r/AskReddit 10d ago

Reddit doctors, tell us about a patient you've encountered who had such little common sense that you were surprised they'd survived this long. What is your experience, if any?



6.8k comments sorted by


u/rnzombie 9d ago

Patient insisted they had followed their instructions not to eat before surgery because they only had an Egg McMuffin on the way to the hospital but didn’t get one with sausage so it was okay. The surgeon and anesthesiologist did not think it was okay.


u/suddenlywolvez 9d ago

I worked front desk at a general surgery practice for a few years. The amount of people who were non-compliant with both not eating before surgery and not doing their colonoscopy prep was astounding. The best was the little old lady who showed up to her procedure high on cocaine.


u/Rickk38 9d ago

When I went in for a colonoscopy the doctor was backed up (lol) with another patient so the nurse and I shot the shit. She regaled me with tales of what patients had eaten beforehand. McDonald's seemed to be the popular choice.

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u/paginglindsey 10d ago

Dialysis patient on fluid restriction comes in with severe volume overload. When asked how much water he drinks, he insists he’s only drinking 8 ounces a day. The nurse pressed him a little more and he admitted to drinking a gallon of milk a day (exceeding his 64 ounces of fluids a day). He didn’t realize milk counted as fluid


u/ksick318 9d ago

I was a dialysis nurse for 8 years and was always amazed by patients that came for treatment 3 days a week for 4 hours and had no idea why they were there. “It’s good for my kidneys”…sir, your kidneys don’t work and that’s why you’re here. Absolute shock on their faces.

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u/8557019 10d ago

As does ice, soup, etc. Also I bet his phosphorus was sky high too. That's a fuck ton of milk.

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u/Emotional_Resolve764 10d ago

Ooooo I got a similar one. Didn't realize eating a whole ass watermelon would be counted as fluid either. Said he only drank a cup of water a day.

Also had no clue about potassium restriction and was eating every single potassium rich fruit you could think of.

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u/gutter153 10d ago

Patient came in to have their denture repaired. I asked to see it, they said they didn’t have it? Where is it? They said “no one told me to bring it in”. Uhh do you also not bring your car to the mechanic?


u/YikesTheCat 10d ago

Used to work in computer store; all the time people walk in with a vague incoherent story without details like "sometimes it will crash", "do you get an error?", "dunno". You ask to see their computer. Didn't bring it. "Thought you may have an idea or something".

Based on that I'd say, yes, tons of people don't bring their car to the mechanic.

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

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u/phasedweasel 9d ago

Because it doesn't need biological or chemical knowledge, or any logic.

It's a basic physical question around how objects work, which is about the lowest level of functioning of the human brain. Being able to breathe is only one level lower in our CNS.

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u/syncopation_fracture 10d ago

My patient who crawled under his truck and “leg pressed” his engine back into place two weeks after his total hip arthroplasty. Came into clinic complaining of pain…


u/palenerd 10d ago

But did the car run?


u/syncopation_fracture 10d ago

You know I didn’t ask 😂

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u/NoNudeLips 10d ago

Medical social worker here. I had a patient who discovered a full prescription that someone dropped in the Walmart parking lot. As he enjoyed taking drugs, he swallowed an entire bottle of blood pressure medication and wound up passing out in the middle of crossing the street and almost got crushed to death. I talked to him about how maybe that wasn't the brightest idea, he said he just wondered what they would do and I could tell that he'd do it again. He probably went right back to the Walmart hoping to score again.


u/Exist50 10d ago

I'm surprised a bottle full of blood pressure medication didn't kill him...

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u/dansdata 10d ago edited 9d ago

I only learned recently that medication must never be left unguarded in a hospital.

Not just the fun stuff; all medication.

Because some people, even people with no diagnosed mental issues, just take any pill they see.


u/bonfire_bug 9d ago

I had a headache and took two ibuprofen to relieve it in front of my ex and he said “what’s that can I have some” I explained what I was taking and he still was adamant that he wanted them, for no other reason than I was taking them. I gave him one to shut him up and he got upset I didn’t give him the amount I took. He did not have a headache. I still have no idea wtf he was thinking.


u/Exist50 9d ago

Bruh, did he not know what ibuprofen? That's like the most common medicine there is.


u/bonfire_bug 9d ago

Oh he knows what ibuprofen is. For some reason he had a need/desire/idfk what to have some just because I was taking them. I can’t figure out the thought process

Edit: fixed my word salad


u/Flat-Mars 9d ago

Honestly, that’s kind of concerning if he thinks that way

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u/SteakandTrach 10d ago

Guy comes into ER with abdominal pain. While working him up, we are getting some history.

-just released from prison a few days ago.

-Living in moms house with mold growing openly on walls and ceiling.

-Walking through kitchen, spotted some amber liquid in a plastic cup on top of the fridge. Tossed it back. Swallowed it. It was pine sol.

-CT comes back, has intussuseption of small intestine.

-While waiting for surgery consult, i’m looking at his foot. Small amount of blood on sock. Hole noted in sock, huh. Remove sock, find GSW. “Oh, yeah, I was walking around twirling a gun and shot myself in the foot”. Nonchalant-like.


u/Exist50 10d ago

-CT comes back, has intussuseption of small intestine.

That from the pine sol, or just another layer to the story?


u/SteakandTrach 10d ago

We were never sure!

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u/Ok_Cauliflower_3007 10d ago

He almost certainly wasn’t allowed to own a gun if he just got out of prison, which would explain why he didn’t mention it,

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u/angry_nightshade 10d ago

When I was doing chemo there was a woman my age (late 20s/early 30s) with the same type of cancer on the same schedule as me. I saw her every two weeks.

She never did chemo. She would rock up, they would start an IV and she would livestream herself on the saline flushes. When they tried to give her the infusions, she would start a fight with the nurses saying that chemo was literal poison, and they were trying to kill her.

Somehow, she persuaded her oncologist that she would accept the chemo the next time and they kept rebooking her. This went on for about eight weeks.

Eventually, she persuaded them to give her a central line. A few months later, I found her socials randomly and discovered that she had given herself an embolism by injecting chewable vitamin C tablets through it (apparently IV vitamin C is expensive and not covered by insurance 🤷‍♀️). The whole thing makes me sad as she had a young daughter and clearly wasn't well mentally. Remarkably, she is still alive, albeit with breast cancer masses throughout her lungs which she attributes to the chemo fumes from her time in the clinic.


u/loritree 9d ago

I just found out I have breast cancer and I’m terrified


u/FirmCoach5059 9d ago

I am sitting in the oncologist office right now. I got my BC diagnosis last April, had chemo, surgeries, radiation and now I am all good!

 You got this! It is a marathon, not a sprint. You will feel more in control as the treatments start and cancer nurses are amazing. 

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

That is just unbelievably sad.

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

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u/DarkBladeMadriker 10d ago

I knew a guy that drank 8 redbulls back to back when they first came out. He really didn't understand what an "energy drink" was supposed to be. Ended up having chest pain and tunnel vision and went to the ER. Docs apparently treated it like alcohol poisoning and told him he very well could have died if he hadn't come in.


u/Danivelle 10d ago

Now I'm wondering if you treated my oldest son....had a hospital stay for the same and got a lecture about I don 't care "how big/old you are! No more energy drinks!" 

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u/naranghim 10d ago

Worked in a physical rehab hospital and would witness this conversation between the doctor and a newly admitted patient:

"Do you know what caused your stroke?"

"Well, the hospital told me it was because I have high blood pressure, but I don't anymore. The high blood pressure medication cured it and so I stopped taking it."

