This article is based on the AskReddit question: "Doctors/nurses of Reddit; What is the most obvious case of a patient 'faking it' you have ever seen?"
Let's scrub in, shall we?
Hard To Fake It Through The Pain
Had a patient fake guillain-barr syndrome - ascending paralysis. She ended up in the ICU and I was her nurse. I was a new grad and had to put a catheter in her bladder. She had to pretend she couldn't feel a thing and I could see the pain in her eyes. Turned out she got into a fight with her husband and as he was walking out of the house she fell on the floor to make him stay. I don't think she meant to take it so far, but she didn't know how to back out.
Another ICU pt - she was a nurse on disability and would fake seizures, which are really hard to fake. She would hold her breath and shake and roll around on the bed. Her O2 saturation dropped to the 70s from not breathing (and maybe the sensor wasn't picking it up well as she was shaking) and we told her we'd intubate if she couldn't protect her airway and she would miraculously stop seizing. Never acted postictal and could remember the whole seizure and everything that was said..She told me she would call my manager since I said during one of her "seizures" we didn't need to give her ativan.
Guy came into the ER the other day FORCEFULLY trying to get himself to vomit. I'm talking over one hour of Exorcist-like wretching to get any stomach contents out. It was amusing for the first minute but then became really sad to realize how far this guy was going to get his fix for morphine.
Judgey And Jury
Get called for an unconscious intox's at a bar. Get her out to the ambulance, she shouts "I'M HAVING A SEIZURE" and starts waving her arms around. I tell her "people who have seizures generally don't announce it first." Her response? "You're being very judgemental, I was getting ready in case I had a seizure."
... gotta stretch, I guess.
That's Not How This Works
My mom's an ER nurse and she said once some crazy lady came in and complained hat she had the whooping cough. And whenever she coughed she followed it with a loud woooOOOP!"
We All Scream For Ice cream
5/15. Oooh that's a toughie. It's either:
12 or 13 year old kid was having "seizures," would have another every time the ER tried to discharge her, magically woke up when her father proposed getting ice cream with no recollection of what happened. Video EEG was negative of course.
Old lady pretending to be catatonic, was helping us transfer her from wheelchair to bed (i.e. was not limp) and when we held her hand over her face and let go she dropped it to her side (if she were truly out it would have smacked her)
A lot of pain fakers are obvious too but pain is a bit more gray area while the above have objective findings.
6/15. My partner at work is an Administrator with an ED Nursing background. She was called in to the ED one night last year to deal with a patient who was complaining of severe headaches and nosebleeds but was refusing to go for any kind of examination in favor of being admitted. They are pretty sure at this point that she is drug seeking as she refused to even lie in the bed. My friend left the room and was standing a few feet outside the patient's glass bay talking with the Charge Nurse when she noticed the patient turn around and hunch over. She subtly stopped the conversation so they could observe.
The patient turned around with more blood on her nose and blood on her fingers from where she had been reaching into her underwear and smearing period blood all over her face to fake a nosebleed.
Can You Hear Me Now?
I'm an audiologist, and it's fairly common to have people fake a hearing loss. With adults, it's commonly for worker's compensation/benefits. Children do it for attention or to get out of school for a day.
They are fairly easy to spot...patients will come in, conversing with me very normally, but the audiogram will show a profound hearing loss. We all have our tricks to get them to slip - I like to lower my mic volume to a normal range and mention that they dropped something when they're in the booth, they instinctively reach for it, forgetting that they shouldn't have heard it because of their "loss." We can also do an auditory brainstem response, bypassing the need for patient responses. A Stenger Test can identify those fakers that only have a "hearing loss" in one ear.
My favorite is when testing kids that are clearly faking, part of the test requires me to have them repeat words. So I present them at a normal volume and the kids are REEEAAALLLYY straining to hear them, then I slip in funny words like "buttcrack" and watch to see them smile because they clearly heard it.
Stroke Of Genius
Work in a hospital for prisoners. They will frequently fake chest pain to get in to the hospital, but sometimes they will try to fake other things instead.
