For most of us, a bad day at work might mean a missed deadline, having to fire off a few snarky "per my last email"s or maybe a snoozefest of a meeting. For medical professionals a bad day at work can mean literally the worst - or last - day of someone's life.
These are those stories.
Reddit user J0E_The_Psych0121 asked:
We're going to caution you, if you've got a weak stomach for talking about bodily fluids (or solids... or semi-solids) or you're easily upset by talk of death or dying, proceed with caution. This article will have plenty of it all.
The responses were sometimes funny in retrospect, but for the most part they ranged from disgusting to heartbreaking to disgustingly heartbreaking.Take a look.
Go Through It Alone
Taking care of a fall patient that broke her pelvis. She just found out her husband had cancer and she wouldn't be there for him. She was crying, telling me that he was there for every appointment and treatment when she had cancer, and now he'd have to go through it alone. She felt like she was failing him or letting him down.
"She About To Die Anyway"
Watching another nurse pulling a fall mat away from a patients floor next to her bed. When asked why, she said flatly (in front of the patient!) "She about to die anyway."
The patients mouth was stuck open because she was so emaciated, but she could still cry. Her frozen face somehow allowed her to still cry after she heard that, and she did for a long time. I sat there with her. The patient was in custody of the state (a mental hospital) and they chose to withhold food and water as a type of forced DNR (do not resuscitate.)
Part of a DNR type of plan can include refusing artificial ways of being fed like a feeding tube etc... and if someone else is in charge of making you a DNR or not because you've been deemed not of sound mind, then yes that can happen. A lot of mental patients have no family and their "guardians" are the state. The state doesn't know the patient and will chose whatever option they want, typically the most "cost effective" one which can lead to situations like this.
She was around 90 something. We were forced to watch her slowly starve to death and were not cleared to give her enough medication to ease her awareness of it.
The nurse who made that heartless comment in front of the patient was reported, but I don't know what happened because I quit right after that.
The Longest Incident Report
Former Paramedic, long story short, got a call for what turned out to be a very dead, decomposing man who had passed alone in his apartment. His body was filled with gas (fairly common.) As I'm standing by the body calling the hospital to give them a heads up about what's about to come their way and get approval to move, the new EMT decides to poke gas filled body. It explodes. He loses a hand and a trillion vaporized bits of dead old man cover me, got in my open mouth, under my clothes, etc. Taste was...awful.
A lot of gas can accumulate in dead bodies, and if it gets trapped, it can be almost like a bomb. New guy was kneeling next to the body, I think this was his first serious call because he had that kind of glazed-over, "I'm in shock" look in his eyes, and he put his hand on the guy's stomach. NEVER press on bloated dead body's stomach. His hand sank down into this bloated, gas filled sack until said sack just..broke.
My crew chief said it would be like sinking your fist into a box of firecrackers. Honestly, not sure how he came up with that analogy and didn't really work in my mind. But yeah... dead body exploded, got gunk everywhere and took off the EMT's hand.
After hundreds of showers I could still smell corpse on me. My SO at the time said every time she nuzzled me, or got close to my hair she could smell it too. It was like that for about a week. It still makes me gag to think about - but that new kid's life was pretty much permanently changed.
Longest Incident Report I have ever filed.
Fear Of Dentists
This happened when my wife was a student nurse. A guy came in who had broken a tooth; but as he had a morbid fear of dentists and of anything to do with his mouth, he didn't seek any treatment for months and the tooth got horribly infected.
By the time he came to hospital, he was seriously ill and it was too late. The infection got into his blood and he died a few days later of septicemia. Apparently, the smell from his mouth was the worst smell that any of the staff had ever experienced.
Why I Gave Up On Pediatrics
This case in my internship made me give up on specializing in pediatrics.
Young boy got brought in for rheumatic heart disease, already in heart failure. Apparently this all started from a minor skin infection and went all the way up into his heart valves. We met him already in the pediatric ICU. He was still conscious and able to talk, and so for his first day we built a sort of rapport.
The next morning, before my friends and I clocked out, he wasn't looking so great so the resident in charge called in the general surgery team to perform a cutdown to expose his veins for access. I had to hold down the poor kid during the procedure, since local anesthesia could only do so much. He was screaming so I told him, "Just hold on, we'll get through this!"
He nodded and said "Okay" then tried his best to be brave.
That was the last conversation we had. When I came in for my next shift, he was already intubated. The only parent with him was his father, since his mother was employed overseas. Now for many of these cases, a letter to the employer is needed to explain why so and so must go home in this case of family emergency. I volunteered to draft the letter and send it out so we could get this lady on a flight soon, and have her come home for her son.
As soon as I put the last period on that letter I was typing in the nurse's station, the kid coded just a few feet away. We couldn't bring him back. The next worst part, of course, was telling his father what had just happened and asking if he wanted us to stop the resuscitation. That conversation will stay with me.
No one should have to bury a child due to something so preventable.
Death Over Debt
The saddest one was a woman who had an aggressive but treatable cancer. She was riddled with guilt from all the debt her family was incurring and broke down when she told me she wished she would just die soon so that the debt would stop accumulating. That one hurt to hear.
When Mom Only Wants One Baby
Respiratory therapist here. When I was a student we had to do a rotation through a NICU/PICU. The NICU was very busy with 7 or 8 sets of twins all on mechanical ventilation. As the therapist I was with was giving me a generalized report on the babies and trying to teach me about the disease states the babies were experiencing, she said "and mom only wants one of them" and moved on like it was nothing.
