“You Did What?!”: Healthcare Professionals Share Some of the Dumbest Cases They’ve Ever Had to Treat

1. I Need Urgent Help

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 hadl 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) 

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 do to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamin? Minerals? Food? 

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

Then for the icing on the cake, he asks me with all seriousness:

“What about me? Is there anything I can do now to prevent pregnancy? Any multivitamins or minerals?”

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


2. Up for a Challenge

I’m a 73 year old former clinical microbiologist, LONG ago. 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… wait for it… two inches of urine in the cup. God Almighty.

The report went back "patient provided improper specimen". 


3. Cutting Corners

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/Arrhythmologist are scheduled so that he may get the follow-up he needs.

The man then proceeds to never show up to any appointment and never answer any calls from the hospital to know of him and reschedule. This went on for around 3 years. 

Until he shows up without 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 daughter's bra for 3 months after his "problem" got worse. The shirt is asked to be taken off and the biggest self-inflicted horror I’ve ever seen is revealed.

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.


4. How could you have done this to yourself?

I clean in a hospital. This one time I got to work early on a Saturday morning and we immediately received a request for help from the ER and got sent over by my boss. 

When I got there the first thing I heard was yelling from this guy behind one of the curtains. He was shouting at the nurses “don’t touch my stuff!” and “I didn’t use any drugs!”. Then I smelled iron in the air and then I found out there was blood all over the hallway, hand prints in blood against the wall. 

Almost the entire floor was covered in blood with actual puddles in some places.

I couldn’t believe what had happened. The guy pulled out his catheter causing arterial bleeding and decided to run away from the nurses who were trying to help him. It seems like he lived through that. I never seen that much blood before that day nor after.


5. She Said She Wasn’t Pregnant

I had an 18 or 19 year old girl come into 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 intercourse 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 intercourse. That was positive too. 

Almost the entire floor was covered in blood with actual puddles in some places.

She 100% believed that long as he wasn’t entirely in her it didn’t count as intercourse. It took nearly a half hour of explaining reproduction to her for her to understand whether it’s halfway in or all the way in sperm travel.


6. Red Eye

I’m an Optometrist and a patient booked in for an emergency appointment, with a raging red eye. Clearly very painful...

I 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 color scheme of the wedding light blue, so I used the same dye for both to match the color".

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 color scheme?"

Me: "Unless you can convince them to change the color scheme to red, no".

That’s not even the most ridiculous experience I’ve had.

An elderly patient attends with concerned family members because the patient ran over a pop up tent on the side of the road that the telephone engineers use to protect themselves from the rain. 

Luckily no-one was hurt as the worker was on lunch. Worried as to how the elderly driver missed seeing a large, red and white tent in the middle of the day, it was then that the elderly relative admitted to having spent the last three years driving from memory. 


7. It’s an Emergency

I was working until midnight in the ER. This family brings in a 4 year old at 2 am-ish. I asked them what was 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 I brought him.”

We had 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: *shocked face*

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


8. Use a Spoon

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, this means that the nails of your dominant hand (statistically the right hand) are going to be yellow-stained. 

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 discolored."  

Me : "Only right hand ?"  

P : "Yes. And only after meals."  

Me : "Erm..do 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 person to complain of this was just well surprising and a little ridiculous. 


9. Interesting Priorities

I’m an 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 guy’s 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 don't 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 contracting every lawyer the hospital has... The guy signed himself out of the AMA and went home. 

He would rather die than have 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.


10. Gone for Good

I’m a Physiotherapist. 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.

I had a patient who was a farmer, who was very enthusiastic about regaining the range because he needed to be mobile for his work. 

I saw him for the first time about 5 days after surgery, 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-existent, maybe 30 degrees of range in total. He was visibly mad at me, as if it was my fault, actually 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. 


11. Do Not Eat Before a Surgery

This happened to my sibling, but 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 almost 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.

The parents did in fact feel justified and hard-done-by, although 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. 


12. High Temperature

Lady brings her baby into the ER with a rectal temp of 103. Kids tacky as hell and look like crap. 

She refuses all medications, saying she doesn't believe in them and wonders why her herbal tea (she brought a jug of it) isn’t working.  

She wants us to just check her out. I think a children's emergency room just checks them out. 

We try to explain why the kid needs an NSAID. She keeps refusing. Says she doesn't know what's in it. 

