that I had it a few weeks ago". She told me, "Go back to class, Scarlett. You’re fine". So I went back to class and started the test over. Around the fifteenth lap, I felt the same tightening in my chest, but I convinced myself it was fine.

By lap twenty, the tightening was really bad, and by lap thirty, I was struggling to stay upright. I went to the nurse again. It was even worse than before. She looked at me with angry, judgmental eyes and asked what I needed. I told her I couldn’t breathe and that I needed to call my mom.

She looked me right in the eyes and said, "You know, I’m really tired of kids faking asthma for attention. YOU ARE FINE. I do not want to see you in my office again, Scarlett. Do I make myself clear"? I ran out of the nurse's office, struggling to breathe with tears in my eyes.

I turned around, determined to talk to the principal, and that is when I supposedly passed out. I woke up in the ER and was told that I had only had 18% lung capacity when I came in due to asthma.

Scarlett Hunterset

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5. Last But Not Least

When I was having my last child—number eight—I had a screening blood test to check for abnormalities. The results came back that my baby had a 1:25 chance of having Down syndrome, so the hospital booked me in to see the specialist. I went in to see the doctor and he told me that he had booked me in for nine days' time.

I asked what I was booked in for. His response stunned me. He said: "A termination". I asked him what made him think I wanted one and he answered, "You have seven kids already, you don't need this"! I just stood up and walked out.

The attending nurse followed, apologizing profusely for the doctor. I just asked her when my next prenatal appointment was and I went home. Every time I went in, the doctor threw comments around about parents who were going to have disabled kids and how mean it was to the child.

I ignored him. I went into labor and had a normal and healthy child who did not have Down syndrome, not that that would have mattered. He was mine and I would have loved him no matter what.

Mandi Rennie

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6. A Weighted Issue

I’ve been overweight my entire life. I gained 65 lbs on top of my 220 lbs with my first pregnancy. I didn’t care for my OB. He was very arrogant and talked down to everyone, including his staff. I gave birth to a 10 ½ pound baby boy.

At my six-week check-up, I was sitting on the exam table in the quiet room. As I was waiting, I heard papers rustling outside the door. Then I heard a man’s voice ask a question that made my heart sink. "Is this my fatty"?

I heard a mumbled reply. I wanted to cry, yell, and scream, but I kept quiet. The doctor came in and did his exam. He was removing the staples from my belly when he gave a little chuckle. I asked why he was laughing, and he said, "You’re crooked". I said, "Excuse me", as I had no idea what he was talking about.

He said, "You're lopsided down there". I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. After a minute of silence, he said, "Well, it’s not like you’ll ever be wearing a bikini"!

Jennif Epler

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7. Words Of Encouragement?

When I was applying for admission to medical school, I went for my first interview at a school in Cleveland. The first words out of the Dean’s mouth were, "Why are you wasting my time? You’ll never get into any medical school, and even if you did, you’d flunk out within the first six weeks".

After the interview, I was totally crushed. My lifelong dream of becoming a physician was seemingly gone forever. Fortunately, I had a wonderful physician father who encouraged me to keep pursuing my goal.

I got into medical school and didn’t flunk out in the first six weeks. I finished in the upper third of my class. When I was selected by New York Magazine as one of the top doctors in my specialty, I sent the Dean of Admissions copies of the magazines, letting him know how wrong he had been.

He claimed to an intermediary that when he told me that, he "was just trying to encourage me".

Edwin McCampbell

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8. No Quitting Until I Found A Cure

The doctor called to tell me what was wrong and prefaced it with, "Give your kids to their father. Quit school. You’re way too sick to do either". This was said over the phone. I was a grad student at Stanford, single parenting, broke, had just started my dissertation and now I was diagnosed with "severe and crippling rheumatoid arthritis".

I told the doctor his bedside manner sucked and hung up the phone. I didn't give up the kids, I refused the steroids, spent hours at the med school library reading texts and journals to understand RA, and devised my own protocol. It was slow, but it worked and in a year I was pain-free.

Ann Bradley

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9. I Had A Bone To Pick With That Doc

My 16-year-old daughter was kicked by a horse while working at a stable. It was not a vicious hit, however, the fact that he was a Clydesdale cross with saucer-sized hooves probably made a difference. At the ER, they found a fractured fibula.

Other than a few stitches, no one thought much about the quarter-sized plug of skin and tissue that blew out of the front of her shin from the force on the side. The follow-up appointment was made with an orthopedist. He gave her a prescription for ibuprofen, and she was not permitted to ride or shovel manure.

A few weeks passed, but she was not feeling better; she still had considerable pain. Her leg would get cold, but she attributed it to being encased in a cast. She tried to be stoic, but we wondered if something else was going on. The orthopedist spent barely two minutes with her, told her she was fine, to stop complaining, and to return in a few weeks for cast removal, which we did.

The wound in the front of her shin had scarred. The leg looked pale, a little wasted, and hairy. Just the usual, except that it wasn’t. The pain didn’t stop. She tried stretching and exercising, but it only increased. After another month or two,  the pain continued, increasing to sharp, burning, and electrical jabs.

