Going to the hospital can be a memorable moment for anyone, but it's rare that a doctor has a patient that they'll never forget. These medical tales from the emergency room, doctor's office and surgeon's table are enough to make anyone try their best to never end up in the hospital as long as they can help it.
Whether a doctor overstepped their bounds or a patient didn't follow their caretaker's instructions, these medical stories were often caused by someone's incompetence or unwillingness to follow simple instructions. But many medical stories have another common beginning: sheer dumb luck.
He Refused Help
I reported to a car accident on the highway when I was working as a medic. The guy involved in it was fairly messed up. He adamantly refused treatment and transport.
Instead, he signed himself off and started walking down the slight decline off the road where his car had come to rest after the accident. Yeah, bad idea. He made it about 10 feet from the back of the ambulance until he lost consciousness and tumbled the rest of his way down the decline.
What started off as a smack on his head and a few cuts turned into a broken left arm, serious concussion, and a nasty gash on his head. Reddit
Do You Have an Appointment?
I was seeing a urologist in a hospital once. During my visit, there were a couple of power cuts. The lights dipped out but the generators kicked in, thankfully. As the urologist was finishing the examination, mid-sentence, the lights went out again.
This time, however, the generator did not kick in right away. The urologist got up and walked out to check on things. 15 minutes later, the lights came back on. I was still sitting on the bed with my old chap out and pants around my ankles.
A nurse walked past the open door and does one of those comedy double-takes. “Do…do you have an appointment?” she asked. Turns out, the urologist had actually finished the examination and returned to the ward a while ago. Awkward. Hitz365
Not Allowed to Eat
I had a patient who was NPO (not allowed to eat) because he had a bowel obstruction. He didn’t like that we weren’t feeding him, so, unbeknownst to the nurses, he called up Papa John’s and ordered some garlic knots.
He ate the entire box, then his ignorance came to punish him—he vomited them up, aspirated his vomit, went into respiratory arrest, and coded. We did CPR and got him back. He had some underlying lung issues so we never could get him weaned off the ventilator.
He spent a month in the ICU and was eventually discharged to a long-term care facility with a tracheotomy on the vent. cupcakewife
An Awkward Moment
I had an ingrown hair on my chin that I tried to squeeze out. In the process of doing so, the pus around the hair must have backfired and erupted. My chin began to swell as if I had an abundant amount of gum or a jawbreaker stuck in my lower lip. I went to the doctor the next day.
It was my first time with that particular doctor, which made the whole thing even more awkward. I told her the story of how my chin came to be with the added blurb of, “But at least I got that sucker out!”
After examining my chin, she called in what I assumed to be a resident to see the golf ball lump that had formed on my chin. I reacted by exclaiming, “Gee, this doesn’t make me feel showcased or awkward by any means.” Apologies and laughter ensued. DantheMan700
What Are You in For?
My dad is an interventional and cardiovascular radiologist. Years ago, he was doing an operation on a prison inmate. The guards had the inmate handcuffed to the table and remained in the room during the operation.
The inmate, in an effort to scare my father, told him that he was behind bars for manslaughter. Well, my dad doesn’t scare easy. Without missing a beat, my dad replied to this inmate with, “The last guy I did this operation on didn’t make it either.”
The security guard chuckled and the inmate didn’t say another word for the rest of the procedure. [deleted]
Always Wash Your Bananas
I work as an OB-GYN. An attractive blonde international flight attendant—a regular patient of mine—called for an emergency appointment. She sheepishly told me that she was beginning to get very concerned that she kept finding Costa Rican postage stamps inside her.
Now, I had been in my job for 24 years and never heard of anything like that before. After a full examination, she was relieved to learn they were just the stickers from the bananas. HIGGINS28
An Unexpected Surprise
A couple came into the hospital one day. The woman, who was very obese, was complaining about severe stomach pains. It didn’t seem like she was in any kind of immediate danger so the doctor just took her in for a routine examination. What he found floored him.
The doctor found out that she was pregnant and that she was experiencing contractions. She was about to deliver. The woman was in total disbelief. She said, “I take the pills every day.” pandashuman
She Chose to Go Blind
Eye doctor here. I had a patient who came in and during her evaluation, I determined that her diabetes was out of control by the look of her retinas, which required immediate intervention. I sent her straight to the retina specialist who then scheduled her for an OR.
She decided that day not to go in because she had work and couldn’t afford to take off any days. She was cleaning houses and the sprays made her sneeze, causing massive hemorrhaging in her eyes due to their weakened vascular state.
The consequence of this was absolutely shocking—she went immediately blind and got into emergency surgery that day. It took months of recovery and injections to reverse some damage and she now (years later) has functional vision again. Hindsight is 20/20. OscarDivine
He Was Nearly a Goner
I’m not a medical professional, but my dad had a really serious cough and I told him he had to get it checked out. He ignored me for weeks. At some point, he started coughing up blood and I essentially forced him to go to the doctor.
He was diagnosed with tuberculosis which was scary enough, but then the doctor revealed an unsettling truth— if he had left it any longer, he would have been a goner. Most of the time he had the cough, he was overseas—he gets paid to work in places like India, China, Korea.
We FaceTime regularly, so luckily, I wasn’t around him very much for most of the duration of his cough. I later found out that I guess I’m really lucky I wasn’t around him a lot, because I probably would have caught it otherwise. lisxsi
Part of my job is poking people in the eye with a tiny ultrasound “pen” (tonometer) to test eye pressures. It’s not too uncommon for people to faint during this test, because they hold their breath or just get freaked out from sitting still having their eyes poked.
It’s a common phobia. I was administering this test to a young man, around 18 years old, while his father was in the room. His dad was going to pay for laser eye surgery and was there for support. Well, despite playing brave, the kid fainted. He fainted right into my chest.
My chest was huge at the time because I was three months pregnant, so he got a soft landing. I would normally catch a patient and assist accordingly, but this kid just fell forward before I could catch him. I nearly fainted from embarrassment. hezod
He Was as White as a Ghost
I worked in ER admissions throughout college. A teenager and his parents came in one day because he went over the handlebars on his bike. The staff wanted to keep him in observation overnight, but his parents refused even after they offered to put him in a recovery room that was near the ER.
They came back the next day and how he looked shook us to our cores. He was white as a ghost. It turned out he had punctured some part of his digestive system in the fall and, I think, had some internal bleeding.
It’s the only true emergency surgery I saw in the four years I worked there when the staff actually ran to the OR with a patient. He was lucky to survive. clemenni
I had one really embarrassing moment during a normal checkup. The doctor was doing the back tapping routine for any soreness because of a history of kidney stones. He was progressing towards my sides and entered the tickle zone.
Now, I’m insanely ticklish but I didn’t want to break out in a giggle fight right in front of my doctor. I managed to resist the urge to laugh, choking back my laughter. But it was a futile effort. After a while, I broke and let out the most hideous screech of laughter, unlike any sound I had ever made before.
The doctor didn’t acknowledge it. The rest of the examination passed very quietly. And awkwardly. MurtianInverder314
No One Told My Nurse What Was Going On
After my heart operation where they went in through my femoral artery, they forgot to tell anyone outside the theatre that they had given me anticoagulants. Long story short, when I got back to the ward, my mom and dad came to visit and see how I was doing—only to walk into the room from hell.
I had two doctors and two nurses around me, caked in blood with the back wall of the room dripping with it. I should have been in this tourniquet thing for like 12 hours minimum after surgery, but they removed it and asked me to get up and move around after four hours.
Suffice to say, it wasn’t pretty and the first nurse (the one who removed it) went absolutely white. No one answered the emergency buzzer for about 10-15 minutes to help her, either. She just kept panicking and saying, “You are bleeding out!” to me. DenieD38
I Asked Out the Receptionist
When I was 21, I broke my back in a car accident. I had pretty gnarly back surgery. Part of my recovery involved regular check-ups with my surgeon. I didn’t mind that because the receptionist at his office was way cute. Every time I went in for my check-up, I got the vibe that this receptionist was into me.
