This article is based on the AskReddit question "Hotel maids of reddit, what was the most disturbing thing you found while cleaning out a room?"
Source can be found at the end of the article.
1/15. I had a summer job cleaning hotel rooms. One day a coworker told me she walked into her first room and the first thing she saw, neatly arranged on the desk, were 3 dildos, a note saying please wash and about $2. She didnt.
2/15. I was a hotel maid when I was a teenager and one situation that stood out was this creepy old man who would hit on me and my friend. Every time we would clean his room, the top drawer of his dresser would be open with what seemed to be a strategically placed unused condom that legit was like from the 1970s. I guess he never got to use it.
3/15. I work at a hotel but not a maid myself. Though one day a maid found a woman who committed suicide. She checked in so her family would not be forced to find the body. It was the middle of the day and the hotel was mostly clear of people. Nobody heard the gun shot and we have concrete floors that stopped the bullet from traveling out of the room.
The way it was described to me was it was relatively clean. She laid in bed, put a pillow on her head and shot through it towards the ground. It wasnt until the cops came that blood got everywhere. The maid soon quit afterwards.
4/15. I worked as a housekeeper in a small motel for maybe 2 months. One day we had to clean a room covered completely in paper towels. Everything was covered. The bed, the chairs, the floor. Not horrific, but weird. This next one is why I hated my job, and was happy to have gotten fired. We had to clean a room covered in sh*t. Human poo. On the bed, on the towels. Every where but the toilet. The towels were twisted, and covered like they had been shoved up someone's rectum. And to top it all off, when I asked about being able to use gloves, I was told no. Just grab the sh*t-covered stuff by the edges where they were sh*t free. I hated that place.
5/15. My grandma used to clean hotel rooms and I used to go with her because its a laid back job and nobody else could watch me. My grandma was cleaning and I was sitting on the counter playing my DS. I wanted to get a drink so checked to see if there was ice in the freezer. There was no ice, but there was a popsicle box! I got so excited. I ran into the bathroom and asked my grandmother if I could have a popsicle. Assuming they were in plastic wrap, she said yes. I ran back to the freezer and reached into the cardboard box and pulled out a long, purple dildo covered in human feces. I was 7 years old.
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6/15. We had a lady who cleaned hotels tell us about the time she walked in and there were 10 severed heads in the bathtub with the hotel water running. Immediately left the room and had the manager call the police. Tons of police come to investigate with multiple guys with ear pieces in place. The gentleman who's room it was came back and was immediately taken down. Turns out he was in charge of an ENT cadaver lab being held the next morning and needed to thaw the specimens. Tough to explain but it got sorted out once the heads were all accounted for.
7/15. I cleaned villas for a few months in my late teens. They were pretty pricey, starting at $350 with most being around $600. People were generally pretty good but maybe 1 in 5 left it pretty bad. But the most memorable stay was the busload of business people.
They turned up in a mini bus...maybe a dozen? Men and women, all in suits and looking very sensible. Us cleaners are happy, business folk usually didn't leave much of a mess or cause trouble and they had booked 3 of the 10 buildings. We went up the next morning, after they had left, to absolute chaos. The first two buildings had 2 wheelie bins of trash. Takeaway boxes (for a place not in town), personal hygiene products packaging, wine boxes, empty shopping bags, junk food wrappers etc. I was on bathrooms, and I nearly cried walking in...hair in the drains, scum 6ft up the walls, mud everywhere, spilt shampoo, soap trodden into the drain. It took much longer than it should have.
Finally we finished up those two and were ready to start on the third. It was much bigger, having a large entertainment area. The first thing we noticed was the smell. Perfume, alcohol and really really strong cigars. We left the door open, and took a smoke break.