The pain was constant and debilitating. She was whimpering in her sleep. We took one last trip to the orthopedist. She described the burning and electrical pain, the periods of cold-feeling flesh, and the hair growth. I explained about her whimpering and tossing and assured him that, for her to do that, it’s got to be severe.

He rolled his eyes and whipped out a tape measure, encircling first one calf and then the other, and pronounced both legs exactly the same in girth and told her there was nothing wrong with her. I asked, "But what about all of this pain? I mean, she’s actually whimpering in her sleep". He said, "Tell her to bite her lip", and with that, he was gone.

We thought that there was nothing else that could be done, so she went on this way for months. One day, it was so bad that we headed to the emergency room. After examining and actually listening to her, the Head of Orthopedics said, "It’s obvious. She has Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy stemming from the fracture and the tissue damage over the shin".

Jude the Obscure

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10. Fuming With Age

I had my first miscarriage at 40 years old when I was eight and a half weeks along. It was BAD. It happened in the bath but was in too much physical and emotional shock to think that I should probably call an ambulance or go to the ER.

I cleaned the tub and then went downstairs to make my kids dinner, all while still bleeding profusely. I put the kids to bed and my boyfriend called to say goodnight, as he was out of town at the time. I told him what happened and he tried to convince me to go to the ER.

I played it down, thinking that if I made it the last couple hours, I was fine, and didn't need the ER. The next day, I went to my OB/GYN for a follow-up.  First, he told me I was overreacting, and if I was bleeding that bad the night before, I would have gone to the ER. He quickly changed his tune.

After getting some bloodwork results back that showed I had lost a lot of blood and was severely anemic, he yelled at me for not going to the ER. All while he did the exam and acted like I was wasting his time. But then he truly infuriated me. As I was bleeding on the table, mourning the loss of my baby, he started lecturing me that, "at my age", I shouldn't be having any more kids.

He said it was good I miscarried, it was probably deformed, and started talking about how he can make arrangements for me to be "sterilized" as soon as possible, and was practically standing over me demanding I sign the papers consenting to surgery. I did not.

Harley Brock

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11. The One-Eyed Monster

I lost the sight in my eye when I was 11 years old after a car accident. I went to a check-up when I was 18, only to be told that the eye itself was shrinking and would continue to do so. This was a shock in itself. Then the doctor said, "Don’t worry though, we can always whip it out if it becomes an issue".

The casual way he said "whip it out" was what did it. I left the hospital and promptly burst into tears. Thirty years later, I still have the eye.

Peter Metalli

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12. Imagine That!

When I was 9 years old, my mom got pregnant. I was soooooooo excited to have a sibling. But a few years later, my mom finally told me what had happened before she told me she was pregnant. When she first found out, she was so happy. Her first check-up was fine.

She went back about a week after, and the doctor (a different one) did the ultrasound, looked at my mom, and simply said, "I’m sorry. You lost your baby". There was no explanation, nothing. My mom cried but went back home as if nothing had happened.

She told my stepdad but not me; I had no idea. But then came the "miracle". In the next two weeks, she realized she still had all the pregnancy symptoms and the same cravings. She was sure she hadn’t lost the baby. She went back and got an appointment with the same doctor as before.

When she explained that she was still experiencing all the pregnancy symptoms, he denied all of it. He told her she was having a phantom pregnancy, that she was too old—37—to have a baby, so she just imagined she was having one. She refused to accept it and demanded another doctor to do the ultrasound.

It took a while but finally, another doctor came to see my mom. It took him about a minute to find my brother with the ultrasound. The first doctor was so embarrassed, he didn’t even apologize. The first thing my mom did when she came home was tell me she was pregnant.

Emma Pichon de Bury

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13. Listen Up, Doc!

My infant son had chronic ear infections and persistent fluid build-up behind his ears. He had been on many courses of antibiotics and antihistamines, to no avail. He was now approaching eight months and I was telling the family doctor that I wanted to check into ear tubes because I was afraid he would lose his hearing. His response was, "You only need one ear to hear".

MJ Lamb

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14. A Sad Excuse For A Physician

I was 15 and going to see a gynecologist to get birth control. I had really heavy periods and chronic ovarian cysts, which going on the pill was supposed to help. On my first visit with my new OB/GYN, he looked me straight in the face and said, "Honey, I think you’re just depressed. Do you feel sad"?

I told him no, I was just in pain from the cysts rupturing. He proceeded to tell me, "Maybe we should do a hysterectomy. Sad girls like you shouldn’t be mothers, so it’s probably best".

Anastasiya Davis

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15. Teed Off

When my now 13-year-old daughter was about five, we were going through chronic UTIs. She had been hospitalized at about seven months with a kidney infection and, from that moment, she had a UTI about every three months. So, every time she ran a fever of 102 or higher, I would take her to the doctor so they could check her urine and put her on meds.

My ex-husband was in the service, so when we went to the clinic, it was very rare that we would see the same doctor. On this occasion, my daughter was running a fever, so I made her an appointment and brought her in. The doctor came in and said that it was probably a virus and to let it run its course.

I asked her to please check her urine. She told me it was unnecessary, never once pulling up her medical history on the computer. I proceeded to argue with her and explained why it needed to be done. She then told me that she would do it to appease me and told the nurse to get a catheter, as my daughter refused to go in a cup.

