Doctors Share Their Best "You're Faking It" Patient Stories
We all know those people who go to the doctor looking for drugs and make up fake aches and pains to get them. Little do they know that doctors can see right through that routine that they get multiple times a day. These doctors share their patient's most desperate and transparent attempts at faking it.
VictoriaLegros asks: Doctors/nurses of Reddit; What is the most obvious case of a patient 'faking it' you have ever seen?
Obvious bad acting
I've seen patients faking seizures but not like this guy. Arms and legs shaking, not the head or torso. Looked more like a rain dance than a seizure. Talking through it. Neuro doc happens to be close by and comes in the room when we call for him.
"Stop that." He says
"I can't!" Patient replies
Doc puts his hands on the patients legs, hard and firm, and says "STOP."
Who hasn't tried to get out of school...
As a Radiographer my favourite is always the kids who are trying to milk some extra time off school.
They'll come in with their helicopter parent flinching and sometimes crying as you move their arm into the required positions for the x-rays.
Then use the affected arm to push themselves up out of the chair when they leave.
Or if it's an ankle they'll enter the x-ray room cringing and not putting it on the floor, then will jump off the x-ray table.
Nice try kids, no plaster for you.
Speech therapist here. Its impossible to fake a hearing loss and I had a few during my training. You cant be totally deaf in one ear and totally normal in the other during a hearing exam. Your head is a ball of liquid, so the sound travels through and into the good ear, registering as a moderate hearing loss in the deaf ear. Further testing is required to determine how severe the loss actually is.
I had one guy flinching each time the sound went in his "deaf" ear (reflexive response) and insist he couldn't hear it. The audiologist sent him for an expensive auditory brainstem response study, where they can test your hearing without participating.
Don't fake a hearing loss, guys. You end up blowing a bunch of money and looking stupid.
They are onto you
Physical Therapy. We get a ton of patients faking injuries for worker's comp fraud, but we're legally not allowed to call them out on it. We can document inconsistencies in their symptoms, but that's about it.
We had a patient a few months ago who "hurt" his wrist. I had him do thumb opposition, which basically means touching your index finger and thumb together (the A-OK sign). Starting with the index, then you move on to the middle finger + thumb, then ring finger, and finally the pinky which is the most difficult. I had him do it backwards on his second visit, so pinky first. He did it easily, and started pretending that it was getting harder as he got to his index finger.
She was really trying to hook a man
I'm a Midwife - we had a lady who would come in every few weeks with a new guy claiming she was in "labour" or experiencing a miscarriage. Ofc we had to take her seriously every time even though we knew she wasn't, so we'd scan her etc. only to tell her that she's not pregnant and isn't experiencing labour or a miscarriage, thankfully. She's then turn to her guy and say that modern medicine is unreliable and he should just trust her instinct and will he help her raise the baby. The guy would often become afraid "how am I gonna raise this baby, what are the chances a SCAN is wrong etc" we'd reassure him that 100% she isn't pregnant, they'd argue, break up and she'd be back a few weeks later. Also, she'd come in by ambulance. Every time.
Even actors have a hard time acting dead
Faking being unconscious while peeking.
Hard sternal rub.
Presto! No longer "unconscious", and very angry.
Add this one to the police list
NSFL My friend told me this story and it is probably the worst account of Munchausen by proxy I ever heard of.
Lady came in the ER with what was revealed later as fake IDs for her and her baby. Baby was puking blood so she was taken in fast. Strangely, apart from the blood luking, the baby didn't seem that bad. CBW revealed normal results, which was definitely not expected. Doc found this suspicious and had the blood analyzed, to reveal it wasn't the baby's.
They finally realized the woman was making her baby drink her diva cup to make her sick and get attention.
Seems like the most common tactic
I have had patients fake seizures to try and get admitted. They are usually careful to make sure everyone is watching before thrashing around on the stretcher. If you turn around, sometimes they stop and then will carefully peak to see if you are paying attention.
When you are desperate for that baby!
Obstetrics here, we had a 27 week pregnant girl come in claiming her waters had broken and she was in pre-term labour. Tested with a dipstick not positive for amniotic fluid but she was in our HDU just in case.
