As doctors will be the first to explain, there is one element of the medical profession that is routinely underestimated by med school hopefuls: patient interaction.
Understandably, would-be doctors prioritize the more concrete elements of the profession. They pour over anatomy books, understand the latest treatments and technologies, and hone their ability to diagnose efficiently, accurately.
Yet, a good amount of a doctor's work day is spent hashing it out with their patients--regular folks who know extremely little about how the body works.
Managing those human interactions well is paramount to providing good care. But it can be difficult.
And few things are more difficult than an ignorant patient who blasts in making claims about their body that rely on strange word of mouth theories and slipshod online research.
"When my dad was still doing his home clinic, he had several patients with the weirdest symptoms."
"Once a man came in and said he had a burning penis and actually thought someone was coming in and lighting a fire under it while he slept. He wanted a cure for burning when in reality he had gonorrhea."
"He got offended when my dad told him this because he was married and his wife was fine but 80 percent of women that have gonorrhea are asymptomatic."
"Turns out the dude had a serious sex worker addiction which is where he and his wife got it from."
Smile and Nod
"I had a patient come in for a general surgeons consult and was convinced that she had a blood cancer (which is non surgical btw)."
"I asked her, ok have you had (insert all probing questions here). She says no."
"Ok... So I asked how she was so confident in having the 'blood cancer' and she says that she read about this test you can do, on the internet..."
"...where you get about 'this much' (while approximating like half a cup) rum and drink it."
"And if it makes your lymph node hurt then you have the cancer. And then she points to two spots where there definitely aren't major lymph nodes and says that's where she felt it."
"I said ok we'll keep that in mind and check your labs in case. So I finished my interview and walked out."
"I checked her labs from a month ago and they were perfect."
"No one told me how solid your poker face would need to be when I started medical school. Thank goodness for masks."
Been Around the Block
"Gynecologist here. A woman came to the ER because she claimed her uterus had wandered off inside her body. She was sobbing hysterically and seemed genuinely afraid."
"I called my back up senior consultant who immediately said that he'd met the patient before and that he would handle it."
"He walks in, examines her, tells her the uterus is now firmly back in place."
"The woman now cries of happiness and thanks him profusely before happily being on her way."
A Brief PSA....
"Saw a patient once who stated she caught diabetes from her best friend after sharing clothing."
"Yes, diabetes is a real thing, but catching it from your friend's sweater is not a real thing."
The Dog-Duck Freak Hypothesis
"My friend is a vet and one day this very worried lady comes with a puppy in a box and an egg. She whispers to my friend that she has a female duck, and that her puppy had been 'messing around' with this duck..."
"...so she was worried that the egg the duck had laid that morning was some kind of abomination like The basilisk or some other folklore monster."
"Friend had to bite down laughter and explain that eggs are not laid as a result of sexual intercourse and that her duck's egg wasn't fertilized."
"The lady gave the puppy away eventually, unconvinced that there was no possibility of creating a dog-duck freak"
"I work in rural EMS. Shift change is at 8 am; this call came in at 7 am. Mind you, a call for us can last as long as 5 hours depending on which hospital we are heading to.."
"The call comes in as uncontrolled vomiting."
"My partner and I immediately head to the address. It took us a while to find the house because we had a house description, but the house was behind a tree line that was behind a locked gate."
"Anyways, we grab our pack and monitor, climb the gate, only to be met by our patient who was driving herself to the gate. She climbs out of her truck, limbos under the gate and crawls into the back of the ambulance."
"I asked her 'when was the last time you threw up?' 'Last night before bed.' She said. She claimed to have eaten bad Mexican food and believed that was the cause."
"She was totally stable the entire time. It ended up being about a 3 hour call. I was so pissed."
Bring in the Doctor
"I'm not a doctor, but my sister is. And we are both very unfortunate to have swamp people as family. They are not very bright."