Had a guy trying to fake stroke symptoms. Claimed he couldn't move his leg, docs examine him and he insists he can't move it. 5-10 minutes later I look in the room and he is walking to the bathroom. When he sees me, he immediately starts limping and acting like its hard to walk. Pretty sure he was discharged shortly after.
9/15. A nurse friend told me this one, this happened about a month ago. A woman and her boyfriend are rushed in by ambulance after being in a car accident. My nurse friend is with the boyfriend, who keeps yelling about his baby. It takes a minute to calm him down, but my friend gathers that the guy's girlfriend is pregnant. So they check for a heartbeat but don't hear anything. The woman keeps asking the doctor to check again. Both her and her boyfriend are in tears. Finally another nurse comes in with some of her tests results and announces that the woman wasn't ever even pregnant. The woman starts arguing, saying that yes she was pregnant and has been for a while and that the results are wrong. Turns out a few months back her boyfriend tried to break up with her so she lied to about being pregnant to get him to stay.
10/15. A girl came in complaining of 20/10 abdominal pain. Lab work all normal, pelvic normal, CT normal. I closed the door and curtain in her room, but kept a little crack where I could see her. Within 5 minutes she stopped yelling and screaming about her pain. I saw her on her phone, eating McDonald's, and walking around. This went on for almost an hour. She then heard another staff member outside her room and began screaming again. After being left alone for 5 minutes, she would stop. When I went in to discharge her, she said she was having a AAA and was going to die. She tried to rip down the curtain and then intentionally smacked her head on the computer.
Security escorted her out... She was back the next day.
Another one was the guy that said he was at a different hospital where they told him he was having a heart attack and needed morphine. But just before they could give it to him, someone came into the ER and started shooting, so he got up and ran. We called over to that hospital and they just laughed. Guy signed out AMA 10 minutes later.
There are some fun ones in psych.
The patient went into her room and, in a very obvious stage-voice (just loud enough for us to hear her in the main area), started saying random, unconnected sentences/phrases. Then she immediately came out, walked straight up to us and asked, "How do I know if the voices are real?" She would act perfectly normal when she thought we weren't looking, but as soon as we walked loudly up to her door she'd start "talking to herself" again. Yeah, no. That's not how psychosis works lol. Good try though.
Also there was the girl who "strangled" herself unconscious. There was no pressure whatsoever on her throat/neck. The doctor quietly snuck up to her, then smacked his hands together in a single giant clap. She jumped.
And another patient who had "seizures". She lay in bed, twitching, when I called her for lunch. I said all right, but if you lie there for too long you're going to be stuck with the vegetarian option. The seizures magically stopped.
Walk Away Shontay
When I was a resident, I had a patient in clinic that was doing that round-about thing patients do when they want narcotics but aren't going to directly ask for them. She would hint at having arthritis pain that "just doesn't seem to get better except that one time she took lortab" and that "you know, her friend gave her a Percocet once and it helped a lot" (never mind the fact that this lady was 100% functional despite "debilitating pain").
At the end of the clinic visit, when I offered a physical therapy referral and stronger NSAIDs (the actual treatment for osteoarthritis), she suddenly sat straight up, looked me in the eye, and said, "Doctor, I don't know how...but I'm totally paralyzed."
Seriously. She pretended that, all of a sudden, everything other than her mouth was totally paralyzed. She made us send her to the ER (but not before she had my nurse unwrap a peppermint and literally put it on her tongue because "her blood sugar felt low"). We had to lift this nutcase into a wheelchair (during which we could all feel her shifting and repositioning...not something a paralyzed person would do) and roll her to the ER to be evaluated for "sudden paralysis".
While in the ER, she suggested to the ER doc that maybe Lortab would fix her paralysis, and when the ER doc rightly refused this treatment, she got out of the stretcher and walked out.
Had an employee that was "allergic to everything" and a huge hypochondriac. She was such a headache that we ended up moving her desk way away from pretty much anyone else so she would stop complaining. One day, a lady walks by with a strong perfume, and our lovable hypochondriac falls out.