When the nurse came back with the catheter and they started to put it in, my daughter started to cry. Getting a catheter is not the best feeling. The doctor looked her in the eye and over and over again said, "Your mom is causing you this unnecessary pain. I’m so sorry. She is the reason why we are doing this and hurting you. You poor thing".

I was LIVID and completely shocked. Needless to say, they checked the results and lo and behold she had a UTI and was put on antibiotics.

Delilah Joleyn

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16. Never Too Young To Recognize A Jerk

I was 19 years old, married almost a year, and ten weeks pregnant back in 1972. I started bleeding and called my family doctor. He told me if I miscarried anything, to save it and bring it to the emergency room. I cried as I sat watching TV, and late that evening, it happened. I didn’t want to do it, but I brought it in.

In the morning, my husband had to go to work, so I went to the hospital alone. The emergency room doctor examined me and pronounced me, "Too young to even know if I was pregnant". He did not believe I had even been pregnant. No one even wanted to see what I brought. I left in tears.

Catherine Mcdiarmid-Watt

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17. A Stage 4 Stooge

I was 49 years old. I was at work, came home, and was told by my husband that the doctor called and told him that I had cancer. Yeah, huge breach of ethics, but that was far from all. He said I was Stage 4.

In any case, I soon went to the emergency room with a bucket in my lap because I was puking so bad. I needed emergency colon surgery as a melanoma was blocking my colon. The doctor started screaming—and I mean SCREAMING—at me that I wasn’t going to make it and I had only three months to live.

He kept on for what seemed like hours. I was terrified and helpless. He did the surgery and left for vacation. I was beyond sick. Hallucinating, they sent me home with a small bottle of Percocet. No counseling, no compassion, nothing. It was horrible. That was ten years ago. Obviously, I did fine.

Theresa Kelly

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18. Playing The Blame Game

After 20 years in the Army, some of us are going to develop a few issues along the way. I’m not too proud to say that it didn’t happen to me. I had kept all of my issues neatly compartmentalized for a long time. It was tough to seek help, but I went to my VA psychiatrist. What I encountered was her blaming me for my issues.

She said, "It’s all your fault, you know". I asked, "What is"? She replied, "Your anxiety, your PTSD. What did you expect, given the life you chose"? Her words were cold, and unexpected. I fired her and got another doctor as soon as possible, and am much better off today for cutting her loose.

Guy D. McCardle

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19. Focused On My Face

I woke up one day and found my arm was swollen to three times its normal size. I couldn’t bend it. I could barely move it without screaming. I made an emergency appointment with the physician who had taken over my doctor’s practice.

Luckily, my best friend was able to go with me. When we got there, we were called in fairly quickly, but when the doctor came in, I realized he wasn’t looking at my swollen arm. He zeroed in on my face. I hadn’t applied my makeup that morning.

He immediately started going off about my adult acne. I snapped after he literally told me, "This is why you are single". I said, "I’m single because I choose to be. Get off the topic of my face and look at my arm! Did you go to Hollywood medical or what?"

He refused to do anything until I agreed to see a dermatologist. There was only one thing to do. My friend and I exchanged glances, stood up, and walked out. There was a hospital on our way back to my place and we decided to drop in. The second the triage nurse saw my arm she gasped, "Oh my! That looks painful".

When the ER doctor came into the exam room, he was shocked. I was diagnosed with cellulitis and spent six days on IV antibiotics. Thank God my friend and I decided to go to the ER and get assessed there. Another day and I could’ve gone septic, and lost my arm or my life.

Meaghan Louise

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20. Never Take No For An Answer

I was 10 or 11 years old and had been hit by a car while riding a motorcycle with my stepbrother. My right arm and hip were broken and my right knee was smashed. I will always be grateful for my doctor’s skill at putting my knee back together, piece by tiny piece.

He also re-broke my arm when it was not healing in the right position and did a great job at realigning it. But the coldest thing he said was, "You will never walk again". Even colder still, he listed all of the activities I would never do again.

He said, "You will never ride horses, run races, play active sports, cycle," and he went on. A year later to the day of the accident, I rode my bike for over a mile and then had my first-ever waterski lesson.

Verneita Boonlom

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, DCStudio

21. A Sick Joke

After a night caring for my miserably ill and hurting patient, I approached her physician before he started rounds, as he was running behind. I wanted to speak with him directly about her before I left. I said, "Do you have a moment to talk about Mrs Y in room 999? She’s had a really bad night and is still in a lot of pain".

I was going to continue with relevant specifics to the case when he turned and snarled at me, "Well, DUH, she’s SICK".

Sarah Jane Watson

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22. Cutters Of Contention

I had just birthed twins, a healthy baby boy, but we lost our twin baby girl one day and six hours after. They were born at 32 weeks, so my baby boy was in the NICU, but doing well. My OB/GYN was personally wheeling me down to X-ray because the post-op C-section X-ray showed a pair of surgical scissors.

They suspected they were on top of my body when the scan was taken, but they couldn’t say without certainty that the scissors weren’t left inside my body during surgery. My doctor, who was wonderful, went straight to the radiologist who did the scan and made him do another one.