I bring up the fact that she had her kid in a hospital, and that she recovered medication herself (IV, epidural, etc). She 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. 

She left against medical advice. People like this exist and breed.


13. Eavesdropping

I overheard a conversation between a nurse, a doctor and a patient in the ER. They were trying to figure out if he was very stupid or had 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 talking 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 doctor was right. They got a hold of the guy's 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.

It sounded like his leg was visibly injured or swollen. But when asked what happened or how does it feel he gave nonsensical idiot answers. Not like slurring but in a regular idiot voice.

Doc: “Does this hurt?” 

Him: “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”. 


14. On Life Support

I used to be a medical oxygen tech, mostly doing in-home work. One guy was in such a high concentration that he would have drawn nearly zero oxygen from breathing the 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. But these people were determined to off him under our watch with their foolishness.

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 5 min away, right beside our 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 sleeping one night and shut the machines off before going back to bed. It's been years and I still see the wife around town, she always glares at me as if I'm the one who killed him.


15. It’s Just A Cut

This was circa 1983, I'm a nurse (retired). We had this one guy in his early 20s that went swimming hammered in a notoriously nasty lake in our area, like a 'don't drink the water' kind of lake, without shoes, stepped on an old beer tab and cut his foot open. 

He didn't go to the hospital or try to clean it at all for about a week (his gf said he kept saying, "It's fine, it's just a cut" when she pressured him to get it seen about). So of course, he shows up in the ER with a foot that blew up like a balloon. 

2.5 months in the hospital, foot completely laid open in surgery, doing debridement and packing on this foot which I can honestly say after over 30 years in healthcare stands as one of the nastiest jobs I ever had to do and I had been dealing with things like bedsores and open wounds from radiation treatments and cancer for about 7 years at that point. 

Add to this he was obnoxious, abusive, and when the opportunity presented itself, cruel to other nurses, you know the type, they're everywhere. Hopefully not as open about it these days, but yeah. 

I had a student nurse I was training that came running out of the room in tears and refused to go back in and would not tell any of us what he said but I can imagine.

Finally get it cleaned out, responding well to antibiotics, tissue is granulating well, he gets sent home with antibiotics and strict instructions on how to care for it and to keep it clean and dry.

The day he left the hospital he went back out to the same lake, got drunk, put on nasty tennis shoes, and went swimming.

Showed up on our floor again a week after being discharged.

He lost his foot. His girlfriend left him.


16. Not the Sharpest Tool in the Box

When I was an Internal Medicine resident I came across a very nice 50 year-old Dominican lady, she was well mannered but one could tell she was not the sharpest tool in the shed. 

As I was prepping her chart for our first visit, I noticed that she'd been seen by every single digestive disease MD in our hospital system. Not only that, she'd had every single procedure in the book ranging from endoscopies up both holes and culminating in an exploratory laparotomy (you're opened up to basically look inside you when we have no clue what's going on). 

All of this because for years she had one single complaint, she reported severe gnawing pain in her stomach. At this point I should mention that she was speaking Spanish only. 

Not only that she had a very heavy Dominican accent, and I was the first hispanic doctor to ever see her. My first language is Spanish and I even had difficulty understanding her. 

So she comes in and after exchanging some first time pleasantries I politely ask her how she's doing. Sure enough, although she was smiling and said she felt well she pointed at her belly and said "it" was biting again, and asked for the cream to kill "it". 

At this point I got intrigued. Her medication list only mentioned a cream used for herpes breakthroughs. The previous fellow only mentioned in his note that in every single visit she only asked for the cream and nothing else.

When I asked what she meant by the biting and what she intended to do with the cream, she very calmly told me she intended to stick the cream up her rectum in order to kill the bird living inside her. After delving more deeply into her story, it turns out she didn't have a medical condition. 

The story gets even more interesting.

Ever since she was a little girl, she believed that after eating a whole quail egg, the bird had spawned inside her and gnawed away in her insides whenever she was very hungry. After a short visit to psych, she was diagnosed with a somatic type delusional disorder. 

No amount of medication or psychotherapy will cure her, but she was still a fully functional mother of 2 who paid her taxes and had part-time jobs. 

I reached out to every digestive disease doctor in our hospital system once more, to make sure she never receives an inappropriate invasive intervention. I've been following her now for three years and she's happy as one can be, considering she has a bird living inside her.


