It can't possibly be easy to be a probation officer. Your job is to routinely check in on previous criminal offenders, make sure they're following their probation guidelines and sticking to their community service and, oh, right, make sure they're not breaking laws anymore. Shouldn't be too difficult, but sometimes the offenders make it difficult. Reddit user, u/madcre, wanted to know about those times when they asked:
When They Don't Do As They're Told
Probation officers of reddit, whats the dumbest thing that you've seen an offender do while on probation?
Had a kid on probation for your basic teenage offenses (minor vandalism, shoplifting); kid had a rough upbringing and almost no role models so the judge took it easy on him and he got sentenced to community service rather than Big Boy Jail.
Didn't show up.
The kid just didn't go because, according to him, he wasn't about to be seen picking up trash like some lowclass "insert whatever racial slur kid could think of." Well, guess who got to go to Big Boy Jail.
Cheers! You're Going To Jail
A friend of mine was a probation officer we were out at a bar one night after a softball game and she abruptly said "I need money for 2 shots, I'll tell you why in a minute."
Confused but intrigued I gave her some cash and watched as she went to the bar and ordered 2 shots. She went up to a guy I didn't know and was quite a bit older than our friend circle was. She handed him 1 of the shots, did the cheers salute and took her shot. She said "see you at my office tomorrow" and came back to our table. He just stood there staring at us for a few seconds, took his shot, and left.
She fills me in that the man was on probation and had a scheduled appointment with her the next morning. She was pretty confident that he would be going to jail for being caught in the bar, so she figured she would buy him his last drink.
Steering Into The Chaos
My old friend who was on probation and on the way to meet his probation officer for a meeting and drug screen. I think he was on probation for writing some bad checks.
Anyway, he forgets to allow enough time for his bag of purchased "clean" pee to sit next to his body to heat to the right temperature. Genius decides to swing by a gas station on his way to meet his officer and throw the piss bag in the microwave. Welp, somehow he lost track of time with this as well and ended up exploding his pee bag in the microwave. Knowing he had no solutions to his now multiple problems, he went back home and partied. He didn't even clean out the microwave.
Turned himself in when the warrant was issued and went to jail for 30-ish days.
I was on probation years ago. At the time I had a serious opioid and benzo habit. I had just spent a week in jail over a probation violation for not paying a fine. Got out, started back at it right away, since I didn't use for a week my tolerance went down a bit. I had to see my probation officer in a week from the time I got out.
That whole week was a blur but I remember the night before, I did a few pills, passed out in my car in a grocery store parking lot. I wake up to cops around me. They make me get out, I take a sobriety test where you watch their fingers and such the a breathalyzer, I pass both. I get back in my car, they tell me to get going but leave before I did. I didn't want to drive that messed up, so I didn't and passed out again in the same spot. The same cops come back a few hours later, again they give me the tests and I pass. They tell me to pull my car over to the side of the street where I sleep for the night. The next morning I go to see my PO, I was still completely wasted, though, at the time I didn't realize this. My P.O. knows I am messed up the minute she looks at me. She sends me in the bathroom with this guy to pee in a cup, when coming out of the bathroom I had forgotten to button my pants, they fall down right in front of her, I had underwear on fortunately.
She asks me if I have a drug problem, I tell her no, but I may fail the drug test because of prescriptions. She again asks me if I need to go to rehab, I say no. Looking back on it, she was giving me the option of rehab rather then jail. Anyway, she handcuffs me and takes me to country jail, I was there for 3 months. To top it all off, I had driven to my PO's office. Luckily she didn't site me for the DUI though. They had my car impounded and I never got it back.
This was years ago. I have over 3 years sober now. I was a complete f* up, and am so thankful to be where I am today.
Taking The Easy Way Out
Former PO... We had to stand in the bathroom and watch as the offenders provided a urine sample. One time, a black male decided to use a "whizzinator" (plastic penis with a tube attached to a plastic bag full of "clean" urine). He didn't think that officers would be in the bathroom watching him and unfortunately for him, he used a white "whizzinator".
Another time, an offender was told that he was being arrested. He panicked and decided to run through the window, that was in his officer's cubicle (1st story). Apparently, not thinking that he was in South Florida, he bounced off of the hurricane proof glass. When he woke up, he was already in handcuffs, ready to go.
