r/AskReddit Sep 25 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome 1 Take My Energy 1

Doctors of Reddit, when was a patient right about something but you insisted they were wrong until it got serious? NSFW



u/BigBadZord Sep 25 '22 Wholesome

It didn't "get serious" under my father's care, he just thought she was joking at first. He was treating a woman for headaches aaaaaaand she dropped that she had been the getaway driver in a robbery where shots had been fired.

Bullet was lodged in base of her skull.


u/Hephaestus_God Sep 26 '22

Doc: “when did symptoms start occurring?”

Lady: “well I robbed a bank a few days ago and got shot at. About then”

Doc: “…”

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u/Thalkarsh Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 26 '22

Psychiatrist here, late to the party but thought I'd share a story from my residency years in case someone happens to still see this thread.

I was at the brief internment unit (acute psychotic cases, mostly) and there was this woman that had been there for some time, she had paranoid delusions about the Russian mob trying to get her, complete with hallucinations and everything, her family had confirmed it was all made up in her head and nobody was following her. She had been getting medication for some time and her symptoms had improved a lot, she no longer believed she was in danger or being hunted, and everything seemed to be going well. As the procedure usually goes, the staff contacted her family so she could start going out for the weekends with them before being fully discharged.

First weekend away from the hospital she got kidnapped by the Russian mob and taken somewhere else for forced prostitution to repay a debt she apparently had but nobody in her family knew about.

(Adding the other comments here so everyone can see it) Happy ending though, she was found and gotten to safety quite quickly because we had already spoken to the police about her "delusions" just in case and they were quick to act when she disappeared.

And yes, people got locked up and other women were found. It was, all in all, a happy/satisfying ending.


u/dannidevitoes Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Not a psychiatrist, but I work in behavioral health. Our ED provider put in a psychiatric evaluation after a lady came in and stated that her gynecologist was stalking her and was madly in love with her. Our ED provider knew this gynecologist, so he highly doubted this. After the evaluation was done, the patient showed us the texts and pictures the proved her right. The difficult part is that you never know what is real and what is not. Lesson learned.

Edit: the patient was initially there for a physical/medical issue, then it turned into a psychiatric evaluation.


u/PistolPetunia Sep 25 '22

A few decades ago she would have just been admitted on the man’s word


u/knives66 Sep 25 '22

Looks like without the proof she had, she might have been admitted today too.


u/no-name_silvertongue Sep 25 '22

yeah i love how the provider knew the gyno so knew he couldn’t be stalking her 🙄

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u/thatfruityfroglol Sep 25 '22

That is the most interesting story I have read on Reddit so far


u/Thalkarsh Sep 25 '22 Wholesome

Happy ending though, she was found and gotten to safety quite quickly because we had already spoken to the police about her "delusions" just in case and they were quick to act when she disappeared.


u/ManaFrmHeaven Sep 25 '22

My imagination is having a field day, pondering that phone call.

"Hey, you remember that crazy thing we talked about never happening?! It's happening!"


u/Thalkarsh Sep 25 '22

The police called a couple of days later to get all the info from her doctor, and she was found like the next day or so.

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u/ChameleonMami Sep 25 '22 Silver

Patient stated live cockroach in ear. I said probably not and ate my words.


u/Bitter_Mongoose Sep 25 '22 Wholesome

Had this happen to me with a moth in my ear. They thought I was methed up 🙄

Best part about it was the reaction from the ER nurse when she stuck the scope in my ear. It was something like, "eeerrrrgghhhAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! He DOES have a bug in there and it's alive!"

0/10 do not recommend


u/starshadewrites Sep 25 '22

A few weeks ago at work I had a gnat dive into my ear. While I was on a call with a customer.

I feel like I deserve an Olympic gold medal for never letting the customer know I was basically having a seizing fit on the other end of the line. As soon as I managed to get him to hang up, I threw off my headset and let out the screams I’d been holding in the entire time.

Managed to get the little fucker to fly back out, and then turned it into a grease smear on the wall, but for HOURS after I kept feeling little phantom legs in my ear and I kept twitching at random.

I do not even want to imagine what a moth would feel like


u/Mwanasasa Sep 25 '22

In Zambia there are these little sweat bees they call "ubulubululu" (try saying that 3 times fast) and if you stop for more that about 5 seconds in a wooded area during hot season they swarm you. They find EVERY. SINGLE. ORIFICE. looking for moisture. When they get in your ears, nose, and eyes the contortions it threw people into was like watching someone possessed. You would have conversations with folks where everyone involved was just swatting at themselves without pause.


u/wolf2d Sep 25 '22 Take My Energy

Hey Siri, add Zambia to the list of places to never visit

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u/Mrgoodietwoshoes Sep 25 '22

I’ll never go to Zambia and get «ubulubulubulubulued». That’s for sure.

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u/zubizubizuu Sep 25 '22

new fear unlocked


u/sweet_pickles12 Sep 25 '22

When I worked in the ER, I saw so many bugs in ears. I saw a dude who had been driven so crazy by a moth in his ear he had been hitting his head on the window the entire drive in trying to get it out. New fear unlocked indeed.


u/RoboNinjaPirate Sep 25 '22 Helpful

A moth flew in the ear of my youth pastor one sunday evening when I was in High School. He was reasonably really freaking out, was about to go to the ER.

I said "Try putting your ear up to the headlight and see if it will come out". Fortunately that worked within about 4 seconds.


u/SpadoCochi Sep 25 '22

That’s incredible

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u/smallhound44 Sep 25 '22

That's brilliant


u/Jake_Thador Sep 25 '22 Silver Starry

That's what the moth said

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u/Akopalypse76 Sep 25 '22

I once had an ant enter my ear and dance around. That was scary af, you can hear every little thing it does, and feel it walking around.


u/ImnotaNazibut Sep 25 '22 Eureka!

The quietest sound a human can hear is an air pressure fluctuation of 20micropascals. That's the pressure water 2 nanometres high creates under it. 2 millionth of a millimetre or about 7 water molecules stacked on top of each other.

I bet you heard it thinking.


u/Untgradd Sep 25 '22

wait that gives me an idea

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u/altiif Sep 25 '22

Haha doctor here. Literally came to post the same exact thing. And one patient had some other live bug just scampering away in there. Had to send the cockroach one to ENT after 30 mins of failed attempts cuz I couldn’t get the SOB out and they needed to dilate a bit to get the sucker out.


u/orphan_blud Sep 25 '22

How do you dilate a fucking ear?!


u/mfball Sep 25 '22

I was curious too -- looks like for something like an insect or wax plug, which wouldn't generally be too deep, they use an ear speculum. Ear specula pretty much just look like funnels, and they manipulate the outer ear while inserting the speculum to see deeper and get better access into the recesses of the ear canal. There's a different procedure for middle/inner ear issues like complex infections where they go from the inside out basically. To get at the Eustachian tube, they use an endoscope for visualization and then put a small balloon catheter through the nose into the nasopharyx, where there is an opening to the Eustachian tube. The catheter goes in, the balloon is inflated, this dilates the tube.

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u/BonFireFox_ Sep 25 '22

Wow the first actual doctor to comment congrats! Haha


u/Lord_OJClark Sep 25 '22

To be fair, it wasnt so much 'admitting a mistake he made' as much as 'Well, there probably isn't a cockro- oh.'


u/foocubus Sep 25 '22 Silver

Yeah, you're going to get nothing but "all these other dumbass doctors refused to believe my patient" stories here. Every doctor has a vested interest in reinforcing our halo effects.

Truth is, every doctor is going to be one of those other dumbass doctors someday.

Another truth: an attending once told me, "I have committed malpractice. And I have been sued for malpractice. But I have never been sued for malpractice I committed."


u/Ulldra Sep 25 '22

I think another part is that many doctors will never know they were proven wrong. If a patient insists something is wrong and goes somewhere else and is proven right, it‘s pretty unlikely for the first one to see that patient again or be told of their mistake at all.

At least thats what a friend told me who studied medicine.

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u/rollerblade7 Sep 25 '22

My uncle had to pull a scorpion out of someone's ear with a pair of tweezers when they were in the bush.

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u/bombas239 Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

I had a patient in his mid-30s establishing care with me for “difficulty reading”. He actually came in with his mother and was very shy, which I thought was very strange. He said he worked at a library and words would get “jumbled up” while reading. He had zero additional issues.

I actually did a very thorough neurological exam and found zero problems. I asked him to read a magazine out loud at different speeds and he did it perfectly. I said everything looked fine and wanted to order some labs. I honestly felt he was just a strange character.

They agreed to labs but mom was very pushy to do head imaging. I said we could, but I ordered the CT as routine and by the time labs came back he was extremely low on vitamin D. I called saying we should replace it and hold off on the scan.

Not only did mom not want the scan cancelled, she wanted an MRI and she wanted it STAT. I basically got tired of trying to be reassuring and just ordered what she wanted.

He had the biggest glioblastoma I have ever seen.

Go mom.


u/A_Drusas Sep 25 '22

More doctors need to realize that symptoms can be transient. I know that they're taught this and they understand it in theory, but in practice, it's rare that a doctor doesn't write off an issue that they don't see firsthand.

I enjoyed (/s) this issue myself. My hands and feet (and sometimes face and ears) become red, hot to the touch, and extremely painful at night. Had a neurologist insisting on seeing the problem himself (pictures and other people corroborating my story were insufficient), while also admitting that he does not make appointments at night.

He might as well have just told me to go fuck myself.

Turns out it's textbook erythromelalgia.


u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22


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u/hallowbirthweenday Sep 25 '22

I had an infectious disease doctor outright call me a liar, a malingerer, and a waste of his time. I had fevers of unknown origin and went through hell for about 2 weeks trying to prove it was a problem. Finally, he dismissed me as a patient and trashed my reputation with my employer (also a physician).

About 5 days after getting kicked out of that asshole's office, my dentist had me on IV antibiotics for a tooth abscess. I only mentioned the fevers to my dentist offhand at my cleaning because that question was on the yearly form. The dentist said I was very lucky, but I believe I was blessed....by an amazing fucking dentist. I'm so grateful for him.


u/nightstalker30 Sep 26 '22 edited Sep 27 '22

When our very social, studious, and athletic 10 year-old daughter suddenly lost the ability to walk (or even sit up) for three weeks, we took her to seven different doctors in search of an explanation and resolution. We lived in the Chicago burbs and went to hospitals like University of Chicago, Rush, and Loyola after exhausting the ones in our area.

Most of the docs were very empathetic and seemed genuinely frustrated at not being able to diagnose it. But there was one arrogant prick of a doc who coldly said he was sure she was faking it, probably because of problems at school. I’ve never swung at anyone in my life, but I almost decked him right there in the hospital.

After coming up empty near home, we took her to Mayo Clinic. They instantly diagnosed her with a gait disorder caused by migraine-induced vertigo. The neurologist there said he saw it maybe 10-15 times a year. NONE of the neuros/docs back home had a clue about it - which I understand - but nearly ten years later I still get mad when I think of the one who accused our little girl of faking it.