I asked the doctor during one of my visits if he knew if she had a boyfriend. He pretty much told me he didn’t really get into her personal life. Fast forward a few weeks. I saw her at a bar and started chatting with her. We sort of hit it off and exchanged numbers before going our separate ways.
We set up a date about a week later to go to the beach. It went well, and she invited me over to her dad’s place. She said that he would be grilling some steaks and had plenty to go around. The door opened, and I nearly fainted. Who answered it? My surgeon, AKA her father. StrungoutScott
It Was the Hospital's Fault
When I was in school, I had an instructor who took a job as Vice President of patient care at a big American hospital. She said there was a patient who had been on the unit for a year and the hospital was footing the bill. When they told her why, it was just about the worst thing I’ve heard.
He was in for a brain surgery and they had removed a large section of his skull to access the brain. Then they dropped it on the floor.
They tried to clean it up and they apparently gave him lots of post-operative antibiotics, but he inevitably developed encephalitis or meningitis or well, probably an infection of the whole head. thepoopsith
Making a House Call
I am the son of a surgeon. I went with my dad to see an elderly patient who needed to have a cast removed. I was about nine and we were going to an assisted living facility to take of this lady’s cast off.
She couldn’t make it to the hospital herself on account of her being so old so he was kind of making a house call. He had a saw to remove the cast. It was actually pretty intimidating. But he touched it while it was on to show this little old lady that it wasn’t going to cut her.
Apparently, that demonstration hadn’t been enough. Upon him touching the saw to her cast, she started screaming like a banshee and freaking out. I was also pretty scared because my dad just kept going. When we got in the car to go home, he burst out laughing. I wasn’t as amused. StLightManifesto
The Happiest Delirious Patient
I’m a nurse. I had a very polite and lovely patient try to remove all of his chest tubes and IVs after his motorcycle accident. He was obviously delirious from the pain medications and the head injury, but he was still a nice guy.
I left him in the care of my co-worker for my lunch, and 10 minutes into my lunch break, I saw him stagger past the breakroom door. He was trailing blood everywhere, but that wasn’t even the worst part—a couple of seconds later, he collapsed.
He said he needed the bathroom! I don’t know how the heck he pulled his own chest tubes out. He was put back to bed, this time in the ICU, and he got some more sedation. Even though ripping it all out set him back a couple of weeks, he was still eventually discharged. What a trooper. whoorderedsquirrel
I Got a Good Laugh Out of It
I was so embarrassed for this doctor. Many years ago, I had a suction lipectomy done on my neck to remove excess fat. When I went back for a post-surgical follow-up, the doctor asked me to remove my blouse and bra.
Never having been shy or modest around medical professionals, I figured he must have needed to see my neck in relation to the rest of my chest. So, I happily disrobed and was standing there with my “stuff” hanging out when he realized that he had the wrong patient.
He had confused me with someone else who had gotten an…implant surgery. He calmly asked me to put my clothes back on, and apologized for mistaking me for the other patient. I got a good chuckle out of it. But the doctor was blushing like crazy. vasly
Cleanliness is Close to Godliness
I’m not a medical professional, but my aunt is and I’d like to share her horrifying story. She once had a patient, a young guy in his early 20s, who had very poor hygiene. He didn’t shower regularly, didn’t brush his teeth, wore the same clothes for days on end, etc.
One day, he came in with a nasty rash on his lower abdomen that was starting to show signs of infection. My aunt provided antibiotics and extensively stressed to him to improve his hygiene. Well, he didn’t pick up the prescription and apparently choose to just keep putting A&D Gold ointment on the area.
He would live to regret this so, so much. She later found out he ended up in the ER after going into shock at work. Turns out, he ended up getting gangrene in the area and it had spread to his scrotum, which had to be removed. TommyLeeJonesIsGay
Her Allergy is Real
I had a repeat patient as a medic who would always call for a severe allergic reaction to shellfish every other month or so. She always had an allergy and I knew her reactions were getting worse. But she finally told me the truth and what she told me made my jaw drop.
She told us that she comes from a patriarchal culture and her father always made this amazing seafood soup. If she didn’t eat it and “force her body not to reject his gift to the family,” she would lose her car, phone, or whatever punishment her father deemed necessary.
We pleaded with her to do whatever it took to show him it was deadly. Fast forward a few years. She was back at the hospital. The doctor performed a tracheotomy and she went to the ICU. It took a week for her to recover and her father “finally got it” that her allergy was a medical condition. MonsterHunterRelias
School is His Top Priority
We had a college student come into the ER with a wonderful case of appendicitis. He needed to get surgery ASAP, as surgery is way easier and safer if done before the appendix ruptures. He called his parents to let them know, and their response chilled me to the bone.
They told him to refuse because he had a test later in the week and they didn’t want him to miss it. He left the ER “Against Medical Advice” despite all of us telling him that if his appendicitis got worse and ruptured, it could definitely be fatal.
The kid luckily came back about 10 hours later after it ruptured. He got the emergency surgery and the amount of time he got to spend in the hospital probably doubled, so I’m sure he missed his test anyway. I_AM_A_BOOK
"I Guess I Did Have to Go"
I was once checking stitches on a patient’s leg. For whatever reason, she was wearing a skirt but had decided to go commando. I’m a professional so that didn’t bother me—it just seemed unsanitary. Then, she sneezed and, well, yeah, it was definitely unsanitary.
The force of the sneeze contracted her bladder and squeezed out a little urine…directly onto me. I stood up and, in an effort to alleviate the tension, she gave an awkward grin and said softly, “I guess I did have to go.” I was like, yeah, looks like you did but didn’t say anything to her.
I left without a word and cleaned myself up before telling her doctor she was ready. friday6700
He Refused Surgery
I had a throat cancer patient. We offered him surgery to remove the tumor and it was actually a fairly conservative procedure. He left because he didn’t want a “mutilating” surgery. Instead, his daughter-in-law had been studying magnet therapy and she was “quite good with it” (his words).
He came back a year later, it was all too late—he was out of reach from any treatment. His cancer was so advanced that there was nothing we could do for him. Dutchess_md19
This Has Only Happened in Theory
This happened to me with an optician. I went for my annual eye test and to get a prescription for the next year’s supply of contact lenses. I usually get the same optician every year and that visit was no different. He gave me a warm welcome to the big machine that tests your eyes.
He started the test and was utterly shocked to read the results. In great excitement, he came up to me and said, “Ma’am, we have only come across this in theory and I never knew this is really possible. Your eyesight has corrected completely! You don’t need contact lenses or glasses anymore!”
I actually believed him for a moment before I sheepishly replied, “Are you sure you negated the effect of the contact lenses I am wearing?” Turns out I was supposed to take them off at least 30 minutes before testing my eyes. Oops. Not sure if he was more embarrassed or I was. moto-chuchu
I Knew Something Was Wrong
I was the patient in this story. When I was between 7 and 9, I had my first port put in, which is an IV catheter attached to the main vessels in my heart. When I woke up, I knew something was wrong. My lungs were horrible already, but this was way worse. I couldn’t breathe and I was in so much pain.
The doctor, however, thought I was just being a kid and not handling the pain very well. My nurse knew me pretty well, though, and after me crying and struggling to breathe for a few hours, she convinced the doctor I didn’t normally act like that and that something was really wrong.
He ordered an X-ray and we found out that the surgeon had accidentally sliced my lung when he was putting the port in, and my lung had collapsed. piper1871
She Refused to Let Me Treat the Wound
I was working on a general surgery unit as a new nurse. An elderly diabetic patient ran over her second toe with the bedside table and her nail was ripped off. She was incredibly mean and didn’t want anyone touching her. She also refused care from the physician.
There was really nothing we could do other than a gentle cleansing with antibiotic ointment and sterile dressings, which she eventually relented to. All of her objections would eventually lead to the worst-case scenario. When she came back to the hospital, she needed to have her leg amputated.
