There are few people we should feel more comfortable putting our faith and trust in than doctors.
After all, we go to them to make sure we are still healthy, or when we are worried that something is wrong, and want their opinion.
However, being human, doctors can make mistakes just like the rest of us.
Sometimes missing details which even the most experienced doctors might miss.
Other times, in sad and disturbing cases, owing completely to willful ignorance, despite the grave concerns of their patients.
Sometimes with life and death consequences.
Redditor BigBadZord was curious to hear from doctors about the times they didn't listen to their patients and made serious misdiagnoses, leading them to ask:
"Doctors of Reddit, when was a patient right about something but you insisted they were wrong until it got serious?"
Always Assume They're Telling The Truth
"It didn't 'get serious' under my father's care, he just thought she was joking at first."
"He was treating a woman for headaches and she dropped that she had been the getaway driver in a robbery where shots had been fired."
" Bullet was lodged in base of her skull."- BigBadZord
"I was at the brief internment unit, acute psychotic cases, mostly, and there was this woman that had been there for some time."
"She had paranoid delusions about the Russian mob trying to get her, complete with hallucinations and everything."
"Her family had confirmed it was all made up in her head and nobody was following her."
"She had been getting medication for some time and her symptoms had improved a lot, she no longer believed she was in danger or being hunted, and everything seemed to be going well."
"As the procedure usually goes, the staff contacted her family so she could start going out for the weekends with them before being fully discharged."
"First weekend away from the hospital she got kidnapped by the Russian mob and taken somewhere else to repay a debt she apparently had but nobody in her family knew about."
"Happy ending though, she was found and gotten to safety quite quickly because we had already spoken to the police about her 'delusions' just in case and they were quick to act when she disappeared."
"And yes, people got locked up and other women were found."
"It was, all in all, a happy/satisfying ending."- Thalkarsh
More Common Than People Think...
"Patient stated live cockroach in ear."
"I said probably not and ate my words."- ChameleonMami
A Mother Knows
"I had a patient in his mid-30s establishing care with me for 'difficulty reading'."
"He actually came in with his mother and was very shy, which I thought was very strange."
"He said he worked at a library and words would get 'jumbled up' while reading."
"He had zero additional issues."
"I actually did a very thorough neurological exam and found zero problems."
"I asked him to read a magazine out loud at different speeds and he did it perfectly."
"I said everything looked fine and wanted to order some labs."
"I honestly felt he was just a strange character."
"They agreed to labs but mom was very pushy to do head imaging. I said we could, but I ordered the CT as routine and by the time labs came back he was extremely low on vitamin D."
"I called saying we should replace it and hold off on the scan."
"Not only did mom not want the scan cancelled, she wanted an MRI and she wanted it STAT."
"I basically got tired of trying to be reassuring and just ordered what she wanted."
"He had the biggest glioblastoma I have ever seen."
"Go mom."- bombas239
Difficult, Or Just Right?
"Without going into specifics, a patient was brought into our ER for like the sixth time in six months with the same thing."
"Fits, progressive neurological symptoms AND a label of a normal MRI scan done 4 months earlier with a referral to a 'functional neurologist' to basically deal with what was labelled as psychosomatic neurological symptoms on account of the patient having their first neurological event whilst they were on the phone."
"Getting some bad news, having a normal MRI and having seen a neurologist who couldn’t find anything wrong, again four months earlier."
"Thankfully, due to the patient rocking up in a wheelchair this time round as they were unable to stand, one of the senior ER doctors brought them in to do another scan."
"Cue me, walking in to see a 'neuro patient who is going to see the specialist as there is nothing wrong with them'."
"Until the very day I die, I shall never, ever forget my horror when I saw their repeat MRI scan on my computer screen just before entering the room."
"The patient had a golf ball-sized tumor in the very back of their brain and was in huge, huge trouble with rapidly progressive neurological signs."
"I felt so terrible for both the patient and their family."
"The first thing I did was to tell them that we were very wrong, there was something physically wrong and apologized for the 10 or so times they had been sent home from ER and told that they had been making up the symptoms and signs."
"The family were just grateful that they now knew what was going on."
"The patient died a month or so later."
"I tell this to all of my junior colleagues and I am extremely wary of how people are labelled as having a fictitious illness when they present to hospital."- feetofire
Can You Sal "Malpractice"?
"Not a Dr but the patient."
"3 years ago I started to have pain in my feet/toes that worked it’s what up progressively up my body."
"My uric acid shot up so my Drs assumed it was gout, even though it really didn’t make much sense."
"Till one morning I wake up and am paralyzed from the waste down, legit could not bare weight without falling to the ground."
"Of course I’m in and out of the ER but they really aren't doing jack."
"Keep sending me home while paralyzed with no help."
"Over a few days the paralysis moves up to my neck and below."
"Trouble eating, extremely painful, paralyzed and having respiratory issues."
"I get sent to a bigger hospital where I lose bladder and bowel function."
"They run blood work and just watch and wait."
"Finally a few days in get an MRI which shows signs of poly neuropathy, radiology recommends LP to rule out rare neurological autoimmune disease."
"Instead the team believes I’m faking it."
'Stop all meds besides psychiatric ones and wait me out for 10ish days."
"I was literally tortured and abused by all kinds of medical professionals, physical mental emotional etc."
"Finally I fail an EMG and LP are finally done as I begin to go into respiratory failure."
"Finally am diagnosed with an extremely rare variant of Guillain Barre Syndrome."
"They have no clue what to do as they hadn’t encountered it in adolescence med and give me the wrong fucking treatment."
