“It Shocks You How They Managed To Evade Death For That Long”: Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Patients They’ve Encountered


Life is a miracle, not just in the sense that it seems quite infrequent in the universe, but that some people, despite seemingly their best efforts, are still alive. Common sense is not nearly as common as one might think but through the magic of the internet, we can read and hear about all the unhinged thoughts people have had.

A netizen asked medical professionals about patients who had so little common sense that they were surprised they had managed to live so long. The responses were both terrifying and hilarious in equal measure, so get comfortable as you scroll through, upvote your favorite stories, and comment your own experiences. 


Optometrist here. If I had a nickel for every time someone said they use urine for eyedrops I would have $0.10. Which is not a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice.

Image credits: Aeder42


Saw a chart once where a person came in for a burn to their eye. They told the Dr they read online that warm milk in the eye can help with irritation and their eyes were irritated. So they BOILED milk and then poured it in their eye. Burned it all.

Image credits: likeeggs


I'm in the ER. So many stories.
The one that left me dumbfounded was a woman was brought in by her sister for pelvic cramps, amenorrhea for three months. Lo and behold, she's pregnant.
Sister informs me that she sleeps with the Brazilian construction workers building the condo complex next door.
I ask if they have any questions.
The patient asked me if her baby would come out speaking Spanish.
After a long pause, and her sister staring at the ceiling, I told her, No, because they speak Portuguese in Brazil.
Patient seemed relieved and the sister hustled her out of the ER before I could discharge her.

Image credits: AMostSoberFellow

To be fair, pre-modern health specialists had just as little common sense as some of the patients mentioned here. Bloodletting was a shockingly common procedure that generally left the person weak and more susceptible to disease, and it’s particularly strange how often it was employed given that at the time people did already know how important it was to have blood.

Traditional Chinese medicine goes even further, as one of the main funders of the ivory trade. Multiple animal species are at risk because people, despite living in a modern, educated society, still think a random rhino’s horn will magically heal them. Even though they can very easily compare the effects of traditional medicine compared to modern medicine, people still chose the former.  


I used to be a medical oxygen tech, mostly doing in home work.

One guy was on such a high concentration that he would have drawn nearly zero oxygen from breathing regular atmosphere. This required 2 heavy duty machines hooked up in tandem just to keep him barely alive. This was explained ad nauseum to him and his wife with full signed documentation of every conversation.

They'd shut one machine off because they decided it was too loud. He'd take his mask off because he decided it was too cold. She would unplug the hose if she decided it was in the way. So on and so on, literally everything you could think of that would restrict or cut off his oxygen intake.

Then they would panic and call our emergency service when he started to have a reaction to no oxygen intake. I lived not even 5min away, right beside out EMS/Fire Station, and the call would always come to me to "fix" the machines at random times of the day and night, 3-7 days a week. They refused to call 911 because they 'didn't want to make a scene'.

This went on for ages, well over 18 months, until he was having trouble sleeping one night and shut the machines off before going back to bed. Its been years and I still see the wife around town, she always glares at me as if I'm the one who killed him.

Image credits: TheAgentLoki


Rural ER doc here: 35 year old female walks in with right sided jaw/neck swelling. “ I think it happened because I ate some meat yesterday that my body is reacting to” … 10 minutes later : “oh yeah, and I accidentally swallowed a bee and it stung me in my mouth right before this happened. Sorry I forgot to mention that”

Image credits: Shoeflinger


Had a patient come in for facial burns because he smoked while wearing his the same week....

Image credits: MrWizard311

Other attempts to systematically approach medicine have just as many strange ideas. The ancient Greeks, for all their developments, still believed that the body was run by four humors that correspond, improbably, to earth, wind, water, and fire. How exactly earth and fire were vitally important to the operation of our body was never properly explained, as one doesn’t have to be a modern scientist to see how fire can hurt a lot more than it heals. 


Former practicing surgeon:

Male came in with a small bowling pin up his backside, for the third time!

Image credits: BeerisAwesome01


I worked ED for 10 years. Everyday. Everyday people come in and it shocks you how they managed to evade death for that long.

One of the worst was we had a guy come in. He was a twin. He told us he needed to get checked for STDs because his sister apparently just got one. We of course had to ask if he has had sex with her and he said no, but they were twins so what she has, so does he. After a collective sigh of relief that this wasn’t some weird Alabama your my sister s**t, we had to educate him that is not how it worked at all.

Image credits: Noname_left


I'm a vet. A few years ago I had a client bring his young cat in complaining of lethargy. Besides being a bit underweight, the physical exam was unremarkable so I asked more questions about the cat's diet:

Me: What do you feed the cat?

Owner: [online trendy raw food brand]

Me: How is his appetite? Does he finish what you feed him?

Owner: Yes, he always eats everything.

Me: How much do you feed him?

Owner: 1/2 cup.

Me: Once or twice daily?

Owner: Once every 3 or 4 days.

Me: ........ You only feed your cat twice a week?

Owner: I believe in a more natural feeding approach, and based on my research that's how often cats eat in the wild.

This owner was slowly starving his cat to death based on some cockamamie idea he'd made up watching National Geographic. I had to explain to him that domestic cats are not tigers, and that small wildcats eat 10-20 small meals daily. Surprise surprise the cat's lethargy and weight improved with regular feeding.

Image credits: birdlawprofessor

Medieval logic had a certain logic to it, however. Once you accept that the disease is supernatural, generally a sign or punishment from God, then the doctor can focus on treating the symptoms, as the cause is, obviously, the transgressions of the victim. This also meant that doctors could easily explain why draining a person's blood seemed to kill them, as really it was God’s punishment, not poor medicine at fault. 