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u/dancingfruit Sep 25 '22

A covid story, unfortunately, about my opinion as a general practitioner up against an internal medicine specialist.

My grandmother was isolated for covid, and she steadily got weaker and weaker. In my country, the hospitals were so full that some get home quarantined and doctors give instructions via Zoom or go on home visits in bunny suits. It was such a desperate time. No vaccines had arrived yet in my 3rd world country.


I noticed that my mother was alerting me that my grandmother's O2 sats were going down, mid 80s which is a bad sign she might need hospital admission and a Hi-Flo nasal cannula. I'm just a GP, so my family found a specialist to treat her.

The specialist told me I was paranoid, your grandmother only has mild covid, the pulse oximeter probably has a low battery. Change it and see what happens. She'll be fine.

I pleaded with my family this wasn't the case. I said she was getting worse, and she could die if we ignored her symptoms. No one listened.

I was deployed as a covid swabber at this time, and I couldn't go home because I was exposed every day. But the patients I saw near death, my grandmother was starting to look like them too.

So somehow, someone goes there to change the batteries. But the specialist also sends one of her colleagues for a home visit a day later.

The visit reveals my grandmother had severe pneumonia, based on auscultation alone. Decreased breath sounds instead of just crackles.

We found her a hospital bed in another city, 40 kilometers away from where I worked a few days later. Where we were in the capital, the beds had run out.

My grandmother died 10 days later in some rural hospital away from family, just because some specialist told us she looked okay over Zoom.

We can't file a case. The specialist is my cousin.


u/Full_FrontaI_Nerdity Sep 26 '22

Your cousin is going to kill another patient with his/her incompetence. It's disappointing to know your family didn't file a complaint to try to prevent that.

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u/feetofire Sep 25 '22

Without going into specifics… a patient was brought into our ER for like.. the sixth time in six months with the same thing .. fits, progressive neurological symptoms AND a label of a normal MRI scan done 4 months earlier with a referral to a “functional neurologist” to basically, deal with what was labelled as psychosomatic neurological symptoms on account of the patient having their first neurological event whilst they were on the phone, getting some bad news, having a normal MRI and having seen a neurologist who couldn’t find anything wrong, again four months earlier.

Thankfully, due to the patient rocking up in a wheelchair this time round as they were unable to stand, one of the senior ER doctors brought them in to do another scan.

Cue me, walking in to see a “crazy neuro patient who is going to see the specialist as there is nothing wrong with them” … until the very day I die, I shall never, ever forget my horror when I saw their repeat MRI scan on my computer screen just before entering the room.

The patient had a golf ball sized tumour in the very back of their brain and was in huge, huge trouble with rapidly progressive neurological signs. I felt so terrible for both the patient and their family. The first thing I did was to tell them that we were very wrong, there was something physically wrong and apologised for the 10 or so times they had been sent home from ER and told that they had been making up the symptoms and signs.

The family were just grateful that they now knew what was going on. The patient died a month or so later.

I tell this to all of my junior colleagues and I am extremely wary of how people are labelled as having a fictitious illness when they present to hospital.


u/CreakinFunt Sep 25 '22

How was the MRI normal 4 months ago when the symptoms had already started 6 months prior?


u/feetofire Sep 25 '22

It was a seizure and 1 CT ans 1 MRI in all that time had failed to show an abnormality … and a very aggressive brain tumour.

It would have been picked up earlier for them to at least get some decent palliative care, had the scan been repeated - but the crux was that a senior neutrologist had early on in the piece “cleared the patient” and referred them to a “functional specialist” aka someone dealing with psycho somatic symptoms . So doctor after doctor in ER accepted that label til ONE MD who thought that it was odd that the paient had been unable to walk this time around.

And yeah - the first person I apologised to was the patient. They must I have been in really bad pain from the size of the lesion .. just incredibly sad. The family were really understanding which was probably more than o would’ve been on this position. They just wanted the diagnosis confirmed (with a. Biopsy) and treatment options laid out (supportive care in the end).


u/Ahielia Sep 25 '22

Given how rapidly it (seemingly) progressed, is it possible the tumor could've been removed safely if it had indeed been caught the first time?


u/feetofire Sep 25 '22

Sadly, very possible but I’m not a neurosurgeon so I can’t really comment. They can do all sorts of amazing gamma Ray knife resections and what not of tumours these days, so the patient may have had a chance..

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u/monospaceman Sep 25 '22

Yeah this is my question too. How was it missed originally?

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u/Cresccent Sep 25 '22

that’s so horrible, i’m sorry to hear that


u/Fez_and_no_Pants Sep 25 '22 Silver Helpful Tree Hug Rocket Like

This is how it works on the reg if you have a female reproductive system.

I visited my gyno complaining that it felt like "a lead rubix cube" was in my uterus and that I had a slight fever. She did a physical exam, told me I had cramps and a flu virus, sent me on my way.

A week later I went to my PCP with the same, worsening, issue. They gave me antacids. Sent me on my way.

A week after that I'm still feverish and now I'm having spasms in my rectum. I visit the ER. They try to give me ibuprofen and send me away. I tell them I'm not leaving without being scanned. An 18 year old nurse scoffs that "there is NO WAY" they will scan me. I leave.

A week later I can't walk and my fever is up to 103 or so. I take a cab to another ER. I lie in the fetal position on the heater in the ER for two hours. Finally in a room, an angel of a nurse who reminds me of my mum comes in, takes some info and tells me "Wow, you are really sick! We'll take good care of you." I burst into hysterical tears.

They scan me. I have a goose-egg sized abcess under my fallopian tube that has "bacteria and things that we don't recognize" inside it. I spend the next five days in the hospital on 3 types of antibiotics and two types of painkiller. It feels like Heaven. On day 5 I'm awake while they stick a giant syringe in my butt and pull out what looks like Hexxus from the movie Ferngully. A good time is had by all in the operating room. There is much rejoicing.

I confront my gyno when she visits, accompanied by a student doctor and tell her in great detail just how bad she fucked up. She doesn't apologize. I get a new doctor.


Two months later my boyfriend makes increasingly annoyed noises about the lack of sex. I tell him I'm still in pain and healing. He tells me months should be enough recuperation time. I dump his ass, and am grateful that my brush with death showed me exactly how little my partner actually cared about my well being.


u/Wind_Yer_Neck_In Sep 25 '22 Wholesome

I experienced this second hand through my wife. She had recurring spasm pains in her lower back that left her in agony, curled up in a ball for hours. The GP said probably just muscle ache, lose weight maybe.

We ended up in the ER at least 10 times in a year, every time she was given a painkiller and told 'maybe do some stretches or build your back muscles up'.

This is the UK so eventually we can't take any more of this and go to a private hospital. The specialist listens to all the above and says 'yup that's gall bladder issues, those are colic spasms, they usually rate as more painful than giving birth. Your prior doctors should be ashamed.'

Two weeks later she has an operation and that was it done. Except a full year of horrific spasms has done permanent damage to her back.

At every step I was in shock, it was just so different from my experience. Any time I told a doctor I had pain it was always followed by rounds of tests and investigation. To see the level to which doctors write off pain symptoms in women was a real eye opener.


u/Pea-and-Pen Sep 25 '22

A woman I worked with had a sister who had severe gallbladder issues that were ignored over and over in the ER and at her doctors office. The local hospital where she was going to the ER over and over eventually labeled her as a drug seeker. That was sent to her insurance company, who proceeded to initiate dropping her coverage. My coworker finally took her to a teaching hospital in a semi-nearby city during an attack. They finally found a gallbladder issue and admitted her to schedule surgery. That was when they found out what was going on with the insurance. So she was forced to go home and try to get the insurance situation sorted out. She ended up having to force the first hospital to amend their records and submit them to the insurance company. They eventually reversed their decision and she was able to get the surgery done. But it took another couple of months.


u/GiggityPiggity Sep 25 '22

The fact that a financial company has the power to choose who gets their life-saving surgery paid for (or partially paid) and who doesn’t is beyond insane. This country is so backwards with this shitass politicians and greedy corporations.


u/Pea-and-Pen Sep 25 '22

It really is. The whole situation is messed up. I have chronic migraines and prior to getting them somewhat under control, I made several trips to the local ER. During that time, I had a neurologist I was seeing once a month, had two abnormal MRI’s that showed a mass and had an appt with a neurosurgeon. The last time I went up there the nurses and doctor were giving each other looks and kind of dilly dallying around while I was vomiting from the pain. My mom was telling them about my issues and the appts with the neurologist and upcoming neurosurgeon. They basically ignored her so I asked my mom to hand me my phone. I was able to pull up MyChart information from the doctors office and prove that there was an actual issue. They just looked at me at first and then finally got moving to start an IV and get me some pain meds. When I got home later I kept thinking about the situation with my co-workers sister. If I hadn’t had proof, they could have refused to treat me and do the same thing with my insurance. That’s not right.


u/DrPeace Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

It's absurd, and they don't stop at surgery when they can block or make you jump through terrible hoops for other kinds of care and treatments as well. After decades of many different medication trials and therapy, including IOT, CBT and DBT really not having much of an effect on my treatment resistant major depression and dysthymia, a new therapist strongly recommends ketamine treatment, and my psychiatrist agrees and makes the recommendation. Then I find out insurance won't cover ketamine until I've tried and "failed" ECT (Electriconvulsive/ "Electroshock" Therapy). So no ketamine until I complete an older, slower-acting, more expensive, more time consuming, more invasive therapy method that requires full anesthesia and has many more side effects and risks, including confusion and potentially permanent memory loss. It's absolute bullshit. Now I'm just praying they approve me for TMS, I'm not jumping straight into last resort territory with ECT.

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u/Jenny010137 Sep 25 '22

This sounds too familiar. In my case, “In someone your age, it’s probably nothing.” “Nothing” turned out to be an eight pound uterine polyp that was also concealing a smaller malignant tumor.


u/catsweedcoffee Sep 25 '22

A friend went to the ER with intense chest pain. She was told she was “too young for serious chest pains” and she needed to “work on her anxiety” … she went to the next closest ER and found out she had a blood clot in her lung. Spent a week in the hospital.

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u/Chrysalis_artist Sep 25 '22

And the literal thirty years and probably about thirty doctors to get my PCOS diagnosis.

It’s disgusting the way women are treated by the medical profession.

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u/monday-next Sep 25 '22

My parents met when they were both teaching in a small rural town. The local doctor was notorious for diagnosing everyone with appendicitis. Headache? Must be appendicitis. Broke your toe? Appendicitis. Got a mystery rash? Have you considered getting your appendix out?