The doctor told her she likely would have been fine if she didn’t refuse treatment. After her amputation, she again refused care. Reportedly, she still sabotaged her own healing several times by introducing new infections to her wounds. I saw her obituary in the newspaper a few weeks later. dairyqueenlatifah
An Unforgettable Patient
I remember this one patient I had. She was in labor and I had to check her cervical dilation. Now, the way that’s done is by doing a digital vaginal exam and estimating the gap with the index and middle fingers in a “V” shape.
Most of the time this is pretty routine and, to be honest, the patient is usually too distressed by the contractions to care. This one patient, however, seemed to respond to my examination in a totally unexpected way.
She went from, “Argh! Ouch!” to “Ooh. Mm,” very quickly. Needless to say, it took me all I had to keep a straight face. mott3h
He Didn't Want to Pay For Parking
When I was in medical school, I had a gentleman in his late 60s come in for chest pain. We found he had suffered a large heart attack, but he refused surgical treatment because he wanted to bring his car home and planned on taking an ambulance back to the hospital.
Apparently, he was in the parking ramp and it cost $20 a day to park, so he didn’t want to pay. He came back by ambulance and my worst fears happened—he went into full cardiac arrest with no pulse and quickly passed. The doctor had to call his son and explain what happened.
The son was like, “Yeah that sounds like dad, he’s always been cheap.” SivverGreenMan
Aren't You Forgetting Something?
When I was a kid, I often had surgeries to treat my genetic condition called osteochondromatosis. My surgeon came highly recommended, and although he didn’t have the best bedside manner, he was very good at his job.
I went in once to get some plates put in both knees to correct the bowing growth and also to have a bone spur removed from my left foot. Surgery went well, I’m put in recovery, and my parents come see me. My mom, however, notices something strange. “Weren’t you supposed to do both knees?”
She asked my surgeon. I don’t know what his response was, as I was in dreamland, but I gather he was horrified. He’d done my right knee and my left foot…but had literally forgotten to do my left knee, which lead to me having to undergo two more surgeries than I would have. Ralinis101
I work at a dentist’s office. A patient came in for an exam, concerned that a part of her tooth was chipped off. On examination, it was not a chip, but rather a piece of calculus, which is the build-up of hard tartar that covers your teeth over time when you don’t brush them.
It can be small deposits, or in this case, an entire “bridge” covering her actual teeth.
She thought the calculus was tooth material and was quite shocked to learn we were actually unable to see her real teeth. We gave her an extensive cleaning to remove it all. GrayGhoast
The Surgeon Caused the Problem
Recently, my eight-year-old grandson went for his surgery to have a cyst removed from his thyroid gland. Something went horribly wrong. Apparently, the damage was so severe that the surgeons at the new hospital didn’t even know what to do. The original surgeon had cut my grandson’s vocal cords.
The new surgeon does the six-hour repair surgery from 5-11 pm on Friday night. After that, the new surgeon opened my grandson up again to take a look and told my son and daughter-in-law that everything looked better than he had even hoped for.
And then finally, the worst thing. The original surgeon that messed up called my son and told him that once he opened my grandson up, he saw that it was not a cyst on his thyroid gland, but a lymph node. Yet he continued to perform the surgery! JazzedParrot108
More Bitterness Than Brains
This patient came in with an abdominal bleed. Two hours later, the OR sent for the patient, but she refused. Her reason made me shake my head. She said that if the doctor could make her wait for surgery, then he could wait for her…as if it was a game of petty revenge.
After several rounds of doctors and nurses educating her and begging her, the surgeon came down to see what was going on. After speaking with her for a while, he came out of the room and said, “Keep monitoring her and don’t feed her—she’ll come one way or another.”
Several hours later, I was taking a set of vitals and talking with the patient when she just flatlined in the middle of a sentence. It’s safe to say the incident shook her to her core. After she felt a little better, the patient apologized profusely. Some people have more bitterness than brains, apparently. curlywirlygirly
An A-Ha Moment
When I was in medical school, one of my professors used to tell this story all of the time. He was giving a routine exam to an 18-year-old girl who was about to go off to college. Before the exam began, he noted that she had a very athletic build, healthy complexion, and was very good-looking.
Apparently, this 18-year-old girl had never had a period. When growing up and going through puberty she visited other doctors who told her to keep waiting because her body fat percentage was too low to have periods. My professor had one of those “A-ha” moments.
So, he asked her if she would like to have a pelvic exam and she agreed. Halfway through the exam, he discovered a “nub.” That’s when it hit him. It all made sense; “she” was actually a “he.” This beautiful 18-year-old was actually born a boy with high amounts of estrogen and had inverted genitalia. mattiboi41
We Found Zero Evidence of Cancer
I work in the pathology lab where the hospital sends all the specimens. One day, a surgeon did a double mastectomy based off a different hospital’s pathology report. The report said the woman had the kind of breast cancer where both breasts need to be removed.
But when we examined her specimens, we made an utterly disturbing discovery. We found zero cancer in either breast. Obviously, the surgeon was beside himself and made us look through both breasts IN THEIR ENTIRETY…It’s unheard of to submit all the tissue like this, but he needed to find cancer.
He was so upset, cussing up a storm the whole time and screaming “this is why I never take outside pathology reports!” Turns out, the other lab had mis-labeled her tissue, so some other lady got the all clear who had cancer, while she lost both her breasts when she didn’t need to. anutteranceofshush
My Favorite Client
I’m a dental hygienist. Back when I first started, I had a client who came in to get her teeth cleaned. She was the sweetest little old lady. Halfway through the appointment, I got a terrible feeling. My stomach started to grumble. She poked fun at me for it and we both had a laugh.
Minutes later, the grumbles in my stomach made their way down…like way down. It took everything I had not to pass gas with this sweet lady’s head between my legs. Despite my best efforts, I had to let it out. I straightened up my posture and leaned ever so slightly towards my tray of instruments.
What was supposed to be silent gas, turned out to be one of those toots that sounds like an earthquake. All she said was, “There you go, dear! Now I don’t feel so bad for letting a few go myself out in the waiting room!” Needless to say, she has been my favorite client to this day. Chickennoodo
Most People Don't Realize That
I’m an eye doctor, and many people don’t realize that diabetics need to have their eyes checked regularly. After all, a diabetic complication can result in blindness.
I had a patient 15 years ago that was experiencing severe diabetic vascular changes against the retina and required laser intervention. On the day of her surgery, she chooses to go to work instead.
She worked in the cleaning industry, and on that day she inhaled some of her cleaner fumes. They caused her to sneeze, which spiked her blood pressure, and she blew the fragile blood vessels in both of her eyes wide open. Immediately, she’s blinded in both eyes in a matter of seconds. OscarDivine
They Amputated the Wrong Leg
My grandfather’s friend needed to have his leg amputated. Somewhere between him leaving the hospital bed to go into surgery and coming back out, someone had mislabelled the leg and they amputated the wrong leg.
He went back into surgery three days later—he’s very old and they were worried about him going under once let alone twice—and they removed the other (correct) leg.
This is one of those stories that I couldn’t believe until I actually met the guy and realized he really does have both legs amputated, for no good reason other than negligence. I_Fahmy
Never Touch a Surgeon's Table
I’m a surgical tech, and we were doing a skin graft on a burn patient. In those types of surgeries, you have two different operative sites if you’re taking the skin graft from the patient. This means I have two surgical teams going. I have attending surgeons, residents, and medical students all working alongside.
If you work in surgery, you know that unless you’re the tech, YOU DO NOT TOUCH THEIR TABLE OR ANYTHING ON IT. You have to keep the skin moist until it’s ready to be transplanted on the site. I wrap mine in damp sponges and keep it on my table. I bet you can see where this is going.