17. Nonchalant

I work in EMS and 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 it was reading as “HI '' meaning it was over 700 for the glucometer to not read it. 

Upon seeing this, he asked me if that was high and then went “Is this because of all the ice cream I ate?” He played a Facebook messenger video with his girlfriend the entire time.

 I met him later in 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.

Then he started to play with the IV wound until it started bleeding all over the place again. He 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.


18. We Use Rubbers…Literally

My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80's. She worked for an old WWII doctor that had gone into private practice (old school GP) when he returned back to the states.  Well, one afternoon she told me that they had a patient come in that was running a high fever and was complaining of pain in her pelvic area.  

Mom also tells me that there was a stench coming from the woman's lap that could only be described as enough to gag a maggot off a meat wagon. She begins to interview the patient who told her that she and her boyfriend had been active and that she has been in pain since. She thought that the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her. 

The doctor arrives and closes the door, only to re-open it a few seconds later mentioning the need for fresh air.  

The doctor noticed that there was a vaginal discharge and began to question the patient about her intimate life, was it protected, non-protected, etc... According to mom, the patient told her "No doc, we always use a rubber."  The doctor looked down then noticed that there was a small rubber band extending from the woman's vagina.  

The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone's mouth. One rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes. Finally once they were all removed, the Doctor had "the talk" with the woman about intimacy education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by "wearing a rubber"  and then wrote her a prescription for Abx. 


19. Error in Communication

My mother is a doctor. She once told me this story about a patient she had (she serves low income people, so typically immigrants/minorities, usually without health insurance). The man is from Central America and is there for a normal check up. 

Typical of most patients, he has fairly high blood pressure. However, this man is also having bowel problems. 

So my mother asks, "What color and consistency is your feces when you need to use the bathroom?" 

The man has no idea what she's talking about. 

My mom tries again: "Your poop. What color and/or consistency is it typically?" 

The man still has no clue what she's saying (he understands a bit of english). She tries again. "Your doo doo." Nothing. "Your fecal matter." Nothing. "Your poo." Nothing. "Not number one, but number two." Nothing. 

Finally she asks, "It's not liquid when it comes out, but it's more solid, you know?" The man has an epiphany. "Ohh, you mean sh-t!" he says. "Yes, your sh-t." So my highly educated, professional mother has to continue the rest of the checkup asking about his sh-t. 

"What color is your sh-t?" "Is it more wet?" "Does it hurt when you take a sh-t?" 

This went on for a fair amount of time. My mom nearly burst out laughing by the end of it. Absolutely amazing what a minor language barrier can do …. 


20. What Diet?

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. 


21. That's Way Too Much

My brother is a general practitioner in rural Tennessee. Enough said, right? He says most of his patient visits go about like this:

MD: "Well, you're pre diabetic, have high blood pressure, and are complaining about joint pain. Have you been exercising and cutting out sugar and carbs?"

Person: "Yeah I have, Doc. But it doesn't seem to help. Do you have any better meds you could prescribe?"

MD: "Well, let's talk about your diet. How much water do you drink a day?"

Person: "I don't like water, so I get extra ice in my sweet tea every day to make sure I get enough water." 

MD: (explains how that's not enough water by a long shot) "How much sweet tea are you drinking every day? They can have a lot of sugar in them."

Person: "Well I get a large one from Hardee's/McDonalds/ wherever on my way to work with my breakfast, and another one on my way home for dinner. Then I have a glass or two when I get home."

MD: "Well, that's a lot of sugar. And a lot of fast food if you are eating it twice a day. What do you eat at home?"

Person: "I don't like to cook so I usually don't eat anything but little Debbie snack cakes at home." 

MD: "Those have a lot of sugar too..."

Person: "I thought that all I had to do was cut out Mountain Dew! Now you're saying I can't eat my food or my snacks?! What are you suggesting I do? Eat salads for every meal?! Why can't you just up my meds?!" 


22. Emergency Sunburn Treatment

I went to a 911 call for sunburns at 2am. This man had called at 9pm, but waited hours for us to show up (it was appropriately assigned the lower priority and got bumped by basically every other call all night long).

So we showed up, I walked in and saw this man, sitting on the floor of his living room, looking completely distraught. I also wonder what happened, he explained he had a sunburn on his shoulder from being at a local water park earlier in the day. He said his pain is 2/10. His skin has a slight redness to the upper shoulders and has no blisters at this time.