One day the sports teacher went to see the doctor with abdominal pain. The doctor diagnosed him with indigestion and told him to go home and rest. The pain kept getting worse and worse, until eventually the teacher decided to drive an hour to the nearest hospital. Turned out his appendix had burst and the doctor completely missed his time to shine.


u/GGATHELMIL Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Kind of reminds me as a kid. I was sick a lot. I had strep throat a lot. Nothing serious. But I spent a lot of time at the pediatricians. Almost everytime I would go in my pediatrician would palpate my stomache and would ask if it hurt or was uncomfortable.

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I said no because it honestly didn't. THE ONE TIME it actually hurts, I thought to myself I can finally say it does hurt, she doesn't palpate my stomache.

I mentioned it and she said ah ok well that makes sense cuz x. I was irrationally angry the one time my abdomen hurt she didn't palpate it.

Edit: apparently my entire life I've heard it as palpatate. It's actually palpate. My bad.


u/lalsace Sep 25 '22

For what it's worth palpitate is a real word but it refers to the feeling of your heart beating erratically.

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u/BonFireFox_ Sep 25 '22

The one time... 🤦‍♂️


u/IBuiltABanana Sep 25 '22

Surgeon: As you can see, we made the incision here and....

Doctor: THAT'S the appendix?!


u/Glamdalf_18 Sep 25 '22

All thanks to my trusty pocket knife.


u/AP2112 Sep 25 '22

"Don't thank me, thank the knife."

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u/pierremanslappy Sep 25 '22

Obligatory not a doctor but worked as developer for a medical alarm company (think “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”) and had a woman call my extension by accident complaining there was somebody calling through her device and threatening her.

Notes on her account said she was schizophrenic and had this issue multiple times. She told me that she knows she hears things but I’d put her mind at ease if I could find out in anyway so I pull up the logs on cellular usage and see hundreds of calls and texts messages of gruesome crimes and murders (luckily the device had no way of showing them).

Turns out the number for her device was part of what’s known as the cartel scam where people pretend they are members of a cartel and will murder you if you don’t pay. They send pictures of cartel murders to intimidate you. I got her a new number and had a word with the people who kept dismissing her.


u/Emotional-Text7904 Sep 25 '22

You're a good person


u/Due-Kangaroo-8537 Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor but a mom. When my daughter was 3 months old she went from being a perfect baby with no health issues to suddenly not being able to keep a single bottle down, full on projectile vomit a lot of the time. Became lethargic and a handful of times would act weird and zoned out. Every time I called her pediatrician and he suggested reflux meds, different formulas, maybe it’s allergies. Finally I exploded and demanded he test her for anything so he did. He noticed her head was swollen but dismissed it and did an ultrasound but “found nothing” and sent us home with another reflux medicine. Well two weeks later my daughter had a seizure, I rushed her to the hospital where they gave her a cat scan that showed swelling in her brain. The ultrasound tech missed the hemmorging by one and a half inches.

Later found out he started altering her documents after the fact to make it look like he knew what it was from the start. So yeah, fuck him.


u/lizzledizzles Sep 25 '22

That’s def malpractice and fraud, you should report him to licensing board


u/Due-Kangaroo-8537 Sep 25 '22

I did and attempted to sue. He still practices I’ve moved since. Unfortunately in that state to make a malpractice suit work you have to get another doctor to agree to testify it was malpractice and he was quiet popular. He ruined my life and got off Scott free

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u/legodarthvader Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Early in my GP career. Young girl came in with a skin lesion on her forearm. I did a close examination and did not find any significant concerning features, promptly told her it looks benign. She then told me to look again and that it had changed in colour. I took that as a warning sign and did a punch biopsy.

Turned out to be a dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

I now have very low threshold to offer patients a biopsy of lesion if it even has any remote possibility of being something nasty.


u/stealth_mode_76 Sep 25 '22

I'd rather get an unneeded skin biopsy than to miss cancer.


u/tarac73 Sep 25 '22

As a pale skinned, very freckled Irish girl who used to try and suntan but only managed to get sunburnt back in the 80’s before we knew about the real damage sunburns can cause, I concur!

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u/meownfloof Sep 25 '22

My dermatologist has taken off 2 moles “just in case”. One was melanoma and the other precancerous. I’d definitely rather lose the mole!


u/insertcaffeine Sep 25 '22

Yep. I've had three taken off; one normal, one abnormal, and one precancerous.

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u/max_dem1an Sep 25 '22

Radiologist here, and I only have one somewhat matching moments since my field is fairly objective.

When I did a rotation in pediatric radiology, we had this father coming in with his kid. The kid was about 5, wouldn't eat properly and throw up a lot, and was very slim. I read their file and it stated that they were in and out of the hospital a lot for the same issue over the last half year or so, but no cause was ever found. It even said the father suspected his kid might have ingested something, but since the symptoms were so unspecific, this lead was never followed. So this time it seems they must have reinforced this suspicion pretty heavily, as they came to me for a functional Fluoroscopy. First picture revealed a button battery stuck in the kids esophagus. The father was so relieved that finally something was found, his eyes teared up. I read up on the file that the battery was removed endoscopically the same day and that there was significant inflammation of the esophagus due to leaking battery acid. Crazy to think that this dad suspected something along this line and it still took half a year to finally being looked into properly.

Second not exactly matching story is from when I was in the last year at University, doing clinical internships. I was at this medical ER in a bit city with a lot of homeless people and one day, this comatose guy comes in with suspected alcohol overdose. I remember him stinking of vodka. Each time when I tried to establish peripheral vein cannula, he pulled his arms back and groaned, which resulted in me missing the shot. The fifth, sixth time trying to establish the cannula (now in one of his feet), he still pulls his legs back and I start to feel really angry. I thought "this alcoholic ass won't let me do my job properly, only to block an ER room for people who are really sick, just so he can sleep out his overdose". With the help of a few other guys, we finally got a cannula and drew some blood as well. 30 minutes later, the lab results come back and he had basically no alcohol in his blood whatsoever. So we did a brain CT scan and it turns out he had a cerebral hemorrhage. This instance tought me a lot about how easy it is to misjudge people and to treat all my patients equally, even in my thoughts.


u/_viciouscirce_ Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Then you have cases like my kid... No significant history, delays, or suspicious symptoms. He was just shy of his first birthday when he banged his head pretty bad at daycare and the ED doctor ordered a CT to take a look just in case; I'm pretty sure it wasn't even medically indicated. It revealed a lesion on the opposite side of his brain. Follow up MRIs showed it to be a slow growing tumor in the frontal lobe. There was about 9 months of "watch and wait" since he was so young before the surgery; during which he still didn't have any symptoms that would have otherwise alerted us to it's presence. They were able to achieve a near-total resection/removal and he's been stable ever since, 15 years now with no progression of the little bit left. The post-op pathology confirmed it was a grade II astrocytoma. Discovered out of pure luck.


u/Dang_It_All_to_Heck Sep 25 '22

A friend of mine had to have his head x-rayed back in the 60s after being hit in the head with a hockey puck…a year later it happened again, and a medical resident decided to compare the two x-rays because he thought he saw a shadow. Turns out, my friend had an aggressive brain tumor with no symptoms. They did an experimental surgery and he survived all that. Crazy stuff.

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u/deposhmed Sep 25 '22

In basic english, am I reading it right that he had early onset brain cancer and they managed to get it out thanks to finding it early?


u/_viciouscirce_ Sep 25 '22

Essentially yes. With this type of tumor in children, it isn't as common for it to go through "malignant transformation" as often happens with adults so that may not have happened, but it definitely would have continued to grow until it caused overt issues.

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u/leeshylou Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

That 5 yr old kid is so damn lucky. A woman in one of my uni classes lost her 14 month old daughter because of a swallowed button battery.

She has campaigned for safer use in Australia and has made some positive changes. So sad though.


u/reigninspud Sep 25 '22

At least one of the major battery companies is now coating any pill sized batteries in a nasty tasting coating to help prevent these kinds of accidents.


u/rhizome_at_home Sep 25 '22 Gold Wholesome Bravo!

Yep I actually worked on that bitterant project and got a promotion for it when it went to market


u/TotalWasteman Sep 25 '22

Nice work man that stuff tastes like fucking shit.

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u/PlasticPaulBunyan Sep 25 '22

I’m an X-ray tech and was in a trauma where a woman was involved in an MVC around 9 am. She was acting weird and kinda wild at the scene, so they brought her in and Narcaned her, assuming she was on some sort of narcotics (We have a very high rate of narcotic abuse in our area). Turns out her liver had been lacerated in the accident and it was causing her to act all weird. After she came out of the OR, she was a completely lovely person.


u/Mellopiex Sep 25 '22

A senior family friend was traveling overseas with a big group of tourists that met up from all different states. They were in a German airport when he got extremely agitated and violent. He was incoherent and tried to attack someone. Security detained him and the tourists left without notifying anyone back in the states on his behalf. The authorities held onto him but had no idea what to do with the insane tourist or what was going on. Eventually they took him to the hospital and they ended up inducing a coma. We didn’t know until a few days later when the hospital contacted us and left an ambiguous voicemail. It was impossible to keep updated because the time difference, the IVR was in German and everyone we talked to didn’t speak English. He was there for about a week and never woke up. We still don’t know why that happened, we never got a definitive answer. He was always a pretty quiet, intelligent, amicable person. Something was very wrong but they didn’t catch onto that in time.


u/Ahielia Sep 25 '22

We didn’t know until a few days later when the hospital contacted us and left an ambiguous voicemail. It was impossible to keep updated because the time difference, the IVR was in German and everyone we talked to didn’t speak English

At this point it's a good idea to contact the embassy in that country (if your country has one), Department of Foreign Affairs or similar, they should have people speaking the local language.


u/Mellopiex Sep 25 '22

So we did actually do that, but the issue was that he didn’t have a wife or kids, and we didn’t hold power of attorney. We were only in his emergency contact information. His sister held POA, and she proved to be totally incompetent and didn’t actually handle anything. She didn’t understand the urgency of it. It was really a frustrating ordeal.


u/HabitatGreen Sep 25 '22

Care over border lines is very difficult. Even as an European I had some massive troubles with it with another European country and both in the EU.

But the travel group blows my mind. What. How can you just leave someone like that. I'm guessing this was some kind of organised trip, right? I get the other customers not wanting to deal with him, but the company? Gheez.


u/Mellopiex Sep 25 '22

Definitely true. He traveled with my husband and his family over seas pretty frequently in the past, but we had a bad feeling about him going alone with what were essentially strangers. The trip was ironically organized by a Catholic group from several states through the church. Kind of a pilgrimage sort of thing…? From what I understood. So not like a commercial company, unfortunately. He was really involved with the church and was excited to go. We were shocked they left him.

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u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor, but retired nurse. I was the patient.

I had an acute onset of hallucinations, delusions, and erratic behavior. Dragged to crisis at a regional trauma center in my area, involuntarily committed, and placed on some serious psych meds which made me worse. Not once, but three separate times! Each time I begged for a CT of the head because I was having severe pain on the right side. Each time they refused. After developing pain behind my right eye, I went to the ED at a much smaller hospital. Turns out I had an infection in my sphenoid, found on my head CT, pressing on my brain causing the pseudo-psych behaviors. A round of high dose IV antibiotics cured my “crazy”.