Just Come Clean
My former boss was a probation officer. He once told us about an 18 year old on probation for drug use that lived out in the country. He went one night to check on him. He was greeted at the door by the teen's father holding a shotgun as he had assumed my boss was an intruder. After explaining to the father why he was there it turned out that the teen had never told his parents about his arrest or drug use. The man called his son into the doorway and proceeded to force him to apologize to his probation officer.
People Can SEE My Facebook?
The amount of clients who don't realize their social media pages are public is insane. I had several clients post pictures of themselves smoking or drinking or being places they shouldn't be. Guess who'd get drug tested the next day? I also had a client post pictures of herself with her baby-daddy, who just so happened to be a wanted felon for the past four years. Cue nice big investigation where everyone ended up in jail.
Another fun story: client tests positive for THC one time. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But we have to take the proper steps. So I bring him in to have a conversation with my supervisor about it. We're basically going to tell him "hey, cut it out" and send him on his way. But this guy absolutely loses his mind during the conversation. Ranting and raving and telling us to take him to jail because that's what we want to do anyway. Wrong buddy. Just lay off the weed for six months until you're free. But nope. This guy gets so upset he throws a punch at me and ends up spending the next six months in jail.
TL;DR: make your social media pages private and don't be an overreactive crazy person.
Watching A Compatriot Lose Themselves
I was on probation at the time. We're in the waiting room, and some kid ( maybe 18-19) pulls out a small one hitter pipe. Everyone looks at him and he just takes a hit of spice in the f-cking waiting room, with everyone there just looking at him
Something Worse Than Cavities
Was an RA in at Pre-release center a summer while in college. Only time I had to read legal stuff and send someone back to prison was a guy that had used all of his food stamps that was supposed to go to his wife and kid on a bunch of candy. And illegal candy (only certain types were allowed in the center, but I really don't remember what/why).
So a thirty-something YO man was crying that he was going back to prison over some candy.
I'm a case manager for offenders placed on probation to help get their stuff together.
Not my client but I know one who narrowly passed his diversion program instead of going to prison, only to go to the probation lobby and a watch a rap video of himself. Waving pistols around. With a sheriff behind him watching it.
He was violated and sent to complete his prison sentence.
Wow, No Resistance Whatsoever
My dad is a PO when giving a drug test to a "client" the results came back and my dad ask the client if he had anything to tell him. The client then admits he stole his neighbor's Xbox.
Also they think it they unplug the ankle monitor receiver no one will notice.
Just Don't Say Anything...
At my court hearing, another dude was there because he allegedly got drunk one night and shot a bullet through the wall of his apartment complex. Apparently the cops confiscated a bunch of guns from this dude's apartment (not sure if they were legal or not). From how it sounded, this kid probably shouldn't have possessed any firearms. While he was at the stand, he asked the judge if he could have the guns returned because he still had a few and since they were part of a collection, he wanted them all together.
Complete silence in the courtroom. I watched the lawyer's shoulders tense up. The judge was not impressed. She let him have it for still having guns when he should've given all of them up that night. She told him he needed to turn in the rest of the guns or he'd be violating probation and would go to jail.
He probably kicked himself so hard after that.
But, Was The Puppy Okay??
An old roommate of mine was on probation for drunk driving and he calls me one day to ask if I can take his dog out for a walk because he won't be home. He rear ended a cop in a parking lot with an open beer in the car. He got an ankle bracelet and I got a new apartment.
I'm not living with someone that stupid.
Yeah, He Probably Got Fired
Guy showed up to probation reeking of alcohol (a multiple time ovi offender of course) naturally he got selected for a "random" breath test. Dude blew .293 and told me he last had a drink last night.
Now policy was that he could either have someone pick him up or he could stay until he sobered up (jail was overcrowded ).
Now he starts ranting and raving about how he is going to be late to work and he doesn't have anyone to call. I tell him tough, (I'm not letting him go alone to kill someone on the highway).
Eventually he gets desperate and calls his ex girlfriend and the crazy thing is she agrees to come! She shows up pissed as hell. I photo copy her license and hand him over to her. He tells me that he might get fired cause he's going to be late. The ex gives him the side eye I've ever seen and says " you haven't been this early to work in years!"
