No one likes to wait or be around other sick people, which is why Google becomes a much more appealing option to quickly self-diagnose. However, it’s a slippery slope entering your symptoms into that inviting search bar, one that can send you on a downward spiral of unwarranted hypochondria. Still, though, people will head to the doctors convinced they already know what’s wrong with them because of what they read on some nescient message board.
You can only imagine, that after almost a decade of schooling, having your patient think they know more about the medical world than you must be pretty offensive.
One Redditor asked the community’s doctors about their dumbest patient experiences, and they did not disappoint. Here are 24 patients who thought they were smarter than their doctor but were proved wrong.
1. Chest Ward: “We had a patient, 23-24 poorly educated female, who had an odd constellation of symptoms. There was no obvious cause during our first examination, but during our third, she finally confessed that she’d been taking her mother-in-law’s anti-tuberculosis therapy medication. The reason was her husband apparently didn’t think her chest was big enough and when she went to the government hospital with her mother-in-law, she saw that the ward was called the ‘chest ward.’ She thought, for some reason, these pills would make her chest bigger because they were from the chest ward. Luckily, no long-term damage was done.”
2. Lubricant: “I had a young woman come in complaining about recurring UTIs that began after she started sleeping with a new partner. He had no STDs so we went through the standard questions to try and determine what could be causing her UTIs. We eventually found out that she had been lubricating with jelly. Not KY jelly, actual jelly. It was an effort to keep a straight face when she told us.” (Reddit user: raw thesaurus)
3. Work Comes First: “We had a very pregnant woman come into the ER needing stitches in her genital area. Apparently, she was a realtor and didn’t want her water to break while she was showing a house so she improvised. She didn’t use a pad or an adult diaper as a sensible person would, she used a glass cup in her pants! She sat down during her showing and sure enough, the cup broke and cut her pretty bad.” (Reddit user: lmao_turkey)
4. Second Opinion: “A woman who had early uterine cancer came in, but refused to have surgery. She was adamant about exploring alternative treatments like coffee enemas(?) and meditation. Somehow, she managed to get an audience with the Dalai Lama who actually told her to go back to western treatment.” (Reddit user: drleeisinsurgery)
5. Birth Control: “We had a girl come to the counter requesting a refill of her birth control. We pulled up her profile to find that she had received a 28-day fill less than two weeks ago. When we asked her what happened to the other one, she said she was out. Apparently, she and her boyfriend were both taking a pill each day because they thought that would be more effective at preventing pregnancy.” (Reddit user: StrutThatCorgiButt)
6. Charging Up: “A mother and her toddler came into emergency because the kid had cruddy green/bloody stuff discharging from his left nostril. There was also a lot of redness and swelling on the left side of his nose and cheek. The mom was convinced it was a sinus infection and was demanding antibiotics. Considering the nature of his condition, I was pretty positive he stuck something up his nose that didn’t belong there. The mom was insistent that her kid would never stick things up his nose. Once I finally convinced her to let me look, there was a big ole button battery lodged inside.” (Reddit user: TableWallFurnace)
7. Index Finger: “We had a middle-aged man come in with his index finger five times the size of the rest of his fingers. It was leaking pus and had necrotic tissue. Basically, it was one huge infected cancerous finger. However, he was a firm believer in not taking any sort of medication. He died a few weeks later, but not before telling us we were all idiots first.” (Reddit user: xxsheaxx)
8. Self-Misdiagnosis: “I had a patient come in with several pages he had printed off the Internet. He slammed them down in front of me and said, ‘This is what I have.’ He was convinced that his bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stool were Schistosomiasis. I asked him when he got back from Africa, and he said, ‘Africa? I’ve never been to Africa. Why the hell would I go there?’ I then told him that Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease one gets from swimming in the Nile River. He wasn’t happy about that.” (Reddit user: cazman123)
9. Drugs: “I was doing surgery on a 19-year-old who had already tested positive for meth and cocaine. However, he was grilling the anesthesiologist about every drug we were going to use in the surgery because he ‘doesn’t like putting chemicals in his body.’ Guess he’ll just stick with that organic, fair trade, non-GMO cocaine then.” (Reddit user: CalvinsStuffedTiger)
10. Pregnancy Problems: “Had a couple who stated that they couldn’t get pregnant. Apparently, they had been raised in some sort of religious fundamentalist cult and just did not understand how to actually conceive a child. He was just rubbing up against her leg and finishing on her thigh.” (Reddit user: my_third_account)