Go figure.


u/Azuredreams25 Sep 25 '22

Did you go back to the other hospital and tell them how much they fucked up?


u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22

Oh boy! I made several phone calls, and , I’m not known for my shyness! I’ll just say, I was never their favorite patient anyway.


u/tilmitt52 Sep 25 '22

User name does check out, it would seem....

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u/mfball Sep 25 '22

I'm so sorry that happened to you! You would think they would take anyone with a medical background or even basic medical literacy more seriously. As a lay person, but someone still capable of doing a little research for broad understanding, I find doctors mostly seem annoyed if I act like I have a clue about anything, even when I just try to use what I've learned to ask informed questions. I understand they probably get a lot of people these days who get all their "medical knowledge" from Facebook mommy groups or whatever, but I hate getting the brush-off when I've taken the time to read peer-reviewed studies and whatnot. Not assuming you're a woman just because you were a nurse, but I'm guessing you're a woman based on your treatment. I've been told a lot of things were "anxiety" that turned out to be real illnesses, and I don't think it happens nearly as often to men.

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u/emptysee Sep 25 '22

The first story about the kid is insane to me because as a vet tech the first thing we'd do for an animal that wasn't eating right and vomiting would be x-rays. A battery would've lit right up.

Also, I've been in vet med for almost a decade and I've never had a dog that "ate a battery" actually eat a battery. Every x-ray completely negative. I don't know where all these batteries are going, but they sure as hell aren't in people's dogs.


u/NiktoriaNo Sep 25 '22

As someone who ate batteries as a toddler, probably in their kid(s).

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u/sleither Sep 25 '22

“Ooh, silver M&M!”

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u/boba-boba Sep 25 '22

I'm a vet tech and the only battery ingestion I've seen was in my MANAGERS dog. He's so cute but so dumb!

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u/Wyaiwyo Sep 25 '22

How come the second guy smelled like vodka? Does ketoacidosis happen after a cerebral haemorrhage, even in non diabetics?


u/max_dem1an Sep 25 '22

Hmmm, I suspect he did drink something and spilled it all over him when the hemorrhage happened.


u/Defenestratio Sep 25 '22

A similar thing happened to a friend of mine. Someone broke a bottle of vodka over his head while on a night out, so when he stumbled into an emergency room in a Saturday night barely conscious and reeking of vodka they tried to just send him off to the drunk tank. I think it was actually the security guy who noticed he wasn't just drunk and had to spend ages convincing the doctors to actually take him back for a scan.


u/OwlMayCuesMile Sep 25 '22

Wow. What a guy.


u/mbklein Sep 25 '22

Those kinds of bottles don’t give way easily. That was a pretty massive blow to the head. He come out okay?


u/Defenestratio Sep 25 '22

I heard all this second/third-hand but the bottle getting broken over his head is just guessing based on the huge blunt injury and alcohol and some glass being all over him since he doesn't actually remember any of that day. They had to put a shunt in to drain the swelling from his brain and he had no long term memory for a few weeks but the only long term thing was his eyesight has gotten a bit worse, he had to get glasses. So, pretty lucky all points considered

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u/docmahi Sep 25 '22

Recently patient with 70+ min downtime from cardiac arrest with all the signs of a big anoxic brain injury. Told the family that honestly there is no chance she has a meaningful recovery.

She proved me wrong next day was off the vent and talking - I fixed her heart artery and she’s doing great now.

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u/Ross1303 Sep 25 '22

I have one from the other side of the coin sort of...

Daughter was born 3 months early and 1 pound 4 or 6 I forget which one.

Got GERD early on and had breathing difficulties too so was usually ventilated or on CPAP.

Anyways due to the GERD she had to have part of her bowel removed and stomas sorted.

9 months in she was tolerating enough oral food it was decided that her bowels could be reattached.

They came to move her to the operating theatre taking off the wall oxygen to a handheld cannister we had for being able to take her out and about. My wife followed the instructions we were given to turn the valve to off once no longer using it.

Anyways team preps her to be moved, get out the room, onto the corridor and and her oxygen level crashes and she needs resuscitation there and then, rushed back to her room and put on to the wall oxygen and she picked straight back up.

I tried to explain that it's possible that the cannister they used wasn't switched on which was met with "they are always on it's the excitement of the move out of the room why she's crashing"

Anyways she's recovered her levels and heart rate are sound they go for the move again, same oxygen cannister the lot ..... Exact same result but more difficult to bring back when she crashed again this time..

Back in the room, back on to the wall oxygen and Drs and nurses have said that she's too delicate to move and surgery needs to potentially be cancelled again.

Having seen her in such a way and having been ignored I was a little upset and after a reasonably heated argument about check the oxygen cannister used was on or off I was asked to leave the room and given a dressing down about speaking to staff whilst attempting to do their job, that I was lucky I wasn't abusive and in no way was the oxygen cannister to blame.

Sure as shit when they went to move her again I pleaded for the sake of my sanity could they just check the valve on the cannister was not switched off....... It was off.

So yeah we nearly lost our daughter twice for following the oxygen instructions we were given and the nurses actually having a different policy of never switching the valves to the off position and we're too adamant that they didn't check the equipment when moving her


u/phemonoe153 Sep 25 '22

This makes me so angry. WTF. Why not just LOOK after the first request?!!!!


u/ZeoVII Sep 26 '22

Ego trip, It took god knows how long for doctors to actually wash their hands before interacting with patients. Forgot the name of the guy that first made the connection, but he was dissed by the medical community of his time for such a preposterous claim that doctors hand could be dirty....

Similar story with pre-op checklist.....

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u/GrandOpening Sep 25 '22

Not the doc; the patient:

I was driving home on the interstate and my car started acting up. I pulled to the side and the fear/anxiety of being stuck in a dead car at such a busy/dangerous spot caused my blood sugar to tank. I was reaching into the glove compartment for glucose tabs when I passed out.
I came to to a police officer screaming at me. He kept yelling at me that he needed to know how much I had had to drink. I tried to answer, but couldn't form a coherent thought.
Suddenly, an EMT pops his head between the front seats from the backseat of my car. He states, "Sweetie, we REALLY need to know how much you drank so we can treat you." Seeing his badge, I was finally able to lock in on one thought: "SUGAR" I blurted.
Pikachu faced: "Are you diabetic??!" I nodded.
He opens a package of glucose gel and hands it to me. (By the way, that stuff tastes awful!)
Halfway through the gel pack, I calmly apologize to the officer for being unable to answer him earlier. He had to scrape his jaw up from the floorboard of the vehicle.
Some "drunks" are actually diabetics with severe hypoglycemia.


u/PacxDragon Sep 25 '22

My workplace was apparently (it was before I started) minutes away from firing a guy in the same condition. Managers were outraged that he was “drunk enough to have trouble walking yet still trying to get into his forklift”. They pulled a union rep into the office in preparation to grab the guy and fire him but the rep knew he was diabetic. Union rep started yelling at them “he’s not drunk he’s dying you idiots! Call an ambulance!”

This guy is now allowed to go to his locker hourly to check his levels.

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u/witeduins Sep 25 '22

Same thing happened to my mom but she was at her DOCTOR’S appointment that went over time. They treated her like she was a drunk.


u/ThoughtCenter87 Sep 25 '22

I hate it when medical professionals just assume the worst of somebody without making any attempts to understand what is actually going on. Unsympathetic people really shouldn't be in jobs where people's lives depend on them...

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u/-firead- Sep 25 '22

Living in an area with a lot of opioid use, it's a running joke how the police always narcan the diabetics

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u/phoenixbbs Sep 25 '22

Not a doc. I noticed a young woman slumped on the floor in a bus station, but everyone was ignoring them. I went over and asked if they were ok, but their speech was a little incoherent.

"Hi, have you had anything to drink ?" "N...n... Nooo... Br... bray... Brain surg... Surgery" "Oh sh!t..."

Ambulance called, and while we waited I was able to get some more info from her - she'd had surgery two weeks earlier, and something was clearly going wrong with it, possibly a bleed in the brain.

Luckily I asked the question, and hopefully they were able to treat her before it got any worse :-}


u/MasterGuardianChief Sep 25 '22

Good on you. You were someone's guardian angel that day.

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u/emptysee Sep 25 '22 Silver

I work in vet med. This thread is wild because my patients can't even speak and we're doing rads and full bw on a regular basis and almost every post here is someone who can't get a diagnostic until they're half dead but they can speak and tell their symptoms and advocate for themselves, it's crazy

my friend has a brain tumor but couldn't get any imaging done for weeks but her dog got cancer and got in the next morning


u/umeduskfox Sep 25 '22

This is something I never thought of before.

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u/Remixthefix Sep 25 '22

From the patient.

Severe night terrors, migraines, sore muscles, rapid weight changes. My mom would bring me into the clinics and ers and no one did anything. More than once I was accused of faking it to miss school, or of having a drug problem as young as 10 years old.

Moved in with my first boyfriend at 19. He started coming to Dr appointments because he swore I was dying in my sleep. Tests were run, but all normal until he just started dialing the ambulance every time I was "dying".

At 24 I was finally diagnosed with nocturnal epilepsy. I was having generalized tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures in my sleep my entire life.

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u/shinigami052 Sep 25 '22

I was the patient, none of my doctors noticed I had dextrocardia (heart is on the opposite side of my chest) until I was like 19. I even got x-rays every 6 months for like 10 years due to scoliosis and no one ever mentioned my heart issue (maybe it doesn't show up on a back x-ray, IDK I'm not a doctor). When they finally figured it out, my PCP asked me how all my other doctors missed it because you can't hear anything when you listen to the normal heart position...


u/Evsala Sep 25 '22

No, your heart silhouette shows on X-rays but they probably corrected for it mentally and thought that the film was flipped. Especially if it was a physical film and not electronic film.

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u/hellpyeah Sep 25 '22

My sister was diagnosed with a hematoma in her breast. Some specialist insisted on removing it, and did. Turns out, it was a tumor and was not removed properly. She fought inflammatory breast cancer for 8 months before passing away.


u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22

Please tell me you sued him and he lost his license.

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u/Carinne89 Sep 25 '22

Nurse here. I tell my students this one a lot. Had a very difficult long term dementia patient that some idiot higher up decided was appropriate to put in a four patient ward on an acute care floor (so people recovering from surgery ect. Not all dementia). This patient would scream and throw herself out of bed routinely all night. Finally got a sleeping pill ordered, and gave it three nights in a row as she wouldn’t stop screaming about the rats climbing on her and waking up the entire ward and the NICU on the other side of the wall. Fourth night I go in when she starts screaming, sleeping pill ready, and there’s a f*cking mouse on the windowsill next to her. Felt like such a jerk. Now when a delirious, dementia, or anesthetized patient says something off the wall, I always say “did you check though? Are you sure there aren’t [whatever crazy thing they are seeing]?”

