15 Doctors Reveal The Dumbest Patients They’ve Encountered

We’re not sure how stupid you have to be to insist you know better than a doctor, but we’re betting you have to be pretty damn stupid.

I mean, yeah doctors are only human and can make mistakes, and you know your body better than anyone else, but like, you’re not smarter than a doctor.

They spend like, 80% of their lives in school and then the rest of their lives working on dumbasses like you, so maybe you should listen to their advice and not be like these guys.

1. drleeisinsurgery vs. coffee enemas.

A related story from my friend, a Gynecologic Oncologist.

Basically a woman had early uterine cancer, but refused surgery. She wanted to explore alternative treatments like coffee enemas (?) and meditation. She somehow managed to get an audience with the Dalai Lama who told her to go back to western treatment.

2. kd3072 praises Jesus!

This one happened to my ex father in law, and it’s funny, but it’s not. He was a surgeon (very gentle, soft spoken guy) and came out to tell them the biopsy results, to which they responded “Praise Jesus, it’s malignant.” (He had to explain that ‘malignant’ meant bad.)

3. tovarish22 meets a nurse.

When I was a resident, I had a patient, a woman in her early twenties, who presented with vague complaints of “terrible headaches” (that didn’t prevent her from playing on her phone or going out to smoke) and “terrible abdominal pain” (that didn’t prevent her from ordering pizza and fried chicken to her hospital room).

The first morning I met her (she was admitted to my service overnight), she informed me that she is a nurse, she is malnourished (weighed ~120kg) because “ya’lls food is awful here”, and she needs a banana bag because she needs nutrients from fruit.

I explained to her that a “banana bag” isn’t literally a bag made from bananas. It’s an IV fluid containing thiamine, folate, and magnesium that we usually only give drunks to correct/prevent encephalopathy.

“No, you’re wrong, I need a banana bag because I need fruits and shit, and ya’ll cant lie to me because I’m a nurse and I know better” was all she would say, no matter how many times it was explained to her that she had no clue what she was talking about.

On day two, her mother shows up, and we try talking with her. We explain that here’s nothing organically wrong with her (other than being lazy, obese, and argumentative) and that we planned to discharge her to home. Turns out her daughter isn’t a nurse. In fact, she recently failed out of a nursing assistant program because she showed up to class high.

So, yeah, she was a real winner in all aspects.

4. Saxxons37 has a stubborn mother.

Not a doctor, but a patient whose mother was like this. The Doctor had to speak to me on the side because of it:

My grandmother has Crohn’s disease. Very very badly. It skipped my mother and her brother. When I was 15, over the course of 6 months, I went from being 5’9 and 190 pounds to being 110. I was a skeleton, extremely anemic, and coughing up blood. My mother was CONVINCED it was something else. I forced her to bring me to a doctor and she spouted off all these possibilities. She then talked about what she yahooed. Not even googled. Yahoo. About genetics and such. And “crohns can’t skip generations”

Well the doc said “just in case. We’re gonna run some tests”

Long story short I have crohns in my throat and small intestine. So does my cousin. It just skipped a generation.

via shutterstock

5. CaptainTheGabe has to explain glaucoma.

Optician here

We had a patient who refused to let us use the tonometer, a machine for checking ocular internal pressure to diagnose glaucoma. He said that puff machine gives you glaucoma and we weren’t going to pull that on him.

He told us his father got an exam, and had glaucoma after using that machine. His uncle and brother also had no signs of glaucoma, and after getting the puff test, both people had been diagnosed with the disease.

Glaucoma doesn’t have any outward symptoms before you start going blind. This dipshit just told me he has a very strong familial disposition to glaucoma, and refused to be tested for it.

6. rawrthesaurus is in a bit of a jam.

Had a young woman with recurring UTIs that began after a recent partner and with no STDs; went through the standard questions trying to figure out what could be causing them and eventually found out she had been lubricating with jelly. Not KY jelly. The mixup had literally been a joke on House. It took me some effort to keep a straight face, but we eventually resolved the problem and she stopped getting UTIs.

via shutterstock

7. Macabalony encounters a professional.

I am a dental student. One patient in particular is pathological liar. During one visit, they claimed to have gone to medical school. Next visit was that they did dental Army. Last visit was that they had a PhD.