Had an adult male patient who needed a Foley catheter. His mother was in the room, and they both lived together in the backwoods of TN. I informed them both of the order for a catheter, how it works, and why it was needed. His mother stated “Well he’s still a virgin and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with his virginity being taken in a hospital.”


Not me but my wife who is a vet: had a client who got mad at her because he didn't realize that once he neutered his dog that he wouldnt be able to breed it.

Image credits: StrebLab


Not me but my mother would pick up shifts as a nurse sometimes in Labour and Delivery and she had met a handful of women who didn’t know the baby was going to be coming out of their vaginas. Like no clue. My mom usually said something like “how you got it in is how it’s coming out honey”. This was the late 90 early 2000s.

Image credits: QuailPuzzled1286

This is also why people would often travel to monasteries to be healed. If the affliction is divine in nature, one would have to fix their relationship with God to get anything done. On the one hand, this would actually remove some sick individuals from urban centers, although we now can imagine the strain that pre-car overland travel would have on an ill individual. 


Not a personal experience, but one from a colleague of mine (I only saw the pics).

So this 60 something year old suffers from an acute complication and gets a Pacemaker to solve the problem. Everything goes normally and as planned, he recovers, every care and meds that he needs to take are prescribed, explained and medical appointments with a Cardiologist/Arritmologist are scheduled so that he may get the follow-up he needs.

The man then prooceds to never show up to any appointment and never answear any calls from the hospital to know of him and reschedule. This went on for around 3 years. Until he shows up without former warning and asks to talk with the doctor that did the procedure to put his pacemaker. People are weirded out but seeing that on that day the doctor was present and this patient was in clear distress, they talk to him and manage a couple of minutes to have the doctor check on him.

Inside the appointment room, the doctor takes notice that this man is wearing a bra inside his shirt. The man explains he has been wearing his daughters bra for 3 months after his "problem" got worse. The shirt is asked to be taken off and there he stands, the shirtless man wearing his daughters bra, showing off the pacemaker, that should have been kept inside his body, dangling outside of it, being hold by the left bra cup, with a big infected open wound above it with the pacemaker leads still inserted onto his veins and connected to his heart.

Nobody has any idea how the man let that situation come to be or how he didnt die of sepsis or any other health problem that may appear for that matter.

TLDR: Man gets a Pacemaker. Doesnt show up to appointments. Three years later comes to the hospital looking for help, wearing his daughters bra for 3 months, to serve as a holder for the pacemaker that got out of his body from his infected open wound.


Former vet tech. Had a women scream at me and my vet for telling her it's the law to have your dog vaccinated against rabies. She said the rabies vaccine causes autism in dogs and makes puppies stupid.

Side note: 3 weeks later her puppy died of parvo. She got another one immediately after and did not clean her home. 2 more died in the following months. Animal control and the city had to get involved.

Image credits: angels_exist_666


Diabetic patient with foot ulcers that kept being infected with a lot of different gut microbes. Turned out he used to put his foot in the toilet and scrub the open ulcers with the toilet brush.

Image credits: Conservative_Persona

Many of these practices stayed around until the 19th century, when, finally, a more systematic approach was applied. George Washington, for example, had his blood drained as a response to a sore throat, which most likely made a common ailment worse and resulted in his death. There doesn't seem to have been a good understanding among medical specialists that the same procedure they had done for over a thousand years was, actually, killing people. 


Working midnight in the ER.

Family brings in a 4 year old at 2 am-ish. I ask them what is wrong.

Them: “Ask him (the 4 year old). He said he needed to see a doctor.”

Me: “Did he say anything was wrong?”

Them: “No. He said he needed to see a doctor, so brought him.”

[A quick back and forth that firmly establishes that they actually showed up in the ER at 2 am, purely because the 4 year old said he needed to see a doctor and they don’t know why]

Me to child: “Why do you need to see a doctor?”

Kid: “The doctor has suckers.”

Me: ?

To be clear, it is the parents who lack sense and not the kid.


Woman comes in with no prenatal care to labor and delivery in labor.

OBGYN Resident taking a history: Do you have any allergies?

Patient: yes I’m allergic to water

Resident: …ok… what kind of reaction happens when you drink water?

Patient: oh it makes me pee

Yeah lady that’s a feature not a bug

Image credits: xsate


My mom is an OBGYN, in the field for over 30 years. The stories I hear from her blow my mind. She had a patient, pregnant with her second child, who genuinely believed small pieces of her organs traveled through the umbilical cord and into babies. That’s how they get their organs.

Image credits: Primary-Contract-557


This was one of the funniest yet cutest one, was a studen doing a shift in Andrology/reproductive health

Doc: *So you’re trying to have kids but not managing to. So do you have any other kid?*

Patient: *yes Doc I have one.
Doc: *ok so we need to do this and this and that
Patient: *Ok great*

Then he proceeds to visit him and stuff, after which he goes away.

After a couple secs he knocked the door again saying: *Hello Doc, my wife told me that it would be relevant to you that the son I have is adopted, but that’s make no difference to me I always considered my own son!*


Just yesterday a child patient needed a blood transfusion. The mother was apprehensive because they thought their kid could be vaccinated through the transfusion.

Image credits: Chiperoni


I have a heard a story about a patient on whom it was impressed that she couldn't miss her fractions of radiotherapy if she was busy, and to inform us if she couldn't make the appointment.

She couldn't make it. So she sent her *twin sister* to receive the radiation therapy in her place. She answered yes to all the ID Questions. Had the same birthday etc.