Instead of apologizing for causing undue stress on me, the doctor showed me the X-ray, which confirmed that no surgical scissors were left inside me. Then he said something completely unexpected. In hindsight, it was probably to redirect the negative attention on him.

He said, "See right here in the scan, you can see more than an inch of fat on your back, which indicates that your BMI is high and you are obese. Do you know what BMI is"? Appalled, my doctor was stern and angry for me when we said at the same time, "She (I) just had twins"!

My doctor apologized the whole way back for the guy's insensitivity, what a jerk he was, and how that was the last thing I needed to hear or stress about after all I had been through.

Karla FitzSimons

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23. Double Dismissal

I went to see the doctor as I suspected I was pregnant, even I was on birth control. She did the test, confirmed I was pregnant, and handed me a leaflet for a termination clinic. I know I was on birth control so obviously wasn’t planning to have a baby, but to straight up just go, "Yep, you’re pregnant go get it taken care of" was shocking.

The following year, I went to see the same doctor with a lump in my bosom and she just said, "You’re too young to have cancer, and you’ve just had a baby so your [girls] will be lumpy" and showed me the door! I spent the following year having treatment for cancer. I have never seen that doctor again.

Anna B

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24. Giving Up Without A Fight

When our son was two, he got meningitis. At the hospital, the doctor took my husband out into the hall and told him to go home and make funeral arrangements. Our son was in the hospital for 10 days, but responded really well to the medication and totally recovered. He is now 39 years old and just fine.

Cheryl Thompson

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25. A Dimwitted And Dismal Diagnosis

When I was 19, I had extensive periods, then none, then pain, then periods of bleeding for 25 days, then nothing for 45. Finally, I went to the OB/GYN and they found nothing. I felt really weird one night and I passed a huge blood clot.

I went to the ER and the nurse came in and checked me with a manual exam. Her words nearly made my heart stop. She told me, "It looks like you have beginning stages of cervical cancer. You need to see your doctor again". Then she just left the room.

I sat and cried but then went back to the OB/GYN...nope, it turned out I just never ovulated properly. No cancer.

Hummer Handmade

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26. I Had A Latte To Lose

I had been sick, and my family doctor at the time was completely useless and hadn't gotten a diagnosis yet. I had to start going to the ER, and in three weeks, I had gone a total of five times. On one of my visits, after nine hours of waiting, the IV medications started working, so I went and got a coffee.

When I was called in to see the doctor, he looked at me and then my coffee, and he said, "Well judging by your coffee, you can't be feeling too bad, so we’re gonna send you home". Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with a rare incurable cancer that was Stage 4 and inoperable as well.

I was losing my life, and because I was having a coffee, that apparently meant I was feeling honky dory. I've made it past the five year mark now, which is amazing, but I'm still considered terminal.

Amanda Daniels

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27. This Fool Thought I Was Faking

I had to go to the ER because I was in SEVERE pain and felt like I was a goner. The source of my pain was in the pelvic region, so the doctor did an "exam".  He asked if it hurt. I was literally writhing around throwing up and crying, so yes, it hurt.  At the time, I was 17 years old and living with my father, so he was the one who took me to the hospital.

The doctor told my dad that he didn't find anything wrong and that I was likely faking it to get pain meds. All he did was a pelvic exam and nothing further. I cursed the doctor out in front of my dad until I was shown out. I called my mom who lived in a different city, told her the story, and in two days she came to get me.

She took me to an OB/GYN for a real check up. It turned out I would've been a goner within the week had I not gotten emergency surgery. I had a cyst on my ovaries that ruptured and caused a massive infection that was shutting down my organs.

Dagny Grifferson

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, DCStudio

28. Take A Hike, Doc!

My brother was born with a disability. He didn’t cry when he was born and of course my parents were worried, because my mom had three baby boys before that who sadly lost their lives as soon as she gave birth to them.

After a minute of waiting for any sign that he was alive, he finally cried and flailed his arms around. One year later he would try standing up, but he would fall back down. My mom was beginning to suspect something was wrong, but she didn’t know what.

One day, she was changing his diaper when she tried to spread his legs, and he cried in pain. He couldn’t move his leg any further. This had only happened once, but the next day it happened again. My mom was really worried because he was healthy, and nothing else was wrong with him except him not being able to walk.

We went to the hospital and waited for the doctor. He came in and did what every doctor does at a check-up. When he tried to see how his reflexes were on his legs, he asked my brother if he could feel anything, and he just shook his head no.

The doctor asked my mom if she had any concerns or questions, and she explained to him how he would cry whenever she tried to spread his legs a bit. He ran tests and gave them heartbreaking results. He diagnosed him with cerebral palsy.

The shocking news left my mother and father dumbfounded and speechless. They wanted to know what treatment they could give him. The doctor simply said, "He’s never going to be able to walk, don’t bother with the treatments" and walked out of the room.

My brother is now 21 years old and can walk. After going through 10+ years of pain and therapy, he was finally able to get out of that wheelchair and stopped relying on canes and walkers.


