Doctors Describe The Times They Diagnosed A Total Stranger In Public With A Potential Medical Issue

Doctors have lives too. Despite the current worldwide situation that would suggest otherwise, doctors like going to bars, hanging with colleagues or friends outside of the medical field, and being out in the world.

Sometimes, however, their job gets in the way of their personal life. You've seen it on TV: "Is there a doctor in the house?" Sometimes, they're that doctor. And in some cases, they aren't even called for-yet know they're desperately needed.

u/nkrogers asked:

"All doctors of reddit, has there ever been a time when you were in public and saw a person with a serious medical illness that was unknown to them? If so, did you advise them to get it checked out?"

Here were some of those answers.

Just A Minor Mental Disorder

When I was young, around 12-13. I started to really annoy my parents because I'd randomly make a grunting sound. During movies, just chatting. Parents thought I was just trying to be annoying/doing it for fun. I had a friend whose parents were doctors and after having hung out with them for a while they took my mom aside and said "I think Savassan has Tourettes". It wasn't a life-threatening illness or anything, and luckily my form of Tourettes is very minor. My parents felt so bad for giving me crap about "being annoying" when they found out.


From 0 To 60

My good friend has a similar story with a Doctor (PhD, not MD) - She was a college student, a talented writer with near straight A's. After she turned in a paper her professor requested a meeting during office hours. Confused she went to see them and he showed her the paper she had written: six pages of complete gibberish, words and punctuation but not a single coherent sentence in the entire paper.

Asked her about her stress levels and when she said she was fine they suggested she go see her Primary Care Physician. This lead to that and they discovered a tumor on her brain stem which due to its location couldn't be removed.

I met her 2 years later after Chemo shrunk the tumor. Then she developed severe gastroparesis and malabsorption syndrome. She dropped 100 pounds from an athletic 175 to about 77 pounds. I quit counting the number of times she coded when that number hit double digits.

She's rebounded to the high 90s but she's been fighting to stay alive for 3-4 years. She is doing okay now that they removed an infected part of her intestines that was likely causing recurring infections.


Some People Are So Stubborn

My dad was gaining weight in his belly and one day his belly button popped out so we poked fun and called it his baby belly. Finally a family friend, who was a doctor, asked if he could feel my dad's stomach and told him he had a hernia. My dad never told us he was golfing a few months earlier when he fell to the ground in pain after swinging so we never questioned that his belly was anything but weight gain.


The End Of The Line

A family member is a doctor and a man in his 60s crashed into their parked car. The man said he wasn't sure what had happened, that he must have been distracted. He was speaking and acting completely coherent but a bit upset (understandably). My family member suggested he should see a doctor and ask for a brain MRI. Turned out he had a brain tumour and passed away within 6 months.


Out Like A Light

I had a non-medical doctor (one of my highschool math teachers) point out to me that he noticed that I always fall asleep in his class. He didn't bring it up because he he thought I was slacking in his class, he brought it up because based on his observations of HOW I fell asleep made him believe that I should be tested for Narcolepsy.

Behold, I had a neurological and sleep study evaluation, and I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy.


Boop Boop

One of my cousins is a cardiologist, he met my buddy for five minutes while I was getting a driver and vehicle for them. No idea what was said, but my buddy saw a doctor, turns out he had a heart problem and eventually had to get a valve put in.


She Saved His Life

My uncle showed up at Christmas with a seriously droopy eye. He told everyone he'd been to the eye doctor who told him it was fine and would heal. My mother is a nurse who told him to immediately go to the hospital, as she felt he was showing signs of a brain tumor. She was right. He had a pituitary tumor. They caught it in time to prevent permanent damage.


Saved By The Test

I was at a restaurant and noticed a Kayser–Fleischer ring in the waiters eye and mentioned that he may possibly have liver disease. I was really nervous about telling him, as it may have been too forward. He was very appreciative and said he was being treated for it already. I had literally just taken my state and national boards and received my licence a week prior and that exact diagnosis question was on it, even though it has nothing to do with my speciality.


I'm Just Kidneying You

Thirteen years ago I was home for my grandma's funeral. Hanging out with my brothers for a few days afterwards, one of them a nurse (now a CRNA). We were going to bed on my last night here and I said isn't it weird how my legs do this? My socks were leaving indentations at the top. Due to edema. He said I needed to get it checked out right away.

Got back to the Dominican Republic...turned out I had an auto-immune disorder that was attacking my kidneys. Long story short got into a trial program at Mayo Clinic which saved my kidneys and my life.


For A Better Life

Fairly related but my dad's best friend, a doctor, was at a medical conference one year and had this happen to him. He was listening to a presentation about some sort of heart monitor and the presenter asked for a volunteer. Since it was towards the end of the day, no one volunteered, so my dad's friend figured he'd take one for the team and volunteered to be the patient. He got on stage, the guy demoed the monitor, then he went back to his seat.

Right after the presentation, as he was leaving, the guy chased him down and said something to the effect of "Hey man, thanks for volunteering but you need to go to the ER right now." I'm not a doctor, so don't know the specifics, but apparently he had a genetic heart condition that only showed up on this new test. He went to the ER, the presenter was right, and he had the operation that night. It was 5~10 years ago and he's had a complete recovery!


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