Flying can be a scary event for many people, but it's actually quite safe to fly, statistically speaking. But then there are the incidents we don't hear about... Those were the basis for today's burning question from Redditor Splitdesiresagain, who asked the online community: "Airplane pilots of Reddit, what was your biggest "We're all fucked up" moment that you survived and your passengers didn't notice?"
"He ended up..."
Mine is from many many years ago when I was a student pilot. I was 14 I think at the time. I had about 15ish hours done and getting close to soloing for the first time but still had a few hours and more landings to practice. I was doing some basics and getting ready to come back with my instructor to practice some touch and go's for a bit. Coming back through we had to pass through DTW's bravo airspace (means need permission to go through it). A few min before I was about to call for permission, my instructor got really quiet. I looked over at him and he looked really bad. I thought he was going to puke so looking for a bag. But then I notice he isn't breathing. I figure out where I am at and call up DTW approach. Declare a medical emergency and that my instructor was not breathing.
I also told them I am a student and never landed on my own before, and never in a large airport. Detroit approach was amazing at helping me. They gave me an option for DTW or Willow but Willow would have added a good 5-10 min since i was coming in from the SE. Opted for DTW and they were great at giving me vectors while also getting the big jets out of the way. I remember hearing them tell several planes to go around and several more into a hold. Anyway, did my approach and made the most butter smooth landing I have ever made in my life (even till this day). Ambulance was right there on the taxi waiting for me. Turns out my instructor who was only 25 had a heart attack. He ended up being ok. All in all from first call to him in the ambulance was less than 10 min thanks to ATC and DTW tower.
"I'm a CFI..."Giphy
I'm a CFI at this point and I'm flying with a student. We see a spider in the cockpit. I'm ok with spiders but I don't want it distracting the student so I mash it.
Student missed the spider but saw my movement and asked what it was. I responded "It was a spider, I killed it" as I'm glancing into the backseat area. I manage to casually add "...why, are you scared of spiders?" without the student noticing the break in the sentence. Turns out the student is scared of spiders.
For the rest of that flight I squished spiders behind my students back as they came forward from the nest I had just spotted in the back of the plane. He never knew.
"I was in the process..."
I was in the process of getting my PPL (private pilot licence) and I was flying circuits solo. Before I took off, the CFO of the flight school asked me if "I was sure it was a good idea to fly, it's pretty windy". I was flying a cessna 152 on a day with wind pushing 15 kts and turbulence around 20. I honestly don't know what I or anyone at the flightschool was thinking letting me (16 years old) take off.
Anyways, a few bumpy circuits go by with no problem. I actually got some great practice landing in turbulence. So the last circuit of the day, I'm on final with full flaps doing the ABSOLUTE minimum speed for approach in a 152, not taking into consideration that the air is super turbulent. For those who don't know, when it's bumpy you should be going a little faster on approach than usual. Anyways I'm quite close to the ground, maybe 300-400 feet and I can HEAR the wind blowing over the sound of the engine.
Suddenly, no wind.
I had just lost 15-20kts of almost direct headwind on final approach with absolutely no airspeed to spare.
I remember my shirt sleeves looked like they were inflating and the plane's stall warning started screaming at me. The controls became totally useless, like a limp computer joystick. Thankfully I had my hand on the throttle like my instructor taught me and for whatever instinctual reason (good instructor probably), I gently pushed the throttle all the way and slightly lowered the nose.
All of this took place in the span of about 5 seconds. I remember what I did, but not thinking about doing it. It was like when you drive somewhere and you suddenly realize you've arrived without remembering driving.
Anyways I landed the plane just fine and went home and took a nap. My parents said I was pale as a ghost when I got home.
Flying is fun until it isn't.
"It wasn't necessarily..."
I'm a relatively new student pilot and I was just starting to practice pattern work by myself, but my instructor either wanted me to go up with him for a few laps before soloing or with another instructor if he had other students. So, my instructor has another student he's teaching, I end up going up with another instructor just to verify that little 10 hours me can still fly a plane before I practice for an hour or two. We take off, and as I'm on final for our last practice run, it's a little shaky as it is usually in the mid-afternoon in Florida, but I'm confident in my ability to land the plane. Well, to my surprise when I'm about maybe 100 feet above the runway, the plane just drops in an instant like someone took their hand and just pushed down.
Luckily, my instructor must've trained me well because like you, I had my hand on the throttle and just gently pushed the power to full, leveled the nose, and made a smooth go-around. Made me feel good knowing that my brain knew what to do without having to think about it much. Also, the instructor I was with I always thought seemed to look a bit angry, but I was pleasantly surprised when he smiled and complimented me on my quick decision making. Getting a compliment for doing something specifically well (other than like "Good job today!") boosted me as a new student.
It wasn't necessarily a situation where I'm thinking "Oh sh!t, we could've died," but knowing that I'm capable of recovering from a scenario as such and not ending up like the guy who slammed a plane onto the runway and broke the gear.