"Didn't your primary care tell you that you had to keep taking your medication?!"

"Yeah, but you know how doctors are. They get kickbacks from the drug companies for keeping us on shit we don't need."

"Got news for you. High blood pressure caused your stroke. You're lucky you didn't die. You are now back on your medication and if you go off it again, you will die. Here's the report of your blood pressure when you were admitted to the hospital."

"Damn that is high. It was never that high before!"

"It got that high because you stopped taking your medication. That's one of the side effects of stopping it cold turkey. DON'T DO IT AGAIN!"

Some would get the message. A couple would say they were never going off their meds again because "My spouse will kill me." A few would come back even more debilitated from another stroke because they did it again. Others, we'd hear they had another stroke and died.


u/savageexplosive 10d ago

My grandma is like this, unfortunately. Once she feels better, she decides it’s permanent and goes off her meds. Not only that, but she sometimes replaces her meds with some “traditional medicine” like, I don’t know, steamed beetroot. Not only is it not helpful, but sometimes makes things worse, and back to her meds she goes, solemnly promising again to follow the doctors’ orders.


u/JHRChrist 10d ago

I get that meds can have side effects, can be expensive, and dealing with doctors and pharmacies can be stressful for elderly folks who may get confused or not be confident drivers, etc. but come on guys you made it this far, just take the meds!! Especially when family offers to help!! I have grandparents like this too so I get it

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u/arennesree 10d ago

Unfortunately this is what led to my grandma passing at the age of 69. Her husband found her on the closet floor, she was disoriented and in pain so he called an ambulance, she was rushed to the hospital and they tried surgery to save her but after a couple of days of observation while on life support it was clear she was gone. But while she was in the hospital the doctors asked her husband to grab any medications she was taking and that’s when they realized that her blood pressure meds hadn’t been filled in about a year.

He said that she had complained about not liking her doctor and she was supposed to find a new one but kept putting it off and putting off and it eventually caught up to her. This was 3 weeks after my wedding about 4 years ago and it still doesn’t feel real. Her husband said one minute they were laughing and having a good time and the next she was just gone.

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u/DarkBladeMadriker 10d ago edited 9d ago

Apparently, this is a real problem with antidepressants and anti-psychotics. People take them, feel normal, then say, "Oh, all better now." And just stop taking it. Which often makes the problem worse since you are supposed to wean yourself off a lot of those medications.

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u/zimmer199 10d ago

I had a lady with heart failure who was in the hospital almost monthly with heart failure exacerbations. We told her time and again to limit salt and water intake. And she’d go home and drink pickle juice.


u/squirrellytoday 10d ago edited 9d ago

Patients like this infuriate me. My husband had hypertropic obstructive cardiomyopathy and lived with functional heart failure for almost 10 years. He was a unicorn in that he did everything he was told. Doctors told him to adjust meds, done. Change diet, done. Accurately report any issues. Everything. He died last year from complications of his condition. He was 54. (Turns out he had a rare gene causing the rapid progression)

And then people like pickle juice lady exist.

Edit: thank you for the sympathy. It's really shit without him. He deserved so much more than what he got.


u/Palsable_Celery 9d ago

"He deserved so much more than what he got". 

He had you and for him I bet that was more than enough. 


u/squirrellytoday 9d ago

Thank you. I miss him so much.


u/DeedeeLuu 9d ago

I love this comment and you are very kind for saying it. We definitely need more of this in the world ❤️

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u/iReadECGs 9d ago

I had a patient who ate nothing but hot dogs all day and he also salted them. Literally. One hot dog for breakfast, two for lunch, three for dinner. He only had mild diastolic dysfunction, but his super high sodium diet kept landing him in the hospital.

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u/Doctoria_96 10d ago

Had a patient with recurrent infected leg ulcers. Reason: rather than clean and dress them as instructed, she was letting her dog "lick them clean".


u/RobedUnicorn 9d ago

I legit include not letting your dog lick your wounds in my discharge instructions to some patients.

One guy just kept wondering why they kept serially removing his leg starting with a toe. He was very offended when I said “maybe it’s because you keep letting your dog lick your surgical wounds that were only needed because of an infection…”


u/Jenbola 10d ago

And thats enough internet for me today

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u/Azby504 10d ago

As a paramedic I received a call for difficulty breathing. Arrived on scene to find 52 year old female sitting in her living room. She told me she could only breath through one side of her nose when she woke up this morning. It is now 6:00am. She could breathe out of both sides just fine when she went to bed last night. She demanded to be transported to the ER to find out why this one side is not working right.


u/shewholaughslasts 10d ago

Wait so some people breathe out of both nostrils? Like.... at the same time? That's just crazy.


u/One-Permission-1811 10d ago

You should ask your doctor about a deviated septum. I found out I had one the exact same way. I made a comment just like yours and asked my doctor the next week. Got a septoplasty and stopped snoring, my nose stopped hurting, and I could breathe through my nose and actually feel like I was taking a full breath.

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u/PSUCivic 10d ago

I'm not a Dr. but I will never forget a conversation with my dad. We were talking about steak and how I like mine medium rare. This man, in his mid 50s, says "I would prefer medium rare but I order medium because my Dr. said to not eat red meat". I then had to explain that "red meat" does not refer to the color of the steak 🤦‍♂️😂

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u/chowchowracer 10d ago

Me, a dentist, to my patient: “Please, do not superglue your tooth back in your mouth again.”


u/midwestmamasboy 10d ago

Lmao classic. I also love the post/core/crown combo where they come in with pain and say they pull the assembly out when it hurts and put it back in when it stops but it didn’t stop this time

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u/St-Ann 10d ago

My boss did that! Superglued a cracked tooth back in place. I nearly died.

Here's one for you: a family member decided that if bleach got tea stains out of her teacups, then it ought to work on the stains on her teeth. So she poured some over her toothbrush and cleaned her teeth with it. Then wondered why her toothcap fell out a few days later. I told her she was lucky she didn't kill herself!

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u/docvadermd 10d ago

Patient: So how does the baby eat the food in my tummy if it doesn't have teeth?

Me: ::blinks:: What do you mean?

Patient: Well, I'm pregnant, so I have a baby in my tummy. So when the food gets to my tummy, how does it not hurt it? Is the baby going to choke?

Not kidding.


u/GlitterChickens 10d ago

This reminds me somewhat of when I had my hysterectomy. They were leaving the ovaries and I did preface my question with “this may be stupid but”…. Do they just float around in there loose? lol. She said it wasn’t a stupid question (liar!) and I wasn’t the first person to ask that since all the diagrams we ever see are just the uterus and ovaries and don’t show the other connective tissues.


u/Global_Telephone_751 10d ago

I’m about to have a hysterectomy and I’m asking this same question lmao. Im also asking where the egg is gonna go, cuz I don’t get it. Im keeping my ovaries, so I’ll still have a cycle … but I won’t have fallopian tubes or a uterus … so where is the egg gonna go?!?!? Does my body absorb it? Listen, I’m a reasonably intelligent person (I think), but anatomy is not my strong suit lmao


u/ToeNo88 10d ago

I had this surgery about a year ago. I asked the same question about when you release an egg. It literally just floats around in your abdomen and will be absorbed. I still can't believe it.


u/Global_Telephone_751 10d ago

Wild! Okay, well, one question crossed off the list. Thank you lol.

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

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u/mrsmunsonbarnes 10d ago edited 10d ago

I have multiple friends and relatives who’ve worked in the ER and oh man does every single one have about a million stories related to things that shouldn’t be in butts being in butts.