The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

29. Lack Of Privacy

My daughter was recovering from an appendectomy, and, as I was visiting time, I was sitting by her bed. In the next bed was a lady who must have been in her late 30s or early 40s. She was sitting up waiting for her visitors. Up came a doctor who didn’t even bother drawing the screens.

He just said, "We had the tests back, and there is nothing we can do further, OK"? He then turned around and walked away, leaving this poor woman to digest the information that she was going to lose her life. She didn’t even have the privacy to cry, and he didn’t even say he was sorry.

Anne Peskey

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

30. Left With A Mess

I wanted to go to my gynecologist, who was originally recommended to me by a friend, because of a painful infection. As usual, I had to wait two weeks for the appointment, despite having said painful infection. The woman on the phone who worked for him was always very unfriendly, so I didn't push it.

Luckily, the infection stopped hurting after one week, but I needed to know what caused it, so I anxiously waited for my appointment. Unfortunately, my period started one day before the appointment, coming a few days early. At the doctor’s, I went into his examination room and undressed, hoping for a meaningful examination to get to know the cause of my infection.

The doctor started examining me and became angry when he saw me bleeding. He made some unfriendly remarks about the mess. After he finally got the swab, I got up and started cleaning myself behind the curtain in the room.

He suddenly let out his anger, while bottling the swab, and said in a really angry and loud voice that I should be at an age where I know not to make an appointment for the time the period is due. On his way out of the room, he dropped the test tube on the floor, and reacted to his mistake with, "We won't get any results from this anyway with all the blood in the way".

I was completely shocked and hurt. I went back after the results were in. They did find the cause of my infection in the swab despite "all the blood". I had to take meds for two weeks, and never went back to that doctor again.

Katharina Trinkl

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik ,DCStudio

31. She Had No Business Being A Doctor

I was hospitalized for a week for severe depression and anxiety. One of the doctors I saw noticed that I was on prenatal vitamins. She sharply asked if was pregnant or trying to conceive. I was also on birth control, which she apparently didn’t notice.

Before letting me answer that I was taking them for the hair/nail benefits, or that I didn’t plan on having more kids, she nastily said that I had no business getting pregnant again, ever, because of my history of depression.

Rachel Black

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

32. Allergic To Anesthesia

I had been diagnosed with cancer in my chest, and was at my first consultation with a plastic surgeon. She specialized in reconstruction that could be done simultaneously with my partial mastectomy. My husband and I listened intently to her explanation of the entire process, which was more involved than I had anticipated, but I needed to know exactly what to expect.

She told me that to find the sentinel node, they would have to inject radioactive blue dye into the tissue, which would act like a road map leading them to the correct nodes. She then told me about the need for a guide wire to be inserted just hours before the actual surgery, and that was actually what they use to pinpoint the exact location of the cancer, so they aren’t just blindly removing tissue.

They use an ultrasound machine to guide them and a fairly large hollow needle. The wire protruding out of your chest is then coiled up, taped down, and sits there until your surgery time. I asked her how they do this—awake or asleep,  and she told me that it’s a relatively painless process once they numb your chest, so you are awake for the procedure.

I panicked, as I’m allergic to most of the local anesthetics, and asked her about the kind used. Her answer made me sweat. She told me lidocaine, which I'm definitely allergic to. When I told her that I’ve had a great success rate with other kinds, she shook her head saying no, and explained that they only will use lidocaine.

I asked her why they wouldn’t use something else. She responded with, "They just won’t". It started to sink in that she was serious, so I asked her what I was going to do when they can’t use lidocaine. Her response as she chuckled under her breath was, "Well then I guess it’s gonna HURT, ISN’T IT?"

I burst into tears as my husband took my hand and we walked out the door, never looking back.

Robynne Taylor

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, gpointstudio

33. A Do-Nothing Dunce Of A Doctor

I was working and having accidents on the job—dropping things, tripping and falling, having garbled speech when I was tired, and I was always severely tired. The resident who saw me first was very nice and caring.

However, the neurologist who oversaw the department was outside my door and said to him, "People like her just fake symptoms because they don't want to get off their fat butts and work. They'd rather collect disability and do nothing". Meanwhile, I had Lupus and fibromyalgia.

Goldie Medick

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

34. No Viable Excuses

I was pregnant with my second child and had made my doctor aware that my first pregnancy was rough and I went into preterm labor at 21 weeks. I was on bed rest and heavily medicated, and wanted to do everything I could to not have this happen again, if possible.

Like clockwork, I started having contractions just before the 20-week mark. I went into the hospital and my doctor was called. He didn’t even bother to come in and see me or offer mediation. He sent a nurse to tell me my baby was not viable and to say goodbye.

I lost it and told the nurse he had better get back to the hospital and find out what medication is given for this or I’d be driving three hours to the next hospital and then suing him for negligence. Magically, within 20 minutes, he had answers and was able to start me on medication that allowed me to carry my second to full term.

Heidi Engelbert

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, DCStudio

35. His Delivery Was Offside

When my younger brother was 12, he was hit by a soccer ball to the back of his leg. He complained about the pain for days afterward, but none of us thought anything of it because he was a wimp and complained about EVERYTHING. But we were so wrong. After a solid week of complaining, we took him to a doctor who prescribed some medicine and sent us on our way.

