People can be really dumb. Especially when it comes to the medical profession and thinking we know everything without a degree.
Take a look at these 29 AskReddit users’ stories of oblivious patients. No, our limbs do not grow back, and no, you should not continue to wear that contact lens you washed in toilet water. Enjoy.
1. One time use
A patient came in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to stress the fact that she only ever had one partner.
“And even if my boyfriend is sleeping with other people, it shouldn’t matter,” said the patient. “My boyfriend uses a condom every time and makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use.”
The ER nurse asked the patient what she meant when she said her boyfriend “washes it every time”. The patient explained that her boyfriend washed the same old condom with hot water and soap before he used it. Every time.
I had to kindly explain to a grown woman that condoms are a one-time use product. She had no clue.
2. Out of my way!
Got placed doing a rotation in the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in a rural area of Southern California. I was doing my rounds and saw a patient out of bed and walking around the floor following a knee replacement. She had a cane in her hand that she was carrying like as a solider would carry a rifle. I asked what she was doing and what she thought the cane was for. She replied she thought the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she’s now “handicapped” and it wasn’t to help her walk on her post op knee.
3. Not the intended user
A young couple came in, both upset and confused about the fact that the woman had become pregnant. They stressed the fact that they were on birth control, specifically they were on the pill.
However, before I could say anything, the boyfriend quietly took me aside and explained to me that he had been taking the pill instead of his girlfriend because “she had a weak stomach and couldn’t take pills…”
4. I don’t think that is how that works
I was living in China and taught English on the side to a student whose mother was a physician. This was in 2012 just prior to the London Olympics, the mother wanted to send her daughter to London with a school group to watch the Olympics but has reservations about it. I asked why, she said she was worried that her daughter would catch AIDS from using the public toilets. Yes, a doctor.
5. Did you ever use a mirror?
My friend is a student doctor and is on placement at a small town doctor’s office. She had a 70-ish year old woman come in with complaints of a small but painless growth that was visible at the back of her throat.
Turns out it took her 70 years to notice her uvula.
6. Dear God.
These weren’t patients of mine, but I once overheard the following conversation in the waiting room:
Man 1: My daughter is allergic to wheat.
Man 2: So she can’t eat bread or anything?
Man 1: We only give her white bread.
Man 2: Oh yeah, I guess bread only has wheat if it says it on there. Like whole wheat or whatever.
Man 1: Yeah, I guess.
Man 2: So can she eat pizza?
Man 1: Only cheese pizza.
7. SMH indeed
A mother came in with her son to discuss treating his acne. Son was about 15 years old and didn’t really care about the acne but mom did. After going over treatment options she asked if he just needed to “do it” to get rid of the acne. A grown woman with a child thought that by him having sex his acne would magically go away…shake my head.
8. Also not how that works
A lady had to have her foot amputated and was given waiver forms to sign pre-op. The patient is asked if she needs time to think about her decision. She’s surprisingly calm and nonchalant, she doesn’t seem to care much about what they do to her limb.
The doctor gets suspicious and probes a bit further, asking why she’s not more concerned. The patient says she understands that they have to operate, but that “it’s okay because the foot will grow back.”
The doctor had to explain to the woman that she is not, in fact, a salamander and that limbs do not grow back in humans.
9. I assure you doctor, its not
That the 30+ cups of coffee he was drinking every day could possibly be the cause of his chief complaints of anxiety and insomnia. He said he was not willing to give this up or try decaf.
10. Just nipples.
More than one patient has come into my vet’s office complaining about their dog’s chest.
One man thought his male dog’s nipples were giant blood-sucking ticks. He actually tried poking at them and lightly pulling on them, complaining that “they are impossible to remove…”
A woman also came in complaining that her dog had “huge tumors” growing on its chest. Nope. Again, just nipples.
11. At least he is somewhat smart
I’m a paramedic and recently transported a guy who self presented to the local hospital, who found he was having a heart attack (stemi) and needed him sent to a bigger hospital for treatment.
During my assessment I asked him how long he’d been having chest pain. On and off for twelve months, he tells me.
Any family history? (One of the biggest indicators). Oh, yes. Dad died of a heart attack. Brother died of a heart attack. Both of them first presentation, stone dead on the spot, no joke.
So… you have a 12 month history of intermittent chest pain, and a family history of your closest male relatives spontaneously chucking hearties and dying, and you’ve never got it investigated. Furthermore, the only reason you came to the hospital tonight is because your family badgered you into it.
I told him he needed a solid kick in the butt. To his credit, he agreed.
12. Are you sure?
My favorite patient story is particularly funny because I’m not actually a doctor. I have a PhD in Fine Arts, but apparently lots of people think that just because I have a DOCTORATE of Philosophy, it means they can ask me about their disgusting medical issues…
I can NOT prescribe you medication, and I will NOT look at your rash.
13. Conversations are important people
I’m not a doctor but I suppose this is related, my mother (before she had kids) grew up not even knowing that you could breastfeed a baby. She was never told anything about what breasts were for, sex and even about homosexuality.
Her parents never talked about any topic that was considered taboo, my mother learnt about that once she had her first baby subsequently at 16.