I turn back to my table and the sponge is gone. A resident told me my table was “too cluttered” and he threw it in the trash. I’ve never had to scold a doctor so bad in my life. Since the skin was not sterile, we had to use cadaver skin, and you know who pays for that? The PATIENT. SucculentOwl
I Could Hear Everything
I had a screw put in to hold together a fracture in my wrist. At the last moment before surgery, the anesthetist told me I could have the surgery with a local rather than general anesthetic as planned. So I let her make the call for me to be awake. That’s how I heard everything the doctor didn’t want me to hear.
Once the screw is in, the surgeon says to close up. Someone asked if the screw should protrude as much as it was, to which he responded, “No, but we can get away with it, and you never want to take a screw out and put another in, because it will wear out the bone.”
Then silence for about 10 seconds while I feel them shifting my wrist around, followed by, “Actually we better put a smaller screw in.” The surgeon was surprised how quickly I woke up and had a slight look of surprise when I told him I was only under local. Next thing he said was, “Surgery went well…” voltorbz
A Bad Way to Find Out You Have a High Tolerance to Pain
When I was 14 years old, I started getting an upset stomach one night and it wasn’t just another bellyache. The next morning, my parents got me an appointment with the doctor to see if I was okay. We got through it all, but we had to wait at one point, and it was taking quite a long time.
I told my mom, “We should just go home, it’s probably nothing…” and then the next thing I knew, I needed surgery. When I was talking to the doctor before the surgery, he explained that my appendix had burst, and he said I just had a very high tolerance to pain.
In fact, he was surprised I was able to sleep through it. He also explained that if I didn’t have surgery when I did, I wouldn’t have made it. I can see now why a lot of people think that having a high tolerance to pain isn’t necessarily a good thing. Iron_Archer
I Don't Know What the Big Deal Was
I’ve always had headaches, almost daily. About 10 years ago, I started seeing weird auras that would take up my whole vision, and then I’d get a terrible headache. About three years ago, we got really good insurance. Then, I got several auras in a row, and I started to worry that it was a detached retina.
So I went to an ophthalmologist, who dilated my eyes. He suggested I see a neurologist, and maybe they’d do an MRI. Meanwhile, I had a stomach ache that lasted for a few days—very odd for me. But it woke me up in the middle of the night. They were able to get me in for the MRI that day.
They called me back in and she told me I’d had a stroke, and they needed to admit me to the ER. The office was at the hospital, so she literally just walked me through two doors. I never really saw the big deal, it was just a stomach ache and dancing lights. I’m doing a lot better now. MANDALORIAN_WHISKEY
Something Felt Off
When I was a fourth-year resident, my first rotation in the hospital was in radiology. I was waiting with a patient after an ultrasound and they told me they were thirsty. They take a sip of water but then start mumbling. It was incoherent to us but his daughter said he had spoken like that before.
She said something felt off. She was all too right. One second he was fine, and moments later he’s just quietly staring off into space and I start to wonder what’s going on. We check him and one of my seniors calls our resident and immediately starts CPR.
He was wheeled down to the ER but we lost him later that day. Since then I’ve had many patients but this memory still makes me feel weird. ecksdeeeXD
Have You Put On a Few?
I went to the doctor to get a note for a day off work because I didn’t feel so great. The doctor poked me in the stomach and said, “That’s not normal,” then sent me off to have a scan…which took me two months to get around to. Two weeks later, I got a letter from the doctor asking me to come in.
When I got there, the doctor went off at me for not coming in sooner… He told me to go home, pack a bag, and make my way to the Royal Brisbane immediately as it might be cancer. Some more scans later and it was determined not to be cancer, but a four-kilogram cyst.
My only symptom was an enlarged stomach and the “You’re getting fat” comments from my mother. ShaddiJ
Strong and Silent Type
My father went to the hospital with chest pains, and they decided to do an angiogram. The process injects dye into his valves to look for clots. During his procedure, the surgeon asks if he suffers from blackouts, and a few more doctors get called in to have a look.
My dad is the strong silent type but admits to minimal daily pain. They take him to another type of X-ray machine and again are looking in bemusement without explaining anything. Turns out there was a blood clot the size of a golf ball floating free in his heart.
It normally should have taken out someone quickly and the doctors were all intrigued. He had a triple bypass 30 years ago and is still the strong and silent type. monkeypowah
A Horrible Treasure Hunt
My sister was having stomach surgery and the surgeon mentioned that her uterus looked strange. The surgeon thought there might be an ovarian cyst and recommended getting checked. After she recovers from the stomach surgery, she checks out the uterus, and she finds out she has uterine leiomyosarcoma.
In other words, her entire uterus was just one big tumor. The tumor also impacted her ovaries and her fallopian tubes. She had another surgery where they got it all out and then she went through chemo for five months.
After six months of clean scans, she goes to get a mammogram and finds breast cancer. She chose to have a mastectomy last week and she starts radiation soon. It’s the worst treasure hunt ever. carriegood
The Case Still Bothers Me
A patient mystery I never understood was a healthy 23-year-old male. He came into the ER with chest pain that started after eating something spicy.
We check his vitals, do an X-ray, and are about to discharge him when he collapses lifeless. We start CPR and get a pulse. He was stable for a CT scan but doesn’t survive the procedure. The team was baffled. During the autopsy, it was revealed his major blood vessels basically just imploded.
This sometimes, though rarely, happens to men in their 70s with a long smoking history and high blood pressure, but this patient had zero risk factors and was a non-smoker. This was a few years ago but the case still bothers me. crazycarl1
Our elderly patient went into cardiac arrest but was revived. We did all the possible tests but couldn’t find the reason. Just as she was getting better, her heart attack came back for a sequel. We did CPR and were able to get her pulse back, and closely monitored her that night.
Things were not looking good so we called her husband. We asked him to come in as we were worried she would not survive the day. Her husband told us he would be there within the hour. Well, three hours passed and he didn’t show up.
We tried calling and couldn’t reach him. Eventually, a nurse found out that he was downstairs in our ER! Apparently, when he left his house in a hurry, he fell and broke his hip. poofseal
She Only Has a Small Scar
I was working a shift with the trauma team. We roll the patient on her side to get her clothes off and notice she’s bleeding out of her back. There is a tiny exit wound and we piece together it’s a ricochet from our previous patient. She’s not breathing and has no pulse.
Instantly there are two liters of blood gushing onto the floor. We’re running her to an OR, when I notice she’s bleeding from every single opening in her body. Her body had used all its clotting agents. We transfer her to intensive care and monitor her for three weeks.
The family is having conversations about life support. The real twist happens six months later. I was working a shift and bring up this patient to my attending. A month ago at a follow-up visit, this patient walked in. After the traumatic experience, all she has is a scar from her thoracotomy. ED_Medicine
Food Poisoning Lead to Something Much Worse
One time, I got food poisoning. I told my boss I would probably miss the next day. She asked if I needed anything and I said, “No-no… I’m just trying to drink water but I can’t keep it down…I’ve put all my pillows on the bathroom floor so I can stay close to the toilet.”
She brought me ginger tea and asked if they could take me to the hospital. After a while, I could hardly get up, so I finally let her and a co-worker drive me to the hospital. But I felt so stupid—who goes to the ER for food poisoning? They stabilized me in the ER after a few hours and ran some tests.
They told me then I could go home if I wanted, or stay the night in the hospital. Some instinct told me to stay. I felt terrible when they wheeled me over to the hospital. The next thing I knew, I was on a hospital bed surrounded by med staff. I had a life-threatening seizure. not_thatkindofdoctor
He Thought I Was Just Being Difficult
I had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in April of 2017. After I went home from the surgery, the expectation was that I would be on a liquid diet for a week, and then slowly start reintroducing soft foods, etc. Two weeks in and I still couldn’t keep down an ounce of protein shake.
My husband at the time was getting frustrated with me because he thought I was being deliberately difficult. My mother drove me to the hospital in the middle of the night where I spent the next 12 hours having every test imaginable run on me. That’s when doctors made a gruesome discovery.