I laughed my a-- off till I went to bed.
Had a client sentenced for transportation fraud, skipped out on cab fare.
Guess how she got to her 1st appointment with me?
Yep, took a cab to my office and skipped out on the fare.
Neighborhood 4th Of July Party
County sheriffs deputy here, our bomb squad was called out to help with a probation search after agents found a pipe bomb in the felons house while doing a home visit. Blew it up with a robot in the middle of a nice middle class neighborhood.
A family member was on probation, he got pretty lucky but has keep his act together.
Anyways, he was out in the woods with friends (probably smoking weed) and the police show up and they all run.
Okay, great, they got away, except: he left his ID at the scene.
Why was his ID out to begin with!?!?
Does Getting On Reddit Count?
I missed my probation meeting this morning. I have never missed without calling before. I just messed up my calendar entry.
What do I do? I don't have much experience with this stuff.
Call and leave a message. Make sure to call as soon as the office opens tomorrow. You'll probably have to go pee but if you have always been compliant and the officer is understanding and can tell the mistake was genuine they may be cool about it.
Just thought of another one so I will double post. Not a probation officer but a cop.
Two months ago I get called over to a 4 car accident involving injury. Investigating officer says that the driver that caused the accident is acting funny and he isn't sure what is wrong with her. I'm a "DUI expert" in a sense so I head over.
Before I get there the woman is passed out. Initial officer says when he got there she awake but not really responsive, could barely manage to get her wallet out of her purse. Multiple witnesses had been following her prior to the accident and she was all over the road. One witness had been following her for several miles before she got off the freeway. Several witnesses tell us that she tried to flee the accident, but they stopped her and took her keys. The woman then grabbed a water bottle and began to take a series of small sips off of it. It was strange enough that several witnesses mentioned it.
The woman didn't smell like alcohol, pupils are responsive and not pinpoints, heart rate is good. The contents in the water bottle didn't smell like anything. We get a lot of heroin overdoses but this doesn't quite look like one. Will absolutely not wake up, doesn't respond to sternum rubs. Paramedics get there, they aren't sure what is wrong either so they pump her fill of Narcan, still no change. We rush her to the hospital.
Get to the ER and they take her to a normal room. Doctors come in, then more doctors, then more. When presented with ammonia she turns away, so some of the doctors start to think she is faking. More sternum rubs, I start to feel bad because this girl is going to be in a world of hurt when she wakes up. Doctors can't figure out what is wrong, immediately transfer her to trauma I.
They incubate her, X-ray and send her for full imaging. Nothing is showing wrong so they decide to wait for the blood work. Blood comes back normal with no drugs. About 2-3 hours later she finally wakes up. I find out that she is on felony probation for extensive DUI, theft and drug history. I interview her and she denies using drugs. I explained that the hospital blood came back negative, but while she was unconscious I obtained a warrant and drew her blood which would go the state lab for testing. She tells me she was using GHB.
Initially she gives me a BS story that she went to visit a friend at his work who is a known abuser of GHB. She tells me that he had a Gatorade which she took a drink of and it tasted funny. I call bullsh-t, I tell her I saw three bottles in her vehicle on scene and ask if there is anything in those bottles. She recants, tells me that the clear water bottle contains GHB. I get a warrant for the car, get the bottle and send it to the lab. Bottle contains GHB. Learned from the probation guys over at drug court that GHB is commonly abused since it doesn't show up in drug tests. Even hospitals don't check for it in their normal drug panels. I had to send the blood to the sexual assault lab rather than the standard county toxicology lab as they weren't able to test for it either.
When she woke up she was actually a really pleasant, nice person. She had been on drug court for 3 years, was supposed to graduate in 4 weeks when this happened. She put two people in the hospital with her stupidity, damaged 3 cars and totaled one. She didn't have insurance. I rushed the toxicology results to make sure the case got filed before she was released from probation. The judge in drug court immediately remanded her to 180 days, no good time, no early release, no ankle monitor release. This will be her third DUI and because it involved injury there is a good chance she will go to prison for the minimum mandatory of two months then start all over on parole.
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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