Edit: wrong word

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u/DSM2TNS 10d ago

Where do start....

Diabetic patient who said their doctor told them that their blood sugar needs to be around 250 (like hell the doctor said that).

Guy with IBS constipation with bouts of explosive diarrhea did not understand why eating fast food for every meal was bad... There's lettuce and tomato on burgers and potatoes are a vegetable. Would not change his diet and then got mad his IBS wasn't getting better.

Lotion bathing... Not actually showering or bathing but "bathing" by putting on lotion every day. Also didn't understand why we didn't recommend he stand in a stagnant lake in the middle of summer to soak his leg wounds. Same patient also refused to wash his hands. He also got blacklisted from all 4 hospital systems in the area for indecent exposure and verbally threatening staff. He could be seen in the ED but that's it.

Another patient said his doctor told him he couldn't shower or bathe.... Said doctor came in and told him to shower and/or take a bath.... Patient still wasn't sure.

Milk made lactose intolerance symptoms better for a bit.....

Patent was sure their child was having an allergic reaction to Benadryl when, in fact, the child was crying because they were woken up by said parent at 3 am who wanted to watch TV at a loud volume and got super cranky (as I would). I gave the Benadryl at midnight.

Last one had osteomyelitis (bone infection) in a toe and needed it amputated. Went for a second opinion (which is OK) and got told the same thing but then wanted to know what his naturopath thought. Decided to use a "healing mat" (not sure what they're called) and ended up needing emergency surgery and lost his entire leg below the knee.


u/AlternateUsername12 10d ago

I have actually had a doc tell a patient to keep their blood sugar around 250. It was better than the 350-400 they were usually sitting at.

Dude was a double amputee and one of his below knees just got revised to an above knee because…350.

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u/Cananbaum 10d ago

Not a doctor, but worked at a urological clinic for 3ish months.

One story I heard was a guy (late 30s early 40s) that came in on referral because his scrotum had an inflamed rash, mostly on the back of the scrotum and on his perineum.

He’s tried creams and oral medications and even trying different soaps and detergents, and nothing helps.

Doctor exams him and is unsure but notices a bit of a smell but being around butts and balls all day doesn’t think anything of it (nose blind), and asks the guy to go ahead and get off the table and get dressed and noticed that this guy had left a skid mark on the butcher paper that’s laid over the bench.

Turns out, this guy wasn’t washing his ass nor really wiping, and it was causing the feces to basically be worked forward as he walked leading to what was essentially chronic diaper rash.


u/crimsonpowder 10d ago

reminds me of that reddit thread where the husband never wipes because touching your ass is gay


u/DarkBladeMadriker 10d ago

Weirdly, there are apparently a lot of people that do that. I was just telling a coworker about that like a month ago.


u/TheLoneliestGhost 10d ago

I only found out how common this was from Reddit. I just got out of a relationship so I’m going to start dating again in the not too distant future and now I’m freaking TERRIFIED to come across someone with a kucky butt. 😅

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u/Apart-Landscape1012 10d ago

How in the fuck are people just walking around never washing their asses? 


u/Cananbaum 10d ago

I replied to another comment, but lack of knowledge and teaching or even cultural perception can play a huge role.

My brother was in the military and regaled me with stories he was told by his higher ups about having to send people to classes or training just to teach them basic hygiene because they were never taught how to care for themselves. One example was a single father at the urologist clinic I worked at who was in hot water because his little girl kept coming in with UTIs, but it ultimately was discovered that because he never knew girls HAD to wipe front to back, and only a single pass. Once that knowledge was bestowed upon them they never came back.

Then you have cultural expectations. My partner is from the Deep South and explained that it was super common for men to be taught that washing their butts and/or below the waist was an effeminate thing to do, or would turn them gay. So many men just never really bathed that part of their bodies and learned to live with it.


u/Thac0isWhac0 10d ago

Yeah the first few days of USMC boot camp was 'shower by numbers' where the drill instructor would call out which body part was getting soap.

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u/SunsetPersephone 10d ago

All of this is really sad

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u/Tbagzyamum69420xX 10d ago

That might be the wildest one I've read so far

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u/Tthelaundryman 10d ago

I’m friends with a nutritionist at a hospital. One of the stories that stuck with me was a mid 30s construction worker just collapsed one day. His coworkers called an ambulance and he rushed to the hospital right? Well they discover he’s nutrient deficient like in everything. So my friend is called in and she’s asking him about his diet…” well I don’t like eating breakfast, and I don’t like eating then going back to work so I don’t eat lunch and then I get home and the wife has to make dinner so I start drinking beer and by the time dinner is ready I don’t wanna eat. Just have some more beer and go to bed.” The dude was living off of nothing but beer. He couldn’t remember the last time he actually ate something


u/re_nonsequiturs 10d ago

And doing construction work?? Dude was recreating the Minnesota Starvation Experiment

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u/sleepyzane1 10d ago

but... wouldnt his stomach hurt? wouldnt he instinctively want to eat? this is so utterly bizarre. it's like he's not even an animal like the rest of us???


u/RichCorinthian 10d ago

Plenty of people who abuse alcohol don't eat much. Alcohol has plenty of calories, and if you're drinking nothing but beer, it's going to make you feel full. Tack on the gastritis, liver issues, potentially ketoacidosis...yeah.

Source: former very heavy drinker


u/thebongof1000truths 10d ago

Congrats on that 'former', friend.  Source: fellow former heavy drinker.


u/RichCorinthian 10d ago

Same to you! Wish I had quit sooner.

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u/ImperiousMage 10d ago

Alcoholism causes appetite suppression over time. It’s actually really common for die-hard alcoholics to die of vitamin K deficiency.

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u/Potter_Moron 10d ago

Apparently some people don't get hunger pains. They just know at certain times of the day they should eat, so they do. I say apparently bc this is what I've been told by a couple people I know, but I honestly have a hard time believing it bc it is such a foreign idea to me! I get a tummy ache if I'm like 1 hour late to a meal.

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u/Krapmeister 9d ago edited 9d ago

Father tried to remove son's cast with his angle grinder. The plastic surgeons were kept busy that day..

"I'll just wash this wound in the ocean. The salt water will heal it" (don't mind the bacteria)

The number of people who think that you are going give the tetanus vaccine directly into the wound.

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u/FluffyNats 10d ago

Not a doctor, I am an oncology nurse. I had a patient in her 50s come in with complaints of abdominal distention and her "bellybutton leaking". ER brought her wrapped in towels because she was so leaky. 

She was so distended that she looked pregnant. I placed a colostomy bag over her bellybutton and, I kid you not, anytime she had to get out of bed she would leak 6-700mL of fluid. 

I got to talking to her about it and she goes "Well I thought the distention was from premenopausal symptoms....or you know parasites. So I've been applying cocoa butter lotion on it but then it started to leak so I came to the hospital."

I stood there like.... you thought you might have had parasites and decided to lotion your skin and not go to the doctor for a year????? 

Long story made shorter, no parasites. Stage IV ovarian cancer, everywhere. 


u/rambleer 10d ago

Wait she was leaking from her belly button? Is that a thing?


u/leopard_eater 9d ago

End stage untreated ovarian cancer is horrific. Never leave non-specific lower abdominal aches and twinges accompanied by new episodes of nausea, bloating and extreme fatigue to chance if you still have ovaries. Ovarian cancer is typically comprised of the same tissues that line all the organs within your abdominal cavity so once it spreads from the ovary, it goes everywhere. Fast.


u/Exist50 9d ago

Which is why I don't like the post above about the girl getting period cramps for the first time (in college). Better safe than sorry with that kind of thing.