It turns out, within 24 hours after my surgery, my intestine that was reconnected at the “Y” junction had actually come apart. Everything I’d tried to eat had just been draining into my abdominal cavity. After emergency surgery, I spent 10 days in the ICU recovering before I went home. Boose81
She Couldn't Have Waited Any Longer
My pregnancy was really painful. I was the only woman in my family besides my mother who went through this, and even she didn’t get sick at all while pregnant.
I thought it was normal that I couldn’t stand straight or go farther than ten feet from the bathroom, or that I spent days on the bathroom floor unable to keep anything down to the point where I would lose track of days.
My fiancé begged and begged for me to go to the ER because of all the pain I had. It turns out, I had an acute UTI that was ready to spread to my kidneys. They told me if I waited any longer, I would have miscarried. The thought definitely makes me hold my baby tighter. postteenagewitch
Tanning Made it Worse
When I was about 16, I started having these little red irritated spots show up on my arm. My mom was immediately like, “You have psoriasis, just go tanning.”
So I tanned for about a week and they just got worse. Now I had them all over my body. I even had spots on my eyelids. I went to the doctor finally, and he made a gruesome discovery.
It turned out I had ringworm. Even worse? By tanning, I was basically rubbing them all over with the lotions and incubating them while I tanned. Blackbird6
He Went from the Hospital Directly to Jail
I had a husband and wife brought in at the same time, both with major flame burns. He was about half his body surface area, and she was 75% or more. The woman was intubated at the original emergency room they went to.
She was waking up a bit when she got to our unit and kept trying to mouth something around her breathing tube. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure it was “my baby,” as she miscarried about 36 hours after she was admitted. She developed an arrhythmia while we were starting a new IV and we couldn’t control it.
Then we found out what really happened. We found out the husband lit her on fire when he discovered he wasn’t the baby’s father. He survived and after medical treatment moved to a penitentiary. Nervich
All Because of Eye Drops
The year I was a medical intern I had a 34-year-old woman for a patient. She was manning a grill for two days during a weekend festival for her church. During the festival, her eyes got irritated from the smoke off the grill so she asked a friend for eye drops. After using them for two days, she developed a rash.
The rash rapidly progressed to cover her whole body. It then developed into Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome, which essentially means the most superficial layer of the skin separates from the deeper layers. This leaves a wound that is similar to the raw spot underneath a big blister.
In her case, it involved three-quarters of her body. We had silver-impregnated dressings that we had to wrap her in like a mummy. Despite everything we could do at the main burn unit in a huge metro hospital, her body couldn’t continue to fight. Her friend was racked with guilt. All over some eye drops. Nervich
She Went on Vacation Instead of to the Pharmacy
My patient came in with a badly infected foot abscess. Like, the entire foot was showing signs of cellulitis and we had to put her on antibiotics. She was paying out of pocket and kept trying to leave, but we insisted she finish the treatment. When the infection was mostly cleared she was discharged.
She had strict instructions to change the bandages, monitor the wound, keep it clean, and also had a list of prescriptions. We also scheduled appointments at a wound clinic. She did none of those things. She never even picked up the antibiotics from the pharmacy. She was unreachable.
We later found out this was because she went on vacation. She decided to go on a two-week-long camping and river rafting trip. Her camping trip was cut short after the first week because she developed septicemia and her friends drove her to a local hospital to get airlifted back to our hospital. Namika
He Thought it Was Hilarious
One night I had a young guy who thought it was hilarious he had a stab wound. He arrived at 3:00 am and had been waiting before deciding to get help. He also brought in his friends who also didn’t think it was a serious injury. During his evaluation, it registered as a level one and his blood pressure was low.
His heart rate was soaring as his body tried to compensate for the loss of blood. As soon as we brought him into a room, he coded and never woke up. We tried to revive him with a manual cardiac massage, which meant cracking his chest and manually pumping the heart.
The knife had nicked his abdominal aorta. But that wasn’t the most chilling part. When we went back to the waiting room, his friends and family were having a pizza party, not recognizing the fatal status of their loved one. Yellow_filletofish
I Had All the Symptoms
I had all the symptoms of a GI bleed, including vomiting blood that looked like coffee grounds. I went to the ER. They scoped me and determined I had three minor erosions, then they released me with a script for antacids. I was tired, weak, and dizzy, but I dismissed it because it was “just three minor erosions.”
Two weeks later, my doctor sent me in to have my blood drawn. My hemoglobin was at 4.6 and my hematocrit was 15.1, which is critically low. Long story short, I was rescoped and they found a two-inch tumor in my stomach. I had a total of five tumors and half of my stomach removed a few days later.
Where my GI found the “erosions” was basically right where my two-inch tumor was. I don’t get how he missed it, but he found what he was looking for. All I know is I’m not paying the $7,200 bucks that the hospital wants from me. How they missed a two-inch mass baffles my mind. vonshiza
My Psychiatrist Noticed What Other Doctors Didn't
My psychiatrist saved my life! I have always had irregular periods, so when I had bleeding that didn’t go away for a month, I pretty much just kept on keeping on. Eventually, a doctor referred me to the emergency department because of the blood loss, and all I was told was “You’ve got endometriosis.”
Eventually, the doctors did a blood test and I was admitted overnight for a blood transfusion. A few weeks later, at about the six-month mark, I drove for my regular appointment with my psychiatrist. He took one look at me and freaked out. He told me to proceed directly to the ER.
So I did and was promptly admitted to the ICU with a bilateral pulmonary embolism. The doctor that looked after me and ultimately saved my life wrote a paper on why it’s stupid to ignore a nulligravida (never pregnant) woman in her mid-20s with severe dysfunctional uterine bleeding. seriouslampshade
She Thought She Was Pregnant
Nurse here. We had a 67-year-old woman who thought she was pregnant. I’ve got to say, she did look pregnant since her abdomen was full; similar to those pregnant women who look like they’re carrying a basketball when they are at the end. But she was 67.
Turned out, it was a 37-pound ovarian cyst, and it was the largest one I had ever seen in my career. I asked if I could watch the surgery. That thing came out all in one piece, and I’ll never forget the sound it made.
This was at a community hospital, before HIPAA, so naturally, the lab announced that anyone who wanted could come down to the lab and view this incredible thing before it was dissected. The line at lunchtime was so long you’d think they were giving away free concert tickets. neverdoneneverready
She Heard Voices
One of my first patients was a female college student who couldn’t sleep because of the voices that constantly talked to her. From what she was saying, I gathered that depending on the particular voice, she was either being cautioned about people or situations or outright pushed towards violent acts.
The voices started appearing when she was 16 if I remember correctly, and we met when she was 20. For four years of her life she believed that it was normal to have such voices in one’s head, because, as she explained, many people talk to themselves.
To some extent, she was right; but I had to explain to her that most people really talk with themselves and there are no other identities in them. There’s just an internal dialogue to resolve issues that bother them in their own privacy, so to speak. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. InhumanVoice
Always Wear a Helmet
In my first ride-along we responded to a call where a guy fell at a skate park. When we got there he was conscious and talking coherently. He hadn’t been wearing a helmet when he fell and a bruise was forming above his eye. With no scrapes, we assumed it was a concussion and black eye.
We talked him into coming with us to the ER just to double-check. We get him in the ambulance, lay him down, and his blood pressure had gone down significantly since our first check. Then it took a very dark turn. We turned on the sirens and started fluids, but his blood pressure kept dropping.
He was unconscious by the time we got to the ER. Skipping the bruise meant we hadn’t felt the soft skin filling with blood and the crushed bone around his eye and cheek. He ended up having emergency brain surgery. He recovered to skate another day, and hopefully will remember his helmet. localhelic0pter7
It Was Worse Than Expected
We had a patient call our clinic and say they cut their hand. They wanted to know if we were busy or had time for a couple of stitches.
They failed to mention that they were working with a table saw, and had nearly cut off three fingers. Their tendons were exposed and severed, and I sent him immediately to the hospital.