After what feels like pulling teeth, I manage to find out that he applied sunscreen once, but did not reapply "because I don't need it" (contextually he seemed to be implying that his skin tone meant he wouldn't burn), and he has tried nothing for cooling the burn since he got home, all he has done is sit on the floor with his shirt off and make his wife get things for him.

At this point my primary differential diagnosis is that this is a manchild who has never had a sunburn, and I feel bad for his wife. But then she asks me if they can apply yogurt to it?????

So I explained about Aloe Vera, suggested they get some and keep it in the fridge, and then ask if he wants to come to the hospital (you know, the thing that I might expect you wanna do when you call 911 for paramedics, the people that take you to the hospital).

He asks how they're going to help (not IF, not what they could do, but how). I explained that ER is likely not going to have much to offer beyond the Tylenol and Advil I've already offered (and he's refused), and then telling him to rest until it feels better (which I've already said).

I also told him that they were going to expect him to wear a shirt in the waiting room (where he would be going directly, like he would be walking from the ambulance to the main waiting room, since he met the fit 2 sit criteria, this was not going to be wasting the charge nurse's time).

He ended up staying home, and timing wise it worked out well for me, since I was working an OT 15:00-03:00 shift.


23. Rub On Affected Area

When I worked as a nurse in urgent care, we had a guy with a bad abrasion on his leg stemming from a fall down a flight of steps. He was prescribed a topical cream, among other things. Directions on the tube: apply to the affected area. Sounds simple enough, right?

Follow-ups, we notice the wound was gross and not healing at all. He insisted he put the cream on the affected area and it just wasn't working for him!

The doctor suspected something, so he had the patient demonstrate how he applied the cream so we can maybe offer some further help. The patient says he can't, because we're not at his house. 

And that's where the stairs are.

We all stared in open shock. This man was rubbing the cream on the stairs he fell down because the instructions said to "rub on affected area."


24. They Didn’t Know

In medical school, I did a forensic psychiatry rotation. Part of this rotation involved working at the courthouse trying to do assessments of people accused of crimes in an attempt to see if they were competent to stand trial.  

Sometimes those with severe mental health issues obviously aren't competent to stand trial.  Sometimes, those accused were obviously trying to fake being mentally ill to try to get out of the trial. But in a few cases, there were people with some issues, but they weren't really bad issues, they just needed a little education on the US judicial system and how it works.  

So they put together a class on the judicial system for the prostitutes of DC with no mental health issues, but just no education on how a trial works. 

And who would be the best person to lead these classes? The rotating medical student of course.  

"So, my name is medical student Knight_in_gale, and we are here today to talk about how the trial system works.  Let's start with going through the courtroom and talking about who is who.  For instance, who is the person who sits behind the big bench at the head of the room?"

"The judge!"

"That's right!  And what does the judge do?"


"Yes...he does. But he also is the person in charge of the trial, and in many cases he is the person who you need to convince that you are innocent of a crime. Who is the lawyer that sits next to you."

"He's the freaking man!"

"Yes, he is. He's your defense attorney. He is there to help you plead your case about why you are innocent or why you don't deserve a harsh punishment. Who is the other lawyer in the room?"

"The prostitution!"

"No, actually, you are the prostitution in this case. He is the 'prosecution', though to be fair some people don't see much of a difference."

That was a long rotation. I learned a lot about the difference between doctors and lawyers, and how being uneducated leads not only to poor medical care, but also to not being able to defend yourself in court.


25. An STD? Impossible

While on dermatological rotation, a Middle Eastern patient saw me with what she described as some funny, itching growth in her butt crack. Some quick investigation revealed it to be a severe case of genital warts. 

I explained the diagnosis and that it was an STD until she shockingly assured me that she was still a virgin. Now virginity is a big issue for young muslim women (or perhaps their families even more), but apparently that doesn't cover anal play and therefore no birth control in the form of, say, condoms was needed.

Another time, I had to go off on a colleague who was the dumb person. I finally made it to neuroradiology, and in comes this mother whose (maybe three, four months old) son we would scan today because he had epileptic seizures after his birth. Apparently, the pediatricians didn't tell her about the fits nor the severe neurological birth defects they knew about for weeks, so I had to explain to her that her child had mental disabilities. 