"Well about 4 years ago my father was fighting cancer, and losing the battle. One of my aunts flew into the metropolitan I live in, and later that evening around the dinner table she asked where my fathers girlfriend was."
"I informed her that she had died of cancer a year previous."
"Her reaction was some over the top anger, yelling and cussing about how terrible it is that his girlfriend gave him her cancer."
I actually had to get my sister to drive 40 minutes to my house and explain to her that cancer is not transmitted from person to person, and it was in fact my fathers 42 years of chain smoking that gave him cancer. It took quite some convincing."
Not How Spines Work
"I'm a Physiotherapist and probably once a day get someone telling me that their disc 'popped out' and needs to be put back in again." -- Cocktailego87
"And they walked in to tell you, of course." -- CampbellsChunkyCyst
"Yes exactly and showed me precisely the movements they 'can't' do (while doing the movement)" -- Cocktailego87
A Free Service
"Had someone who called 911 because he wanted a suppository inserted." -- firefighting101
"Have some medical training and am notorious for providing potential diagnoses to friends who have new symptoms+pre-existing conditions and want to have suggestions for the doctor so the docs don't write it off as the pre-existing conditions."
"I had a friend tell me say 'I'm addicted to the smell of my own skin' asked me if it was a symptom of their mental health disorder, or a new disorder they should go get checked out for."
"I repeatedly told them it's not a thing. They kept whining."
"I went to their house, smelled their SOAP. It smelled fantastic. I secretly replaced the soap in the bottles with one the same color."
"Friend shut up about the skin-smelling addiction."
"The friend literally just liked the smell of soap."
They Never Learn
"'My throats dry'"
"Well what do you normally do when your throat is dry?"
"'I drink water'"
"Did you try that?"
Quite the Discovery
"It's cliche, but I've definitely had a female patient give me a chief complaint of an inflamed prostate." -- IndWrist
"I'm a trans guy. My doctor said I needed a prostate check and I was like 'I have one of those?!' and got so happy, and then she was confused..."
"...and then I realized she didn't know I was trans so I told her but remained happy because it's the thought that counts (actually because I'd never had a doctor not know I was trans before)." -- firstmatedavy
A Poor Performance
"Pseudo seizures: People who are medically diagnosed with having fake seizures. They pretend to have full body seizures including convulsions, frothing at the mouth, the works."
"When I ask them to do things, like stand up to get on the stretcher, or hold their arm still so I can start and IV, they comply, while still 'having a seizure.'"
"Watching a 47 year old house wife in a gated golf course neighborhood "seizure" while standing up and get on a cot is something else."
"I once got a 3AM 911 call to a 'sick person' (wonderful dispatching.) I get there and this dude has a pimple on his back. Not a boil...a pimple."
"he was insistent that we take him to the hospital. Turns out that he wanted to go because the voices told him that he would get blood poisoning and die if he didn't go."
Contracted Very Suddenly
"Former volunteer for the Saxon Disaster Prevention service"
"We were once overlooking a race and a guy came to us claiming that he got spontaneous diabetes from eating too many Snickers. Turned out he just had too much and got a stomach ache."
"I had a lady come in convinced she had hypothermia because she kept checking her temperature orally immediately on waking and it was always 92 degrees. She thought it was getting low while she slept and causing her snoring, daytime sleepiness, etc."
"I explained that since she is snoring and sleeping with her mouth open an oral temperature immediately on waking wouldn't be accurate and A temperature of 92 degrees wouldn't be compatible with life."
"She wanted continuous temperature monitoring while sleeping. Yeah that isn't a thing. Even in a sleep study."
"I discussed with her that she probably has sleep apnea and that she doesn't need to check her temperature unless she is having chills, sweats, other symptoms of infection. She got mad and left. SMH"
Rabies Via Chicken
"A woman wanted to get checked for rabies because a possum (which does not carry the rabies virus) attacked her chicken and she wanted to get checked. (She did not get scratched or bit by the possum either)"
"She wanted to get checked regardless"
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