The medicine didn't help, so we took him back in. After the doctor performed a more thorough examination, he ordered some X-rays. The X-rays showed some abnormal bone growth, to the point that a bone sliver was growing out into my brother’s quadricep.

A biopsy was ordered at the hospital. Later that night, a new doctor came into the room. He came in and said in the most monotone uncaring voice EVER, "Your son has Osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer. Rare in someone this young. We'll start chemo in the morning. This type of cancer has about a 30% survival rate which will probably be less because your son is so small for his age".

Then he left. He said this right in front of my 12-year-old, scared, perpetually whiny brother, who went on to live.

Joe Friedrich

The Coldest DoctorsWikimedia Commons

36. A Taste Of His Own Medicine

I have suffered from a rare(ish) pulmonary disease since being a baby. When I was two and a half, my pediatrician misdiagnosed pneumonia as a common cold and treated me with nose drops and cough syrups.  I became unconscious two nights later, and my parents took me to the hospital.

My heartbeat stopped from lack of oxygen, and a high fever, twice. Both times, doctors managed to revive me, but that night left a permanent scar on my parents, and they worried over me constantly. When I was almost twelve, my condition worsened yet again, and mom took me to a new pulmonary doctor.

He was an old man, dignified in his manner at first glance, but mean to the core. He examined me, shook his head, lifted his eyes straight to my mom’s and said, "She will not see her thirteenth birthday". I will never forget my mom’s face. The shock, pain, anger at him, and despair were indescribable.

But she collected herself and grabbed my hand, barely letting me dress again, "That is your opinion," she said, "we will seek another", and we stormed out of his office. Later on, we learned that he enjoyed telling these kinds of things to his patients. However, a few days after my 16th birthday, my health spiraled down, and I was in the hospital again.

To my dismay, he was the doctor there. He did the check on me, then noticed my name, which was an unusual one. "Ah, it is you", he said with a sense of wonder. "I was sure you wouldn’t make it this far. Oh, well, I’m pretty sure you won’t make it to seventeen, you know". I just looked at him in shock.

Then I leaned toward him, grinned in his face, and said, "Well, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure you won’t last long either, old man. Not when you consider your age and all". He froze. He didn’t expect that. Maybe a retort of some sort, but not that. I just politely nodded and got out of his office and back to my hospital room.

Later, a nurse laughed and asked what I said to him, as they didn’t like him, either. Apparently, he was still in shock, but I didn’t tell.

Illyria Duncan

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

37. His Mean Words Were My Motivation

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried every diet, with what I thought at the time to be all my might. I was miserable. I weighed in at a little over 500 pounds. Every warning my doctor ever gave me had slowly come true.

I couldn’t walk long distances, my blood pressure was up, my heart rate was through the roof, and I became a diabetic. I hurt all the time, couldn’t sleep comfortably in a bed, and had horrible cellulitis. I was still holding down a job, but my health continued to decline.

I made an appointment to see my doctor for the third time about my cellulitis. I asked for more antibiotics and a leave from work in order to get rid of the infection. My doctor took one look at me, shook his head, and said, "No. All you are going to do is go home, sit on your butt, and get even fatter than you already are. I’m not having any part of that".

I left that office in frustrated, infuriated tears. I was so angry and hurt, yet determined to show him how wrong he was. The first thing I did was download MyFitnessPal on my iPhone. I cut all carbonated beverages and fried food from my diet and started counting calories and paying attention to serving sizes.

The first week, I lost 20 pounds. I was 160 pounds slimmer by my next doctor’s appointment.

Rachel Smitherman

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

38. A Pain In My Neck

For nearly a year, I had excruciating pain in my hands, wrists, neck, and shoulders. It would last anywhere from a few days to over a month. The doctor never really put much effort into finding out what was going on and would prescribe pain medications and muscle relaxers.

The second to last time I saw him, he informed me that I was an addict and he was putting that in my file. I had asked repeatedly for a referral to see a rheumatologist, and he flat out refused, even with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

I made an appointment myself and paid for the visit and the labs out of pocket. The rheumatologist’s office was in the hospital, so he requested a blood test. Then came sweet vindication. About an hour later, he told me that I had rheumatoid arthritis, and he got things pretty much under control in a few weeks.

I went back to the first doctor and showed him the lab results and print outs of my X-rays. I chewed him out for letting me not only live with the pain and the permanent damage to my joints, but for accusing me of being a med-seeking addict, particularly since I had never asked him for anything except an answer as to why that was happening. I reported him.

Glenda L. King

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

39. An Allergy Is Not An Addiction

I'm allergic to most narcotic pain pills. I had never taken those kinds of pain pills until a severe back injury that resulted in a ruptured disc in my lower back. The doctors then had prescribed a narcotic pain reliever for me because it would be many weeks before I could get the surgery required to fix my back.

I took one pill and about half an hour later, I started having breathing problems. My wife rushed me to the emergency room. They told me not to take any more of those pills because I was having an allergic reaction. I went back to my doctor and he wrote me a prescription for a different pain medication, which was also a narcotic.