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u/Ancient_Wisdom_Yall 10d ago

Not a doctor, but knew a guy whose diet was so terrible he got scurvy. Didn't even think that was possible these days.


u/unparent 10d ago

I guy I worked with got scurvy twice in 2 years. He refused to eat fruits or vegetables, but ate 6-8 Fruit-by-the-Foot fruit roll up things a day. He said that counts as fruit, obviously not. Still won't eat fruits or veggies, but takes vitamins now.

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u/MissMarionMac 10d ago

My sister knew a guy in college who got scurvy. And this was at one of the really selective “it’s as close to Ivy League as you can get without being Ivy League” schools.

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u/IheartCap 10d ago

A severely autistic child at my old job in a children’s hospital was diagnosed with scurvy among a myriad of other malnutrition disorders. They would only eat fries and chicken nuggets iirc and have extreme meltdowns if any other foods were introduced.

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u/froglegs96 10d ago

Fun fact, guinea pigs can also get scurvy. cavys are the only animals other than humans that have a natural vitamin C deficiency that can result in scurvy if not fed a proper diet.

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u/smootfloops 10d ago

Not a doctor but I used to work at a health food store and people sure would treat me like a doctor! I had to say out loud, multiple times a day, “I’m not a doctor, please consult a doctor about this.” One time a woman wanted to treat her diabetes with just cinnamon. I could not convince her that I did not know anything about the health benefits of cinnamon nor the complexities of diabetes. One time a man came in severely limping due to literal open sores all over his legs, I’m pretty sure I was unable to correct the look of horror on my face before he saw, and I stammered out “sir can I help you?” Like I actually meant sir can I call you an ambulance and he said “nope just here for some aloe” bought the damn aloe and left. He looked like he had been in a motorcycle wreck while wearing shorts. Another practically held me hostage to ask me about the natural lubes and how he was looking for an alternative to coconut oil and repeatedly saying it “just has such good glide” while holding aggressive eye contact. (I’ll never forget these people for as long as I live)


u/Not_A_Wendigo 10d ago

Health food store customers can be nuts.

A lady said her kid’s doctor told her he was allergic to some foods, and asked if I agreed. I was the 18 year old weighing her broccoli at the store. I suggested she listen to her doctor and not feed the kid anything she was unsure of.

There was also the guy who insisted he “caught HIV from a toilet seat, but cured it with limes”. But that’s more of a mental health matter than stupidity.

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u/DarkBladeMadriker 10d ago

Lube guy was ABSOLUTELY using you for his fetish. Had a guy that would come into the Target I worked at, and he would catch the attention of one of the female employees and ask them super detailed and inappropriate things about condoms or lubes or lotions. He did it fairly frequently. We had to put a big picture of him up in the break room cause he was really good about sneaking in and finding a new victim.

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u/StoicAscent 10d ago

I'm an optometrist in the U.S. and have a couple of memorable ones.

I had an argument with one patient who insisted that there were great healing benefits to using urine eye drops. When asked about how she got these urine eye drops, she admitted to taking them directly from the toilet and putting them straight into her eyes. My pleas for her to consider the risk of developing bacterial keratitis fell on deaf ears. Still dreading the day that one returns to clinic with an infection.

And if I had a nickel for every time a patient came to me ~6 months after taking a severe blow to the eye and losing vision, only to find that they had a total retinal detachment that they thought they could just "walk off" instead of seeking care, I would have two nickels, which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice in the three years I've been practicing.


u/IllustratorSea8372 10d ago edited 9d ago

My ex is an ophthalmologist and it seemed like at least once a week he would have a detached retina case where after explaining the diagnosis and treatment, the patient would say, “yea, but right now is just not a convenient time for me to get surgery.”

Oh, right… but it is a convenient time to go blind… Got it.

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u/Exist50 10d ago

urine eye drops

Well, those are three words I never thought I'd see together.

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u/svrgnctzn 10d ago

“I got a 12 pack of tacos for dinner. After 5 or 6 tacos, my stomach started to hurt. By 9 I was feeling nauseated. When I finished an 12, the pain was so bad I thought I should get it checked out.”

37y/o man in the ER at 2300.


u/Insert_AlreadyTaken 10d ago

buddy was DETERMINED to finish that whole pack of tacos

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u/goffstock 10d ago edited 10d ago

I once bet a friend that he couldn't eat 12 tacos on a drunken night out in our mid 30s. He ate them and immediately turned green, started to sweat, and had to leave.

It was impressive and horrifying and I never want to see anything like that again in my life.

I hope that you took care of my friend rather than there being two people out there willing to eat a dozen tacos.

Edit - WTF. Why is this getting reported to Reddit Cares?

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u/Ok_Button1932 9d ago

Had a lady bring her screaming baby into the ED. She said the child wouldn’t stop crying for days ever since she had been sick. Child was screaming and absolutely inconsolable. Seemed to be guarding her left ear. Long story short we found out that the mother had been checking the baby’s temp in her ear using an oral thermometer because “I saw the nurses doing it”. She had successfully ruptured the baby’s tympanic membrane.


u/Cloverhart 9d ago

Holy shit that poor baby.

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u/SealedRoute 10d ago

I had a patient come to me in emotional distress. He was afraid because he’d found a box of dirty, used syringes on the street and used them to shoot up. He didn’t know what he had contracted.

I gave him reassurance, told him we would figure out what to do no matter what the test results were. And remarkably, he came back negative for everything. It was such a relief.

On the same visit when I gave him his results, I recommended that he get a tetanus shot. He looked me in the eye and refused “because vaccines are dangerous and kill people.”

It was hard to remain professional at that moment.


u/orngckn42 10d ago

I've had these patients. I usually just stare at them for a minute and see if they catch on. One time I actually said, "if you can shoot up with drugs, then you can get a vaccine."

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u/Not_A_Wendigo 10d ago

But he… but…. God damn.

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u/bagofboards 10d ago

I...just....goddamn.....the fuck?


u/squirrellytoday 10d ago


This is the reaction of most people who work in healthcare. I was a ward clerk for long enough that I'm convinced we are doomed as a species.

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u/Heroic-Forger 10d ago

My mom once had a patient who was an old lady who was rushed to the E.R. after ingesting bug spray. After they managed to get her to a stable condition and had her admitted to a ward a few days later Mom asked her why she did that.

Her response? "I accidentally swallowed a cockroach so I swallowed the bug spray to kill the cockroach."


u/Bkdavis38 10d ago

Very similar story!

Uncle is a Pediatrician, did his residency in hospital in St. Louis. Said they had a mom come in with a child who had eaten some ants. They assured her nothing was going to happen to him, extra protein and all that. As they are discharging the child, the mom mentioned to the nurse, half way out the door, the ants are probably dead anyways cause of all the bug spray she made him swallow before they left the house. Kid had to get stomach pumped and spend the night in the hospital for observation.


u/yandeer 10d ago

that is so horrifying... can't even imagine how traumatic for the kid too. but what i really can't comprehend is, why would a grown adult believe that bugs would survive in the stomach after being eaten??? literally "don't eat watermelon seeds or else a watermelon could grow inside your stomach!" logic


u/Exist50 10d ago

Well, there are parasites that will (quite happily) survive being swallowed. Obviously, a sensible person would know that ants aren't a tapeworm or whatever, but...

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u/jackiebee66 10d ago

How do these people procreate?


u/Generic-Name-173 10d ago

Instinct. Gods know it isn’t by thinking, just stimulus/response.