It was noticed when radiographers had trouble matching her to the CT. Because the CT was of a person who had undergone a mastectomy. Whilst the "patient", still had both breasts.

This, many years later, is told to new staff during training about the importance of ensuring correct identification - because you would be stunned the number of people who try to skip the queue. The number isn't high. But it isn't Zero.

Image credits: Kenobi_01


A family members worked at a hospital and had a patient come in with really strange physical and seemingly neurological issues.

Couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Didn’t match anything he knew of and tests were inconclusive.

He asked her to walk him through her day.
Turns out she was drinking a cup of bleach a day and bathing in it to keep clean and healthy her whole life. Same with her family…. Who all died very young.

She could not accept that drinking bleach was bad for her health.


While in PA school I was educating a guy and his pregnant wife on a vasectomy. I’m about halfway through my deal when he cuts me off and asks, ‘Just give it to me straight, can I keep them in a jar after?’

…dude thought he was going to get his balls chopped off at the request of his wife. Needless to say he was very happy and much more on board to go through with the procedure. Props to him for thinking he was ~literally~ getting his balls removed to prevent having anymore kids.


I worked for an OBGYN who had a patient he prescribed vaginal suppositories for. When she complained of no improvement, she came back in for another exam. He found 7 FOIL WRAPPED suppositories in her vagina.


Not a medical professional, but I used to volunteer at a free medical clinic to take vitals and histories. A woman came in with pneumonia and wanted to know why her normal treatment of drinking half a bottle of Listerine and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day wasn't working. I asked why she thought smoking was good treatment for a lung infection and she said, "Indians used to purify the ground by burning all the weeds away before planting, so I'm smoking to purify my lungs."

I left that one to the doctor.


NAD but a patient and was roomsharing with another girl who needed surgery. Her instructions were not to eat. Every few hours she’d convince someone (family members) to bring her fast food. The doctor was frustrated and refused to do the surgery till she stopped eating. She needed a clear stomach. She could not get a grasp on this and said she had no choice but to eat cause she was hungry.

I was moved to another room on the third day but she still hadn’t had surgery by the time I had moved.


I worked in cancer research/surgery a couple years ago. There is a good amount of people who will refuse to have a small removal/surgery because they think holistic medicine or praying it away will work. They always come back and we always have to remove so much more. One time a patient had a melanoma on their calf and the doctor wanted to do a simple wide excision, but they left because they wanted to pray it away. Came back a couple months later because it got bigger and we had to amputate their leg. Pretty sure they had positive lymph nodes at that point too.


My wife was in a meeting with a doctor who had a patient argue that she DOES eat vegetables because she always has ketchup on her cheeseburgers.


Physical Therapist - Had a patient with neck pain and spasms, also complained of anxiety and heart palpitations. Asked about caffeine intake and patient revealed drinking and average on 15-20 cups of coffee daily.


Saw a comment once of a woman who was advised to eat a packet of oatmeal for breakfast each morning to help with her weight. She came back in for checkups over the course of many months and was somehow gaining weight faster and blood work was getting worse even though she swore up and down she was following the diet. Everyone was baffled until they questioned her further and learned that she had been eating a packAGE of oatmeal COOKIES every morning for breakfast.


I work at a hospital and I legit had someone who believed that the only way to improve their eyesight was to close their left eye and squint with their right. When asked about glasses she said ' I'm not into that fashion trend'


I always hate seeing the patient who weighs over 600lbs and comes to the ED for shortness of breath and refuses to acknowledge that their weight may have something to do with it. It’s not their weight that bothers me it’s the utter lack of common sense.


Go see patient in labor. Explain through the whole risks/benefits and process of a labor epidural. Finish up procedure and have just secured the epidural catheter to the skin. Husband asks ‘how is she supposed to pee through that small a catheter?’


I used to be a surgical technologist and have since moved up. One time, some guy thought it would be funny to pretend to have a seizure right as we administered anesthesia. He apparently looked up malignant hyperthermia, which is a severe action to anesthesia that could end in death. And as he was going under, we couldn't wake him so we had to bring the crash cart out and call a code blue in the OR to get this guy up. We did not do his elective surgery after that.


Young woman called an ambulance for stomach ache...

"Can I stay home?"

No lady, you will have baby in few hours.


Yes, you are pregnant and will give a birth within next few hours.

"I am pregnant ?"

Yes, from where do you think that belly is coming ?

"I drank more beers lately, I thought it came from that."

We take her to the well known hospital in my country (songs about it and so), when we arrived she asked: "Whooooooah, this is that famous hospital?"

Probably most wtf moment I ever experienced.


The patient sees me in clinic on Monday, everything is fine.
Tuesday morning, she's on the hospital census with a pending consult for me. When I see her, she says she's fine and doesn't know why she was admitted.

She walked out the clinic, called an ambulance from across the street and was taken to a different hospital. Reported her problems were uncontrolled and nobody was taking her seriously. They transferred her overnight because I don't work at that other hospital.

She gets discharged Wednesday morning. Friday morning she is again on the census with a pending consult. Again says she's fine, not sure why she's there.

This time she has a friend who picked her up from the hospital drive her to a small outlying hospital without the services she needed. Walked into the ER, said she was in distress, nobody was taking her seriously. Admitted, transferred overnight.

Discharged Friday afternoon. Sure as s**t she was back in Saturday morning.

I ask her "Why do you think you keep getting admitted into the hospital?". She has no clue. Completely baffled. I tell her it's because she keeps going to hospitals and telling them she needs help. No lights come on. I ask her "Why do you keep going to other hospitals?" And she tells me "I didn't know what else to do. My apartment is a complete mess. My caretaker (she is not a ward of the state but gets most of the services like coaches, guardians, drivers, etc) won't clean my apartment because I'm supposed to learn how to do it and I just don't want to do it.". I follow up with "But why do you keep telling them that I'm not taking you seriously?".