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u/fivesforeveryone Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor, but I was pregnant with twins.

About 14-16 weeks into my pregnancy I started to feel very full (like a basketball was in my stomach). I began to have difficulty breathing and would not be able walk a block without squatting because I felt so heavy with this “basketball” feeling. I had to sleep sitting up right on the couch because I couldn’t breath lying down. Some other weird stuff started happening too that I would Google and feel wasn’t right.

Three times I brought up all these concerns to my doctor and she would wave them off every time. Even when I would ask her “if she was sure” (that was my first indicator: if I didn’t feel confident with my doctor I should have left and sought care elsewhere).

At 23 weeks I started leaking fluid and was sent the hospital. The doctors were stunned to realize that my doctor overlooked a serious issue (twin to twin transfusion syndrome). I got on a helicopter to go to another hospital to have the surgery. But by then it was too late. My body was stressed and they were born alive and then died about an hour later. I then had to go have surgery again and into the ICU cause I wasn’t doing so great.

But yeah. She fucked up.


u/eightcarpileup Sep 25 '22

I’m on pregnancy #2 after almost dying with my first because four different OBs ignored me. Told me I was just getting fat. Nope, my heart, lungs, and rest of my body were filling up with liquid. Had my husband drive me to the ER at 34wks and had an emergency c section to save my life. Obstetricians are supposed to listen to women but I’ve frequently found that lady OBs disregarded me at a 4:1 over their male counterparts.


u/meaniessuck Sep 25 '22

I second this! I’ve had a male OB/GYN for 30yrs. He saved my life with an emergency surgery after two female OB/GYNs dismissed me and my symptoms for 3 months and told me I was just “stressed” and didn’t understand how periods work.

Turned out I had an ovarian cyst the size of a honey dew melon bleeding into my abdomen and cutting off the blood supply to my ovary.

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u/ItsHipToBeSquare86 Sep 25 '22

My wife swears by having a Male OB. She says they’re better listeners since they don’t have any of the parts.


u/sanibelle98 Sep 25 '22

I totally agree! They can’t be dismissive like, “I had that pain with my first pregnancy and it was nothing. You’re fine.” I went to three female OBGYNs who all made me feel like a hypochondriac and then I found my male dr whom I’ve been with for almost 20 years.

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u/Ninjaa240 Sep 25 '22

This happened to me too! “You’re an obese 34 year old, of course you can’t breathe.” I had heart failure. As a nurse I am furious I allowed them to treat me this way, but the gaslighting was so effective that I believed them.

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u/BonFireFox_ Sep 25 '22

Oh no that's so sad... Sorry for the loss of your twins Doctors clearly suck sometimes

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u/foureyesoffury Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Patient here - I know, I know. After several years of odd symptoms and being brushed off by multiple doctors, I became insistent that it was more serious. At different points over two or three years, I had hearing loss, balance issues, vertigo, tinnitus, pain and just a general feeling that something was "off". I was diagnosed at different times with sinus issues and inner ear infections. My last appointment before being diagnosed I flat-out told the ENT doc that I had done some "research" and there was a possibility that it could be a brain tumor. I didn't ask - I TOLD her. I could see the stifled eye roll, she told me it was "very unlikely" and that the type of brain tumor that causes these symptoms are extremely rare. I'm sure she was thinking "Dr. Google" at it again. She ordered an MRI - in my opinion, mostly to pacify me. Guess what it turned out to be?? A golf ball sized brain tumor - benign, but large enough that it was pushing my brain stem out of the way. When the doctor called me with the results she sounded SHOOK.


u/mischa_is_online Sep 25 '22

One summer, my grandmother was having balance problems, which her family doctor assumed was a problem in her back or legs or something - classic "she's getting old" thinking. My mom kept bitching that the doctor was an idiot and she should have been considering a brain tumour. My grandmother kept blowing off my mom (who, like me, is a bit of a catastrophist), with the whole, "I won't question the doctor!" crap, but anyway, yeah, eventually she goes for an MRI, and - surprise! Brain tumour. They removed it that fall, and my grandmother went on to live another 21 years. Sometimes my mom and I are right and it's the worst-case scenario. At least it was benign and operable in this case.

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u/BobknobSA Sep 25 '22

Patient here. Told anesthesiologist that the general anesthetic was absurdly painful. He treated me like I was being a baby. He then paralyzed my lungs. His iv missed my vein and I didn't get any general. I was fully awake and suffocating while flopping around like a dying fish. Last thing I remember before I passed out was the surgeon telling the anesthesiologist that I "wouldn't remember anything anyway". Wrong.


u/iLikeLizardKisses Sep 25 '22

My dad is resistant to anesthesia but nobody believed him. He woke up in the middle of getting his gallbladder removed. He said he couldn't move, couldn't open his eyes, but could feel and hear EVERYTHING. His doctor didn't believe him until he recalled word for word part of a conversation the Dr was having with another person in the room.


u/BobknobSA Sep 25 '22

Nightmare fuel.


u/iLikeLizardKisses Sep 25 '22

He lived in my house for a year and there were several times he would wake up screaming because he was having a nightmare about it.


u/TURBOSCUDDY Sep 25 '22

This also happened to me, having my gallbladder out, remembering what the doctor said, even how it felt them pulling on me. Dr didn’t believe me until I told him that I heard him say “oh sht.” I never did find out what the “oh sht” moment was lol


u/BecGeoMom Sep 25 '22

I had two surgeries last year, and this was literally my greatest fear. It didn’t happen, thank the Lord, but I was worried about it.

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u/tiredafsoul Sep 25 '22

This is literally my worst nightmare and the root of my fear of surgery. I’m so glad you’re ok though and sorry you had to go through that!!


u/Soggy_Biscuit_ Sep 25 '22

I am also terrified of surgery, but my nightmare is hospital acquired infections. Huge cause of death/complications in inpatients, and surgery is peak infection vector.

The worst thing I've ever seen is people in ICU post-surgery whose chest cavity needs to remain "open". As in, they're just lying there zonked out with their chest open. I'm just a pharmacy technician, our porter was away so I did the deliveries that day and I was not ready for that.

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u/DiscoPino Sep 25 '22

Duuude, how did you survive?!


u/asdfcosmo Sep 25 '22

It’s actually quite simple. For an operation, a patient needs to be sedated then paralysed. Notice I wrote sedated THEN paralysed. Extremely rarely (and less common these days), a patient may not be adequately sedated and may be paralysed before their sedation works (sometimes this is human error such as administering the paralysis beforehand) therefore patients recall being awake, but unable to breathe for themselves, and unable to move. Of course, if a patient doesn’t breathe, they will die, so the anaesthetist will take over the patient’s breathing by inserting a breathing tube and breathing for them. It is rare these days for this to occur because there are special types of monitoring we can put on that will let us know how “asleep” the patient’s brain is.

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u/78738 Sep 25 '22

My 20 yo son went to his doctor complaining of an uncomfortable testicle. The doc blew him off until my kid insisted that something was wrong. Ultrasound ordered. Tumor. Cancer. Treatment. My kid is 34now and is fine. The doctor even called to apologize to him

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u/SnooComics8268 Sep 25 '22

The aunt of my best friend's was having a terrible headache, like nothing she ever felt before. Went to her doctor who told her it was probably migraine and prescribed her some hardcore pain killers. Next day the aunt is feeling even worse, they got to ER and get send away with the same message while she insisted this wasn't anything she had felt before and that it was way to intense, that it wasn't migraine they had a small fight in the ER and security was called to escort them out! That night aunt wakes up and is BLIND. They rush het to to ER were she is brought into coma and turns out she had meningitis but it was already too late to do something about it. She passed away 3 days later and left behind 2 small kids. But her ex husband didn't want to take in the kids because he has a new family and not enough "room" aka his new kids would have to share a bedroom because he has a 3 bedroom house, he is such an ass... so my best friend is now brining up her 2 kids + the 2 of her aunt's as a single mom.

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u/Mysterious_Ideal Sep 25 '22

I mean hard to be “compliant” and trustworthy of doctors when they’ve genuinely been shit to you. That’s not someone being unreasonable. Wish more medical professionals would realize plenty of so-called noncompliant patients have good reasons based on their actual life experiences to not trust all doctors.


u/chaos_almighty Sep 25 '22

I had to hold back my tears from a dr who fucked up a surgery on me (didn't do what they were supposed to do and made my pain worse) when they told me I'd have to live in pain for the rest of my life so that I didn't get "non compliant" on my file, grinding my chronic pain journey to a complete halt.

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u/GreenieBeeNZ Sep 25 '22

Patient here and nothing serious or life threatening but irritating all the same.

I have a lump on my face about the size of an acorn. It's been there for years but has been growing rather quickly over the 2-3 years. I'd been to see multiple doctors about it, looking for a proper diagnosis.

Most of them told me it was a subcutaneous cyst, there's nothing they would/could do and I should just try washing my face better.

Fast-forward to July this year and I visit a new doctor at a completely different office and he actually decides to see if he can "release some pressure" from the apparent cyst on my face. After 15 minutes of prodding he couldn't get any more than a few drops of semi-clear fluid out of it.

I have a benign tumor on my face and no body bothered to look any deeper than the surface level to find this out. I also have another lipoma (the type of cyst I have) deep in my lymph node directly below the original lipoma.

I have a plastic surgery appointment coming up sometime next year to deal with it


u/BCProgramming Sep 25 '22

My mom had what Doctors called a subcutaneous cyst on her neck. They kept saying it would shrink on it's own. it did not. So she finally has a procedure to remove it. The wound never actually heals though.

Finally, they actually look into it, do a biopsy or whatever and such. She had cancer, and it had started to spread, and she was given 5 years. She died 5 months later.


u/reigninspud Sep 25 '22

I’m so sorry you and your Mom experienced that.

My Father started getting really sick to his stomach around Christmas time. A lot of vomiting, being bedridden, etc. He’d always been very healthy, avoided the doctors cause he could. So this was odd.

He and my Mother went in to get him checked. They did CT scans and couldn’t find anything so they apparently guessed that maybe, yeah maybe let’s say it’s his gal bladder.

Appointment is scheduled to remove his gal bladder. The surgeries a few months from now. He is so sick. The problem seems more severe but defer to the doctors, right?

He finally goes for surgery and I will never forget the call from my Mom post surgery. When they opened him up they found cancer cells all over the place. Originated in his colon and had been allowed to spread at least partially due to this misdiagnosis.

To err is human. Unless you’re a doctor. Over the next six months I watched my tall, strong, larger than life Father wither away before my eyes. He died about 6 months after Christmas.

I honestly don’t know if a correct diagnosis initially would have made a difference, that’s impossible to know but the thoughts I had towards those doctors were…. Not good. I considered “revenge.” Considered a lot of things. Life was never the same without him.