11. Can’t Quit: “I was doing a respiratory system examination on a guy who regularly comes in with complaints of breathlessness. However, he adamantly told me that he would not quit smoking because ‘God’ told him not to. When I asked why he said that there are people who rely on him for their daily lives and they wouldn’t survive if he stopped smoking. I asked him if he meant the cigarette factory or the health industry. He didn’t find it funny.” (Reddit user: SomeYorktown)
12. Read It Online: “I had one lady who walked into the office and I almost started coughing just from the smell of cigarettes coming from her. Her skin was also so dry and leathery that it basically crackled as she walked. She went on to talk about years of sun abuse but then tells me she refuses to wear sunscreen because she read online that it can cause cancer.” (Reddit user: Drubs)
13. Proper Usage: “I had a female patient come into the pharmacy complaining that her Nearing (a form of contraception you insert into the genital area) was too small. This threw me off because these rings only come in one size. It was then that I noticed she was wearing hers around her wrist like a bracelet. I had to counsel her on the proper usage and also suggested she get a pregnancy test.” (Reddit user: Extras)
14. Not Ready Yet: “Had this woman come into the emergency room and she was clearly going into labour, but she tried resisting. Her reason? She said that her pregnancy app told her she wasn’t ready yet. I could literally see the top of her daughter’s head, but what do I know?” (Reddit user: Kalel_is_king)
15. Intervened: “My father was an oncologist and one of his patients was a fairly well-known religious leader (more of a cult actually). After a round of chemo, he threw up, which prompted one of the members of their congregation to say, ‘God has intervened and they had thrown up cancer.’ They cheered and my father tried to explain that that was nonsense, but they stopped treatment and died soon after.” (Reddit user: margaprlibre)
16. The Bacon Cure: “Despite what doctors had recommended, one diabetic patient decided that wrapping his foot in raw bacon would be a better alternative to get rid of bacteria. After losing four toes, he seemed to come to terms with the fact that he’d better take our advice.” (Reddit user: Cutting_The_Cats)
17. DIY Injections: “We had a male patient come in who was complaining about pain in his face, but said he didn’t do anything irregular. Turns out, he very much did something irregular. He apparently injected kitchen oil into his cheeks because he saw a plastic surgery show on television where they injected something that looked similar.” (Reddit user: AvalonAPV)
18. Inquiry: “I explained to a woman and her family that she would need a bone marrow transplant. I told them the donor could be either an unrelated match or a matched sibling. I also went on to say that we often collect stem cells from the blood of the donor, which prompted the woman’s sister to ask, ‘So can I donate my menstrual blood for the transplant?’ It was very hard not to break into laughter.” (Reddit user: StvYzerman)
19. Car Door Cancer: “I had this one patient who was adamant that her lung cancer wasn’t due to her excessive smoking but from hitting her chest on a car door. Her logic was that the tumour was at the same corresponding spot on her lung where she bumped her chest. She would not admit that smoking was the reason.” (Reddit user: skill)
20. Extra Protection: “We had a teenage male patient come into the clinic with his girlfriend because he was growing breasts with milk production. He had no idea how this could possibly be happening. Eventually, we found out that his girlfriend was giving him female hormonal birth control pills for ‘extra protection.’” (Reddit user: ppee15)
21. IQ: “Had this older woman bring in her 350 lb son, concerned about his recent sweats and shakes. He went on to tell me that he has an IQ of over 140 and that there wasn’t anything I could tell him that he didn’t already know. I told him I was diagnosing him with new-onset diabetes. He couldn’t tell me a single thing about the pathophysiology of diabetes. I asked him what IQ test he took, and he responded, ‘It was online a few years ago, like on Facebook.’” (Reddit user: reddysettygo)
22. Allergies: “An elderly man came in frustrated and looking for a cure for his dog allergies. He said that the inhaler he was prescribed by his GP wasn’t working and that he was still breathless after using it four times a day. We eventually found out that he was spraying his dog’s coat with the Ventolin inhaler.” (Reddit user: Fudball1)
23. What If?: “I had a man come in because he had been seeing a ton of blood in his stool recently. I was trying to get some history from the guy, but he just kept giving me short answers. Eventually, he said I was wasting his time because only God could help him. I asked him, ‘Well, what if God sent me?’ He then cooperated.” (Reddit user: Hypnotoad8616)
24. Half-Regular: “I was once speaking with a non-controlled diabetic patient about her sugar intake. She told me that she drinks 32 oz. of soda every day. I asked her if the soda she was drinking was regular or diet, and she responded, ‘It’s half-regular. I let the ice melt first so there isn’t as much sugar in it.’ I had to explain to her that that is not how it works.” (Reddit user: Friskypharmer)
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