This is burnt in my brain "If I don't they just send me home in a cab."


Had a buddy who was an EMT, he was called out to a location for a gunshot wound.

Apparently what happened is a father was mowing his lawn when he accidentally touched part of the mower near the engine and burned his hand. He got mad at the lawnmower, pulled out his pistol, and shot it. The bullet ricocheted and hit his son in the leg.


I’m a pharmacist. One evening shift I was working a relief shift (not my usual pharmacy). A man comes in looking distressed.

Man: I had sexual relations with a woman I do not intend to pursue a long term relationship with. (Yes. He said it just like that)

Me: okay. I’m assuming there was an accident or it was unprotected. How long ago did it happen?

Man: last night, at 7pm on the couch. (Woah TMI, I just need to know approximate time to know if plan B will work o.o)

Me: we have this medication called Plan B, and since the incident happened within 72 hours-

Man: oh yes, I got that for her already yesterday right after we finished. We want to know if there is anything we can do to know if she is pregnant now.

Me: unfortunately not. She’ll have to wait 3 weeks or so to see if she gets her period, and if she doesn’t then she can do a pregnancy test then. Theoretically you could do a blood test for faster results, but that would also not be until a couple of weeks, at least.

Man: we’re just really anxious because she really doesn’t want to be pregnant. Is there anything that she can take to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamin? Minerals? Food?

Me: she’s already taken it, which was the plan B. There are some other options but those are prescriptions. And no, there are no over-the-counter products she can take.

Man: What about me? Is there anything I can take now to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamins or minerals?

Me:……………………………..No sir. There isn’t anything you can take *now*


Lady brings her baby into the ER with a rectal temp of 103. Kids tachy as hell and looks like s**t.

Refuses all medications. Says she doesn't believe in them and wonders why her herbal tea (she brought a jug of it) isn't working.

Wants us to just check her out. Thinks a children's emergency room just checks them out.

Try to explain why the kid needs an nsiad. Keeps refusing. Says she doesn't know what's in it. I bring up that fact she had her kid in a hospital, and that she recovered medication herself (IV, epidural, etc). Doesn't budge.

Only concerned for herself, told her that when the kid has a seizure or goes unresponsive and you call 911, you can expect the medics to give the kid everything it needs regardless of whether you like it or not.

Only when the doc threatened to contact social services for child endangerment and abuse did she start to listen. For like 5 whole seconds.

Left against medical advice. People like this exist and breed.


Not me, but sibling - I don't think he'd mind me sharing the story just on the off chance it prevents someone else from making this mistake. Lots of surgeons have a similar story, but thankfully this one doesn't end in someone's death.

Parents claim their child hasn't eaten anything before surgery, as they were carefully directed. Turns out they thought the surgical team was just being cruel to their child and when she said she was hungry that morning, they detoured on their way to the surgical center and got her a full Southern breakfast. She damn near died aspirating biscuits and gravy.

I've rarely seen my brother so angry (and disgusted - somehow biscuits and gravy looks even more nauseating the second time around) and he was just recounting what had happened. I have no doubt he tore a strip off the parents once their five-year-old was stabilized, and they probably still felt justified and angry at the surgeon for telling them what they could and could not feed their child right before anesthesia.

ETA The parents did in fact feel justified and hard-done-by, although afaik they didn't express anger at my brother (knowing him, they didn't get a word in edgewise). Definitely no acknowledgment or realization that they could easily have killed their own child or that they'd made a bad decision. I remember they were annoyed by her whining for food.


I'm a nurse. This isn't about a patient rather than my dad. He is convinced that insulin is what is giving people diabetes and doctors are prescribing it just to make money. After 30 minutes of telling him why that's wrong, he said not to be so liberal and I didn't understand because I'm not a doctor...


ER nurse with 7 years experience. The list is nearless endless. People with massive burns because they smoked in bed is not as rare as you'd think.

But the one that got me the most was a guy who came in for chest pain and fatigue. Ekg revealed he was having a really bad heart attack. Activated or cath lab for emergency stents to hopefully save the guys life. They almost always access the patient through the groin for the procedure so one of our jobs in the ER is to shave the patients groin to prep them for cath lab. We get the clippers out (we done use actual razors anymore) and informed the guy we needed to shave him. He refused. No problem, we will let cath lab do it once he's knocked out. Nope, guy refuses to sign the consent for the stents because he doesn't want his pubes shaved.

After trying to educate him, pleading with him, and contacting every goddamn lawyer the hospital has... The guy signed him self out AMA and went home. He would rather die than have his curlies shaved. We looked up his address and we weren't the closest hospital so if he died at home, medics would take him to a different hospital. Doubt he survived the day.


"So, you're lactose intolerant?"


"And you knew this before?"


"And you drank a milkshake?"


"What size?"


The rest of the night was the kid screaming and groaning in the ED waiting room.


My sister told me a story of a woman with chronic blisters and lesions on her lips. They couldn’t figure out what it was for weeks. It would heal and come back. Heal and come back. Turns out she would jam out on like three bags of salt and vinegar chip a day for weeks at a time until the sores hurt too bad to continue then she’d go to the doctor.