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u/Vrayea25 10d ago

I would have been humming "there once was a lady who swallowed a fly.." allllll day if I had a job like that Lol!!

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u/corncaked 10d ago

Dentist here. In dental school I had this patient about 18 years old or so, and she needed so many root canals and crowns. I was constantly chasing my tail because by the time I finished something, another diseased tooth issue cropped up. She didn’t brush or floss despite my begging.

Eventually she said “I want to be like my grandma, she takes her teeth out at night. That looks easy, I’m kinda lazy to floss my teeth. Can you just pull all my teeth out and slap some dentures in my mouth?”

The internal scream I scrumpt.


u/MrMilesDavis 10d ago

You'd think your breath smelling like literal bacterial shit would be enough to get someone to atleast brush occasionally

That kid does not sound well, mentally

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u/healthybowl 10d ago edited 10d ago

Had a patient come to the ER via an ambulance. Got checked in and she asked how long the wait was for her nonsensical issue, the nurse told her 30+min wait. This women called another ambulance to take her to the other hospital 20 min away that had a shorter wait time. I was blown away. Not only at the audacity but, also that the other ambulance agreed to take her. It became an office joke. Who’s driving to lunch? Take an ambulance?


u/Dropthetenors 10d ago

She paid for both rides? Right?

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u/katanakid13 10d ago

Not a doctor, medical assistant at an osteo/ortho joint practice. In Deep South. We got lots of stories.

My favorite is the Salt Ladies. One thought you were supposed to soak in smelling salts to relieve inflammation and pain, so she'd crack one open in a bucket and soak her ankle. The other didn't realize you had to dissolve Epsom salt in water to use them and just rubbed them on her skin like she was cleansing her chakras.


u/irmiez 10d ago

What happens when you soak your foot in smelling salts?


u/HunnyBear66 10d ago

It crystal ammonia. It would stink. It can be used to clean.

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u/orngckn42 10d ago edited 9d ago

Nurse here, had a patient brought in by ambulance (this is just a recent one fresh on my memory) for bilateral leg pain. Got him on the gurney (had to be pulled because he couldn't walk) and took off his pants to find both of his lower legs with open, oozing, necrotic disgusting wounds. As soon as he was on the gurney he yells at me that he wants to walk to the restroom. I reminded him that he can't walk, he screamed at me that he'll walk if he wants to. I asked him to give me a second to find a bedside commode, but also said if he can't hold it, to just roll on his side because he had a chuck under him. He yelled at me, "YOU STUPID BTCH I GOTTA SHT" and promptly stood up on those open wounds and pooped all over the floor. He did this a lot. The feces got everywhere, in all his wounds, all over the floor. Then he proceeded to take the commode I had gotten, throw it down, sit on it, and defecate again while simultaneously removing the tub from underneath. This whole time he's cussing at me and calling me names. Then he insisted he wanted to leave AMA (against medical advice). I told him, "I tell you what, if you can make it to the lobby I'll pay for the Uber myself." I ended up not only having to clean the floors, but also him. He was a special guy.

Edit: I can't believe my shit story is the one that gets me over 1k upvotes. Guess being covered in feces was good for something.


u/scarystardust 10d ago

I call my cat a special guy but at least he has the decency to shit in a box.

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u/Musashi1596 9d ago

Whatever you get paid, it isn’t enough

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u/oneislandgirl 10d ago

The ones who have treatable medical conditions which could kill them but they refuse treatment. Thinking in particular of one whose BP was so high I was afraid they would stroke out in the office and another one who had a potentially curable cancer and refused treatment. Both were younger than 50.


u/mishyfishy135 10d ago

This comment and this one make me think of a post I saw on r/herbalism a while back. The person had something like a severe liver infection that was 100% going to kill them if they did not seek medical attention. They said that they had gone to the doctor but the doctor had said that their liver was severely damaged and recommended that they get surgery and get on antibiotics immediately. They absolutely refused to “let a doctor cut them open and poison them with drugs.” They listed off their symptoms and it was literally “go to the hospital immediately” level bad, and they got furious at anyone who suggested that. They were determined to fix it with herbs and prove the doctor wrong. The comments were half “go to the hospital” and “goldenrod and milk thistle!” I’m a strong advocate for treating things naturally before turning to medication, but we have modern medicine for a reason.

I tried to look for the post to get my facts right (couldn’t find the exact one) and found a lot of posts about how someone’s doctor told them they had some kind of liver issue that needed treatment and they were determined to prove them wrong. I am sad now.

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u/paper-trail 9d ago

Optometrist. Patient asked me if he damaged his eyes staring at the eclipse. I asked him if he stared into the sun without eclipse glasses. He said no, he watched it on tv to be safe. Yeah, man, you’re ok.

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u/schmeklezzz 10d ago

Grown up lady shows up to the er with the chief complaint of fainting. She says she faints every day, in the evening and is unconscious for 6-8 hours every night. Then in the morning she's fine again. And no, she's not joking. 🫣


u/conventionalghost 9d ago

god i wish i could talk to this lady, i have so many questions. did she feel this was a new complaint or did she think it'd been happening her whole life? was she "fainting" in her bed or on the couch or was she actually tiring herself out so bad she was falling asleep in unusual places? did she think people were usually aware/conscious when they were asleep and her lack of awareness during sleep was the cause of the concern?

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u/DeltaWingCrumpleZone 10d ago

Wait wait wait this woman called sleeping “fainting”? Was English her first language? I’m so confused

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

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u/meganthebro 10d ago

Oh my goodness you’ve met my grandmother😂

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u/perfectdrug659 10d ago

It's shocking the amount of older folks who just never seem to drink water. They'll have a sip here and there throughout the day but they don't actually, you know, drink any. And then dry swallow aspirin for their persistent headache.


u/Pharmacykilledmysoul 10d ago

We lose the thirst response as we age. Older people literally don’t feel thirsty. That’s one of the main reasons we always tell them to take their meds with a full glass of water.


u/wilderlowerwolves 10d ago

Some of them also restrict their fluid intake because of urinary incontinence.

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u/Famous-Comparison595 10d ago

My mother tried treating a diabetic who was convinced she was allergic to water, so she’d only drink coca cola. I’ll never forget that one…

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u/lambzzzzzzz 10d ago

A diabetic patient had heard that honey could be used on wounds to great benefit (true). He assumed that pancake syrup would also be beneficial for the wound healing process (false). Patient proceeded to treat his poorly-healing foot ulcers by diligently applying wet dressings smeared with pancake syrup twice daily

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u/Marmoset_Walking 10d ago

I took care of a guy who was a religious nut. To the point where I was questioning, is this schizophrenia-religious or just really really religious. Turned out to be the latter, surprisingly.

The 60 something year old guy had attempted to imitate Jesus’s 40 day fast.

I am not sure how far he had gotten, but by the time he got to the hospital he needed a feeding tube and could barely move his limbs from how weak he had gotten.

I was finally able to discharge him to a physical therapy rehab at the end of his hospitalization. As I left his room for the final time, I wished him luck at rehab.

He responded with “I don’t believe in luck, I only believe in the lords blessings.”

Me: … right.


u/Ok_Cauliflower_3007 10d ago

Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights!

Sir, Jesus was the son of God. You are not.


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u/Traumamama88 10d ago

Ed RN, not a doc, but if I had a dime for every time I educated a patient on the fact that women have three holes down there 👇. I’d have a lot of dimes.


u/[deleted] 10d ago


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u/LaughingByCampfire 10d ago

A farmer went into the dentist with some pain. His plaque build up made his teeth one monolithic block like Scooby Doo cartoon teeth - no gaps! As part of the procedure which included extraction, his teeth were cleaned. He returned the next day in a terrible rage, "fix my teeth, what did you do!?"