"Fast forward 3yrs and I’m still a quadriplegic with nerve damage in every organ system and have never recovered."
"Nor will I ever."
"They failed me at every step of the way and now I have to live with no quality of life and as a quadriplegic."
"As well as the trauma of all that happened to me which has caused severe ptsd."
"Believe your f*cking patients!"
"Worst thing that can happen is you run the expensive test and it comes back normal."- Ok-Lab-1212
When You Can't Trust The Doctor OR The Vet...
"Not a doctor but a patient."
"I was suffering from severe skin issues for quite sometime."
"Bad rashes that would render my hands unusable."
"Fingers would get so dry and burn."
"Happened repeatedly when I would do the same activities."
"I spent many nights up unable to sleep from pain, I researched every which way possible."
"I was also having eye problems, I felt like something was in my eye all the time."
"I was also getting bit by bugs that were so tiny, but it would only happen at bedtime, and I lived alone."
"I never had bites, but the rashes on my hands, and other random parts of my body."
"Eventually my dog started suffering with some o the same issues."
"Constantly itching, was seeing the little bugs in the tub after bathing her, which I was doing 2-3 times a week bc she was suffering!"
"After seeing 1 general practice doctor, 2 urgent care doctors, 2 dermatologists and 1 eye doctor."
"Oh and bringing my dog to the vet, if they even were willing to listen to me, which most weren't, it was a general conclusion that I should see a mental health professional."
"I begged and pleaded for them just to listen and all they could tell me was that I was nuts and imagining things."
"After many nights of researching the internet I established I had an infestation of bird/chicken mites!"
"The place I was living had a chicken coupe in the backyard! "
"This was years ago and no doctors had any experience with these pests."
"What a nightmare.'
"I felt so alone because everyone had me thinking maybe I was crazy and it was all in my head. fast forward 4 years later, bird mites are recognized by pest control, doctors, vets, etc."
"Ill never get those nights I spent awake in pain and suffering being forced to figure out what was causing me so much pain, i'll never get them back."
"I'll never go to any of those doctors ever again."- sickerthan_yaaverage
Luckily A Bit Ahead Of The Game
"And I’m a physical therapist."
"Went to the ER and said 'I think there’s a 97% chance I have a DVT'."
"'I initially thought it was a calf strain as my Wells Criteria was low, but over the last 2 days I’m pretty sure it’s a DVT, here’s why''."
"Then explained my reasoning."
"I screen for DVTs daily at my job, particularly for my post-op patients after a knee or hip replacement, or other surgery."
"Basically as a PT I have a very thorough calf/foot/knee/ankle exam, and nothing I did made the pain better or worse."
"Meds didn’t help."
"Elevating my leg didn’t help."
"I also had gotten a lab done earlier that day & had an elevated d-dimer."
"D-dimer can mean a lot of things, but a blood clot is one of them."
"I was a textbook case."
"Cross country flight a couple days before, fell asleep & didn’t move the whole flight, dehydrated on flight from a wedding the night before, leg swelling & pain that doesn’t improve with typical measures, long term birth control user, and BMI higher than I would like it to be currently."
"All the risk factors were there."
"It got missed."
"I got sent home only to end up in a different ED 2 days later, where they properly diagnosed my DVT."
"The entirety of my lower leg was clotted by that point because the clot had grown over several days."
"Showed up again 2 days after that because my heart rate was out of control & had some chest pain."
"Ended up with a lovely PE."
"I’m lucky I’m still kicking, and that it wasn’t way worse."
"Have seen many patients die of PE."
"My leg still has some issues which makes it hard to walk & do my job."
"My lungs are doing okay though."- ok_MJ
"When I was 16 I noticed a mole on my shoulder blade that I didn’t recognize and it was already sizable and a different color from all my other moles."
"First I had to convince my mom to take me to the dermatologist, which took a bit since she’s an ER nurse and brushes everything off from my sister and I if it isn’t a true/imminent emergency."
"The dermatologist was a complete tool, trying to show off to his medical intern, and not only dismissed but didn’t even make note of the mole I was concerned about."
"He did, however, zero in on the one in my boob, the one I’d had my entire life and had never changed."
"An absolute creep abusing his power towards a teenager and right in front of her mother."
"He insisted on a biopsy of that one which meant his male intern had to have his face right up in my 16 year old cleavage to punch it out."
"He unfortunately did such a good job on the biopsy punch that it never grew back, and I quite liked that particular mole."
"As expected, that came back negative."
"10 months later, I insisted on going back because it appeared to me that the already sizable mole was probably doubled in size, now bigger than a pencil eraser which is one of the parameters of concern."
"Back to the same shitty derm, but this time he didn’t have anyone to show off to and I was in for the second time in less than a year, so he listened that time and biopsied it."
"No idea how much it actually grew though since he didn’t bother to write it down the first time."
"That one comes back dysplastic precancerous."
“'Dysplastic nevus is a mole that exists in the spectrum between a benign mole and melanoma'."
"He excised that in office, but the excision was bigger than it should have been had he listen the first time and I have a sizable scar still."
"Had I listened to his advice the first time and brushed it off as nothing, I very likely would have had skin cancer before I graduated high school."
"Never went back to that sh*tty dermatologist again."- deCantilupe
Doctors literally have people's lives in their hands.
While we should always err on the side of trusting them, it's also important that we let our voices be heard, and if they refuse to listen, get a second opinion.
After all, as evidenced by these stories, no one is immune from making a mistake.