That was probably the first time I flipped out on a colleague I didn't even know over the telephone and, in the heat of the moment, wanted to find this idiot and spit in his face. He was totally oblivious of how he messed up, saying there was a language barrier while this hospital employs a whole department of translators just for such cases. 


26. It Wasn’t Me

As an EMT, I had a grown adult try to explain to me that someone else pooped his pants. We got toned out for finger pain at a homeless shelter at 0200, we got there and the guy jumped in the truck with very mild swelling to the tip of his right index finger. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: So what happened?

Patient: I smoked some meth and then I fell asleep in my bunk and I woke up next to my bunk and my finger hurt and there was poop!

Me: There was poop? Did you fall in poop?

Patient: No no, like in my pants!

Me: So... you pooped your pants?

Patient: No! It wasn't me!

Me: So let me get this straight. You smoked meth, took a nap, rolled out of bed in your sleep, hurt your finger, and someone else came along and pooped in your pants before you woke up?

Patient: Yeah! It wasn't me! 


27. Quit Smoking

I had severe asthma as a kid. I was intubated for a severe attack a few times. My parents were instructed to take better precautions in our home and went through instructions. No more dusting, washing bed sheets etc.. and the big one NO SMOKING inside the house. So my parents agree to all of this.

Few weeks later I'm back in the hospital. A doctor recognized me and came over to talk. 

Then he bent over and smelled my head (I'll never forget that. I thought it was so weird). He told a nurse to sit there and not let me leave with my parents. When my parents showed up he asked point blank:

"Did you not understand what I told you last time? Do you understand these attacks could be fatal?"

"But we open windows and have stopped smoking in her room when we put her to bed" 


28. She Didn’t Know Why She Was Admitted

The patient sees me in the clinic on Monday, everything is fine. Tuesday morning, she's at the hospital census with a pending consultation for me. When I saw her, she said she's fine and didn't know why she was admitted.

She walked out of 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 consultation. Again says she's fine, not sure why she's there.

This time she has a friend who picked her up from the hospital and drove 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 heck she was back on Saturday morning.

I ask her, "Why do you think you keep getting admitted into the hospital?" She has no clue.  Completely baffled. I told 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."


29. Prison Rotation

I’m a respiratory therapist. 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  between his legs. 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.


30. Do You Need Water?

Well, here in México we have something called social service (Our college education is free in some institutions, so we have to pay for it with one year of free work in a rural area).

So the first month a woman in her 30s came to consult because she was feeling weird in the mornings since forever. I asked what her symptoms were and she told me that every day she wakes up feeling her mouth dry, and that feeling disappears in about one or two hours.

Me: "Well lady, how much water do you drink?"  

Her: "Hmm, one or maybe two glasses, one at breakfast, and one middleday"

Me: "Do you know what thirst is?"

Her: "Yeah, when you drink water so you can pee"

So I had a conversation that took one hour long about what thirst is and how it feels, also I had to tell her that she needed to drink more water.


31. Heart Attack

I'm a paramedic and recently transported an idiot who self presented to the local hospital, who found he was having a heart attack (stemi) and needed to be sent to a bigger hospital for treatment.

During my assessment I asked him how long he'd been having chest pain. On and off for twelve months, he tells me.

Any family history? (One of the biggest indicators). Oh, yes. Dad died of a heart attack. Brother died of a heart attack. Both of them first presentation, stone dead on the spot, no freaking about.

So... you have a 12 month history of intermittent chest pain, and a family history of your closest male relatives spontaneously chucking hearties and dying, and you've never got it investigated. Furthermore, the only reason you came to the hospital tonight is because your family badgered you into it.

I told him he needed a solid kick in the butt. To his credit, he agreed. 


32. Dialysis Substitute

That a vegan diet is not a substitute for dialysis. We had a patient come into the hospital, pale as a ghost, in a wheelchair, looking 40 years older than he was. I can't remember what was wrong with his kidneys, but two years before, his nephrologist had told him that it was time to start dialysis. 

He was upset about this, so he went to another nephrologist who told him the same. So he decided to stop seeing doctors altogether and went on a vegan diet instead. That wheelchair? Oh yeah, he bought it half a year ago when he couldn't walk anymore for some reason.