Was learning to fly when I worked for the gov. So on my first flight with me taking off, we've been climbing for about 5 minutes and We're going through some gentle turns when instructor says. "were going to head back I don't feel well" He takes over the stick and he looks ashen. He then starts to breath erratically and says I need to help him control the plane. He radios tower and up till now I'm thinking it's a prank. Mayday mayday. He talks me through the whole thing, I'm trying to talk to the tower, repeat info, read gauges remember lessons, listen to him and hope he don't pass out. I was shitting myself. Take off is one thing, but landing? We land like a kangaroo with a rocket up its @ss, I'm surprised the wheels didn't fold. Must of been 4 big bounces, but it's a big runway. Scrub speed, finally get the plane to stop and instructor passes out. He had an heart attack. He survived but only for a few months before I heard he passed away in his sleep. But he got us down. I never continued the lessons.
Not a pilot but a flight attendant. We landed, everything went smoothly, as we're deplaning the pilot steps out of the flight deck and goes "wow, I'm glad we made it, we lost 2 hydraulics on the way down".
"This entire story..."
This entire story occurred in less than 10 seconds and should've ended with headlines on CNN. Military pilot and not commercial but it still could've ended in a disaster.
Flying a CH47D Chinook helicopter in Iraq mid July 2008 when the temp was over 130 degrees. Packed full with 36 passengers at an altitude of only 100 feet and speed of 140 knots, (lower and faster than you'd ever fly in the US.). We hit a thermal (pocket of warm air) that pushed us up, so I nosed the cyclic (looks like a joy stick between your legs) forward to maintain altitude. I was a brand new pilot flying with a combat vet who wanted me to maintain altitude of 100 feet almost exactly, so no higher than 120 or lower than 80 feet) Nosing the aircraft down kept us from going higher, but we immediately hit a downdraft and the aircraft started to fall like a rock. I pulled back on the cyclic as hard as I could to get the nose up but it hit my body armor and wouldn't go back any further. I watched the altimeter drop all the way to 19 feet and miraculously we started falling and began to climb at the last possible second.
During the debrief the other pilot (now one of my closest friends) who had well over 1,000 combat hours told me he's never been so close to dying before. I wasn't shook up until I heard that....even typing this today gives me chills.
"There's never been a moment like this for me..."
There's never been a moment like this for me because you're always trying something else to save the plane. There's never been a real situation where I had to save a plane from imminent disaster. There's decisions I've had to make that if I chose wrong we can be in a bad spot but never anything like "we're all going to die."
Once when landing a RJ on a short runway out in the northeast, I was carrying a little bit too much speed and caught a gust at the wrong moment in the landing flare. The plane lifted maybe 10' higher and I slowly lowered the nose. I realized at this moment that where the plane will touchdown will not give me a whole lot of opportunity to stop before the end of the runway.
As a matter of fact its probably not going to stop until we get into the trees at the end. I pushed the power up and we did a go around maybe 20-30' feet off the ground. The controllers vectored us around and we landed safely on try #2.
In the simulator we do all the "oh sh!t" stuff and even when a training event goes sideways, we still try to fly the thing until it hits something solid. I can't imagine ever giving up on the plane in flight. There's thousands of decisions made every day on flights by pilots that prevent a difficult situation from becoming dangerous. Flying these days is very cautious and conservative. Safety is always first and nothing is allowed to ever slide.
"I was flying myself..."
I was flying myself and three passengers over the Appalachian mountain on a clear day. We hit some mild turbulence and the door opened to the cabin. The passengers all started panicking so I basically said "chill out guys this happens all the time" and tried closing the door. I couldn't get it shut while also flying the plane so I simple landed at a nearby airfield and closed it on the ground.
After the trip was over I told the passengers that was the first time that had ever happened to me and I was slightly panicked as well.
Uncoordinated turn and all the fuel went to one side of the plane. Choked both engines... sputtered and cut out. 3000ft high, so brought back the coordination and pointed down a bit. Then started back up. Yikes.
"To set it up..."
I'm a commercial helicopter pilot. Probably the closest moment to "we're f*cked" I ever had was a few years ago.
To set it up, I was ferrying a helicopter by myself to another location about 200 miles away. The helicopter I was flying was set up for IFR (instrument flying), and I'm a fairly experienced IFR captain. The helicopter I was in does NOT like ice. That means that flying in the clouds when it's below freezing is basically impossible. This was in the high arctic, in the early spring. So basically always cold.
Weather wasn't great, but I still wanted to give the trip a shot. If it was bad, I would just turn around and come home. About 50 miles out, the cloud ceiling was coming down, and visibility was dropping. I was over a small frozen lake, and I could see at the other end of the lake that the clouds were right to the ground. At this point I'm at about 300 feet above ground.
I make the call to turn around, and start a left-hand turn, but as I'm half-way through the turn I enter cloud. Under normal circumstances, a VFR helicopter unintentionally entering cloud is often a death sentence, but I'm a trained IFR pilot in an IFR helicopter. I start a climb, as I know there is rising terrain on the side of the lake.