Predictably, EMS is called, and by this point our employee is laying on the ground rolling her eyes back in her head. Scary stuff if you didn't know she was literally insane.
So EMS arrives and they come over, put the O2 meter on her finger, and she's choking through her speech when they're asking her if she can breathe or not. O2 saturation was at like 97% or something like that. Medic goes "ma'am, there's no reason why you should be having trouble breathing right now."
They hung around for another couple minutes, then bounced.
Had a mother come in and INSIST that her child had Silver-Russell syndrome. You can go read on it. It's not that easy to fake, as it's a bunch of metabolic conditions mixed with congenital abnormalities.
The kid was small, but not that small (around 6th percentile). He didn't weight much (5th percentile). All of this, with a right arm length 2 cm more than the left side, were borderline criteria for Silver-Russell. Did genetic testing, which came back negative, but 30% of cases are negative.
So the deciding factor was one of the "soft" criteria of hypoglycemia. Once she heard about this (she printed out 30-40 articles on the disease), she came back with the kid in a coma. But when the kid was in the hospital, he was never hypoglycemic. He went home, and came back in a coma a few weeks later. Again, as soon as he was eating normally at the hospital, he was never hypoglycemic.
She starved her child into comas repeatedly for the diagnosis of Silver-Russell. She was also a "bougon", people who live off welfare and make a game out of it. By the way, she was in a wheelchair when at the hospital. Once I had enough of her bullshit and walked into the room after only knocking once. She was walking around normally and jumped into the wheelchair as soon as she saw me.
I believe it was for money since in Canada/Quebec, you get money when your child has a genetic disability.
Bills, Bills, Bills
Gentleman called 911 from a restaurant claiming he had a migraine and was unable to see properly. He was literally 2 blocks from a hospital.
I've had migraines, I'm sympathetic. On the way to the call I was planning my treatment plan so he would be more comfortable during the wait in the emerg.
He was waiting outside, in full sunlight, waving at us. Thanked us politely for coming "to his rescue". Sat in the well lit ambulance, chatting up a storm, making inappropriate jokes, and laughing. Stating the whole time he has 10/10 pain from a migraine, and that only Percocet works to reduce the pain. He has them frequently, and wouldn't you know it, he's run out of his prescribed medication, and his doctor is on vacation.
The chef from the restaurant he called from came out and asked for his information. Our patient was "unable to pay his bill, due to the pain." He conveniently had no ID he could leave with the restaurant, and only had his debit card with him. He promised to come back, once he was feeling well enough to tap his PIN into the machine, but right now he couldn't. The chef knew 100% the guy was lying, but couldn't do anything.
As someone who has had a vomiting, shaking, vision effecting, migraine in the past, he did nothing to convince anyone he was in actual discomfort. I actually would greatly prefer if he had said, "I ate a meal I can't afford, and I'm addicted to pain killers, can you please take me to the ER." Honesty would have gotten him better treatment from everyone involved.
Edit: We took him to the ER. He waited in the loud busy waiting room reading magazines. I'm from Canada, so his ambulance bill is mostly paid by the Ministry of Health. Physicians can sign a patient as "non essential" which would cause the patient to be charged for the whole cost. The MOH has no guidelines surrounding what is essential and what isn't, so the MD/Hospital opens themselves up to a lawsuit if someone decides to sue because the MD signed their ambulance trip as non-essential. So this rarely happens.
Add to that if the patient is receiving social services from the government or has no fixed address, they are charged nothing at all.
The studies have been done, Paramedics/EMTs in other countries can tell you, charging people does not reduce the frequency of illegitimate 911 use.
[Image credit: Denis Pepin / Shutterstock.com]
The key to any successful relationship is communication.
The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.
But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.
Curious to hear examples of what those might be, Redditor FamiliarFarmer8356 asked:
"What's something you wish you could tell your partner without upsetting them?"
If there is conflict, there is a way to discuss and address the issue in a civil and respectful manner.
Things Just Happen
"Every bad thing that happens doesn't require someone to be blamed for it. And that someone doesn't always have to be me."