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u/LKD3 Sep 25 '22

I’m so sorry. That’s terrible.

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u/froststorm56 Sep 25 '22

Family medicine doc here

I have a really hard time because I generally believe my patients and want to find out what is wrong with them, and then I send them to a specialist to get tests that I’m not allowed to order and they’re dismissed and not taken seriously.

It’s extremely frustrating.


u/Boudicca_Grace Sep 25 '22

My GP who has now retired kept receiving letters from Medicare saying he was ordering too many scans. His position was - “a patient comes in and complains of pain, I treat it but they come back still in pain, what am I supposed to do, ignore it?” I miss him.

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u/MeddlingDragon Sep 25 '22

Patient here. Words were wavy if I looked at them with my right eye, almost like a funhouse mirror effect. Also would occasionally lose some vision in the corner of that eye, blink, and it would be back. My father had a spontaneous retinal tear in his late 20s. I'm mid 30s. Ok, pretty sure I know what's going on. I go to the eye doctor.

I tell the doc my suspicion of retinal tear. She does all the tests. Asks if I am stressed. I say, yeah, work's been really bad lately. She says my optic nerve is inflamed but she doesn't see any issues with the retina. Might be stress related. Prescribes some steroid eye drops.

Shocker. Eye drops do nothing. After about 2 weeks, I call her back and say same symptoms are happening. She wants me to come back in for another exam but tells me over the phone that she doesn't refer patients to specialists. I'm like wait, should I be going to one? She gets really quiet. And then tries to get me to schedule another appt. I don't.

I end up finding a local retina specialist on my own and convince the front desk to get me an appointment without a referral. By this point, I've lost about 30% of my vision in the upper left quadrant of my eye. Retinal detachment. The doctor there doesn't understand why I waited so long to come in and how the regular eye doc didn't see it. Emergency surgery.

4 surgeries on that eye later (including cataract surgery) over a year's time, and I have 20/200 vision in that eye along with a large blind spot in my central vision caused by optic nerve damage. I'm not techinally blind in that eye but functionally am.

My new regular eye doctor is much more competent.


u/SlanskyRex Sep 25 '22

You should file a complaint against the first eye doc with your state board. "I don't refer to specialists" is straight up dangerous and she needs to be reprimanded for that. They will likely force her to work under a supervising doctor for a couple years to set her straight. Source: I work on medical board cases

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u/LordPepe2692 Sep 25 '22

Patient here

Got misdiagnosed with the flu twice before being taken by ambulance to the ER. It wasn't the flu. I was in septic shock from a sinus infection 🙃

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u/NyxAffinity Sep 25 '22

Nurse here!

I have many a story but one sticks out in particular. I work in elderly care and had a patient I had looked after for years. She had advanced dementia and would often go into a very sleepy and unresponsive state for a day or two. During one of these periods a dr had come in to do rounds and general reviews for my patients and insisted that the patient was palliative and wanted to use a syringe driver (end of life medications via automated syringe) as she wasn’t responding to voices and hadn’t been eating. Took a lot of work from myself and my team to convince the dr that she was in fact just having a ‘sleepy’ period and would be back to her normal self in a day.

Patient did go back to her normal self; alert and eating etc. She went on to live for about a year and a half after that incident. Very glad we knew her so well and able to give our input!

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u/1834927651892 Sep 25 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

3 year old kid with gastro, mother says the kid is floppy and weak but during examination he was climbing furniture and doing normal kid stuff. All objectively normal as far as its possible to do a Neuro exam on an uncooperative 3 year old. Advised to encourage fluids and small frequent meals, prescribed ondansetron and moved on cos its a busy ED with ambulances lining up by the minute.

24 hrs later he re-presents completely flaccid, gets intubated and flown to a tertiary centre. Turns out there's a super rare autoimmune reaction to certain GI pathogens that causes demyelination similar to Guillan Barre syndrome and I fucking missed it.

Every day there are thousands of kids that turn up to ED with gastro. Most of them are a bit flat cos they're exhausted, hungry and dehydrated. So are the parents. I can't MRI and LP every kid who presents lethargic after a bout of gastro, the number needed to treat is far greater than the number needed to harm. Medicine is largely a numbers game, we go for the most likely diagnosis acknowledging that sometimes we will miss the occasional unicorn, that's why we tell patients to come back if something changes or gets worse.

No one knows everything about medicine, and often patients turn up before their symptoms get bad enough to match the descriptions in the textbook. It's only a matter of time before you miss something bad. If it hasn't happened to you, then you haven't seen enough patients. When it does happen to you, it will burn itself into your brain forever. It will eat at you and keep you awake at night, but the only way to keep going is to find a way to persevere and learn so you never miss it again. Accept the fact that you are going to miss something again and change your practice to reflect this fact.


u/Tammytalkstoomuch Sep 25 '22

My son had chest issues, out of nowhere - laboured breathing. We went to the ER and was told he was fine, sent home. It didn't sit right with me, so the next day I went back, and they xrayed his lungs - pneumonia. They gave me antibiotics, and sent us home. About 2 days later, he's complaining about back pain. I can't imagine what might be going on and feeling stupid for bothering the ER, but back we go. Turns out it's referred pain from his pneumonia that is now significantly larger, and is the start of 3.5 weeks in various hospitals as they try to get his pneumonia under control, up to getting him prepped for surgery (although the surgery didn't happen and wasn't necessary in the end).

The thing is, none of that was the doctor's fault. I completely get that they see hundreds of people a day. It just made me passionate about (politely) advocating for my health and my child's health. In Australia we have a law called Ryan's Rule which basically means if a parent has a gut feeling that they are not getting the right care, they have the right to request a second opinion. It's a good thing, not because doctors are incompetent but because they are busy and not omniscient. It's really important.

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u/987jusrwanttovote Sep 25 '22

This is the only true answer imo, it’s making decisions ans assessments based on risks and probabilities of harm rather than certainty and there is always the risk of it being something serious! And kids with viruses could be totally fine or compensating prior to dying 😩

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u/bananahan17 Sep 25 '22

I'm an RN, used to work full time nights in the Psych ER. One night I was relief charge we had a patient come in, she had called 911 stating she had a parasite infestation in her gut. She was found digging through her own feces when EMS arrived, had a psych history and also likes meth so they sent her to us instead of medical. While I was getting her basic info she jumped up and said urgently she needed to use the restroom, and I quickly showed her the way. While she was doing her business I took a brief look at her chart and saw multiple recent medical admissions for her end stage liver failure. When I went to help her back to bed I saw what her stool looked like, I've seen a lot of poop in my career and it did not look like anything I've seen come out that end... Needless to say I immediately called the medical ER charge nurse and they took her right away thankfully. Within just a few hours they were sending her upstairs, admitting her to the MICU!

This unfortunately happens all the time for people who have mental illnesses, especially serious and persistent diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar. I now work outpatient in community mental health and in less than a year I've had 3 clients this happened to. Each went to the ER multiple times, were sent away without much of a workup because they were crazy/addicts, until they were too sick to ignore. 2 had esophageal cancer, both are deceased, one has lymphoma that is in remission and is doing remarkably well!


u/BECKYISHERE Sep 25 '22

I'm a call agent and its not actually my work but its become a thing I have developed now, if a customer starts telling me about medical symptoms, and they will, even if its not relevant to the call, if I think its a real issue I'll call the doctor for them.Often it is what you say customer has severe stomach issues but has been told it is anxiety.I always ask for a proper checkup. Just last week I had a customer in distress who said she could not see properly, the first doctor said this was hallucination linked to her schizophrenia, i called another doctor who thinks it is a cataract issue.

Some of my coworkers have now started telling me about customers they have encountered where they think a doctor is required, so this is at least helping some people.Even if it gives me much more extra work to do.I have now developed rapport with the doctors so that if I do say I think someone needs help, they will always listen to me.

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u/Brit_J Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 26 '22

Caveat, not a doctor, I'm a medic.

Saw 3 patients in a row who were clearly lingers (malingerers, using the military medical system to get out of work without actually being sick or injured.) Patient number 4 comes in and says basically she doesn't have any other symptoms but her ears are kinda sore and she wanted time off work. I instantly thought "Linger number 4 then" and was very dismissive.

Had to run every caase through a medical SGT who asked me if I'd actually done a full assessment before dismissing her. Admitted no and they rightfully told me off and made me go back and do my job properly.

So I return to the patient, take an actual look in her ears and to this day they were the most messed up ear canals I've ever seen. They had the bizarre scratch/cuts running down the canals and both ear drums full of blood and swollen. I was extremely apologetic and sent her straight to the doctor for an urgent review.

Taught me a valuable lesson I have never forgot about doing a full assessment on every patient, regardless of what I think about them or their symptoms.

Edit: For all those asking - I have no idea what was wrong with her ears. One of the downsides of working in my area is that once you pass a patient on you almost never hear about what happened after. My best guess is a sudden and intense infection that swelled her ear canals so fast the skin split, but it's just my guess.


u/Gloomheart Sep 25 '22 Helpful

More importantly, don't judge people based upon others behavior.

It wasn't patient 4s fault that 1-3 were "lingers."

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u/Tolkienside Sep 25 '22

God, the military medics and docs. I had pain that they ignored and was accused of malingering, screamed at, dismissed, ect. In the end, I had to have major surgery at the base of my spine that was completely avoidable.

If they were concerned about me skipping out on work, they could have thoroughly evaluated me in the beginning and avoided me being bedridden for almost two months.


u/YouJustSaidButFuck Sep 25 '22

I got a nurse practitioner relieved of station and sent to the fleet because she accused me of drug seeking because I wanted physical therapy to help my scoliosis. Told me I didn't have muscle spasms, called me a malingerer, whole 9 yards.

Went back to my command and wrote a formal complaint. Took 3 days to write it. Went straight to the master chief and my captain called the base captain that day.

Apparently I was not the only one having issues. I was, however, the only person brave enough to put in a formal complaint against a commander.

Got my physical therapist I after that.

Best lesson I learned from that: if you're willing to be patient and do enough paperwork, you can totally win almost whatever fight you want in the military.

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u/deadwlkn Sep 25 '22

We had a someone present at a sister aid station with chest pain or something equally bad. Medics on duty took their vitals and made them sit in the hot ass sun for over an hour to be transferred to us as their station was shutting down or something. My buddy was doing his assessment to figure out what the hell was wrong with them; when he checked his heart it sounded really off, kinda muffled or tinny. Come to find out they had paracardial effusion and was a ticking time bomb, Doc was PISSSSSSED .


u/Weevius Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 26 '22

I had chest pains last year from a pericardial effusion and I’m still dealing with it.

So day 1 my chest hurt, just to the left of my sternum, not a lot of pain but it was defo hurting, and I thought “wow that’s weird, I wonder what I’ve done”.