The head cleaner went in first after our break and you could hear her swear..."oh sh*t, look what they've done. What the hell?!" First, leading from the door was big drops of red wax on the wooden floor. Then lots of (beer?) bottles. Some were broken. Then more rubbish and a lot more wax. It was on the suede lounges, the kitchen benches, the bathroom basin. There were broken wine glasses in one spot, some with lipstick on them and one with blood. Blood drops from there to the sink. More bottles...dozens and dozens of drinks worth. Little piles of ash on the counters. Burn marks on the floor and lounges. It took us all day, even with extra staff, to clean. Then we had to close the larger building for several days while the smell cleared and we got replacements.
The group was contacted about the damage and told they would be charged for all the damage. They didn't care. Apparently asked how much and just said ok.
8/15. Ex-maid for a super 8 in a town in rural Nevada. I found all kinds of weird stuff but the thing that takes the cake was the entire toenail of someone's big toe. Found it in the bathtub.
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9/15. My Mom was a hotel maid and I worked with her during the summers. I remember one day she was done early with her rooms so she came to help me finish up so we could go home. Its always the last freaking room that takes the price. We walked into the room and were automatically hit with the stench of sh*t and vomit. The people staying there were a family of 4, in a suite, and were put up because their apartment had flooded or something. Apparently they had refused cleaning for the last week and now we knew why. The bathtub was filled with garbage, one of the walls was smeared with sh*t. Their 2 year old kid had apparently smeared his own feces onto the wall and they just left it like that and it had dried up. There was a corner with a mountain of diapers. The older kid had gotten sick (probably from living in that filth) and had thrown up everywhere, and I mean everywhere. My mom and I refused to clean the room, we asked the manager to come and see.
It was so disgusting the family got kicked out of the hotel and we had to call a cleaning company to get the dry feces out of the wall. Child protective services also came and asked us questions.
10/15. My brother is a janitor for Holiday Inn and was once called to fix something in a guest's room while they were out. He opened the door and found what appeared to be three newborn children in the bed. Turns out the old couple liked Reborn dolls so much they took them on holiday and had added "breathing" mechanisms to them so the chests would rise and fall like a real baby
11/15. I got a job at a local hotel cleaning the rooms the summer before university. One morning I got in early so it was just me and the front desk staff. I started setting up my trolly then thought it would be a good idea to go look at the rooms that had been checked out first so I didn't get any nasty surprises. As I was walking down a corridor a man in just his boxers stumbled out of his room in an absolute state. He was crying and could hardly breath. He was in such a panic it was scary. He ran at me sobbing "he's dead!, he's dead!".
The rest is a bit of a blur but I decided to just run and get the front desk staff/call 999/not go in the room. The noise alerted some other guests who did go in the room. They also made calls to 999. I did a lot of running about getting information from a man who had gone in the room and a woman who was comforting the crying man.
The ambulance and the police were there in minutes and I spoke to the police for quite a while. It turned out the men in the room were young and had been to a local festival. One of them was a wheelchair user so they stayed at an accessible hotel (mine). I think they both took some drugs (don't know what) or a huge amount of alcohol the night before and the man in the wheelchair choked on his vomit in the night. His friend slept through it. They were both young, early twenties. It was unbelievably sad but it wasn't written about in the newspapers so I don't know about the details.
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12/15. Worked as a cleaner for a cheap, ratty motel in Daytona Beach when I was 17. As part of my pay, I got a free room, because I had nowhere else to be anyway. The guy two doors down from me nearly never came outside, but there was a horrible stench coming from his room. He never let anyone clean it, the owner told me he usually called her to pass his payments in an envelope under the door and she never bothered to question it. This noxious, nasty smell was so thick with ammonia/death-breath that I just assumed he was a speed cook and eventually the whole sh*t hole would be blown up without any of us even realizing it before we were all incinerated...
Sure enough, one day, the old boss is banging on all the doors (her husband calling all the phonesthis was pre-cell phone times), telling us all to get out because there's a fire. I'm standing outside with the rest of the residents as we see haz-mat pulling up and we're all expecting some wild n' crazy Florida Man meth-head action or something. But instead of speed, they started charging through the smoke and bringing out tons and tons of cats. Just tons of them. It turns out it wasn't a very intense fire, but the dude was a filthy hoarder who'd stayed at the hotel for over 10 years, and he had loads of cats. He'd started a fire with the coffee maker or a cig or something and managed to get out with a few cats.