The patient who wiped their a*s with bleach wipes because “they were in the bathroom”


Had an 18 or 19 year old girl come in my ER with some complaint that required an X-ray. It’s standard that we do a urine pregnancy test prior to imaging on any female of childbearing years. She insisted she’d never had sex and there was zero possibility of pregnancy. We did the test anyway and it resulted that she was pregnant. We did a blood pregnancy test to confirm the result, since she insisted she couldn’t possibly be pregnant because she’d never had sex. That was positive too. We gave her a few minutes to herself to figure out what the hell happened, and when I returned to check on her a short time later she asked me if she could get pregnant even though her boyfriend, “didn’t go all the way in.” She 100% believed that long as his penis wasn’t entirely in her it didn’t count as sex. It took nearly a half hour of explaining reproduction to her for her to understand that whether it’s halfway in or all the way in sperm travel.


Not my story, but my dad’s.

So when he was in med school he was doing a rotation and talked to a teenager who had went to the restroom and ended up popping a baby out. When my dad asked about her period her explanation about why she hadn’t had them is that she talked to her cousin and she hadn’t had hers in seven months. She was also one of EIGHT children so you think her mom should have been able to deduce what was happening. Overall not a very bright sounding family.


Just got reminded of the time I got a highest priority call to someone who was actively choking.

Rush to scene. Going through the protocols en route - plans for if we needed to perform cpr.

Pull up. Rush in.

Dudes sat on the sofa, fully alert.


"Ah you've managed to clear it, great" - me

"No I'm still choking" - them said with no hint of choking - also if your airway is occluded you can't speak..

Story is, he'd been to local carvery for lunch. Ate a big bit of beef that he felt was too big to swallow... but swallowed anyway.

After a short while he felt it was still not fully descended to his stomach, so he drove himself home and called 999.

I explained that it was a large bolus of food in his (for simpleton speak) food pipe, not his air pipe.

He needed to drink water to wash down and next time either cut into smaller pieces, or not swallow.

He had 2 young children and a 3rd on its way.

These people are allowed to vote, drive and reproduce. Fml


The number of patients who I watched die from COVID while refusing to acknowledge its existence is staggering.


Lady took her friends blood pressure medication because she thought without measuring that her blood pressure was high (had a severe reaction - home with epi pen type reaction...)..... Then when home to took the bloody medication again...... Further anaphylaxis!!


Plenty. A patient came to me with a swelling in the inguinal region, which was likely inguinal hernia. Just when I was about to examine him, I observed that his ears were pierced and he was wearing a thread through those piercing... I was surprised. Usually, I see ear rings or some other metal. So I asked him why he was wearing a tiny rope?

He said it was to treat the swelling(hernia)! To admit that I didn't laugh hysterically would be an absolute lie...


I work in orthopedic rehab. Had a patient with a common fracture of the wrist the doctor sent over since she was inexplicably getting stiffer and stiffer.

I spent 17 sessions with her, 40ish minutes each 1-1 time. Instead of just bending her wrist she would contort her entire body. She had a career, married, raised kids, and seemingly functional adult. I tried everything to have her actively use her muscles to move her wrist. In front of a mirror, videos of myself doing the exercise, her doing it, and trying to spot the difference of moving your shoulder vs your wrist. The last time I saw her I even strapped her arm to a chair and she didn’t understand she was just trying to move her wrist.

I will never understand it.


Respiratory therapist here.

I was working in the ER one night and we have a prison not far from the hospital I was working at. We had a prisoner come in one night and the doctor asked me to get an EKG on him. I went into the room, did the EKG, and gave the results to the doctor. I asked the doctor why he was here as the prisoner was acting okay and didn't appear to be in any sort of distress. The doctor told me he was here because he shoved a flex pen up his d**k. The doctor asked me if I wanted to watch the pen being removed...I proceeded to return to my office.

The next night I worked, we had a different prisoner come in for the exact same thing.


I floated to the COVID floor when I was a new CNA at the hospital. A 40-something man with no history of breathing problems was on 5 Liters of continuous oxygen regardless of activity level. (For those who aren't medical, that is a lot for someone that age. Older folks on continuous oxygen are typically on 2 Liters during the day.) He told every single person who came into his room about how COVID was a hoax.

At that moment I realized how deranged people have become, and began to worry about my right-wing relatives. I was correct to worry, as when they got COVID they proceeded to take ivermectin and s**t their brains out, and STILL ARGUED WITH ME THAT IT WAS SMART TO TAKE IT.


Wife brought dude to the ED because he wasn’t really talking to her, or doing much for that matter. For 4 days!! Turns out he stopped taking his blood thinners because “I don’t feel any better when I take it” and they could not afford it (f*****g American healthcare system). Anyways, he had a huge stroke. Basically 1/4 of his brain was just liquified mush. Please Reddit, bring your loved ones to the ED immediately when they cannot talk to you. And for f***s shake, do not stop taking your anticoagulation unless a doctor tells you to stop.


Pharmacist here.

I had a woman bring in a literal sandwich bag [unseperated] which she kept all her meds in. She needed help seeing which meds she was low or out on and asking different questions on the medications. When she pointed to an apoquel stating it was her blood pressure medicine I immediately became concerned as to why pet medicine was in her bag [also why she Is mixing all her meds in a bag in the first place] only to find out that she had been throwing her pets med inside her bag of medicine. So lord knows what she's been giving her dog or taking herself. I immediately stressed how important it is to keep medicine in its original container to protect the medicine and herself and to know the directions of how to take it. I've seen her a few times since then and glad to see she has since taken my advice. But how any Pharmacist or doctor hasn't advised her on this before is beyond me.


This happened in med school on my OB/GYN rotation.

Patient: who’s the baby gonna look like?

Me: what do you mean?

Patient: well is it gonna look like the dude who got me pregnant or the guy who’s been nutting in me the last few months?