I wish I had taken a picture of his lab results. The only one I can still remember is Creatinine, which was above 5000 µmol/l. Potassium was somewhere in the "certain death" range, hemoglobin ridiculously low. 

He was taken to the ICU and finally got his dialysis, but his body was pretty damaged at this point. Don't know what became of him (it was during my training and I left soon after), but he didn't look like he could ever recover. 


33. Missing Periods

From when I was a resident, working in the living hell that is the GYN-ER at a major Florida hospital.

Woman comes in complaining of missed periods. Hasn't had one in two months. 

Me: Do you think there is any chance you may be pregnant?

Patient: No! That's impossible. 

Me: Are you active?

Patient: Yes, of course 

Me: Do you use protection?

Patient: No. 

Me: Do you think you might be pregnant??

Repeat for 15 minutes. 

I swear, we could have reduced the number of visits to that ER by stapling a bag of pregnancy tests to the door with a sign saying "Think you're pregnant? Take one" and tack a vaginal ultrasound probe to the door with a sign saying, "Want a picture of the baby? We use this to take the ultrasound." 


34. They Appeared Normal on the Outside

I think the most frustrating thing I've seen since I was a resident was a very pretty (like stunningly pretty) 17 year old with what appeared to be normal, loving, affluent parents. She had a tumor in her pelvis (rhabdomyosarcoma) that we could resect to potentially cure her.  

The parents declined, also declined chemo and said they want to try holistic medicine because that made more sense to them.  

I last saw her 3 years ago, she was getting huge lymph nodes removed from her groin because they were unsightly.

 Obviously metastatic disease. Parents did not want the primary tumor removed and again declined chemo.  

I see 100 patients/week probably, lots of devastatingly sad cases. But I still think about that girl, listening to her parents, costing her life. I bet she's dead now.   

I can assure people, doctors are not trying to swindle you, give you unnecessary care, or have some ulterior motive in this sort of setting.  99.99% of doctors are treating patients the same way they'd treat family, so try not to be dense, we want to help. 


35. Can't You Understand?

Emergency nurse practitioner here. Had a patient once with a bowel obstruction, and we were placing a nasogastric tube to suction so the patient didn't have to continue puking their guts up. The family (consisting of an adult daughter and son) wanted to know why it was necessary to put the patient through an NG tube. 

This is totally a reasonable question, because placing an NG tube is pretty traumatic! 

I explained that because the gut contents cannot move forward past the obstruction, they were backing up and causing the patient to vomit. They stared at me blankly.

 I asked a few questions to clarify what part they didn't understand...and it turns out they didn't have the basic fundamental understanding that the food you put in your mouth travels downward through the stomach and intestines, then exits as feces.

I tried to explain this process very quickly, very basically (think elementary school health class).  I was met with further blank stares, then "Could this be because of some cold cuts they ate this morning?" 

I couldn't bring myself to just say "YES, IT WAS THE HAM." I just didn't say anything. Just told them "No, not really" and left it at that. 

Dr. verndandi

36. Creams Are Edible, No?

Woman comes in to my pharmacy, claiming her medication was making her vomit. She says she can't remember what it is called. I look up her profile and there is nothing recent, just one-off antibiotics and antifungal from almost a year ago. I ask her if it was over the counter and she said it was, she pointed me to the Monistat cream. 

I thought it was incredibly strange that a vaginal cream was making her vomit so I asked how she had been using it. She was taking it by mouth. She says she would fill the plunger with the cream and shoot it to the back of her throat and swallow it so she wouldn't taste it as much as putting it directly on her tongue and swallowing. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Another time my coworker, another pharmacist, got served a lawsuit while I was there. 

The patient suffered a fall and concussion and claimed it was because her lisinopril (blood pressure medication) was increased from 10mg to 20mg and she was not informed and passed out. She was suing the pharmacist, the pharmacy, her doctors office, and the doctor themselves. 

It eventually came out in early discovery that she was at a rave and had a BAC of 0.18, THC, and MDMA in her system. The case against the doctor's office, doctor, and pharmacy itself fell apart right away so she went all in on trying to sue the individual pharmacist. 

The pharmacy's POS system confirmed that she checked "I decline pharmacist consultation at this time." so the case was eventually dropped.


37. A Mix-up

I had a woman bring a literal sandwich bag [unseparated] which she kept all her meds into the pharmacy. 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. Why was a pet medicine in her bag and also why was she 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. 