He received a hand specialist and kept his digits. ruralprimarycarepa
He Never Expected to Become a Teacher
My brother is a paramedic, and he said every time, practically without fail, dispatch would downplay the calls. So one call he had was for a girl “with minor bleeding.” He arrived and found her 14-year-old brother frantic. His 12-year-old sister was bleeding everywhere and wouldn’t stop.
My brother braced for a major cut and expected a blood bath. Instead, the girl was terrified she was a goner….because of all this blood coming from between her legs. So that became quite clear quite quickly. They called the mom and she got on the phone to explain to her daughter what was happening.
She asked if ambulances had sanitary pads, but they don’t carry them. He did however use gauze to make a temporary pad. The mom ran into the house, thanked my brother profusely, and hugged her daughter. He never expected to teach someone about the menstrual cycle. Small_Palpitation898
At Least She Wasn't in Pain
I’m a nurse with twenty years of experience and a master’s degree. This lady had a non-healing, large wound on her left chest area for six months and painful axillary nodules that she had for six years prior to the wound. Any non-healing wound is immediately assumed as cancer until proven otherwise.
Well, this lady had stage four, untreatable cancer—all for a heartbreaking reason. She just wasn’t taught that cancer was treatable. The patient told us, “I wish they could do something for breast cancer, and cancer in general.”
Clearly, she was not informed about how most women with painful nodules should come in ASAP as the cancer is most treatable when detected early. She passed on three weeks after her diagnosis. She was sedated for about two weeks and five days after diagnosis. At least she wasn’t in pain. dragracesssss
He Should Have Been in Pain
My 13-year-old son complained to me that he was unbearably itchy down there. I figured probably sweat, so I told him to wash the area thoroughly and make sure to dry well. A couple of days later, he said it was still itchy and getting bigger. Bigger? I still didn’t think it was anything more than a sweat rash.
We were sent off for an ultrasound. The scan showed zero blood flow to the area, so he was immediately transferred. He went in for surgery where the urologist removes one necrotic mass. It had become randomly twisted and passed at least a week prior. The swelling was a major infection setting in.
He had no pain whatsoever and the doctor said that was amazing. For most boys, torsion feels like being kicked in the nuts, and by the infected stage he was in, he should have been screaming and crying. If we had waited any longer, he could have developed sepsis. MrsFlip
He Waited Too Long
We learned of a medical case involving a man who had a rash on his foot. He googled it and decided it was eczema or some similar inflammatory disease, so ordered and applied a steroid cream.
For those who don’t know, those kinds of steroids act by dampening the immune system—the overactivity of which is the cause of diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
However, he, in fact, had a fungal infection and was just reducing his body’s ability to fight it off. If I remember correctly, by the time he got to the doctor’s, he needed it amputated. keirlikeswhales
Everyone Goes Through This
As a teenager, I was listening to my best friend complain about her bad periods. She snapped at me and asked why I didn’t care that she was in so much pain. I basically told her that we all go through it every month: “Everyone bleeds through tampons every hour or so.
Everyone hurts all the time. Everyone gets the few moments where it’s so painful you can barely stand. Everyone does this for eight days.”
She looked at me like I was crazy and said no, that’s not normal. I argued and said it’s exactly how it is for me…it sucks but what can we do? She gently assured me that what I had just told her was not normal and that I should probably see a doctor. ToofyTwo
They Thought I Only Wanted More Medication
I have Crohn’s disease. No medications helped calm my disease down. Under one of my many hospitalizations, I was sent to a bigger hospital than my local one. A couple of weeks into my stay, I got into big trouble. My stomach was hurting a lot more than usual.
I was still going to the bathroom like 50 times a day to pass blood and minuscule amounts of waste, but then stopped overnight. I spoke to the doctors when they had visitation, but I was getting brushed off by everyone. Regardless, doctors did nothing more than feel my tender stomach daily.
After six days, someone wheeled in an ultrasound machine to my room. After a quick look in my stomach, I got a meek, “Oh, your intestines are twisted around on themselves, you need surgery.” The reason they did nothing for a week was the doctors thought I was addicted to my medications. insideisdead
There's No Way I Got it All Out
This was a dermatology rotation at the VA. I figured he meant a weird mole with some hair coming out, but this guy said, “No, the hair is coming out from under the skin.” The resident asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a barber.
He held up his hand, making a fist, and there were several hairs poking out from between the knuckles of his pointer and middle finger. I stared in confusion, and the resident grabbed some tweezers to pull out maybe a half dozen short black hairs. That’s when the resident’s face dropped.
We were shocked at the mass of hair that we uncovered. The guy said, “Oh it probably came in through there!” He flipped his hand over to reveal a HOLE in his hand’s skin. It turns out, the dude had cut himself like TWO YEARS before, and it had never healed, so he just kept cutting hair. TheOtherDoctorMike
I Wasn't Prepared For That
Our patient had a pilonidal cyst that bothered them for years. This is the type of cyst that can be very large at the cleft of your backside, and is caused by hairs that burrow deep under the skin. It flared up while the patient was sitting for long periods, and became inflamed and infected.
We could see it had opened on its own and was beginning to drain. I could see the nest of hair in this opening and my curiosity and an absolute need to remove it took hold. But I had made a fatal error. I didn’t predict the nest acting like a plug, and the removal released the most foul-smelling pus.
Thankfully, I was wearing a face shield but it did land on the bridge of my nose and eyebrow. I will never forget the sheer force, trajectory, or smell, but would do it all again if I had the chance. Chalk up my fascination to too many episodes of Dr. Pimple Popper. WearsAblueshirt
I'll Never Forget the Experience
We had a patient recovering from a rare drug reaction where skin blisters uncontrollably. His whole body was swollen. Even with the swelling, his vitals are stable. We were scratching our heads when his leg burst. Where the swelling had occurred has now split open and is gushing.
The nurse and my co-resident throw on gloves and apply pressure while I grab a surgical kit and try to find the source. Another minute or two later and they’ve found they found the ruptured vein. I think on the repeat blood work that evening he’d lost maybe 10-20% of his blood in five minutes.
Now we had to treat the infection. This patient was pretty frail and had already had a near-fatal reaction to one class of antibiotics. It was a bad day that got worse with all the other medical problems he was having. It was just too much and we transferred to palliative. Canuck147
I Hope He Was Lying
When I was a medical student, a patient and his brother came in together. The patient was just there for a post-op visit after a hernia repair. Turns out, after inspection, he actually had another baseball-sized hernia. Somehow, that’s not the craziest part.
His brother, on the other hand, LITERALLY had a football-sized hernia visibly coming out of the left leg of his shorts. It looked like an inguinal hernia, and he was able to use it as an armrest.
I asked him if that bothered him at all, and he just straight up said: “My brother’s hernias were painful but this isn’t, so I thought it was just a quirky defect.” I hope he was lying to save face, but we recommended he get it taken care of. shaknawefeh
Thanks For Saving My Life
One time, we had a woman come in through the ER with excessive bleeding three weeks after childbirth. That’s fairly unusual timing and I took her to surgery. I expected to find a little retained placenta and that the bleeding would improve as soon as I got it out. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As soon as she was on the table, it only got worse. We eventually performed a uterine tamponade balloon. This is a big balloon you fill with saline inside the uterus to apply constant pressure. With medication, we finally got the bleeding stopped and she did ok after a blood transfusion.
Her lab results never showed any retained placenta, meaning her uterus just tried to murder her that night. It’s incredibly rare and I’ve never seen this since. She took the time to send me a thank you card a few weeks later with a handwritten note in it: “Thanks for saving my life, I guess.” justpracticing
There's No Known Cause
I got a new OB-GYN and went for a check-up. I braced myself for the horrible pain, and she immediately stopped.
As it turns out, extreme pain down there ISN’T normal, but I’d just had three other OB-GYNs who apparently didn’t care that I cried in pain every time I was checked. She called it vulvar vestibulitis, but the most commonly used term now is vulvodynia.