Me: *utterly speechless* the baby should look like the people who conceived it.

This person is now a parent.


When i was in the hospital as a patient there was this one guy in ER who really REALLY wanted to step outside to smoke. The nurses pretty much belted him on the table and yelled at him that he had complete kidney failure and they need to treat him immediately or he will die in the next 20 minutes. To their dismay he didn't listen and tried to vehemently free himself and go outside and smoke. He was in his 30s, it is a mystery to me how this guy survived that long.


My aunt. She was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of getting treatment, she went hardcore vegan and prayed, refused to use any med. Doctor said she could have made it for few more years. She died after 6 months.


My wife is an anaesthesiologist.

When training junior doctors, one of the things she has go reinforce over and over again is that you never leave drugs unattended in an unsecured area in a hospital, even for a moment, because some people see drugs and think "Hmm, fun" and take them even if they don't know what they are and they just raided a trolley or picked up a syringe off a bedside table.

And then, because the drugs used for anaesthetics in hospitals are quite serious, those people quite likely end up dead or vegetables.

And this has actually happened more than once in hospitals she has worked in.


I am a dermatologist in India. As is the culture here, people eat with their hands, and almost all of our curries or even other dry side dishes have a lot of turmeric. It is common knowledge to anyone born and brought up in India, that this means the nails of your dominant hand (statistically the right hand) are going to be yellow-stained, because we have seen this happen since our childhood. Usually this wears off in about a day and a half if you wash it a couple of times.
Cut to the first patient in my OPD, a young girl in her early 20s, very anxious.
Me : "What brings you here today?"
P : "Doc, my right hand fingernails keep getting yellow discoloured."
Me : "Only right hand ?"
P : "Yes. And only after meals."
Me : " you eat with your hands?"
P : "Yes, always."
Me : "So...You know it's just turmeric right?"
P : "Yes, but can you make it stop happening."
Me : "For God's sake, use a spoon."
P : "So you mean there is no medicine to make it stop?"
Me : ....
P : .....
Me : **NO**!

This might hit home more with people of South Asian cultures or people who habitually eat turmeric-cooked food with their hands. Anyway, for a grown-a*s person to complain of this was just well surprising and a little ridiculous.


As a pharmacist: everyone who comes in to buy homeopathic c**p, especially for serious things.
Once a lady came in with a prescription from the dentist, for some heavy antibiotics and painkillers due to an infection that threatened to damage the jawbone. When I asked if she knew how to take them she went: “Oh I’m not gonna take those, they’ll go right into the garbage. But I gotta buy them so that my dentist is happy. I’ll rather stick with [insert name of homeopathic c**p here] instead of poisoning me with some devilish chemicals!”
Throughout the years I’ve learned to just shrug and accept those Darwin-award candidates instead of arguing with them. Just infuriates me when I see that they’ve got children or/and pets…


Pharmacist. Don't even know where I would begin for some of the ridiculous situations I have had. Up there however has to be whenever I had a lady swallow a full box of suppositories and came in to complain that the issue has not cleared up and the medication tasted bad and was hard to swallow.

Do sometimes wonder how people put one foot in front of the other ......


A woman called 911 because a cougar attacked her cat. She thought we could help the (*very* clearly dead) cat.

A man called 911 because a cow bit him. He didn’t want EMS or an assessment or anything.

A man called 911 for an itchy b******e. Took him to the ED because we have to. The doctor asked the patient if he had put the cream on his b******e that he gave him last time. Patient said no. Next time patient called us for his itchy b******e I offered to put the cream on his b******e for him, he declined. Took him back to the ED.


I'm not a medic but an environmental health officer that investigates infectious disease (sources, causes, exposure).

I had a case in a 2 month old of campylobacter (food/waterborne poisoning), the mother called me and asked "how could she get it when it comes from chicken and she's vegan"...

When I say vegan, the mother meant they were treating the baby as vegan. No breastfeeding or milk substitute.

Proper boiled my p**s that one.

Edit: by milk substitute I meant breast milk substitute as in formula to make that clear


Plenty, although the one that always sticks in my mind is a patient I met during my early years on a palliative care ward suffering from terminal cancer. She was only in her early thirties, and the only reason she had gotten so far gone was that she had relied on the healing power of crystals rather than... you know...chemotherapy.


Optometrist here.

Patient booked in for an emergency appointment, with a raging red eye. Clearly very painful...

Look under the microscope and the cornea is really not happy, wobbly reflexes, haziness, the works.

Me: "What happened?"

Patient: "It's my niece's wedding this Saturday, and I wanted to tint my eyelashes to match my hair and the colour scheme of the wedding [light blue], so I used the same dye for both to match the colour".

Me: "Does that hair dye contain ammonia, by any chance?"

Patient: "I think so. Do you think my eye will be better by Saturday? Will it match the colour scheme?"

Me: "Unless you can convice then to change the colour scheme to red, no".


Literally yesterday. Consumed 8 cans of red bull in a 2 hour time frame. Presented with palpitations and severe chest pain.


My wife used to work at an Urgent Care in a under-educated community. I'd guess most of her patients would have you wondering how they made it to adulthood.

Some notable patients:

1. The guy who, after learning he had diabetes, vowed to make a life change and replace all his soda with Gatorade.
2. Women who don't know anything about vaginas or menstrual cycles.
3. The people who come in with a history of heart attacks and chest pain that feels like a heart attack but "I know my body and it's not a heart attack!" (It was always a heart attack)
4. Guys with gross d***s (hygene-related)
5. People who "did their own research".
6. The parents who didn't get their "normally-not-complainy" teenage daughter medical attention when she was screaming in pain. After finding out she had appendicitis, they took her home instead of taking her to the ER. Her appendix ruptured that night.