I asked if it was common if a family only wanted one baby and she said "Oh, yes. all the times. sometimes it's because one baby is a lot worse than the other and mom doesn't want to get too attached in case it doesn't make it, or, like those two over there, mom can only afford one of them."
I couldn't believe something like that took place and was as common place as it was. Made me never want to work in pediatrics. The human experience is far, far worse than the traumas and illnesses.
People think they want everything possible done to save them until they see what that means on a dying family member. We had it happen in our family. It took two months for her spouse to finally let their dying partner go and the shock and grief made our younger daughter not talk for a year. I went gray in those two months and my husband barely spoke during that time. Death with dignity should be available for anyone who needs it.
Our younger daughter is back to singing again after years of therapy. We all wish more people knew the importance of medical wishes being filed before things go really wrong so that nobody else suffers the way my family member did because of someone that just doesn't want to let go. She needlessly suffered and it devastated everyone else.
I worked a temp job for a local hospital's home health/hospice department. One of my jobs was to call new patients and confirm their address before the nurse and/or therapist would make their first visit. I had to call this one patient who tried to take his own life by jumping in front of a commuter train.
When I called, his uncle answered and went on a twenty minute rant about how worthless his nephew was and how he was a complete burden on the family now and that it would have been better if he died. I understand suicide can be seen as a selfish act but my heart went out to this guy.
The patient obviously had some stuff going on to push to the point of attempting to end his life and then for him to survive and have to listen to his family member say such harsh things... it was brutal to say the least. I often wonder what happened to him.
Diarrhea Blood FountainGiphy
I was a 3rd year med student on my 3 month internal medicine rotation. For people who don't know, this is generally the time in your life where you feel the most stupid every minute of every day.
I had arrived for work just barely on time (at 430 am) for my 573 hour shift. Of course I was dressed to the nines because medicine is stupid sometimes and you have to dress to impress. Tie, nice shoes, slacks, button up, that sort of thing. Might as well have had on tails and a top hat. Imagine a monocole for effect.
I started rounding of course. I went in to see a patient I will call "Mr. Hipaa." I had seen him for several days at this point and he was usually pretty chipper. He had been in the ICU for a GI bleed, but had done great and now stepped down to the floor. This morning he wasn't talking very much. That's not unusual though, it was 442 AM and I was barely conscious myself. But something felt off and there was just an odor in the room.
My spider sense was tingling so I checked the bathroom. They always say you only have to smell melena once to never forget. This was my once. The floor, the toilet, the walls, were covered in that inky black anal spray. I was assaulted by the pungent aroma of iron shavings and death. It was icky. So I went, "Oh. Mr. Hipaa I'll be right back!"
I toddled off to find one of my residents. Those lazy bums didn't usually wander in until after 5. Managed to find my chief who seemed uninterested in what I had to say. I wasn't chicken little, I had never cried wolf before. I remember this seemed fairly important and him showing no interest whatsoever. Bad resident, no donut.
So I went to the real power on the floor, the nurses station.
They promptly did the wrong thing too.
They check his BP and systolic is in the low 80s. Prior had always hovered in the 130/40s. My internal dialogue is screaming "that boy aint right!" but my third year medical student body is standing there, now surrounded by multiple nurses, just trying not to get in the way and trying not to look even more stupid or say the wrong thing.
Well, they want to move him to the chair. I still all these years later have no idea why. I managed to squeak out a "Should we be standing him up right now given the crazy low BP and massive blood loss?" but an MS3 speaking is like a fart in the wind so I went unheard.
So we stand him up. I'm holding on to his left arm, another nurse on his right. He had little strength to support himself. A half a gallon of blood-tinged feces (or feces tinged blood?) promptly falls out of him and on to the floor. I mean it literally fell. Imagine moving your china cabinet and it tilts a little bit and the dishes just FALL. It didn't squirt, or spray. It just fell as a mass, hitting the floor and splashing out.
At that point Mr. Hipaa decides, "Enough with being conscious!" and promptly passes out. It could have been something to do with he now had a Hgb around 3 and went from laying to standing with a BP on the lower end of life compatibility. Now I'm a regular sized big guy, 6' 200 pounds. My nurse was 5'3 120. Mr. Hipaa was 6'3 250. There was no stopping this fall once it began. Timmmmbbbeeeeeerrrrrr He fell face forward and planted... right into his bed! Crisis averted! My moment of joy was instantly changed to terror as I looked down at his bare behind, jack-knifed into the air like a Whataburger A-Frame. Then it happened.
Diarrhea blood fountain.
The perfect symmetry of it as it exploded from him is something I'll never forget. It was like the Bellagio, or Buckingham fountain in Chicago. Just this perfect fluid dynamic cone that reached a foot and a half into the air then gently allowed gravity to pull it down making that gorgeous trumpet like flare.
Except it was made of diarrhea and blood.
I, in my tie and fancy clothes suddenly became Neo from the matrix. My concrete pillars were the various nurses. They took hit after hit, while I dodged like Christian Bale in Equilibrium. I danced, I juked, I spun like no one has ever spun before. I was the Fred Astaire of sh*t swerving.
When it was all said and done, three nurses lost their lives that day (meaning were covered in feces and blood) while I, who had been staring down that fleshy barrel, had gotten away without one speck of red or brown or black on me.
The outcome? Mr. Hipaa went back to the ICU, little bit of PRBC, another embolization and he was home happy and healthy two weeks later, I got in trouble for not letting my resident know what was going on (WHAT?!), And as far as I'm aware those nurses are still showering to this day.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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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