Day 2 and the pain has spread a couple of inches to the left and one to the right, and I said to my wife, “hmm this hurts as much as when I broke my collarbone, but I haven’t broken a collarbone this time”

Day 3 and I’ve driven over an hour for work - it’s just after lunch and I walk up a flight of stairs and can’t catch my breath, I go sit in the toilet for 20 mins until I’ve stopped sweating and I can breathe again. I head home early and carefully as I get dizzy in the car. When I’m home, I’m sat of the sofa very carefully as my chest hurts both sides from my collarbones to the middle of my ribs on the front, the wife leans on my shoulder to give me a kiss and I flinch because the pain increases. I fall asleep on the sofa sitting up.

Day 4 my chest really hurts now and I feel like crap, I message my boss “I’m feeling a bit rough, going to take afternoon off and try to book an appointment with the GP”. I use the online form for the GP and expect an appointment some time next millennium, instead they call me within 10 mins and ask me to go in immediately. I turn up for my appointment but they have a queue so I sit in the waiting room for 30mins, they call me in and by the time I’ve walked the 10 metres to their door I’m dizzy, panting and sweating. I turn left to enter their room and reach for the door handle on the right and miss, they stand up and guide me to a bed. They call an ambulance and I’m sent straight to a&e.

I honestly thought it was nothing until halfway through day 3 and that it was something minor like pleurisy in day 4. Everyone else involved thought it could be very serious - aortic dissection was a contender for a while. I even said to the paramedics “I googled my symptoms and it was either a heart attack or heartburn, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t either of those which I was I landed on pleurisy”. It was actually pericarditis (imflammation of the pericardium (tissues around the heart) and some fluid - the pericardial effusion) fun times! 1/10 would not recommend.

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u/BonFireFox_ Sep 25 '22

Lucky someone was there to tell you to go back, not a doctor so idk what might have happened but those ears did not sound good.


u/Brit_J Sep 25 '22

Potentially she could have lost her hearing entirely depending on what caused it. I have never been more grateful to have been put in my place.

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u/drewbs86 Sep 25 '22

It is interesting, the idea that the 3 previous patients affected your decision making on a patient. That's a very human thing that I think most of us would be guilty of doing in our respective jobs. Like you say, it's a very valuable lesson.

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u/celticscolie Sep 25 '22

Patient here.

I had a tumor on my foot that my PCP said was a fatty deposit that kept getting bigger because I was gaining weight. I forced the issue once I struggled to wear some shoes and it would throb and be painful if I put pressure on it.

Doctor still didn't want to send me for testing because he thought I was being vain. He finally sent me to a surgeon after an ultrasound came back that it looked abnormal. The surgeon poked it, told me it was a fatty deposit and the pain was in my head. She refused to biopsy it to save me money. She removed it and then sent it out for testing.

It ended up being cancer. I had two additional surgeries and was on bed rest for three months with a fucking hole in my foot because the initial surgery destroyed the integrity of the skin. I now have two giant scars on my foot and inner thigh...so it's a good thing I wasn't actually just being vain.

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u/umopap1sdn Sep 25 '22

The average endometriosis patient has her pain dismissed for seven years before diagnosis. In my case it was only diagnosed after a life-threatening complication, which developed about a quarter century after my symptoms first appeared.


u/deagh Sep 25 '22

44 when I got my diagnosis. First time I passed out from pain and blood loss I was 17. So I absolutely feel your pain.


u/[deleted] Sep 25 '22



u/elle73 Sep 25 '22

I’ll never understand parents not believing their own children.

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u/niamhmc Sep 25 '22

I have memories of a (male) doctor literally laughing in my face when I told him the severe back and abdominal pain I experience gets worse during my period. Once he finished laughing he sent me home saying it was normal… didn’t get the surgery until 6ish years later and it changed my life.

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u/jelliethief Sep 25 '22 Wholesome Faith In Humanity Restored

The reason I'm dedicating my career to improving diagnosis of endo through ultrasound!

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u/kajnbagoat7 Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

A patient came to our emergency department with complaints of loin to groin pain. It’s a typical presentation of kidney stones. I started them on the needed meds and it wasn’t enough and I just finished medical school and it’s around my first day of emergency posting. I was following protocols and told the patient to wait a little bit before I could give the next dose of anti inflammatory+ pain meds in a 50ml NS solution. Patient says he couldn’t bare it. I kept insisting I have to follow protocols. The pain became so unbearable that he vomited, peed blood as the stone ruptured a little bit of the ureter ( which I couldn’t do anything about anyway as we later found out he was peeing blood for past 3-4 days). As soon as he vomited we gave him the meds and then saw the blood and then took him to emergency OT and the urologist came and did the needful.

Me not giving him the pain meds didn’t cause any harm but yes it could have saved him some horrible discomfort. I learnt that day sometimes just need to listen to the patient first and not protocols. So as soon as someone with any trauma comes I first focus on relieving their pain.

I worked in a rural set up with lots of factories around. So there were so many hand and foot injuries and mechanical amputations. I became an expert at giving anaesthetics that ease pain for that area involved in the amputation. I always remember that guy’s face in extreme pain. I can never forget .

Also one of the least understood things among medical fraternity is Diabetes type 1. So often the Doctors don’t know it well and the patients are given wrong advice. Also learnt this the hard way. Patient felt little weird and stopped the dosage and I was like you can’t stop taking the dosage that way. Then realised her blood glucose was dangerously low. I realised that day patients are our best teachers sometimes.

Also, working in a rural set up without good access to labs and good materials. I remember running around like a madman to resuscitate a case of OP poisoning (organophosphate) . The nurses aren’t well trained, the intubation kits aren’t well maintained. But phew made me a better doctor overall. Now I can manage any case with a cool head.

My best memory is a guy walking into the ER with a bunch of his intestines in one hand and a sickle in the other hand . He was attacked by somebody and the police brought him. After handling that case I’m just confident in handling anything lol.

Edit: Lol the spellings and sentence formations are horrific. Sorry guys.


u/catsasss Sep 25 '22

My husband experienced sudden, severe onset of pain, so we rushed to the nearest ER. By that point he was wailing and vomiting, then a man in a white coat flapping behind him came through the doors, yelling “I HEAR A KIDNEY STONE!” Yep, it was kidney stones.

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u/Chastity1419 Sep 25 '22

I know you asked doctors; however I'm a patient with the story. In high-school I started getting lower body pain. The first doctors I went to dismissed it as period cramps, stress, and/or being over weight. Over the next year I continued to see doctors and had several tests run, the test where you drink fluid and they follow it to see if something is going on inside, the vaginal scope, and several others. After about a year my doctor sat my mother down and told her it was all in my head. My parents stopped believing me and I was told to get over it.

Graduation! I get an incredible opportunity to go to France see Chamonix, visit Paris, and stay in Chantilly. A few days in I start throwing up bile. I cant eat. I cant sleep. The only relief is taking a bath. I am staying with a host family and use pretty much their allotment of water. A few days more and I can't walk. I call my parents and tell them I'm dying. The host family happens to be affiliated with a hospital in Creil and rush me in. I have a battery of tests which is rare due to their medical policies. Ah! I am believed.

My appendix had burst and leaked into my other organ space. They aren't sure for how long but I had peritonitis, my organs were shutting down, and needed immediate surgery. They had to scrape plaques of my liver, kidneys, and stomach. I was in the hospital for a month because the hole they cut had to be packed daily. It was so deep I got to learn how to stick my hand inside my own body, spray iodine and pack it.

I missed the 4th of July, visiting Nice and the world cup, however I am alive!

I want to give a shout out to my host family for beleiving me. French doctors for listening to one of my only French words, dollar!! (Pain), and say fuck US Healthcare and any doctor who doesn't take the time to listen to patient needs. I want to also say to anyone that says "stop faking it," to their friends and family if they don't believe- you may be destroying your relationship with that person. They will never trust that you care about them again.

I am so grateful for all the hardworking doctors and nurses I get to work with now and will always advocate for patients as needed. Thank you for asking this question OP as I didn't know I needed to share this experience.

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u/iimJustChillin Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor but an actual patient.

When I was 5 a baseball struck the back of my neck(this is the only thing we can think that caused it). I developed Hydrocephalus(fluid in the brain due to a little flap in your neck not opening to release fluids.) I had MASSIVE migraines daily for almost a year and a half. I went through so many scans and had 3 spinal taps done in the span of a month(from my understanding this is extremely dangerous.)

Finally after a year of drs not knowing wtf is wrong and probably assuming I was faking, my dumbass 5 year old self insisted the eye Dr do an exam because my brother just had one.

Dr Dallas looked into my eye and saw I had massive build up of fluids and I had a shunt placed into my head less than two weeks later. 22 years later it still works perfectly.

I’m sure the Dr isn’t alive anymore but that man probably saved my quality of life if not my life in general.


u/ArgentStar Sep 25 '22

Doesn't quite fit the brief, but when I was 30 I was doing some sit-up and felt a sudden twinge in my back. Figured it was just a pulled muscle, but pretty quickly the pain got to the point where I could only take shallow half-breaths or it would be excruciating. I could still take deep breaths, but if I did it was like having a red-hot knife stabbed through my back. Went to A&E and they thought the muscle had locked up and so prescribed me diazepam. Didn't help. Ended up taking the entire prescription by the end of the night just so I could sleep for a couple of hours.

Next day things hadn't improved and I knew they were obviously wrong about the muscle spasm. Got an emergency appointment with a GP. Someone my mum hates and has always slagged off for being routinely incompetent as long as I can remember. This doctor prescribed two paracetamol to a woman who'd fallen down a flight of stairs, cracked her head and come in with "the worst headache of my entire life". She died two days later from a brain haemorrhage. Not great, but I guess people make mistakes. Thankfully she made up for that one by sending me for a CT scan on a hunch. Turned out I had a bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots blocking vessels in both lungs).

Extremely unusual at that age and with no clotting disorders or other issues. Almost certainly saved my life. Even treated, I'm told chances of survival for someone who was in my condition on arrival weren't great. While I was in the hospital bed waiting for the scan, I was seeing "shadow people" in my peripheral vision. Very strange experience, but not scary as I knew it was a hallucination. Probably due to oxygen deprivation.

Since had six confirmed DVTs. Including two while on the full dose of medication for treating DVTs. Which shouldn't even be possible, apparently. But still have no diagnosed clotting disorder of any kind. On blood-thinners for life. Which kinda sucks, but at least I'm not dead. :)

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u/GrandmasGenitals Sep 25 '22

patient here:

i told my doctors my balls felt like they were kicked by Mirko cro cop wearing steel toe boots. he said “it’s probably your appendix”.

i said no buddy, it’s my balls. not my appendix. after they put some weird shit in an IV and did a cat scan, they found it wasn’t my appendix as i said.

so instead we did an ultrasound on my testicles. turns out i had testicular torsion & i was right the whole time.

appendicitis was the next year

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u/cxc9001 Sep 25 '22 Gold

ER doc here. If you're a halfway decent doctor, even if you're fairly sure the patient is wrong, you don't wait until it gets serious before doing the workup. If your ego gets in the way of patient care, get out of the business.


u/umeduskfox Sep 25 '22

Thank you for putting this in the thread. I've had a really rude doctor before who basically told me to shut up and get to the point. She pretty much told me I was stupid and knew nothing. She was racist. Never again. I don't put up with bullshit like that as someone who has a lot of diagnoses.