The patient will say things like “Hey doc do you need me to move my head mesial or distal?” No. I need you to move your head right. “Hey doc, are these cavities being cause by the anaerobic pathology microbes?” No. They are cause by you eating snacks all day and not brushing.

8. StrutThatCorgiButt finds a couple of winners.

Oh, I have two good ones that come to mind. Clinical pharmacist here btw with 1 story in the ER and 1 in the pharmacy.

1) ER physician told me this one: 16-year-old boy presented to the ER with an extremely swollen discolored penis. Apparently he has been using his mom’s insulin needles to draw blood out of his arm and inject it into his own penis. He thought that adding blood would help increase his size. His penis was terribly infected and he was hospitalized for a week or so…

2) One day in the pharmacy, a girl comes to the counter requesting a refill for her birth control. We pulled up her profile and realized we couldn’t refill it because she just got a 28-day fill less than 2 weeks ago. When we asked what happened to the other one, she said she was out. Apparently, both her and her boyfriend were each taking a pill each and was adamant that was how they needed to prevent pregnancy.

9. MedicalPartisan meets a wannabe dad.

ER RN here, not a physician, but you may find this interesting.

Young adult male presents with multiple abscesses on various parts of his body. States he injected his boyfriends semen into himself trying to get pregnant. He tells one of the APCs he should have gone with his original plan and tried on his dog first. Psych clears him. He’s admitted to the floor and gets IV antibiotics.


10. CalliopeSL has seen some shit.

Oh wow, where do I start.

-We once had a patient come in with an odd constellation of symptoms, 23-24 y/o poorly educated female. The first couple of examinations no obvious cause turned up. The third time around she finally confessed that she’d been taking her mother-in-law’s anti tuberculosis therapy medication.

The reason for this was that her husband often nagged her that her breasts weren’t big enough. She’d accompanied her MIL to the government hospital a few times and seen that the ward was called the Chest ward. She associated ‘chest’ with ‘breasts’ and thought that the pills would make her breasts bigger, because they were from the chest ward. Luckily, no long term damage to her from the pills.

-A family acquaintance who always Google docs himself, and always cross questions me about his medicines at family gatherings. He diagnosed himself with hypothyroidism and started taking L-Thyroxine for it, without consulting any doctors. His aim is to bring his serum TSH exactly in the middle of the normal range. Let me clarify: his tsh is normal, but above the mathematical midpoint in the normal range. Smh.

-An uncle who regularly uses metronidazole for colds and coughs, and expectorants and cough suppressants interchangeably for whatever cough he has. His logic is that all antibiotics are antibiotics and should work the same, and that applies to cough syrups too.

-A patient’s mother who finally gave in and brought their 22 year old severely repressed schizophrenic son in. The poor kid had been deteriorating for a long while and the mother had been forcing him to ‘eat well and pray regularly’ because that ‘should fix everything’. The boy was now too strong for her to control and had sort of devolved into a religious fanatic but severely unstable. He’d often jump off the balcony and chase girls passing on the street because women ‘wearing jeans’ was not part of Indian culture. That was one of the saddest cases I’ve ever been on.

11. jdubs333 gets a lesson in paleo.

80+ y.o. patient who was declining with multiple diagnoses and about 3 decubitus ulcers. Daughter was adamant that her father be kept on his strict “paleo” diet because that would “supercharge” his healing. She had a stack of diet books. He simply wasn’t getting enough nutrition to heal the ulcers. He didn’t like the diet at all btw. At some point you kind of have to stop being polite and just tell patients/ family members bluntly that you don’t have time for this shit and what you recommend and they can do what they want and just document everything. It happens a lot but she sticks out.

12. TableWallFurnace finds a surprise!

I’ve got two stories that stick out in my mind. The first is the mother of a toddler who came into Emerg. The kid had cruddy green/bloody stuff coming out of his left nostril, and a lot of redness and swelling of only the left side of his nose and the adjacent cheek. Mom was sure he caught a sinus infection and just wanted some antibiotics

Now I know some kids like shoving whatever will fit into their body orifices, and that this was more than likely given the one-sided nature of his condition. But Mom was insistent that he NEVER puts things in his nose.

It took some convincing, but I finally got her to let me take a look. Gave a squirt of midazolam in the good nostril to settle him, then dug with some tweezers through the crud until I pulled out a big ole button battery. It would’ve been burning his nose for a couple days. Hopefully he healed up well.