She went to the loo and came out with a soaking pad and tried the my water's just broke thing again. Yes she'd run it under the tap. Then we had a lovely chat about how amniotic fluid and water do not smell at all alike and she stopped doing it for a couple of weeks and started faking pv bleeds by putting lipstick on her pads instead.
The worm does not equal a seizure sir
Having a "seizure" while doing the worm on the ground and telling me that "only dilaudid ever stops these". Yeah, narcotics don't break seizures, you have no idea what a seizure looks like, and you can't talk while having a tonic clonic seizure.
This is a true scam artist
Had a patient complaining, and passing (we heard them go Plink in the bowl), bladder stones. Meds galore, of course, those things hurt!! We sent the stones for testing, turned out the joke was on us; They came back as Gravel. Even the lab said "Not usually found in human anatomy". No more drugs for you, lady!!
Coloring on yourself will not get you drugs
Not me, but a fellow nurse used to work in the ER in Albuquerque. Had a lady come in with severe pain from her 'varicose veins' seeking opiates. He washed the red marker lines off part of her leg and told her to leave.
You cannot fake labor
Former L&D nurse here. Watching someone try to fake labor is quite funny. They will push on the contraction monitor to try and make it look like they're having contractions but they look like squares not hills like normal contractions. They never have them if you're in the room watching. Or they scream and holler while pushing on it. You can't fake labor.....
She just wanted to be like her friends
Little girl says she can't see a thing. Swears she needs glasses. Do any of your friends have glasses? "Yeah, Chloe and Courtney have them". Big E - "No, I can't see it". I put 0.00 powered lenses on - "Oh, I can see it now!". Here, mom, this is how blind your kiddo is.
She thought she had a stroke and was completely paralyzed on her left side, but that was obviously not the case, as she periodically used her left hand to wipe her eyes. She was crying so hard she didn't even realize she was doing it, and continued to think she was paralyzed. I thought she was faking it at first, but it turns out the patient had conversion disorder, which means they thought they had a physical medical condition, and they were manifesting symptoms of one, but they actually didn't have it, and their brain was tricking them into thinking it. In essence: they weren't faking it, but they also weren't physically sick.
A catheter will change everything
Patient played possum and pretended not to be able to talk, move, etc... and did a pretty good job of sticking to the act, until the Foley cath. The patient was then not only able to move around, the patient was also able to scream very loudly. Obviously nothing was wrong with them, they just wanted a place to stay.
I had one patient that had escaped police custody, causing a massive pursuit through the hospital wherein we apprehended her in a faculty break room. On the way back to her room she assaults my partner and I tackle her to the ground.
As we get back to the room she begins screaming "broke my leg!". Thirty seconds later as the nurse is putting the blood pressure cuff on her, she begins screaming; she yells that now her arm is broken, she just wasn't sure of it until that moment.
Everyone is rolling their eyes, and I guess she realized she wasn't garnering any sympathy from anyone...so she starts taking a seizure.
At this point I've wasted 30 minutes dealing with this nonsense, so I tell the police officer "She's faking."
This woman sits straight up, stops seizing, and yells "No I'm not, you f****** b****!", and then lays back down to continue her "seizure".
That was the first time I laughed at a patient.
Pain is pleasure?
I had a patient in the ER complaining of severe pain while literally eating a whole bucket of KFC fried chicken and mashed potatoes while sitting in the bed.
I asked her, "How would you rate your pain, on a scale from 0-10?"
Her, with a mouthful of chicken: "Uhhh, a 10 I guess."
Hamburgers help some types of tummy pain...
I had a patient who kept complaining of 10/10 abdominal pain who insisted it was her gallbladder and that tylenol wasn't going to help. However every time somebody saw her she was eating a hamburger or something.
The safe thing to do is to ask too many questions
I worked on an acute psychiatric inpatient unit. We had a smoke room where we kept an eye on underage patients who weren't supposed to be there. One young guy got caught and threw himself to the floor, flopping around, faking a seizure. When he was done, he sat up and asked " Am I married? Am I in a restaurant?". He was banned from the smoke room, naturally, and the story entertained us for some time.