I don't mind flying in cloud. What I do mind is the fact that my helicopter starts icing up instantly. I'm not talking about a bit of ice, I'm talking about a MASSIVE amount of ice, in a helicopter that doesn't like any ice. There is no way I can make it the 50 miles back to the airport to shoot an IFR approach, and I know the clouds are too thick to climb above them. I also can't descend because the ceiling is so low that I risk impacting the terrain if I don't pop out of the cloud soon enough.
I'm running through the options in my head, but my heart rate is going up. This isn't something that normally happens. I'm not the type of pilot that gets into situations that scare me. I'm rapidly running out of time, so I head to a larger flat-area (as indicated on my GPS and maps), set my radio-altimeter (a device that tells you exactly how far above the ground you are) to beep at me when I reach 250 feet, and start descending. I figure if I don't break out by 300 feet, I'm in some serious trouble.
As I'm approaching 300 feet, I break out of cloud. Good visibility, and a clear path all the way back to the airport. I do a normal approach and landing, and shut-down at our hangar. The blades are covered in ice. After I change my underwear, we pull the helicopter into the hangar to let the ice thaw. The next day, the weather is beautiful, and the trip goes off without a hitch.
After flying for 10 years and thousands of hours, it was the only time I was actually scared. I'm glad I didn't have any passengers on board at the time.
"This was about seven years ago now."
This was about seven years ago now. I took my brother and two cousins up for a short sightseeing flight one morning in a Cessna 172. I knew there was some weather coming in so I wanted to get it over with quickly. About twenty minutes in I notice the clouds getting worse and then some lightning off in the distance, definitely time to head back. Heading back I radioed my intentions, uncontrolled airport but with an FBO, and someone radioed back with the current winds. It didn't compute what they said, and in retrospect I should've asked for clarification. Get back to the airport and as I'm on final I realize just how bad the wind is. Having a hard time keeping on centerline and eventually go around on the first try. By now I'm starting to sweating bullets and planning on rerouting if the next attempt doesn't go well.
I make sure to turn the intercom off so my cousins in the back can't hear how panicked I'm becoming, though I did keep my cool through the whole thing. On second attempt I've got the rudder pegged to the left and manage to get the wheels on the ground safely. I taxi to park, shutdown, jump out, and start shaking with adrenaline and let out a huge sigh of relief. Cousins had no idea what just happened, it was just an exciting flight to them. My brother kind of knew what was going on, and I let him in on what I was thinking later. Apparently I had an audience of guys from the FBO watching me as well, probably yelling at me too go somewhere else. I'm honestly surprised sometimes I managed that landing with no incidence, especially since that was basically my first crosswind landing.
"Long time ago..."
Long time ago, back in 1989 I was a First Officer on the 747-100. We pushed back from the terminal in Anchorage and taxied out for a departure to Narita, Tokyo. We were full of people and very close to max take off weight. At the end of the runway (it was my takeoff) I stood on the brakes, stood the thrust levers up and the engineer set full take off power. Released the brakes and off we trundled. And we rolled, and rolled and rolled down the runway. It was not sparkling acceleration by any means. As the end of the runway loomed into sight and take off speed still some distance away... with the lights going... red white red white red red red... the Captain said, and I quote, "best you rotate!" We were a good 20kts below Vr. Not being a total numpty, I slowly and smoothly rotated and the beast flew away off the end of the runway like a lady. We slowly climbed away, cleaned up, turned and headed out West. Not a word was said for a long while. Finally through 20000 feet the engineer launched himself at the (my) performance figures. Nothing was wrong, and we were at full power anyway. It turned out that extra cargo had been loaded in error, and we were well overweight. Apart from me wetting the seat and a raised heart rate, the passengers were none the wiser.
"During my first solo flight ever..."
During my first solo flight ever, I was really excited and wanted to video record the special occasion. So there I was, taxiing down the taxiway with one hand holding the my phone. One thing about old propeller planes is that they're just like old cars, and don't always drive straight. I suppose I was a little too concentrated on making sure my camera was properly angled and focused...next thing I knew my plane ended up rolling off the asphalt...into the grassy ditch
I PANICKED...how tf am I supposed to get this plane out of here
Over the radio, there was a silence, as the controller likely saw what happened from the tower. After a few seconds, probably still speechless at this point, she casually checked on me to make sure I was doing okay
To save my embarrassment, I tried to power up and drive out of the grass back to the asphalt. Much to my surprise, it worked. I did my short flying as planned and returned to the hanger where my instructor was waiting. I have no idea how many people saw what happened, but from the look on his face, I'm pretty sure he knew too. And yes, that video of me driving a plane into a ditch still exists somewhere
...I suppose this is the airplane equivalent of "don't text and drive"
I was a c-141 navigator for my first AF assignment. We were flying a group of families moving back to the US from Japan. As we were in the approach at Travis Air Force base we had a massive multi bird strike. It sounded like the world was ending inside the cockpit it was so loud. Shattered glass that was coated in blood and feathers, bent radome, you name it. Flight controls were fine but we declared an IFE and the co pilot could see well enough out his window to land and I and the FE were over his shoulder to help spot however We could and we landed without incident. The passengers deplaned and even complimented us on the great flight. I will never forget the right side of the passenger bus driving away and the look of horror on those people's faces when they saw what the front of that airplane looked like.
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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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