14. It counts as mine
I once had a meeting with a patient about their diet and nutritional intake. I ended up having to explain to this person that, no, Coca-cola is NOT in fact a vegetable. Just because it says “contains vegetable extracts” on the side of a can of Coke does not mean it can count as one of your “five veggies a day…”
15. Same as mine. Right?
As a veterinarian, I had a 10 minute conversation with an owner explaining which side was the dog’s left side.
16. Why would you do that?
Paramedic here, I have had to inform numerous people that pouring Gatorade into the mouth of unresponsive diabetics is not a good idea…
17. I hear hospital manis are the best
Not a doctor but I work at a hospital. We had someone come into A&E because they needed their nails redoing… They genuinely thought it was a good idea to go to accident and emergency to have their fake nails taken off and redone because they had gotten too long and become uncomfortable.
18. Injecting insulin
Patient was a newly diagnosed diabetic who needed to be taught how to inject insulin. So the diabetes educator did the good old routine of taking an orange, drawing up insulin, then injecting it into the orange. He then made the patient repeat this practice routine a few times.
The patient goes home, etc. He comes back in a week and his blood sugar is out of control. They ask him if he’s been taking his insulin and he goes “of course.” So they decide to ask him to demonstrate how he injects insulin. The patient goes “sure, I just need an orange.”
At this point I started face palming hard because I know where this one is heading. But of course they got him a orange and a vial of insulin with a syringe. So the guy draws up the insulin correctly, takes the syringe, injects it into the orange, and then says “and then I eat the orange.”
At this point I had to walk out because I nearly lost it right there…
19. Amish weight loss
My mother helps the Amish get dental care. One Amish woman complained that she needed new dentures. When asked why she thought so, she replied, “Well, I’ve lost weight, and you know that when you lose weight, you lose it in your gums first.”
Doctors and dentists: if you’re looking for a community to serve, the Amish can truly use your help. I could write a book about the things I’ve seen.
20. Not coming back
My best friend’s mom is a nurse at a hospital in an area with a lot of gang activity. More than once, she has had to explain to the family of her deceased patients that you can’t get a brain transplant after getting shot in the head. Or at all really.
21. Lied to and believed it
Things I’ve had to explain to parents:
Breast milk CAN cause cavities
Don’t put your kids to bed with a bottle with Coke in it. (They then switched to Diet Coke).. facepalm
Don’t wiggle out your permanent teeth just because the tooth fairy will give you money.
You can’t brush cavities away with toothpaste or any of these new Internet fads (oil pulling, honey, chocolate) once your cavity is deep enough it needs to be fixed by a dentist.
Fluoride isn’t poison any more than table salt is poison. Small quantities are good for you. Anyone who tells you otherwise has been lied to and believed it.
22. Maybe it made her feel better?
Not a doctor, but a good friend of mine is. He once told that he had to explain to one of his patients that regular bandaids do not cure anything at all, but just cover up a wound. The patient in question had tried to cure her recently diagnosed Type-II diabetes by sticking bandaids all over herself…
23. Well, crap.
My mother is a doctor. She once told me this story about a patient she had. The man is there for a normal check up. Typical of most patients, he has fairly high blood pressure. However, this man is also having bowel problems. So my mother asks, “What color and consistency is your feces when you need to use the bathroom?” The man has no idea what she’s talking about. My mom tries again: “Your poop. What color and/or consistency is it typically?” The man still has no clue what she’s saying (he understands a bit of english). She tries again. “Your doo doo.” Nothing. “Your fecal matter.” Nothing. “Your poo.” Nothing. “Not number one, but number two.” Nothing. Finally she asks, “It’s not liquid when it comes out, but its more solid, you know?” The man has an epiphany. “Ohh, you mean crap!” he says. “Yes, your crap.” So my highly educated, professional mother has to continue the rest of the checkup asking about his crap. “What color is your crap?” “Is it more wet?” “Does it hurt when you take a crap?”
This went on for a fair amount of time. My mom nearly burst out laughing by the end of it. Absolutely amazing what a minor language barrier can do …
24. Um. Gross.
I’m not an M.D. but I am an eye doctor. Recently, I had to tell a patient that no, you should not attempt to continue wearing a contact lens that was dropped in the toilet! Maybe that’s where your eye infection came from?
A 32 year old grown man asked me if the hot spells he was experiencing at night meant he was going through menopause.
26. Sounds legit
That taking that weird plant they bought from a “pharmacy” online isn’t 14.324 times better than chemo and doesn’t only attack cancer cells because it likes the acid environment in it.
27. Was there a reason?
Not a doctor, but a nursing student. I was checking the carseat and walking a postpartum mom out of the hospital. Mind you, this was her fifth child. Five. She had raised 4 other children to adolescence. But for this one, on the way outside, she took a blanket and tucked it around the baby’s head and face, nice and taut.
28. Yes, I’m pretty sure its a pattern. No other factors.
Not a doctor, but I agreed to pick up my good friend’s wife from her pregnancy sonogram. Driving home, the wife tells me she’s surprised it’s a girl because the last kid was a girl and “it’s supposed to go ‘boy-girl-boy-girl’, right?”
29. That sucks. A lot.
My mom is a nurse and told me about this guy with 17 kids (all girls) from 6 different women. He kept on having children because he really wanted a son- she had to explain that he was the determining factor for the baby’s sex.
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