There was some confusion thinking the issue was that he wanted his teeth put back in - but no! He wanted his gaps filled back in. After some yelling and crying on his part, the dentist told him the plaque would build back up in a few years of not brushing.


u/JohnExcrement 10d ago

Dear God, I’m about to heave my guts out here!

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u/Schnugglebun 9d ago

16 year old kid with his dad waited overnight to be seen in the morning in the ED for ‘stomach pain when walking’. Me at the end of a 12 hour shift examining this very well looking kid…abdomen soft, no tenderness except directly in the umbilicus (navel) which is a bit red. ‘Odd’ I think, and go get a cotton bud and some lubricant jelly. Stick the lubed up cotton bud in navel- extricate hard skin STONES from the creases. Looking the dad straight in the eye I asked, ‘ Did nobody ever tell you to clean in there?’ Embarrassed dad unable to maintain further eye contact. Kid hops off bed and is amazed that he feels totally fine now!

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u/th3_t0m5t4 10d ago

Had a man in his 70s come to emergency with a severe headache. Which had gone away completely before he arrived. It had started after eating ice cream. My man had never had an ice cream headache before.


u/LaurieApple 9d ago

Having brain freeze for the first time as an adult must be pretty scary if you don’t know what’s going on

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u/DolphinRx 10d ago

Maybe not surprised he lived that long, but definitely lacking in common sense.

I was seeing a ~40-50 year old patient in a Pain Clinic I was working in at the time. I did a full review of systems, and he ends up saying that outside of pain, his main complaint was that he can’t sleep … because he pees over 20 times a day, at least 10 of which are overnight. Alarm bells go off. I’m immediately wondering about things like undiagnosed diabetes, but I had checked his recent labs and they were all fine, no other symptoms, etc. While I’m wondering wtf is going on, I ask about his caffeine intake and he says he’s drinking maybe 30-35 cups of tea per day. Mystery solved! The worst thing was he had started doing it not because he was thirsty, but because he kept hearing people saying that being hydrated is important. 🤷‍♀️

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u/dang_it_bobby93 10d ago

When I was in med school on my ER rotation the doc had me go in to get the history on a patient. I asked them what brings them into the ER and they exclaimed "AMBULANCE" I then asked why the ambulance brought them to the ER and they said " because I called them". 30 minutes later turns out he had diarrhea and didn't feel like looking for his car keys. 

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u/IDontLikePayingTaxes 10d ago

I’m a dentist. I had a patient today who has an upper denture and a lower partial denture. I had him remove both for the exam and he had a yeast infection underneath both of them because he never takes them out. He also kept going on about how he brushes and flosses all the time while I was scraping away plaque to see if he had any cavities.

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u/sars03092 9d ago

No, you cannot let your boyfriend put his penis in your stoma.

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u/musicalfeet 10d ago

I had a patient once who wanted to get surgery but didn’t want anesthesia. Cue my confusion (it was brain surgery), as I’m trying to consent him for the anesthesia part.

I admit I was very blunt when I literally asked “…so you want them to cut you open…awake?” Before clarifying that there’s no surgery without anesthesia.

I was also trying really hard not to laugh at that request.


u/oneislandgirl 10d ago

When I was a kid, I was so scared of the dentist that I insisted on NO anesthesia when he drilled some huge fillings. I have since changed my opinion on anesthesia.

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u/EveryTopSock 10d ago

A patient who was feeling lightheaded occasionally and decided this meant they were diabetic. The obvious thing to do here was to use her husband's insulin to see if it helped. He was on one of the biggest doses I see...like 70 odd units or something. She nearly killed herself.

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u/_Ello_Love_ 10d ago

As a pediatrician, lots of things every day. But also I have so much empathy because when it comes to your kids, of course you're going to worry and logic goes out the window. Lots of ED visits for "fever" of 99F that improved with Tylenol, and the family waits 3 hours for me to see their healthy kid. It more makes me sad they spent their time that way! And that they were so stressed during that time! ):

More egregious examples are the naturopath parents - not even anti Vaxxers, but the ones who's kids have horrific chronic illness such as IBD or lupus and refuse to give them "western medicine". It's enraging, their children suffer, are in pain, and in many cases have had irreversible damage because their parents want them to drink baking soda instead of receiving life saving medications for their systemic illnesses.

Jehovah's witnesses irk me in a similar way - especially when their babies have serious congenital anomalies and they refuse the lifesaving surgery initially unless it's "bloodless", which is an entire other illogical conversation to have anyway.


u/Educational_Dust_932 10d ago

MY parents are JW's. I made my wife promise me that if I ever needed blood I would damn well get it, and to not listen to them.

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u/Not_Another_Usernam 10d ago

Pharmacist here (technically a doctor of pharmacy): You would be shocked at the number of people that go to me instead of urgent care or the ED.

I had a patient that, essentially, hugged a wood stove by falling into it. Had just a huge second or third degree burn wrapping around his torso (that he said didn't hurt at all). He came into my pharmacy looking for burn cream. Took some convincing to get him to go to the hospital.

Had another patient (that was on Eliquis) that had a deep stab wound in his calf. He was bleeding pretty good and he wouldn't wait for an ambulance. He just wanted me to bind it and send him on his way.

Had a third looking for Neosporin after an wild animal bit them. Despite me telling them rabies wasn't something to fuck around with and that it was a 100% death sentence if you don't get the vaccine, she wasn't convinced. It took someone else chiming in, who overheard the conversation, agreeing with me who had gone through something similar to finally get the person to go. Then showed my staff this video to demonstrate how horrific rabies is.


u/LickStickCountPour 10d ago

Used to work graveyard for WAG years ago and can confirm craziness. Guy came in with his entire family bleeding all over the floor. Hands me the Medicaid card and asks me to verify his insurance will work before he will go to the emergency room. He caught his entire arm in his car engine and shredded it. Was still conscious and ambulatory albeit mummified in towels soaked in blood. I told him to the ER before he bled to death.

Also had “regulars” who couldn’t sleep and had mental health concerns and would come in nightly to talk. We used to give away this fridge magnets in the shape of a giant capsule with the pharmacy number on them. Had one customer come in all the time and line those little magnets up along her chest, arms and face, swearing the “magnetic therapy” worked wonders.

Graveyard pharmacy is a whole other universe.

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u/meeshamayhem 10d ago

Hate that my curiosity made me watch this before bed. Wish I didn’t have eyes or ears now, thanks!

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u/QueenieMcGee 10d ago

You mentioned that the guy with burns said they didn't hurt at all, is that why he didn't go to the ER?! Because being injured and NOT feeling pain is a concern all on its own, but so many people don't seem to realise this, including most doctors...

My mum went to about 10 different doctors over a period of 2 years for various injuries (burns, cuts, a severely broken thumb) that she kept getting while going about her day and NOT FEELING ANYTHING!!!

Every single doctor just patched her up and when she asked why none of it hurt they were all "It's a good thing that nothing hurts, why are you complaining?"

Because pain is necessary for alerting you to injury and it's a core feature of the human body. If pain is suddenly gone altogether then that means something is really wrong with that body.