(Side note- if a kid swallows a button battery, it can do a similar thing to their esophagus. This is an emergency and needs to be dealt with ASAP)

via shutterstock

13. sosanostra can clearly see the problem here.

I work for an optometrist and it was the month before school started and a woman brought in her son to have his eyes checked for the first time. Seems like a pretty reasonable thing for any parent, even if he was a little older than usual for a first eye exam. Better late than never I guess. The mom was well spoken and appeared fairly intelligent. Everything went as normal, the doctor examined the boy and ended up prescribing glasses. When the doctor was explaining to the mom that her son had to wear his glasses all the time since he’s nearsighted and basically can’t see clearly past 5′ in front of him. And will definitely need glasses for school. For some reason this caused a switch to flip in the mom and she spazzed out on the doctor, saying that her son doesn’t need glasses and that the doctor is only saying that he does because he wants to sell glasses. She says that she only brought her son in because there was some form for school that needed to be filled out and that doctors are all a con artists trying to push unnecessary medications and interventions. The doctor tried to calm her down and explain that he’s only trying to help them but that she was free to get a second opinion and gave her a copy of the kids prescription and sent them on their way. About four months later the lady is back asking for another copy of her son’s prescription. Apparently the first semester midterm results were in, and her son failed them all, because he couldn’t see the board in his classes and needs glasses!

14. cazman123 gets sassy.

My dad is an Emergency Nurse. He experiences the same thing doctors in the ER do, maybe more so because he’s the one in the rooms more often. Anyway here’s a good story from him:

I had a patient come in with several pages he printed off the internet. He kinda slammed them down and said, “This is what I have.”

He had bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and fever among other things. He insisted he had Schistosomiasis. He was being a real jerk about it like we’re wasting time since he already knew what he had.

So, I asked when did he get back from Africa. And he said, “Africa? I’ve never been to Africa. What the hell would I be doing in Africa?”

I proceeded to tell him that Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease one gets while swimming in the Nile River or other rivers in developing countries like in Southeast Asia.

He got pissed off at me because he thought I was being a smart ass. He got seen and diagnosed with gastroenteritis (the stomach flu). The bloody stool? He had hemorrhoids.

15. istoppedwrithing has encountered a lot of morons.

Oh boy it’s my time to shine!

1.A guy brings his wife to the ER, Her leg has a 7cmx7cm wound (diabetic ulcer) with greenish yellow pus and what looked like a few maggots. Now I took one look at her and referred her to the Surgery department for admission. But the hubby is adamant on his wife’s kidney disease.

“But doc, it’s just a wound, you gotta fix her kidney first doc, I read online that diabetes can cause kidney failure, and you gotta do something for that.”

I spent an hour convincing him that his wife would probably die before the kidney damage sat in by sepsis from the clearly infected wound.

2.During my pediatric internship period, one day I was in charge of general ward. Basic things, look after the kids, solve small complaints (Cough, breathlessness etc etc), evaluate new admissions. Now where I work, Interns are supposed to draw blood from children for tests. So I went about my job and theres one little tyke who’s a bit too active and jumps around when he sees the needle.

The mother gives me a vile look and says, “you lot are just puncturing my child for your education.”

At which point the kid just screams even harder. Yes, I’m studying a blood draw at 2 in the morning by waking up a kid. That’s what she thought.

took a fair amount of convincing too.

3.I took care of a child that got measles. The mother and father was strongly anti-vax but was yelling at me “how can modern medicine not have a treatment for measles”. At which point I told her there was a preventive method but you didn’t use it. She asked me what it was to which I replied vaccinate your child.

She said, “You’re just one of them pharma lobbyists, aren’t you?”

Yes. I am a pharma lobbyist who wants to kill children.

4.A lady comes screaming into the ER, Now she’s all dressed up, so are her 2 grown daughters. All of them screaming hysterically that their mother is going to die. I go by them and nearly get tackled by the SIL, husband of one of the daughters.

“Save her, she’s having an embolism”

Shaken, I examine the lady, asked her where she was coming from (a wedding, that explained the dress), She apparently had a bit too much of potatoes. A shot of pantoprazole later, her embolism is gone. She had a bad case of fart embolisms.


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