People Misdiagnosed By Doctors Reveal How It Affected Them

Doctors aren't perfect.

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However, they have a job for a reason, and when they do it incorrectly, it can seriously emotionally or physically scar their patients. It's harrowing to hear about. Caution: Neglect, malpractice, gross imagery.

u/blue_eyed_bella asked Reddit:

Has a doctor ever misdiagnosed you, if so how did it affect you?

Here were some of the answers.

A Death Sentence

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In high school my history teacher was misdiagnosed with cancer. I saw her go from depression to acceptance to anger in a span of six months. After she found out, I remember her asking the class if any of our parents were lawyers. I felt rly bad for her. She was already thinking how to say goodbye to her 7 yr old.

Impossible Conception

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When I was 14 I was told I was pregnant after getting an ultrasound to check my kidneys due to high blood pressure. No pregnancy test, no questions, I was a young girl so I obviously was pregnant after they found an abnormal mass, ended up being a cyst. None of the doctors would listen to me when I said that I had never even kissed a boy before. The sad part of the story was that after the doctor told my dad and me that I was 10 weeks pregnant, and I adamantly denied that it was even possible, my dad actually stood up for me and took my side. Eventually I was sent to a women's hospital, and two hours later confirmed that I was not the Virgin Mary. Physically it didn't affect me, but I've been very wary of going to doctors since.

Money Games

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Ohhh yes. I was exposed to loud noise exposure at work. I filed a work comp claim, and went to a total of 6 doctor appointments with their ear doctor.

I kept telling her that it felt like something snapped in my left ear, but she kept brushing me off and sending me back to work. I even asked for imaging and she said "work comp is picky about things, so no."

I later spent 2k of my own money I got a CT scan from another doc. It ends up I have a condition called superior canal dehiscence.

This means there is a hole deep in my inner ear probably caused from the loud noise exposure.

Only treatment is opening my skull, lifting my brain, and patching that hole.

I sometimes wonder if the work comp doctor was specifically playing stupid being in the pocket of the insurance company. I will never know.

Neglect Of Death

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Grossish alert my grandmother went to the doctor for blood in her stool and he told her it was hemorrhoids. She asked him to perform some tests because she didn't believe it was just hemorrhoids. He refused and told her to come back if H medication didn't work. It didn't and it turns out she had colon cancer. It was so far along by that point that she passed ~6 months after her diagnosis.

23 Years

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age 1: "You have nerve damage from Spina Bifida that affects your bladder, here take this medicine and learn how to pee through a straw."

age 12 "Oh the medicine isn't working? are you sure you're using it correctly?"

age 16: "here try ditropan again."

age 21: "here try bladder botox"

age 22: "oh hold up there's something weird about your bladder. You also have a second ureter on your left kidney."

Age 23: "Yeah, you have a hole in your bladder that's probably congenital (there since birth) wait six months and we'll get you in to get that fixed up."

I've had Multiple MRI's since birth and apparently the second ureter, and the hole in the bladder was somehow missed? Am still waiting for the surgery date.


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I went to an ER after diving to twelve feet. I heard something like a crackle, and pool water drizzling down my throat through my ear, and immense pain. Upon describing this to the Dr at the ER, he diagnosed it as an ear infection. A 0 to full blown ear infection, which had nothing to do with the dive, the noise, or the fact that pool water has a very distinct taste when it runs down the back of your throat.

At my ear specialist who I saw as soon as possible, I was correctly diagnosed with barotrauma. The effect from the first doctor was unnecessary agony for 24 hrs because he apparently didn't get paid enough to listen to anything beyond the symptoms. At least in the end, it was a full recovery.

This Close To Death

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Horrendous pain, vomiting . . . ER doc says that I "have a lot of stool". I told the doctor that he wasn't the first person to tell me that I was full of s***, but that there was something else wrong . . . Another doctor says the same thing - I am becoming belligerent because of this nonsense and the excruciating pain. . .Third opinion doctor orders CT - I had gangrene on my appendix and it was hours from rupturing. Midnight emergency surgery, 5 days in the hospital - if I went along with what they had initially said, I would be dead.