My mum had syringomyelia, basically a cyst inside her spinal cord, which went undiagnosed for too long and crippled her.


u/Not_Another_Usernam 10d ago

I am not a diagnostician. Pharmacists cannot diagnose. That said, to me, him saying his horrible burns didn't hurt indicated that there's the possibility of nerve damage, which you typically only see in more severe types of burns.


u/NumbSurprise 10d ago

That would be my immediate thought. Full-thickness burns are painless because the nerves are gone.

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u/Ad8858 10d ago

I had a patient who had no disabilities, and no debilitating heart or lung disease. She lived in a 3 story house but only used the ground floor because she didn’t want to climb the stairs. She slept in the living room because she didn’t feel like ambulating to the bedroom. She said she hadn’t climbed a flight of stairs in “at least 15 years” because “she didn’t want to” and she used a scooter wherever she went out because “why would I walk when I don’t technically have to.”

She literally avoided anything that required physical exertion, and it was purely out of laziness. I’ve never met another patient like that.


u/Thespoonwitch 10d ago

My great grandmother was like this. About 15 years before she died, she just stopped getting out of bed. Even to pee. After her husband couldn't care for her anymore, she moved in with her son, my grandfather. He was dealing with cancer but still waited in her hand and foot. We tried to get her to at least use the toilet but even when she did, she'd pee or poop on the way and track it all over, not flush all day or not flush the paper for some reason. When we asked her why she wouldn't get up, her answer was as follows; "you're going to deny me the pleasure of peeing in my own bed!? I'm old, I deserve to do this now." She also threatened to call the police for "federal benadryl withholding" and we told her to do it. That lady was REALLY something else. Plus she married a Nazi after grandpa's father left her.


u/ma2016 10d ago

What a wild ride that was

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u/buccal_up 10d ago

I have so many stories as a semi-doctor (dentist), but a striking case just a few weeks ago was a 40-something fellow who wondered why all of his teeth suddenly started to hurt all of the time. 

We talk a bit. Coincidentally, he mentions, his acid reflux has been acting up a little but, meh, that wasn't a big concern for him. (PS:  "a little bit" to him meant walking around for hours at night to settle his stomach if he ate dinner too late.) 

Turns out this dude had started drinking 6 liters of seltzer water a day to try and lose weight. 


Um, yeah buddy, your GI tract is basically acid bubbles at this point! Your teeth are melting and your stomach is frothing over! Give your body a break and have some regular water from time to time! 


u/The_Bitter_Bear 10d ago

But I want my water to taste like white noise!

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u/midwestmamasboy 10d ago edited 9d ago

Oh man that’s a fun one. I’m gonna share a few

Mom brings her child daughter in and can’t figure out why her teeth are “shrinking”, turns out her sister was a “witch” and made homemade toothpaste out of…. Lemon juice.

I had a guy crushing up eggshells and using it as toothpaste because he thought his teeth were going to absorb the calcium. He didn’t understand why his gums felt cut up and were bleeding when he brushed.

Engineer bought a dremel and somehow got composite, he tried doing his own fillings and couldn’t figure out why his teeth hurt after.

Another dude was swishing with pure bleach and was wondering why his gums were sloughing off.

Older (larger) gentleman asked me to make a silicone cheek prop to hold his cheeks out of the way when he chews so he wouldn’t bite them while eating. He had gained something like 75lbs in the year that I saw him.

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u/Oncologay 9d ago

I was admitting a middle-aged man for chest pain. In my general admitting review of systems, I asked if there were any changes to his urinary habits. He said now that he thinks of it, he hasn’t peed in FIVE DAYS. He didn’t realize that was a problem. Still blows my mind to this day.

Anyways, it was uremic pericarditis from florid kidney failure.

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u/Varied_nerd 9d ago

Health psychologist here.

I had a patient I saw after a referral from infectious disease in the hospital. Patient was a man in his late 60s in Florida who was living in a trailer to train his pet parrot to learn new words after his neighbors in the city complained about the noise. He had melanoma on his chest that he was self treating with black salve (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10388685/) which has a fun side effect of causing skin sloughing as part of the "treatment". So essentially part of his chest was melting off in the swamp.

It then attracted flies (because Florida swamp and open wounds) which laid eggs in his chest which grew into maggots in his chest. He did not seek medical attention because he remembered that in the Civil War, maggots were used to remove dead/infected skin so he thought the maggots in his chest would help with the melanoma and the skin sloughing. That was, he did not seek medical attention for about a month and only presented to the hospital when he became anemic from blood loss from all of this, got dizzy while urinating off the side of the trailer, and fell down and fractured his leg.

He had no regrets about any of this.

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u/Wannawiz 10d ago

Not a doctor, but A classmate of mine at uni for engineering gave himself scurvy by only eating chicken tenders daily

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u/lissyorkiedork 10d ago

Worked in a hospital’s Obstetrical Unit as a social worker. A woman came in, having had no prenatal care, and gave birth prematurely to a baby that was addicted to opiates, so the baby was kept in the NICU.

The mother would leave the unit for smoke breaks throughout the day, but failed to return to the unit on the 2nd or 3rd day. She just…didn’t come back.

Cleaning staff found her gear (spoon and lighter) when they were cleaning out her room.

Baby was apprehended by child protection services.

A couple months later, the mother reappeared on the unit, and asked for her baby.


u/dreamhousemeetcute 9d ago

This is so sad. How did she react when she learned she wouldn’t have access to the baby anymore?

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u/idlebrand8675 10d ago

See…this is why condoms are called 80% effective in sex ed. You know there are people out there swallowing them, putting them on after, wearing them on their fingers when they touch each other… etc.

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u/Dr_diller 9d ago

I once had a 50-something lady in the ER complaining of difficulty using her left hand. Turned out that it wasn’t new, rather something that had been an issue all her life. She was right handed.

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u/thunderfox57 10d ago

EMT here. Got called out for a “hand laceration with severe bleeding” so naturally we urgently drive to the callers house.

We arrive to find this young, around 18yr old female holding her hand and wincing in pain. Confused at the lack of blood I ask her to point to her wound & she points to a cut no bigger than 1cm. She states that her family doesn’t own bandages & she didn’t want to get an infection by going to the pharmacy to buy them.

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u/saggywitchtits 10d ago edited 10d ago

Not a doctor, but I had a patient who decided welding with an oxygen cannula was a good idea. It was not. He had burns throughout his nasal cavity.

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u/L-Ollie 10d ago

Many years ago, my mum had a patient with a rectal prolapse. She’d heard that heat was good for a prolapse, so she held her prolapse over an open fire. She presented to the hospital with third degree burns on the prolapse and had to have that section of the bowel amputated/removed.


u/Thejmax 9d ago

This is insanity.

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u/wonderful-radish815 10d ago edited 10d ago

This story is from my sister who is a dentist. Her office is across the street from a retirement home and there is one patient who arrives to his dental appts via motor wheelchair. Apparently it’s super fast and she will see him zooming on the sidewalk.

One day he comes in for a check up complaining of teeth sensitivity. She asks all the triage questions and he doesn’t experience discomfort when eating, drinking, or brushing like normal ppl with sensitivity issues. He says it only happens sometimes.

Sis: so when do you feel sensitivity?

Patient: when I ride my wheelchair outside.

Sis: … do you keep your mouth open when you get around in your wheelchair?

Patient: sometimes.

Sis: does your teeth hurt when you ride the wheelchair indoors?

Patient: no.

Sis: Okay, let’s try to keep your mouth closed when you ride your wheelchair outside.

Patient: Ok I will

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u/RobedUnicorn 9d ago

Any patient who comes in with gastroenteritis: Please consume fluids. Any fluid that is leaving your body in the form of diarrhea needs to be replaced with fluid. Please use new fluid, like water from the tap. Do not try to replace it with what just came out of your body.”