38. Horse Drug

I’m a paramedic, and had this call while I worked on a rural fire/EMS service. The call came in for an allergic reaction.

I arrive at a rural farm and find the PT in the kitchen on the ground wheezing. Husband says she took Sulfa, which she's allergic to, and after grabbing her BP we hit her with epinephrine (Same as an epi-pen) and Benadryl. Her breathing improves, and she starts to be able to answer questions.

Me: So, you're allergic to Sulfa?

Pt: Yeah

Me: And you took Sulfa?

Pt: Yeah

Me: Was it mislabeled or in the wrong bottle?

Pt: No.

Me: ....

Pt: ....

Me: Was it your husband's prescription? 

Pt: No, it was for our horse.

Me: Was....wait, did you say a horse? You took Sulfa prescribed for a horse?

Pt: Well, I only took half

Me: .....you only took half because a horse is much larger than a person

Pt: Yeah

Me: ....okay. Were you intentionally trying to hurt yourself?

Pt: No, of course not

Me: But you know you're allergic, right?

Pt: Yeah. I just have a cold and thought it would help me breathe better

Me: So you took horse Sulfa, which you're allergic to, because you had a cold and thought it would help your breathing?

Pt: I took HALF a horse Sulfa

Me: Sorry, half. Gotcha. Let's go to the hospital. 


39. How Did You Survive?

I've been a firefighter for a very long time. One of my most recurring thoughts is "How did this person survive to adulthood?  

I had an elderly patient at around 2am. The conversation went like this:

Me: What seems to be the problem?

Patient: I don't feel good.

Me: Okay, what specifically are you feeling?

P: I don't know, I just don't feel good.

Me: Are you on any medications?

P: A bunch (hands me a list)

Me: Have you been taking your meds like your doctor told you?

P: No.

Me: When was the last time you took them?

P: A few days ago.

Me: When was the last time you ate?

P: A few days ago.

Me: Have you been drinking water?

P: No.

Me: Have you been drinking anything?

P: Pepsi.

Me: Okay, so...you haven't eaten or taken your meds for at least three days, and you've drank nothing but Pepsi for three days. And you don't feel good.

Gee, I wonder why.

Speedy Spooley

40. His Problem Was Not His Knees

I was working in the GP and had a patient scheduled for an appointment. Looked through his notes to gain an idea of why he may be seeing me and saw he'd been seen a few times with knee pains/shoulder pains and the like. 

The guy is in his 70s so probably just arthritis. I'm thinking I'll do an examination of his sore joints and ask a few questions, prescribe some painkillers and it'll be a quick one.

Call him in and he walks in, sits down and is cheery as anything. 

"What seems to be the problem then, sir? I notice you've had some issues recently with sore joints," I ask. 

He then proceeds to tell me about this sore knee. So I check his knee and take a history and it all seems fine. Ask anything else and he's like, “oh, actually my neck is sore too.” So I checked his neck and nothing untoward to be found there either. At this point he's like “thanks doc I'll be off then.” 

I said to him, “Oh good, glad we could help. And you have no other pains at all before you go?”

He then sits back down and tells me he's been having central, crushing chest pain radiating down his left arm and into his jaw since last night and has been feeling breathless and when it happened he had an impending sense of doom.

I know a lot of you won't be doctors here but I'm sure you all recognise signs of an MI there. He had all the classic textbooks symptoms. 

Called an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital for PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) where thread a catheter up the arteries into the coronary artery to find and then treat the blockage.

Man came in complaining of arthritis and when he was about to leave decided to tell me he'd had a heart attack the night before and thought nothing of it.


41. The Know-it-all

I was a newly minted graduate with fresh and optimistic views on my life as a doctor. Second week in came this old lady and her very dysfunctional family. 

They would argue and complain about everything, from the food, the nurses they didn't like and every single medical decision we made. She was very very sick so her management was just as complicated. 

She had several children and they all didn't like one another and would not talk to one another. Each time we would have to explain a long update to every single one of them because they "are entitled to hear it from a doctor". 

One of these stories is sitting down and explaining why you don't give Gatorade as an IV drip. They did not understand why we were giving "salt water" to her. 

Conversation with her son: 

"Look she likes Gatorade, she is drinking it so why can't you give it to her through her drip?" 

We explain why. 