A Cornerstone Of A Successful Union
"One of the cornerstones of a good marriage, is knowing how to argue. I’d actually say that before a couple get married, they should check how their potential partner behaves in an argument. What are they like when they get angry. It’s important because no two individuals are going to agree all the time. And on those occasions, it’s important to remember not to belittle the other. Deal with the issue at hand. And especially, don’t argue in front of the kids. You have no idea how much lasting damage this causes."
"All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership."
It's Not That Deep
"please stop complaining about everything."
"If you keep seeking out reasons to be miserable, you will find them."
"I'm tired of being dragged down with you."
There's no need to get defensive when there's something to discuss.
It's Not About You
"That some days I’m just tired from class and work and just want some me time, it’s not that I hate you my social battery is just running out."
"Her first reaction to something adverse doesn't have to be anger."
In The Words Of A Pirate
"In the wise words of captain Jack Sparrow sometimes:"
'the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude toward the problem.'
It Takes Two To Tango
"That I wish she’d be more independent so she didn’t need my help for everything outside the house."
"That it’s a little disturbing how aggressively he drives when he’s grumpy… heavy on both gas and brakes, zooming in and out of traffic, swearing at people who make mistakes… very unlike him."
Sometimes the truth hurts when talking about members of the family.
A Real Assessment
"That her mother is not a good person."
"I told my husband that it's not that his family is nosy and overbearing, it's that I hate watching him cave and negotiate as if they have a right to behave like this, and I really hate when I'm the bad guy for wanting reasonable limits."
"It got worse, then it got better, FYI."
"His parents are greedy, selfish people and treat him like an atm."
There's definitely a fine line between withholding your thoughts to protect the person you love and being brutally honest.
If coming clean isn't going to resolve an issue, then it might be better to suck it up and deal with whatever frustrations you have about the other person.
It's up to you, but make sure the delivery doesn't come from a place of rage if you do decided to be totally transparent about your negative thoughts.
Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.
What is a "black sheep" anyway?
It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.
Redditor Frozen_yoghurt123 asked:
"Who is the 'black sheep' of your family?"
I'm the black sheep or at least I'd like to think so.
"Probably my dad's cousin, who went to prison for murdering his lover's husband."
DW_555Oh My Wow GIFGiphy
"My Dad. He is the only one of 6 siblings who wasn't a huge f**k up. And yet, before my Grandma died she stated that he was her 'biggest disappointment.' He is estranged from his surviving siblings... not by his choice. It honestly blows my mind."
"Toxicity is often a group mindset thing; people don't want you to leave because they are dysfunctionally co-dependent on each other and need each other to justify their own shortcomings in life. A lot of the 'family loyalty' stuff is typically shouted loudest by those who are the least good idea to stay loyal towards."
"My great uncle who stole my great grandfathers identity, stole a couple million dollars, and ran off. No one even knew he was alive until my great grandfathers funeral in 2009. No one has seen him since. My grandma started to cry because she honestly thought he was dead."
"Everyone else just kind of nodded on his direction and went on with the rest of the funeral. I just remember being very confused because I was 9 and I had never met this guy who my dad pulled me aside and told me he was my great uncle. It was a few years later that I got the full story."
"According to my mean aunt, the 'matriarch' in her own mind, it's my twin brother because "he doesn't care about family now that he's a doctor." (He's a resident. Chief resident. He works ridiculous hours and spends the rest of the time recovering from work.)"
"According to my ex-MIL (who still counts because she's Son's grandma), it's me, for divorcing her son."
"According to everyone else, it's Mean Aunt. The rest of us are warm and caring and compassionate. We have our moments; all of us have been accidentally thoughtless or done something selfish once in a while, but we're not deliberately mean and snarky all the time."
"My immediate family are the black sheep of the entire family."
DarthDreganJohn Stamos Cheers GIF by GrandfatheredGiphy
Sounds like everyone has a little black sheep in them.
"By now, my brother for cutting off everyone because he prefers his rude, selfish, paranoid, narcissist wife over all of us."
"My wife is the black sheep of her family in the sense that she's the only one who isn't a rude, selfish, paranoid narcissist."