Bonus: My kid was in the hospital and sharing a room with another patient. This kid was morbidly obese and was elbow deep in a family-sized bag of potato chips. The doctor came in and really gave it to the mom. "Your kid has kidney failure and he's not supposed to be eating salty foods!" "Your kid has a major condition and you've missed the majority of his appointments!"


When I was an intern posten in the Obstetric department, I saw a 42yr old pregnant woman who came for an antenatal check up. This was her 7th pregnancy and she had only one living child. So she had 5 pregnancies previously which failed (3 spontaneous abortions and 2 stillbirths). The 6th one was high risk too and she had to get cervical cerclage done (they stitch the cervix because it is too weak to actually hold a baby in till term). When the Obgyn asked her why she would put herself through pregnancy again instead of being content with her daughter, she replied 'my in-laws want us to have at least 2 children'.

Biggest pikachu face moment in my life.


73 here, former clinical microbiologist, LONG ago.

Still, I found myself all over the clinical lab at times, not just infectious disease.

So, one day, this 20-something guy (wife and mom in tow) walks in with a paper request for semen analysis, pre-computer era.

Ok, not the most comfortable encounter, but I'm a professional and did this drill many times.

He had not been briefed by the doc and had no idea how establishing infertility in males was done.

Well, OK, a challenge, then.

I took him aside and... using standard medical terminology told him how a diagnosis is made and what he needed to do to provide a specimen.

He couldn't/wouldn't believe that I was asking him to masturbate into that container. Astonished!

Then he played dumb, as if the word was unfamiliar to him.

We looped through the medical terms and procedure again, and I eventually resorted to every word I knew to describe the "act".

It was like a George Carlin bit!

A half hour later, he emerged from the toilet with two inches of urine in the cup. God Almighty.

The report went back "patient provided improper specimen".


Not me but my ex wife works as an endoscopy nurse.

People have to use laxatives because they have to be clean for the doctor to be able to see with the camera.
With the laxatives they have to drink a lot of fluid, 3, maybe 4 liters total iirc (about 3/4 gallon to a gallon).

Some people just don’t do it because it tastes bad.
Some people do laxate (lol autocorrect said lactate) but still eat. Some think the doctor just won’t notice.

Yeah Margaret, they won’t notice that your colon isn’t empty when they go in there with an HD camera!

They just don’t understand why they do it, even though everything is explained by the doctor, and they get brochures and a link to the website via email.

And believe me, I’ve seen the brochures and website, an average 8 year old could understand…

Also a funny story from her:

There was a teenage boy brought in with a dildo stuck in his butt. He didn’t need surgery but they did have to use some tools to get it out of his r****m.

After the procedure he apparently asked for the dildo back because it was his sister’s!

Answer was no, it was cleaned and they have a “trophy cabinet”.


Just a former paramedic here, but hear me out. As I was pregnant, my ex asked me, how much does a newborn weigh?
Me: approximately 3,5 kg.
My ex: And how much weight have you already put on?
Me: About 13 kg (two weeks before delivery).
My ex: So you put on nearly 10 kg fat?
He has a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.


EMS Here. Had a diabetic in his 30-40s who refused to take insulin since 2012, it was 2020 at the time. When I took his blood sugar is only read as “HI” meaning it was over 700 for glucometer to not read it. Upon seeing this, he asked me if that was high and then went “Is this cause of all the ‘ice ceam’ I ate”. Played Facebook messenger video with his girlfriend the entire time. Met him later on the parking lot after he got discharged, and it took this man less than fifty paces from the ER door to rip off his bandage covering his IV and play with the IV wound until it started bleeding all over the place again. Knocked on our ambulance door and asked for a bandaid to fix it. We had to walk him back into the ER and bandaged his entire arm with gauze so that, hopefully, by the time he got it off it would’ve clotted enough for him to not end up exsanguinating himself.


Had a patient when I was a pharmacy resident get repeatedly admitted to the hospital due to CHF complications (shortness of breath, fluid overload, etc.). She had been advised to follow a low sodium diet but no one had asked her what she had actually been eating. I asked what she usually ate for lunch and she said instant ramen noodles every day, but she only added the seasoning packet and a little salt.


I overheard a conversation between a nurse and a doctor and a patient in the ER.
They were trying to figure out if he was very stupid or has a head injury. It was both hilarious and sad.

He kept telling them that he was there for a hurt leg. He couldn’t explain why his leg was hurt, how it was hurt, how he got there. Nearly anything.
I heard them taking in a hallway to each other. The nurse was convinced he hit his head. The Doctor said “no he is just an idiot”

Turns out the Dr was right. They go ahold of the guys wife. She basically told them in the hallway he is always this dumb and if she leaves him he would get lost in his own house and starve.

Edit - it sounded like his leg was visibly injured or swollen. But when asked what happed or how does it feel he gave nonsensical idiot answers. Not like slurring but in a regular idiot voice.
“ if feels hurt” “ I was talking to Jimmy and we were doing our usual work and my leg hurt”. Doc “Did something happen? What is the work”. Him” something always happens, you know how it goes”. “ I just want my leg fixed”


ED doc. I save a bunch of ridiculous chief complaints, but I had this one recently:

"Patient complains of sore gums after eating too many Zapp's spicy cajun potato chips. Pt currently with bag in hand, eating chips".

Believe it or not, people come to the ER all the time for stuff like this. People talk about how advanced humans are now, but I just think about these others who are holding our species back.