Son frowns. "But it’s isotonic." 

We explain again. 

"Yes but Gatorade has more electrolytes." 

We explain again. 

"Salt water just seems to be too cheap. Can’t you give her something else closer to Gatorade? That has electrolytes?" 

Continues for two hours. Wash and repeat every day during her admission.

Afterwards I told my fiance. He opened up a scene from Idiocracy on YouTube and I just sat there with my mouth open for a while. 


42. A Not So Small Present

I am a GP in a small British medical center. Older lady came into one of the day clinics with a large shopping bag emitting a foul smell, so much so we gave her the 'special treat' reserved for smelly patients waiting in the doctor's corridor instead of the waiting room, having received complaints from other patients. 

Said older lady comes into my office for her appointment and sits down, asks me how big the largest 'poo' I've ever seen - "as a doctor" - was. I demur and explain I don't actually see as much poo as one might imagine, and she proceeds to tell me an epic tale:

For the week before her appointment, she'd had the worst case of constipation she'd ever had. She tried and tried, but could not go to the toilet no matter how much olive oil or liquorice she consumed. 

Then, the day before the clinic, she felt "the urge" and found herself doing "the longest poop I've ever seen - it just kept coming, and coming, and coming". 

So fascinated was she by her enormous poo that she couldn't bring herself to flush it, but picked it out of the toilet, put it in a waterproof shopping bag, and showed her friends, who - she says - told her she must show it to a medical professional, because we'd just be *fascinated* to see such a large, unusual stool.

And then she opened the bag, and showed me her poop. Which filled it. It filled *the entire bag*.


43. Wrong Hole

I was in my last year of internal medicine residency, spending a month covering nights at one of our local hospitals. A nurse paged me around 10pm with the message "Can't place foley in PT in room XXX". 

On my sign-out list, it said the patient was a ~70 year old man admitted for advanced heart failure and needed the foley catheter to track urine output while the team was trying to diurese the fluid off of him.

I headed over to the ward this patient was on and asked the nurse what the issue was, and she said I just needed to talk to the patient about it. Okay, odd, but whatever. I stroll into the room and meet a pleasant, older man sitting in his bed. 

The conversation immediately went...weird.

Me: So, what sort of problem were they having with the catheter? Were you having a lot of pain with it or something?

Patient: Oh, no, nothing like that. They were just putting it in the wrong hole!

Me: The...wrong...huh? I'm not sure I understand.

Patient: Well, you know how every guy has their pee hole and their sperm hole? They were putting it in the wrong one.

Me: ........sir, I'm going to need to examine your manhood.

It turns out this guy had a hypospadia, which for his entire life he had thought was just "how a manhood looks." Apparently, that's what his mom told him as a child. He literally had an accessory hole in his penis and just thought "Yup, that's how a manhood works - a pee hole and a sperm hole".


44. She Couldn’t See

For several years, I worked as a medical technician in a large ophthalmology clinic. We had a 21 year old woman come in one day as soon as we opened, frantic and crying that she couldn't see and couldn't open her eyes without extreme pain and light sensitivity. 

Come to find out that rather than taking her daily disposable contacts out and replacing them with new ones as directed, she just kept putting a new set on every day, one on top of the other...for 24 days.

By the time she came in, the bottom contact had adhered to her cornea, causing severe erosion and a hideous ulcer. She screamed so much during the exam and kept pushing the doctor away that she had to be heavily sedated at the neighboring hospital to remove them all.

She caused permanent damage to the cornea and worsened her vision, and it took months to heal. 

She then asked for a contact prescription on her last visit, which the doctor couldn't get over that she had the gall to ask, and he promptly denied the request (also, her cornea was so damaged she couldn't wear regular contacts anymore).

Also, we had a repeat patient who kept putting super glue in her eye. She said the dry eye ointment tube was the same shape, and she kept "mixing them up" since, for some reason, she kept them both next to each other in her bathroom cabinet. 


45. Choking

I remember the time I got a highest priority call to someone who was actively choking. I rush down to the scene, going through the protocols en route — plans for if we needed to perform CPR, the whole 9 yards.

I pull up. Rush in.

The dude’s sat on the sofa, fully alert.


Me: "Ah, you've managed to clear it, great."

"No, I'm still choking." They said with no hint of choking. Also if your airway is occluded you can't speak.

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