Apparently, there’s no known cause, but some doctors think it may be due to having too many nerve endings in the area. I am doing somewhat better now thanks to some physical therapies and a lidocaine ointment that I can apply beforehand. itsybitsyemu
Mom and Baby Were OK
A pregnant woman came into our community hospital with some abdominal pain. Her doctor determined she was not in labor so we just treated her with medication. The new obstetrician noted that the patient’s blood pressure had dropped. Now the diagnosis is likely a uterine rupture.
The solution is an emergency C section. A uterine rupture is bad enough, but when we removed the tiny preterm baby, we discovered a horrific truth. It wasn’t a rupture but a placenta percreta. That’s when the placenta grows through the wall of the uterus and into the surrounding organs.
This condition is usually detected on a prenatal ultrasound, but the patient had skipped hers. If she hadn’t missed it, this surgery would have been performed in a big city due to its risky and delicate nature. Thankfully, mom and baby were OK. TableWallFurnace
It Never Slowed Him Down
My oldest son was 11 years old and he needed a physical for football. He had complained that his ankle hurt during the baseball season so she asked if he could take off his shoe. When he did, she immediately pointed to the side of his foot where there was a strange bump and informed us he had a broken foot.
I didn’t believe her because he had the same thing on his other foot as well. So she took a look at the other foot and said, “Oh…he has TWO broken feet.” I was laughing in my head, thinking it was so crazy that my son, who had been running and jumping at the pool literally an hour before, had two broken feet.
After the X-rays were completed, my smile quickly faded as the doctor was right. That’s when we learned about how completely flat feet can be damaged with stress fractures that go undetected. He was put into a cast for eight weeks and was made to wear special shoes and insoles for the rest of his life. Tbjkbe
The Worst Thing I've Ever Seen
My patient was a girl who was taking a nap at home. As she slept, a reckless driver crashed into her house, causing an electrical fire and setting the entire house ablaze. When firefighters pulled her out, her body was 95% burns. The only intact skin on her body was a small area around her inner thigh.
At the end of the day, she looked like a mummy fully wrapped. There is no chance of her having a normal life ever again. The only thing you can really do to encourage healing at that point is antibiotics and debridement. This removes dead cells which hamper growth and encourages new skin formation.
One day, I said out loud in the OR, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” She survived the next few days, and we started with the skin grafts. Her average surgery time was about 10 hours per procedure. This meant 10 hours in full scrub gear at nearly 100-degree heat. Allopathological
The Worst Part Was Telling Him
This patient had a history of kidney cancer but was in remission. On his latest scan, there was surprising news. There’s a focal mass on one kidney. Still, if it’s actually just a focal lesion we can chop off the tip of his kidney and cure him while retaining most of his kidney function.
When radiology calls us back with the results and it was the worst possible outcome. The cancer is back and has spread into the renal veins. This takes our patient out of remission and into stage three. The radiologist also mentions he sees shadows in the liver and brain.
After the dust settles, everyone agrees that this patient is more advanced and surgery is no longer an option. The worst part was telling him. Remember, this patient came in thinking he was having a short surgery and leaving completely cured. Allopathological
All Because of an Accidental Fall
My husband and I were messing around and he chased me through the kitchen. When I took a hard left turn, he lost his footing and fell on his side. He’s a big dude, so falling is a bit more traumatic for him. He couldn’t put pressure on his leg and he knew immediately he was hurt pretty bad.
Once we got to the hospital, however, we found out the shocking truth. He had broken his hip, breaking off his entire ball joint from the top of his femur. But the crazy part is that, apparently, a healthy 30-year-old man breaking his femur from standing is highly unusual.
That’s when we found out that there was an even more terrifying cause behind it. It turned out he was in the early stages of osteoporosis. Even craziest? It was due to a pituitary tumor in his brain. So we discovered a benign brain tumor all because he was wearing slippery socks. yourerightaboutthat
Matters of the Heart
A young woman in her 20s comes in with an infected heart. Her only option was IV antibiotics, hope they work, and plan for hospice care. Her IV lowered the infection but the heart and valve damage were extensive. It was so extreme that the heart was producing micro-clots.
At this point, she decides to fill out a DNR or Do Not Resuscitate and move into hospice care. Our state has a loophole where if the patient becomes unresponsive their proxy can change the DNR. Sadly, the worst happened. Her mom went to court and was granted healthcare proxy rights.
The first thing her mom did was cancel the DNR. She was unresponsive and we knew it shouldn’t be prolonged. We went to court against the mother to revoke her healthcare proxy to fight for the patient’s right to die with dignity. The court refused and mom stayed in control. _AVA_
All of This Could Have Been Avoided
When I was 16, I had a sharp pain in my right side. I tossed and turned for a couple of hours before getting up and knocking on my mom’s bedroom door; a forbidden action. She ordered me to drink some milk and go back to bed. I drank the milk and finally passed out from exhaustion.
The pain came back worse than ever before. After hours and hours of utter agony, I broke down and called my mother. My mom begrudgingly took me to the appointment with the surgeon. I remember sitting in the office with the surgeon while we waited for the nurse to bring him my ultrasound file.
He opened the folder and the smile immediately fell from his face. So yeah, my gallbladder had apparently been filled with stones since I was 16 and it kept making more for the next two years. The surgeon said he’d never seen anything like it. alltheyarnthings
She Was a Fighter
I once had a patient who was flown in from another state. She was transferred for intracranial hemorrhage. But one thing made her case stand out. According to her family, it had happened after she tried smoking the green stuff for the first time.
She had taken a big, long toke and she coughed so hard that it ruptured a vessel in her brain. She survived her surgery, but during her post-op recovery she went into cardiac arrest. After she was stable I was outside the room reviewing my patient list when she went into cardiac arrest a second time!
I’ve never seen the code blue team so out of breath. In one night she was flown in, had a ruptured aneurysm, hemorrhagic stroke, and two cardiac arrests back to back and lived. She was a fighter but I hope her family understands no means no next time! katgeek
Is This Pain Normal?
There are so many, but perhaps one of the most stunning cases was the man who thought searing pain while urinating every once in a while was normal. He would have tremendous back pain for a day or so, which he thought was due to advancing age and the highly physical nature of his job.
Not incredibly unreasonable, but something he should have still checked out. Usually, a few days later, he would have searing pain while urinating, then be fine again. Of course, it turned out to be chronic kidney stone formation.
He said he never noticed the stones coming out because he never looked down while urinating. Honestly, I still don’t understand. I have had kidney stones myself and it definitely feels like something solid is coming out. Baffling. 1skepticalguy
I Ignored it Until it Got Worse
I was rushed to the ER after frequent blackouts and sudden-onset fatigue. I worked a physical labor job and attended college after my shift. I thought it was just my brain giving me a fast forward through mind-numbing tasks. I can’t believe how dangerous it was.
I would get on the highway and the next thing I knew, I was in the parking lot. It wasn’t until I was at work stacking chairs that it really started to sink in—I had an empty cart, turned around to pick up another chair, then turned back to a chilling sight. The cart was full—but I didn’t remember filling it.
I ended up sitting down and one of my co-workers noticed I was white as a ghost. It turned out I was having mild seizures caused by a lack of sleep. When I told the doctor about my blackouts, he told me he had no idea how I didn’t crash. He basically told me to find a new job and get more sleep. Hangman_Matt
I Have No Idea How He Was Still Alive
I had a patient signed out by another ER doctor at a shift change pending a chest X-ray. The X-ray showed aortic dissection, meaning this guy should’ve been gone already, and I had no idea how he was even still alive.
We called the closest big hospital to transfer this guy. The ambulance showed up for the transfer, but we were met with the totally unexpected—the guy suddenly decided he was not going. Apparently, he had enemies in that city and they’d track him down.