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When I was 15 my GP told my mom that the crippling pain below my sternum (the very upper part of my abdomen) was heart burn and he prescribed antacids. Ignoring the fact that this pain would literally have me on the floor in the fetal position crying. Heart burn... So of course the medicine doesn't work and I deal with this pain several times a week for 4 years, until I'm 19 and deployed to Iraq. Thankfully my NCO wouldn't listen when I had an attack and told him it'd pass. He sent me to our clinic. They draw blood, it's pancreatitis, secondary to gall stones. They removed my gall bladder and it got much better. I still have rare acute pancreatitis that I believe is from the damage of 4 years worth of stones passing through my duct.

It Just Kept Going

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Went to my pediatrician when I was 19 about pains I had been having in my back. They were in a specific location--a bit left of my spine, center height--and would come suddenly, be quite intense, and then go away for a while. It wasn't a new feeling, but they were getting worse. She chalked it up to my anterior pelvic tilt / poor posture / lack of exercise and prescribed me some workouts to do. It wasn't bad thinking on her part as I wasn't in great shape at the time, but it definitely felt like she didn't take my symptoms very seriously. Maybe I didn't do a good enough job conveying the intensity.

About a year later I was at my parents' house, made myself a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and wound up in by far the most pain I've ever experienced. It's hard to describe the pain without sounding hyperbolic, but I'll say I was sat in a chair, trying not to breath, and thinking about how long I could last before jumping head-first over the balcony railing into the floor below. I can say with confidence I will never feel more physical pain, which is a strange thought. Fire dept. came to the house but were afraid to move me, thinking I had pinched a nerve. After a couple hours in the chair, the pain somewhat suddenly vanished, and I had my dad drive me to the ER.

Got to the ER, had an ultrasound (which was awesome), and the docs found that my gallbladder was *stuffed* with gallstones. Not just a couple, but dozens, and two of them were about the size of quarters, which is also about the width of a gallbladder. These two stones alone were actually filling my gallbladder side-to-side. My gallbladder was also completely infected and had been for some time. Lots of "wtf" faces on the doctors that day. Turns out the stones had been building for years (they estimated that it started in middle school) and I had just gotten used to the random pain somehow. Pretty weird looking back on it.

Anyway, they ripped it right out and life's been a lot better since.

Not A Virus, Just My Organs

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I was misdiagnosed as having pneumonia. Pneumonia would have been preferable.

I left work early one day because there was an extremely sharp pain in my back just under my shoulder blade as well as just underneath my ribcage on the same side. I was also having difficulty breathing. I miraculously managed to drive to the ER (in hindsight I'm aware it was a dumb idea) and got checked in.

They gave me some non-narcotic pain killers, did some x rays and ran a few other tests. The doctor came in after a while and said I had pneumonia, gave me a prescription for a z pack or whatever it's called, and discharged me.

I had just driven out of the hospital and got a call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered and they said they were from the hospital. They requested for me to come back as quickly as I could; don't bother checking in, just go straight back to the room I just left.

I went back into the room and the doctor told me that they had looked at my x rays again. Turns out my lung had collapsed.

They rushed a specialist in immediately (like 10 minutes, maybe) and were getting me prepped for surgery. Everything went pretty smoothly and everyone was extraordinarily nice to me. I'm positive everyone was so nice because there were definitely grounds for a lawsuit. I wasn't looking to get rich off anyone though, I just wanted to breath again.

I had extremely good insurance with the company I was with at the time. I paid 100$ for the emergency room fee and the rest of the 17,000$ bill was covered. So that was nice.

While I was in there a shirt popped up on and I bought it immediately. It read: "Lifetime achievement award for breathing. Respiring since birth." I was in the hospital for almost not getting that very achievement; it was fate. I still have the shirt somewhere but I got fat and it doesn't fit now.

I've been told that quite a few people visited me while I was in the hospital. I don't remember most of them; I was on a bunch of dilaudid while I was awake. I do remember a buddy asking me how I peed with all the wires and monitors attached to me and responding simply "with my penis." He looked at my mom and said "he'll be fine, he's too much of an a**hole to die."

Overall, I would rate having a lung collapse as a terribly awful experience. You never really think about how much you breathe until you can't. It sucks. A lot.

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