Lvcivs2311Joe Dirt Brother GIFGiphy
"Me. My granddaddy told me 'I’ve only had the sheriff knock on my door two times in my 80 years, and both times he was looking for you! 'I did some dumb sh*t, caused a little trouble, burned a few bridges but always managed to stay out of jail. Partly because my sister has kept an attorney on retainer for me since I was 16."
"My younger brother (2nd of 4) is a compulsive liar and it got him in a lot of little trouble as a teen, then he told his wife he graduated a big college when we're not even sure if he got his GED because he failed to graduate HS, went to some GED school and eventually just stopped going."
"IF he graduated college, he never mentioned he was going in the 4+ years it takes nor mention graduation or have a diploma. He's not a bad dude, but now family time is super awkward when he and his wife are talking about 'their' college team."
The NOT good girl...
"My aunt's daughter. She’s been in jail for drugs, stolen money from my aunt and other family members to use on drugs and physically abused my aunt. My aunt has tried getting her help, but nothing has worked. She’s just not a good person, and everyone in my family, except my aunt, doesn’t want anything to do with her. I haven’t seen her in 8 years now, and I’m happy about that."
"A former nun - my great aunt - left the religious life and got married. She called herself 'the black sheep of the family' because her habit was black."
Back2BachExcited Julie Andrews GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein OrganizationGiphy
Well the black sheep sound like the most interesting family members.
Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.
There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.
A good steak.
A home repair.
The things that make you say...
"I tingle all over."
Redditor OldAboba asked:
"What is the best non-sexual physical feeling you’ve ever felt?"
Adele. Adele live. She sends me.
FloatingRelaxed Exit Strategy GIF by Hannah Bronfman Giphy
"I got a professional full body (everything but my man parts) massage a few years back for the first and so far only time at a spa after the recommendation from a coworker. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few days."
Through your nose...
"Sneezing when you're sick. Then you get that about 20 second feeling of breathing through your nose again and you like ahh that's what I aspire to at the moment."
"Or the very last sneeze of your illness. During a fire drill in high school, I was ambling out after fighting a head old for a few days. The alarm was killing my head which was already throbbing from the sinus pressure."
"I was nearing the field, well away from my classmates, when I cough/sneezed out a huge, green loogie - cleared it about three feet, no icky trail - and by the time I was walking back to the building I was feeling pretty much back to normal. No more head cold after that. Never had something like that ever happen again where there was such an abrupt end to the head cold."
"Right after a migraine goes away. It's almost a spiritual experience."
"This was going to be my answer. I was in the ER one time for a really bad migraine. They gave me what they called a 'migraine cocktail.' When they pushed it through the IV I could feel the cold liquid make its way through my body, up to my head. Once it hit my brain, the migraine was gone. It was pure ecstasy. Even better was that cocktail had Benadryl in it so I fell asleep not long after and slept so good."
"That stretch til you shake when you wake up."
"I once stretched too hard in the morning and got the worst calf cramp ever... it looked like a prune and I thought I would die from the pain. Couldn't stretch in bed for months afterwards out of fear it would happen again."
"When you move over 50, it turns into that stretch til you put your back into a muscle spasm that lasts days."
The ItchScratching Feel Good GIF by 60 Second DocsGiphy
"I had a cast and splint on both my legs for 2 months. When they cut it off, they scratched my legs for me and the itch was just top notch! Yeah."
Itching an itch can change a life.
YUM!Emma Stone High Quality GIFGiphy
"When you're starving all day and devour a bomb a** meal."
Sleep for Life
"When you’ve been up for 20 hours+ and finally get into bed and you just know it’ll be the best sleep of your life."
"But man, after 36+ hours, the body sort of aches and it's hard to fall asleep despite being completely exhausted. Then the restless legs kick in... ugh. I do agree that a 20hr-ish stint is amazing to cuddle into, especially if you don't have to get up at any specific time the next day."
"Makes it better when you’ve been sleep deprived for weeks and know you have NO PLANS tomorrow and can sleep as much as you need."