After a standoff in the ER hallway involving security, officers, EMTs, multiple doctors, nurses, and a very scared scribe (a.k.a me), the guy got on board with the plan. Once he arrived, he left immediately against medical advice. No clue what happened to him after that, but darn, the dissection was INSANE. mcqlby
Digging For Gold
I had a really outrageous experience when I was in training. I had a chart in the rack with a chief complaint of psychiatric evaluation. As soon as I picked it up, some of the older nurses in the department started giggling. I had no idea why until I opened up the curtain to the room.
In front of me was a normal-looking female in her 20s. As soon as I started asking her basic questions, I knew something was off. She was providing very bizarre answers. Then, she took her hand and reached under the blanket and her gown towards her back. Her hand came up with a fistful of poop.
She then proceeded to go straight to her mouth with it. It caught me so off guard I actually started laughing and walked directly out of the room and called the on-call psychiatrist. The nurses outside had been laughing because this wasn’t the first time she had been in for similar behavior. BJ1984
I went to the hospital to have a cyst removed from my armpit. I suppose because the armpits are so close to the chest, they needed to give me a breast examination to make sure there was nothing bad going on there. I didn’t make a big deal of it. So, there I was in one of those ghastly gowns.
The curtain twitched aside and in came a young male doctor and a female nurse. The nurse, on one side, held my hand and made small talk in an effort to distract me from being embarrassed. It got really awkward when my nipples became really pointed. I was blushing from head to toe.
The doctor who probably hadn’t examined many younger women slipped up. He said, “You have lovely breasts. Uh…healthy breasts.” The nurse was still holding my hand and I felt her grip tighten. Those few seconds felt like an eternity—they were probably worse for the doctor. paper_paws
Don't Bother to Knock
I was the assistant manager of a group home. We had a resident who had epilepsy and was also very reclusive. However, our policy said he had to be checked on every 30 minutes because of his seizure risk. That wasn’t being done, so I brought this up to the manager.
She said she was aware but it was okay to bend the rules because he would get really upset when we checked in on him. When I was on duty, I checked on him every 30 minutes and he would yell at me, but I didn’t let it bother me. After I had been reassigned to another home, I was met with shocking news.
He had a seizure while he was alone in his room and was found cold and lifeless a day later. Now I’m older and a little smarter. When I find a problem like this, I stick with it and don’t let people talk me out of it. Not again. notreallylucy
Hold Your Breath
I went to the doctor to get an X-ray done on my back. I heard the woman working the machine instruct me to, “Hold your breasts,” as her hand hovered over the button. Horrified, I grabbed both my breasts in absolute panic, not understanding what the x-ray machine could possibly do to them.
Then the woman broke out laughing. “No, sweetie!” she said, “Your breath! Hold your breath!” I am so stupid. cartron3000
I Didn't Want to Wait Any Longer
I used to get allergy injections to build up my immune system because of the crazy amount of allergies I had. I would get these injections every week, and I was instructed by my family doctor and the allergist to wait in the waiting room 30 minutes after the injection in case I received a reaction.
Well, one day, I decided I didn’t want to wait anymore. This was also because I had already gone a few months without a reaction, so I left immediately after my appointment. Well, that ended up being the worst decision I could have ever made.
I went into anaphylactic shock not even 10 minutes later. It was crazy because I didn’t even know what was happening at first and I also didn’t know how to use an Epi-Pen at the time. franksowner
We All Had a Good Laugh
I was in the hospital a couple of months ago for chest pains. The various specialists that I saw subjected me to many scans and tests because I have a heart condition. They even had to give me special medication to lower my heart rate for a CAT scan.
But this one specialist wasn’t helping my situation, whatever it may have been. The reason for this was mortifying.
He was just so cute and every time he walked back into the room my heart rate would spike. Eventually, the other specialists had to kick him out. We all had a good laugh about it. cocobeann
They Were a Little Too Eager
Before I got into medical school I worked as an orderly in an ER. At the time, the university hospital was getting all the “good” trauma and we got the routine stuff. Some of the younger and more enthusiastic nurses really wanted the more “challenging” cases, the kind of stuff you see in movies.
This one day, an old guy came into the triage office and the nurse asked him what his chief complaint was. The man answered, “I was shot—,” and before he could finish, the nurse leapt into action. She called out a trauma code on the intercom overhead and demanded a stretcher.
The nurse started cutting the man’s shirt and yelled, “Sir, where were you shot?” The man yelled back, “In Korea!” Everyone turned to the nurse, who was looking quite sheepish. The old guy looked around and said, “My knee hurts when it’s going to rain.” surfwaxgoesonthetop
A Full English Breakfast
This patient was supposed to have starved for eight hours for her morning-scheduled breast surgery.
During the procedure, we were treated to the most disgusting sight—she regurgitated what can only be described as a partially digested English breakfast, with identifiable sausages, egg, beans, and possibly black pudding, up into her unprotected airway as she attempted to inhale the lot.
We managed to prevent the majority of it from going down, but she needed care for a day or so for her lungs to recover from the stomach acid. VolatileAgent81
It's Just a Cough
I went for a mini-vacation in Batam, Indonesia where our villa had a private pool. Throughout our 48-hour stay, I spent more time in the water than out. Any time I wasn’t in the water, I was in our air-conditioned villa room with just a damp T-shirt over my swimsuit. I fell sick after the trip: runny nose, cough, etc.
Eventually, most of the symptoms went away and I was left with just a cough. One day, we went to play paintball and I completely overexerted myself running, ducking, crawling, what have you. I fell asleep but woke up coughing with the feeling of something being stuck in my throat.
Turns out, my condition was way more serious. I was having a very serious asthma attack. The worst thing is, this was the same doctor who told me to always carry my inhaler around JUST IN CASE, but I just wasn’t diligent about it. EarthwormJane
The caretakers at the facility where the patient was living made things so much worse. I used to visit the various board facilities in my area for adults with mental illnesses. Many times, they were not watched closely enough to take their medications as directed.
There was one man with paranoid schizophrenia who was extremely quiet and kept to himself. I urged the facility staff to closely monitor him and his medication intake. Apparently, this never happened. The consequences were devastating. He acquired a knife and used it to injure his roommate in the facility.
The man survived the attack, but the man who had gone off his medication claimed the roommate was poisoning him through the window AC unit. The system basically screwed over two people that day, as the man who was hurt was already there for PTSD. ehh_soso
I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now
We had a patient who wanted to have a dental implant. We told her she needed a sinus lift for her body to accept the implant, otherwise, we could very easily perforate her sinus with the implant. She kept saying no to it even after we explained everything to her. We eventually draw up the consent form.
I wish I knew then what I know now. It was a successful operation and initial stability was achieved with no perforation of the sinus membrane. A month later, she called us up and said she was having a really sore throbbing pain on her cheek, which either meant a pinched nerve or a serious infection.
We offered to treat her infection for free, but she didn’t reply. She called back crying after she heard that she was at risk of going blind in one eye. That’s when she confessed. She admitted that she never bought any of her prescriptions. We don’t know what happened, but we hope she’s OK. renogaza
They Found a Cockroach
A doctor friend of mine told me about a patient that he had once. This patient was morbidly obese and needed surgery for something or the other. When they were cleaning the patient to prep him for surgery, they made a shocking discovery in the folds of his skin.
There was a cockroach in there. Good thing the man was out cold or he might have passed out from embarrassment. They didn’t know how long the thing had been in there but it was obviously long enough for the thing to suffocate. Apparently, they can’t survive everything. Sutarmekeg
He Didn't Even Try to Lie
This one old fella came into the ward via an ambulance and clearly didn’t need an X-ray. The guy’s problem was obvious from the minute he set foot in the hospital. He had a giant broomstick handle stuck in his bum.
Usually, when questioned about these kinds of awkward situations, people come up with loads of excuses. But when hospital staff asked this old what happened he did not even try to come up with a tall tale.
“Well, I was riding the heck out of this broomstick, holding onto the washing machine for support. But when I finished, my knee gave out. I slipped and it went right up in me. I tried to pull it out but couldn’t, so I thought it best to come to you guys seeing as you’ve got to sort my knee out anyway.” bitcoinoisseur