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u/DocDark12 Sep 25 '22

TW: Gross

You know how kids are dewormed by giving some medicines? Yeah a kid got all those dead worms tangled up like a ball in their stomach. We thought they were kidding until we opened that kid up.

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u/EstaLisa Sep 25 '22

patient story. fault lays with private insurance system in switzerland.

my sister endured reoccuring excruciating abdominal pain for two days. super swollen belly, pain made her puke, couldn‘t walk, her husband had to drag her across the appartment on a blanket to the restroom. her insurance plan requires a phone call to determine if a doc is needed. was dismissed, they thought she had some kind of food poisoning. when she stated extreme pain the operator asked if „she felt she was dying“. (note we had a tough upbringing, leading to intense pain resistance. my mom, siblings and me are the kind to die standing as i use to say.) so my sister answered no. she thought something was wrong with her IUD.

the day after she refused to call in again and directly went to her doc. after an ultrasound she was directly flown into hospital by helicopter (she lives in a touristic mountain place, ambulance would have taken too long to ER) and had emergency surgery and blood transfusions.

turns out she had been bleeding out more than a liter from a ruptured tube from an etopic pregnancy. she would not have survived the day.

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u/lizzardqueen14 Sep 25 '22

RT here. We had an intoxicated patient come into the ER with with an eyebrow laceration. She was telling the doc her boyfriend had shot her, but we all thought she was being dramatic. It looked like she just took a good slug to the face, and she got stitched up. An X-ray was done to check for a fracture and I’ll be damned there was a .22 that popped up on it. It had hit her orbital and kind of bounced off to the point it stayed outside her skull but under the skin. You could actually feel the bullet above her ear.


u/TrashCarrot Sep 25 '22 Wholesome

I bet you'd also be dramatic if you got shot in the face and the ER didn't believe you.

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u/HBrianGriffin Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

NAD. Diabetes.

My stomach had been upset for some time no matter what I ate. Went to the doctor and I brought up the possibility of being diabetic. He says “you’re too young and not overweight” then he suggested a diet change. Did the diet change and about a month later I noticed the bottoms of my feet were tingly so again I went to the doctor and brought up diabetic and he again said you’re too young and not overweight. I told him I want to be tested anyways and so got out an A1C test. Sat there for 5 min telling me How it was not possible for me to have diabetes and then ding! Test was done. Diabetic a1c of 9. The look on his face..got that shit to 5 in under a month. He calls my situation PPP: piss poor protoplasm..whatever that means

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u/bd3851 Sep 25 '22

A Guatemalan immigrant 10 years old who spoke no English was having seizure-like movements (not typical seizures) for weeks after traumatically seeing her mother pass a stillborn fetus at home. She thought her mom was dead after the mother fainted. This girl was in the hospital for weeks, had a thorough work up, all teams concluded it was pseudo-seizures (psychogenic, post-traumatic). She and her family insisted it was “real” and not psychogenic. Some teams were quite dismissive of them. We decided she would be best served at a med-psych rehab facility. The day she left one of the senior doctors suggested a very unlikely blood panel. I drew it myself because she was literally about to roll out to rehab. It came back weeks later positive for NMDA encephalitis (brain on fire syndrome).

Lessons: I think some teams were more dismissive because of her enthnic/language background. Always keep this bias in mind. Some diseases present in very unusual ways so keep an open mind. I tried to help her sue us / the hospital, but wasn’t possible. Still haunts me years later.


u/doublestitch Sep 25 '22

Patient here. One Friday I was rearranging furniture and started feeling abdominal pain. At first I figured it was a bellyache from eating junk food at an internship and tried to ignore it, but it got worse so I lay down. Over the next few hours the pain grew much worse so I thought This is lower right quadrant, that's where appendicitis would be. Better get it checked out.

At the local ER thehe doctor pooh-poohed my symptoms and sent me home with pain pills.

Maybe I should have returned to the ER before I passed out from pain, but Vicodin doesn't exactly help a person think clearly. Monday morning I shuffled into the campus health clinic and they sent me to see a gynecologist, who does an exam and refers me to the ER at a women's hospital.

The ER had a bunch of doctors examine me and kept me overnight for observation. I asked for a laparotomy. They pooh-poohed the request and discharged me the next morning without a diagnosis. They scheduled an outpatient appointment for a follow-up ultrasound for Thursday. By Wednesday I was moving really slowly. Thursday I went in for the test and wailed in agony when they ran it.

The bloodcurdling scream accomplished something that none of my other efforts at communication had: somebody realized there was an actual problem.

Finally I get a laparoscopy (my request three days earlier had been a good call; had just asked for an older version of the diagnostic). And this go-around nobody's wasting any time.

When I woke up there were eleven staples holding my abdomen together. My very dead ovary had been through three complete rotations and had been rotting inside my abdomen for several days. If it had gone untreated much longer it would have killed me.

And if any of half a dozen physicians at either of two hospitals had taken my report of pain seriously enough to run an ultrasound without waiting nearly a week, then they might have saved it without needing surgery.


u/umopap1sdn Sep 25 '22

So sorry you went through that. I think it happened to me once or twice while my endometrioma was growing (self-resolving torsion, which is apparently a thing). Either that or it just kept rupturing and repairing itself. (A rupture eventually gave me peritonitis that led to laparoscopy and salpingio-oopherectomy.) There are plenty of people I despise, but I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy.

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u/Phenomenal2313 Sep 25 '22

Clinical Pharmacist here , a caveat here

A patient comes to the ER walks calmy and blankly tells me , he has an ice pick stabbed on his back from a fight with his drunk neighbor

I’m like you get stabbed with an ice pick , you should be DOA , patient decided to take his shirt off and behold a fukcing ice pick stuck on his back

Emergency surgery and of the nurse goes near me and says “ You fucked up”


u/fiendishrabbit Sep 25 '22

People can ignore all sorts of insane injuries. When I did a stint in emergency services an ice pick in someones back wasn't the worst I've seen on a walking patient. Even if it hits something "bleedy" the icepick does not create a very wide wound-channel. So as long as the ice-pick is stuck there it can plug up the wound so that it doesn't bleed too much.

Generally for EMTs, if someone has been stabbed/spitted and the implement is still there you just secure it so that it doesn't move around too much (and if it's too long you cut off the excess if possible). Then you let the people in surgery do the removal and bloodvessel-repairs and what-not.

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u/ilovethatdog Sep 25 '22

Yet another patient story.

When I was about 17 I got a hangnail and clipped it with nail clippers. I must've knicked my skin because I got an infection. A red line then went from my thumbnail where I clipped the hangnail up my arm. We go to the urgent care and I was told it was blood poisoning or something and I got an antibiotic shot and was sent home with cefalexin and was told to take it for 10 days.

7 days into it I suddenly get extremely dizzy. I can barely see. I try to go to the school nurse and she wasn't there. I didn't have a ride home and since I have health issues I assumed it was related to that and managed to stick out the rest of my day and go home. That was on a Friday. I stopped taking the antibiotic. Saturday morning I couldn't keep any food down. Saturday evening I am in and out of consciousness, I have a fever of 104, blisters in my throat, and I couldn't stop coughing. Back to urgent care. The "doctor" there said that it was an upper respiratory virus and there wasn't anything he could do. He wouldn't even give me ibuprofen for the fever. We asked about an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and he said it wasn't possible since I was on it for so long. I go home and spend the rest of the night with an uncontrollable cough and in and out of consciousness.

Sunday comes and a rash starts behind my ears and goes down to my stomach. It was a mottled rash. Sunday night I can't stand up without coming within millimeters of fainting. I couldn't see, everything was dark and my breath was ragged. I hadn't eaten really anything, the rash was spreading, and I couldn't stay awake. Go to the ER this time and the doctor there wouldn't come near me. He said it was measels and that being fully vaccinated for it doesn't mean anything. I said I hadn't come into contact with measels and he said I must have. But, he didn't treat me for measels. He just stood as far away from me as he possibly could, and did nothing for the measels he insisted I had. We asked about an allergic reaction and he said it wasn't possible and sent me home. I thought I would die that night. I felt like I was dying in my couch and that my mom would come in and find me dead.

Monday morning I wake up and I feel much better. I still had the rash but I was lucid and able to eat and walk around. I got an emergency appointment with my primary doctor. I told the medical assistant while being triaged what happened and she wrote in huge letters "NO CEFALEXIN" on my chart. The nurse practitioner in training comes in and hears my story and then underlines the assistant's note. Then my doctor comes in and confirms it was the cefalexin that did it. I was allergic and instead of having a regular reaction it built up in my body and I was in shock. Both he and the nurse practitioner in training told me I could've died. And I was told if I take it again I won't be so lucky. Benadryl cleared up the rash in a few days.

Edit: fixed typo and corrected something I had said

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u/reflectorvest Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor but a patient. I had knee pain when I joined the throwing team in 7th grade, but my leg only hurt when I ran at the beginning of practice so they attributed it to me being chubby. Then the next year it hurt when I was throwing, but again, there’s nothing wrong just lose weight. 9th grade marching band practice, I dislocated my knee while marching. Asked by 4 doctors if I tried losing weight because that had to be the problem and got lectured when I said I tried but my leg hurt when I exercised. Ended up dislocating the same knee 5 more times during high school, each time was attributed to my weight (for context, I was a size 14/16 in high school). In college it got much worse, most likely because I was walking and climbing stairs more, and when it got to my knee cap popping in and out 3-4 times a week, they finally ordered an MRI. Took the orthopedic surgeon 30 seconds to see the birth defect in my knee that was causing my dislocations. Told me there was absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent it and they were concerned that I could do permanent damage to my knee without corrective surgery. No fewer than 7 doctors wrote the issue off as weight-related when it was part of the reason I was overweight to begin with.

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u/Zye2011 Sep 25 '22

Not a doctor, but received a lot of medical knowledge and training through nursing school.

When we were in the navy, my buddy hurt his hand playing football. He asked me about it that evening and I told him it sounds like he has a hairline fracture and he probably should get it imaged to confirm.

He goes to navy medical, tells the doc what happened. He said that he told the doctor that his friend (me) had a decent amount of medical knowledge, thought it was a hairline fracture and recommended he come in and possibly get it imaged. The doctor's response was, " Well...is your buddy a doctor? No? Well then, I have good news, it's not a hairline fracture!".

3 days later my buddies entire wrist is black and blue, he goes back, doctor orders imaging. Confirms hairline fracture and now basically bone death in wrist requiring surgery and a bone graft from his iliac crest.

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