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u/NoNet833 10d ago

I'm and RN in cardiology and was in a patients room after the doctor popped in and briefly mentioned a low salt diet, as the patient was holding on to lots of fluid. After that, the doctor left and the patient was on a phone call with someone (i was just straightening up and making the bed, etc.) and the patient was outlining everything the doctor said, stating "I don't even add salt to any of my food, so this is no problem." I thought this was good for them! So as I finished up and was walking out, they stopped and asked if I could pick up their order of wingstop garlic wings they had doordashed to the lobby. It was stunning but also sad that the education around nutrition has failed the US and these people genuinely don't know these things so badly that it's hurting their health to the extent that it is.

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u/Enuntiatrix 10d ago

That was back in my first year, when I was doing anaesthesiology (not in the US/UK).

I was in the urology OR for that day and while they were finishing stitches on the 2nd patient of the day, we talked about the third one. It was an elderly man, late 50s, who was scheduled for a circumcision. The urologist said that's not entirely true, but it was just the closest description they could fit in.

Apparently, this man had gotten himself a very young, new girlfriend. And he wanted to give her something special. Therefore, he bought petroleum jelly and self-injected that into his penis, in order to achieve more thickness. Needless to say, that did not go well and now it led to some clumps all over his penis, but especially near the top. The urologist was scheduled to try and remove them from the connective tissue.

So a bit later, I'm about to start my work. The man looked extremely well-groomed but made interesting comments about how we'll have a sight to see when the hospital gown will be removed. That wasn't ominous at all.

Turned out that his petroleum jelly experiment wasn't his only body modification in the urogenital area. There were multiple holes at his glans penis, from piercings he removed. Moreover, his entire pelvis was covered in the lowest quality of tattoos I have ever seen - apparently he had also applied them himself. It looked like a tattoed speedo with very heavy, recognizable lines and additional stuff, like a heart or a star. It was messy.

Not to mention the clumps all over his penis. With the amount of self-modification, the urologist said he's lucky nothing worse has happened so far (like severe infections...)...

The image is burned on the back of my eyelids and it's not a pleasant one.

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u/Ripley_and_Jones 10d ago

I particularly like it when people come in with a heart attack, get treated, then while recovering, in hospital, go outside for a smoke or a burger. It's always one of those two things.

Also we don't talk about 2020.

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u/madhatter610 10d ago

My colleagues had a patient diagnosed with acute leukemia and she refused chemo because she was super busy and only agreed to blood transfusion. By the end she was WALKING to the clinic with 2-3g/dL hemoglobin for her weekly BT which is absolutely insane. The saddest part is that she considered to have no time because she was a young mother. 

On a lighter note I had a patient with severe B1 deficiency because he basically only ate candy. 

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u/saliv8orDali 9d ago

Had a woman admitted with blood sugar initially read as >500 in the ed. Did the fancy ysi analyzer and it resulted >1000. our tech said it read as 1125 but over 900 the accuracy drops off so it just gets reported as >1000. She was convinced insulin made her bg higher so she actually refused to let us give her any. Bicarb was fine, no GAP, bhb was negative, a1c was 21, she refused treatment and left without letting us do anything, wouldn't even start metformin.

I gave that woman a physiology white board talk about how if she is human insulin can't work that way and she just said "naw, I know my body, I'm going home"

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u/toomuchcoffeee 10d ago

Pt waited to be seen at a level 1 trauma center ER for over 6 hours. Went to go see him around 3 am. Complaint was chronic upset stomach and heart burn. At 3 am in the ER, he had a freshly opened Mountain Dew and a big bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos.

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u/_dec0de 10d ago

As a paramedic, we got called to a shortness of breath case. Get to the address, wife says the patient is out the back. We walk around the back and he’s sitting there smoking a cigarette

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

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u/Hot_Dot8000 10d ago

Surely he must have been suicidal before he ingested an unknown substance

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u/xiao_xiao2 9d ago

(I use a translator.) I'm not a doctor, but I'll tell you my story. My friend thought doctors were liars who work for money. When she punctured her foot by stepping on a sharp nail, she did not go to the hospital. she got it on her own and did not process it, because she believed: "once upon a time, people survived without medicine." over time, her wound festered and became infected. her leg was amputated and she wears a prosthesis.

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u/ImpostersPosterior 9d ago

A dentist friend of mine would regularly fly to remote parts of Canada to help the locals with their dental care. One patient was complaining about their dentures and how they "felt funny". After some initial questions it was revealed that this person didn't take out their dentures at all, not for sleep, or cleaning, just left them in all the time. When they took the dentures out, there were honest to god, living maggots in his rotten tooth holes. They gently removed them and made sure he understood the importance of dental care.

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u/DearLetter3256 10d ago

I trained in general surgery at an inner city county hospital. One day I was paged to the emergency department to evaluate a young lady in her 20s who was "hit by a car at highway speeds".

Sadly pedestrians being hit on the highways does happen and is usually fatal. But thankfully, she was okay overall---had a pelvis fracture and a few long bone fractures but no devastating injuries.

I asked her what happened... Usually a car breaks down or some similar scenario, but no. She casually told me that she was delivering Uber Eats to an unfamiliar location by bicycle when she was hit. She blindly followed the Google Maps route onto highway I35, biking over two miles before being hit by a car in the center lane.

She was not on drugs. Had no mental health history. Simply blindly followed her phone into the highway and didn't think anything of it.

All I could think of was the episode of the office where Michael Scott drives into a lake 🙈. What is this world coming to!?!

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u/bachfan_13 10d ago

Not a doctor, but saw a video of a hairdresser who told the story of a woman who came in to get her hair bleached to blonde (natural brunette) and was complaining that no hair dresser has been able to bleach her hair correctly before, and she was happy with the results the hairdresser did. The same client called back a few weeks later saying the same thing she was complaining about was happening again, so the hairdresser told the client to come back in. The client was complaining that she could see brown at the top of her head, claiming they dyed her hair wrong. The hairdresser was like yeah that’s where your hair is growing back in its natural color, and the client was like no your hair grows from the bottom. She had no idea that hair grew from the scalp 😫

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u/KeeksTx 10d ago

Mom’s story: She was working for a gyno and a 14 year old backwoods girl came in with “issues”, she was with a parent. The first thing the doc asked was if she was sexually active. “No! Of course not!”

This girl was six months pregnant and in the late stages of syphilis.


u/StarrD0501 9d ago

And people wonder why doctors want to speak to children away from their parents smh

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u/hendergle 9d ago

Not doc but my dad was a dentist. He used to tell the story of a guy who came in with a "toothache" that was actually an abscess the size of a grapefruit and was leaking matter into his blood through a hole big enough to see on the x-ray. The guy's temp was like 104F and his heart rate was "like a hummingbird on amphetamines." Shallow rapid breaths. Disoriented...

Dude was seconds away from going septic because he didn't have time to go see a dentist. My dad said it was the first time he'd used his stethoscope in years- had to go looking through drawers to find it. They called an ambulance, sent him to the ER, and he had to stay at the hospital for three days for IV antibiotics. Lost part of his jaw. All in all, I doubt it was a pleasant experience for the guy.

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u/CaptainFuzzyBootz 10d ago

Not a doctor, but heres the stupidest thing a doctor told me once.

I'm a microbiology lab technician in the hospital lab. And a DOCTOR - full fledged, board certified - asked me why I couldn't just put the petri plates in the microwave so it grows faster to know what bacteria and antibiotics to use.


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