"When you're absolutely busting for a pee and you can finally go!"
"Apparently there’s a thing called a 'pee-gasm' that people (usually women) have that causes an orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a while! I’ve definitely experienced this and I’ve intentionally waited a while so I could have that good feeling... lol."
I Can Hear!!
"The feeling of water leaving your ear after being there all day."
"I had some impacted earwax for a week in one ear, and when it finally got removed it was the best feeling in the world. Initially it was like having a tv or radio in my ear that only had static, but then I could hear. Good god, I could hear. It was amazing."
"Oh man, and it’s WARM from being in your head, and the warmth makes the sensation of leaving even better."
A Good Restdog puppy GIFGiphy
"Sleeping in a warm blanket in winters."
"Or sleeping in a cold blanket in summer."
I am enthralled by all of those things.
People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.
And when it is requested, think before you speak.
People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."
Redditor Gold-Ad-2827 asked:
"People with mental disorders: What do you hate being told the most?"
I hated being told to just smile. You smile and go away.
Duhseth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"It's all in your head. Where else would it?! My colon?"
"Everybody goes through that."
"This saying makes my blood boil. Or the 'I was that age once too ya know' yeah no sh*t you were that age once. And just because you were that age once doesn’t mean we have the same experience."
"They try to minimize it."
"You're worried? Just stop."
"You're sad? Just don't be."
"You're compulsively binge eating? Eat less."
"Thanks for that stellar advice."
"Or even better, 'Just do it!' As if ADHD paralysis can be stopped with a can-do attitude."
"I get so frustrated when people treat the idea of 'holistic medicine' as some kind of woo. How does it escape so many people that the body works holistically? Even a lot of doctors seem to ignore this. It's very frustrating when you have 2 or 3 or 4 illnesses that are all affecting each other, and your 'physical health' is held distinct from your mental health, and nothing anyone is doing to treat you works because no one's looking at the whole system."
"I just got a lecture from a psychiatrist I am seeing about nutrition, and he apologized to me for doing so but I told him, 'No, I appreciate it. Do it for all your patients.' because it told me he's trying to look at the whole picture and actually fix what's wrong. It gave me faith in him."
RelaxCalm Down Golden Girls GIF by TV LandGiphy
"You need to calm down."
"Never is the history of calm down has calm down ever caused anyone to calm down."
Calm down. I hate that one. You calm down.
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"When they try to give me tips on what to do, like bruh as if I didn't already try that."
"You don't look sad. No crap... that's so I can avoid having this conversation. Also depression isn't 'being sad' like people think."
"God, I hate this. It's because saying 'I'm depressed' has been standard for people expressing that they're slightly unhappy about something dumb like not getting enough croutons on their salad or some crap. Now that's just what everyone assumes you mean when you say you have depression."
"'Stop being lazy.'"
“'Lazy' is when you don’t want to do anything at all. 'Executive disfunction' is when you can do everything at all, but that one easy quick thing that you do want to do just makes you and your brain freeze completely days ahead. I’m tired of people not understand that even when I explain and look at me like I’m bullshitting instead."
Ways to Cope
"Maybe you should try praying harder. I did, He prescribed medication."
"Praying is a way to cope for a lot of people, I think. That's totally fine, but insisting on praying in lieu of getting real help or actually addressing the issue is when it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously detrimental."
"Religious people will bypass everyone’s cultures, identity, views, and feelings just to be right and make a point. it’s disgusting. I read somewhere that real so called Christianity is all wrong. The real faith is from the Aramaic history and all the meanings were misinterpreted and the stories and all were made up by Catholics wanting to control their people. Yuck."
'contamination'Disgusted Season 6 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-NineGiphy
"As someone with OCD with a lot of attention to 'contamination', having someone try to explain contradictions in why I'm doing something that is technically unclean when I wouldn't do something that is technically clean due to OCD. There are a few doorknobs that I will not touch no matter how much you clean them in front of me and I know it makes no sense, if it made sense I wouldn't have OCD i'd just be cleanly."
Stop trying to be an armchair therapist. Be empathetic to people first.