I took one and again ended up in the emergency room, but this time I was having so much trouble breathing that I passed out. When I woke up a couple days later, I was informed that there was a ventilation tube down my throat for about 36 hours and the medical staff had induced a coma.

They told me not to ever take narcotic pain medication again. I believed them and haven't. Ten years later, I had a fall on some ice and hurt my back. The doctor asked me, "So how long ago was it that you had your addiction and how long has it been since you abused any narcotics"?

I was initially shocked that he would assume that, instead of actually reading my chart and history.  I'm ALLERGIC, not an addict.

Joe Kidd

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, freepik

40. The Three Fs Of A Total Fool

For years, I'd been plagued with this terrible swelling in my lower legs. My legs hurt terribly and would sometimes get red and hot. I went to dozens of doctors, but none could come up with an answer, they just kept prescribing diuretics. I had tests to rule out heart failure, kidney issues, and everything that usually causes leg swelling.

One day, my legs were hurting so bad I could barely walk. I couldn't wear regular shoes because my feet were so swollen, so I couldn't get them on. I had to wear my husband's old sneakers. I had always been really active, worked out six days a week, and played on a couple of co-ed softball teams, but when my legs started to feel heavy and the swelling got worse, I could barely walk, much less run anymore.

So I went to see my doctor. I told him what was going on and I even said given the choice between winning the lottery and having this swelling go away, I'd give up the money in a heartbeat. I will never forget his reply. He glanced at my legs, looked at my chart, and said, "Well, there's nothing we can do. You're just in the 3 Fs. Female, Fat, and Forty. Stuff like this happens, you just need to go on a diet".

I couldn't even speak. I was so livid. I wasn't even 40, and while my weight was higher than normal, I was far from fat in the terms he meant. A couple of weeks later, I saw a colleague of his who ended up diagnosing me with a condition called Lymphedema.

My lymphatic system does not function properly, causing lymph fluid to build up in my lower body. It can only be managed by constant compression, and has absolutely nothing to do with his 3 Fs.

Anita Huffman

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, lookstudio

41. Labeled For Life

When I was a very young boy, I was really accident-prone. One day, I was playing on the floor with my cars. My sister, who was twelve years older than me, was vacuuming the floor. As she went to lift the vacuum over me to clean the remaining floor area, a massive part fell off the corner of the attachment and hit me on the head, leaving a rather large cut that bled profusely.

My mom rushed home and hauled me to the doctor's office for stitches. This was becoming a weekly event for me. As the doctor inquired about the cause of my wound, mom said she couldn't understand why I was so accident-prone. The doctor then told my mother, with me sitting right there, that I was the type of kid he and his colleagues had labeled a "Mother Killer".

Kelly Peterson

The Coldest DoctorsShutterstock

42. I Quit This Doc And His Derisive Attitude

I developed chronic pancreatitis due to heavy drinking. When I had my second pancreatic episode, I didn't know what it was or that it was even the second one I had. The first one was not as painful and the doctor called it acid reflux, I have no idea why.

My discharge papers did list it as a secondary condition, but I was being clueless and in denial. I was told to quit drinking, which I didn’t. About six months later, I woke up with a backache that wouldn't go away. Within a few hours, I thought it was the end. I felt like I was being disemboweled.

When I got to the ER, the intake clerk told me to have a seat and they would call me. I told him, crying, that if someone didn't help me, I was going to walk to the street and step in front of a bus. That was how bad the pain was.

Turns out, I had a cyst on my pancreas that would touch the nerve, which caused even more pain than just pancreatitis. After being in the hospital for seven days without food or water, only IV pain meds, a consulting surgeon came to see me. He said the only way to stop the nerve pain was to have the cyst removed with surgery.

However, he said he wouldn't do surgery, nor would anyone, until I quit drinking for six months, and I had to prove it. He wanted me to see a pain management doctor in the interim. I totally understand about requiring the 6-month waiting period. However, he had no sense of empathy or bedside manner. It made me feel horrible and hopeless.

To make matters worse, when he walked out of the room, he was stopped by the consulting gastroenterologist. I overheard him say, "Yeah, just discharge her and refer her to a pain management doctor. She isn't gonna quit and now she probably gets hooked on opioids too". It shamed me so much.

A week later, I found a doctor who did  the surgery one month later. More than that, I've been sober since my pancreatitis, six years ago. I did not get hooked on pain meds either. The doctor's words weren't what made me stop. Little did he know or care, I decided before he came in that I was done drinking.

Rachelle Valsonii

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, DCStudio

43. Toying With My Emotions

I was scheduled for a Pap smear and had requested a female doctor, since my regular provider was a man. I had done this before with no problems. That afternoon, the female doctor waltzed in and told me how familiar I looked to her. Then she asked if my necklace was an "intimate" toy. Yes, really. But it gets worse than that. I responded, "Uh…no. This is a keepsake necklace, containing my late husband's ashes".

Amy Botone

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

44. Lack Of Information Led To Her Lack Of Empathy

My annual pap smear resulted in a biopsy and tearful news: I needed to have pre-cancerous tissue removed from my cervix. During my initial visit with the specialist that my family doctor referred me to, we were discussing family medical history.