Elderly woman complains that her mouth is dry and she felt a bit dizzy climbing the stairs earlier. Go through the whole rigamarole of getting a medical history, vitals, more detail on symptoms. Ask her what she's had to drink today.

A cup of tea, ten hours ago.

Any water?

Guess what fixed it within five minutes.


I worked EMS for years. It never ceased to amaze me the things people will do to themselves or others for fun. Confronted with these types my first question was always,"At what point did this seem like a good idea?" The weirdest one I can remember was a guy that put his penis through a large metal nut. Once he got erect he couldn't get it off.


Once had a guy come in to the emergency room because he snorted a random white powder found in a plastic bag left on a random bench in the middle of a sketchy park and started feeling s*icidal.


Uninteresting, common version: uncontrolled diabetic screaming at the top of their lungs demanding 3 Ensure chocolate smoothies and 2 sandwiches and 5 orange juices for an after dinner snack while having the accucheck flag his blood glucose levels as "CRITICAL >500" while also freshly amputated. Oh and he'll follow you around the nurse station all day.


My brother did a rotation in an ER before Med school. Paramedics brought in a man with a lacerated neck. He was drunk and fell into a fish tank. His drunk buddies called 9-1-1. When the paramedics arrived they realized his drunk friends had put a very tight tourniquet around his neck to stop the bleeding.

Edit: I texted my brother to remind him about it(it happened almost 20 years ago). Apparently it was worse than I remembered. The guy and his buddies were doing drunk WWE. He had a 2 inch glass shard stuck in his head, in addition to the neck laceration, dude came into the ER with no idea the glass was there. Four different firefighters had to hold him down as he screamed sexist remarks at the female doctor. He said when they removed the glass, blood shot about 10 ft in the air. My brother at that point silently “noped” the hell out of medicine. He went on to attend Berklee Music School and is living his best life as a musical producer and engineer, and is not arguing with rednecks about whether or not there is a glass shard in their head….


Someone asked me how you catch a stroke. This is as the partner of said person was on the floor unable to stand due to left sided weakness/no power. They both thought he could sleep it off over night and be fine in the morning, 12hours later they decided they'd phone the doctors to ask if there was anything the dr could give the person on the floor who was also now incontinent. They didn't even get worried during the previous day when his face drooped on the left side and he was slurring his speech.

I said he has had a stroke,

"Oh how do you catch one of those?"



Once had a 36yo girl for CT. Broke her leg sitting on the toilet. After talking to her, found out she had cancer she was trying to treat with herbs. Well, cancer spread to her femur and she snapped it. Pretty sad.


Ems checking in. Late 20s male called 911 for a mild headache, no alarming symptoms, middle of allergy season. Being good medics we check all the things, totally normal vitals, no fever, no medical history. Just a mild headache that started about 30 minutes prior.
Do he take tylenol or ibuprofen or anything? Nope. He wanted to go to the ER to "let the doctors handle it".
Imagine the bills...


Nurse here. Had a patient with a tibial plateau fracture, that demanded to see the doctor because she wanted to quit her antithrombotic medication (bad idea). According to her it gave her a dry mouth. I explained to her that it was no known side effect of that drug. This lady had type 2 diabetes and administered her own insulin. Dry mouth is a side effect of high blood sugar. Tested her blood sugar, it was too high... Turns out she was using the same needle twice.
Edit: these particular needles are single use, so she only got half the dose.


Not a medical professional, but a grandson of a patient. My grandma went to opthalmologist to get her new glasses. Her doctor wanted to get her to do surgery for cataracts, but my grandma was very rude and stubborn in her denial to do that operation. Her main reason? She wouldn't be able to bend down for some time. That's right, my grandma would have rather chosen to go blind than to inconvenience herself in a slight way. Luckily, we managed to convince her to do that operation, my parents, brother and I. She awaits her appointments



For those that don't know, after a total knee replacement, you basically have a 6-week window after the surgery to regain the range of motion. If you don't regain the range in those first 6 weeks, it ain't coming back.

Had a patient who was a farmer, who was very enthusiastic about regaining the range because he needed to be mobile for his work. Saw him the first time about 5 days after sugery, showed him all the basic exercises, told him to not do any farm work for at least 6 weeks, and told him to come back to see me once a week for the first 6 weeks.

He disappeared and came back about 8 weeks later. His range was non-existant, maybe 30 degrees of range in total. He was visibly mad at me, as if it was my fault, actually was shouting and calling me incompetent. Our conversation went something like this:

"Have you been doing the exercises?"


"How often are you doing farm work?"

*"Every day"*

"Why haven't you come back since the first appointment 8 weeks ago?"

*"Too busy with farm work"*

"So to summarize here, you did absolutely nothing that I told you to, and this is somehow my fault?"

Never saw him again.


That's most patients. Honestly, they usually get that far through some combination of luck (bordering on divine intervention for some), endless enabling from family members and access to emergency care and social services enabling then to continue.

I had one in particular who was an blind alcoholic with tourettes. He would drink until he collapsed in the road daily and was brought to the ER, daily. He survived being run over by a bus and being buried in a snowbank with a body temp in the low 80s all to leave AMA to drink and collapse in the street all over again. Daily. After about a decade of that c**p a leg infection he refused to treat got him.


Vet Med here, we get a lot of patients who need to go on medications for a wide array of persistent problems, and these medications keep them under control.

So we often get ones with thyroid, diabetes, heart issues, etc. and start them on medications. The patient starts to do great, comes in for another recheck, and is awful. We ask the owner if they are still giving the med....nope they stopped it cause they were all better...

We fully educate the owner, go over medications, and give notes on what to do, and they still do this.

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