13/15. I used to work at a hotel as a housekeeper. The rule was when you finished all of your rooms you had to go help the other housekeepers (cause they like to go slow to get more hours and we just can't allow that). Anyways. So I wander up to the second floor down at the far end. The room hadn't been stripped yet (the bedding and trash is still in there) and I thought that was odd because normally we have all of the rooms stripped by noon and it was 3pm.
Well. I open the door and this overwhelming stench of sh*t just slams into my face.
I pull my shirt collar up over my nose. It can't be that bad, they probably just didn't flush, right? I press on into the bathroom, eyes beginning to water, my throat having dry involuntary seizures. I force my poor eyes open. NOTHING. The bathroom is spotless. Oh God! Where is it?! The panic sets in. I must go further into the darkness. I must cross the hotel room and open the window. As light illuminates the room, I can finally see what the sh*t demon has done. Do you remember the scene from Dogma, where the sh*t demon comes out of the toilet? I think he left there and checked right on in to my hotel. Crap was smeared all over the white duvets and sheets on both beds- this dude had literally defecated in the bed, switched beds, and defecated that one too! He left a trail of sickly brown matter across the carpet, decorated with tiny surprise excrement nuggets just for me. I noped. I told front desk that I absolutely refused to clean that room and of they wanted to write me up/fire me I would be fine with that.
14/15. I worked as housekeeping in a hotel for a few months when I was 18. The normal nasty things you tend to see is completely trashed bathrooms. One room which was occupied by construction workers constantly had a clogged toilet. After the 2nd time of dealing with it, I ignored it. I've also had a woman somehow catch the bed on fire while I was cleaning her bathroom.
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We didn't have any way to communicate to other associates so I had to run down from the 3rd floor to the first to get the manager. The absolute worst thing I've had to deal with was when I kept turning down the offers of sex to the room of 2 military men. They got super offended that I wasn't interested and went so far as to trash the room. Took boxes of cheez-its and crushed them all over the floor. So many wasted cheez-its smashed into the carpet, Beer cans thrown everywhere, trash stuffed between the mattresses, rolls of toilet paper shoved in the toilet, poop on the walls. It was ridiculous.
15/15. Ex hotel housekeeper here who is ready to tell the story of why I quit. It was a regular day with a slightly smaller than average schedule of rooms for the day so I was in a good mood. I had 12 rooms that day. Normally I'd have 14-16.
So I get to my last room, excited to be close to finishing for the day and I open the door only to be greeted by a grotesque display of everything that is considered repulsive and dangerous to touch. There were... let's see if I remember this right... used condoms filled with semen on the bed accompanied by stains which may or may not have been semen. There was blood all throughout the room. Too much blood for there to have not been a murder. Like... Jigsaw played a game in the room.
There were used needles, crack pipes, other random drug things... empty pill bottles, broken and unbroken liquor bottles, cigarette butts along with ashes and burn marks, plus tons of trash... Then the bathroom. There was urine everywhere. More blood. Vomit in the tub, in and around the toilet and... here's the good part... ceiling. There was vomit on the ceiling. I noped out of the room and called the front desk and asked them to call the police. The cops came to investigate the blood and drug use in the room and probably the people who had rented it and checked out. I left for the day.
So the next day rolls around and I look at my sheet and see that same room. Confused, I go up to the third floor and I see the room in the same condition minus the drug stuff. Condoms, vomit, blood, bottles, cigarettes, trash, all still there.
I call the manager and tell them I'm not doing it. It's a job for a biohazard team. They tell me, "Just get what you can. Wipe everything you can off the surfaces. We'll have a fabric cleaner come in for the rest." Nope. I quit. I dealt with small amounts of bodily fluids on a daily basis and I was fine with it, but that was WAY too much to ask of a 17 year old kid on minimum wage.
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Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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