Mine is like a jigsaw puzzle, and obtaining my family medical history was more than a little difficult. While I stumbled through the surgeon’s questions, answering to the best of my abilities, she interrupted me in a harsh, annoyed, and scoldingly loud voice about why I didn't know the exact three different cancers my older half-sister had battled.

"It is your responsibility to know this", she bellowed at me. She seemed to not understand that in addition to my secret half-sister, nearly all living relatives on my missing birth mother’s side suffered with schizophrenia and did not have the capacity to provide me with their history. She kept insisting that I was at fault for my lack of knowledge.

Kimberly Calloway

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

45. Cramping My Style

I developed early and got my period early at about age eleven. By thirteen, I was having a very heavy flow with excruciating cramps. The first OB/GYN my mom took me to was smug, patronizing, and extremely crass. He said, "Don't worry, honey. After you have your first child, those cramps should go away".

At 13, I was not anticipating giving birth. I never went back to that man.

Frances De La Rue

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

46. Pushed Out The Door

My wife was eight and a half months pregnant with our first child. Her anticipation turned to dread when she realized that the baby wasn’t moving or responding. The doctor determined that she was having a stillbirth, so into the hospital she went to be induced.

To make matters worse, my wife’s sister was in the room right next door, having HER baby. I couldn’t comfort my wife, but I was doing the best I knew how. The doctor came around the corner toward me, and I calmly asked him if there was anything else I should be doing that would help my wife in her distress.

His response was, "This is a hospital. People are dying in here. You just need to stay out of the way" and he led me into the elevator.

Mark Doss

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik, pressfoto

47. The PA Saved The Day

For about 15 years, I suffered from urinary tract infections. Antibiotics would help for only a week and the infection would return. I was miserable and sometimes thought of ending my life. I was grumpy, irritable, falling frequently, and always tired.

Only one particular antibiotic would work, but only for a short while. I went from doctor to doctor seeking a cure. All but one urinary culture came back negative. A urologist examined me and told me it was all in my head. I even caught him doing the motion with his hands that I was crazy.

A few months later, I was examined by another urologist who ran extensive bladder scans, etc, but he didn’t have an answer. Finally, someone mentioned a physician assistant who had a knack for figuring out conditions doctors could not. Before the exam, she said that she thought I had interstitial cystitis, and she was correct. I am a new person; she gave me my life back.

Cathy Anderson

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

48. Too Uncomfortable For Words

I was in labor three months early with my second child, and it felt like my spine was being ripped out of my back. I have had back problems since my teenage years. I was in so much pain, I couldn't move or speak.

My younger brother was in the room with me when the ER doctor started asking questions. When I wasn't responding fast enough, he said, "I can't help you if you don't answer my questions". My brother said, "Can't you see she's in pain? She can't speak"! He didn't ask me any more questions after that.

Elena Rios

The Coldest DoctorsFreepik,wavebreakmedia

49. She Incysted I Go Home!

When I was about 15, I was having problems with ovarian cysts. I was diagnosed with an almost 7 cm cyst on one of my ovaries. I was scheduled for surgery to have it removed, but there was a bit of a wait. My GP told me to go straight to the emergency room if I started having severe pain, paired with a few other symptoms.

It could mean the cyst had burst, and I may require emergency surgery. One night, it happened. I was in agony; I felt like I was going to pass out and throw up simultaneously. My mom got me to the emergency room, and it was an hour's wait.

A woman who was waiting beside me was in pain, but she said she didn’t care if she was called first; she refused to go before me. I was silently screaming in pain, with tears streaming down my face. Eventually, I was called in and had a lovely doctor. He was male and more understanding than I expected.

He took great care of me. However, there was a change in staff. His shift ended, and another doctor replaced him. This doctor was female, and I was happy because I thought she would be even more understanding. When she came in, she asked about my pain level.

She poked at my abdomen, and I tried my best not to scream and to not pass out from the pain. The doctor stared at me for a moment, then stepped back and crossed her arms. What she said was something that shocked and confused me. "If the cyst had burst, you’d be jumping to the ceiling in pain. Go home".

Then she sent me on my way with nothing more than Advil. The next day, I had an ultrasound to check the status of the cyst. It had burst, but I never had surgery for it.

Xenia Michaells

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

50. Nurse Ratchet Was Wrong

I started having odd symptoms doctors couldn't explain. My mouth started to burn and swell, and my tongue, lips, and cheeks were usually affected by this. They gave me four EpiPens in case my throat was the next thing affected, and said, "If you feel anything that usually happens before your mouth swells at school, go to the nurse".

That’s exactly what I did. When I was in Spanish class, I felt a burning sensation on my cheek, which is usually what happens before my cheeks are affected and swell. I immediately started panicking, and since I was panicking, I couldn’t speak.

I got to the nurse and tried to explain what was happening. She called my dad and my dad brought Benadryl to the school. When the nurse examined my cheek, she just started laughing and put antiseptic on it. It started burning more.

Apparently, I had gotten the tiniest cut on my cheek, which made it burn. Then, the nurse told me, "You’re overreacting. You’re fine. Take your butt back to class and don’t come here stupidly again". This one time, the "doctor" was right.

Sophia Rose

The Coldest DoctorsPexels

Sources: 1, 2

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