As patients, we rely on the expertise of medical professionals to be able to identify whatever ailments we're suffering through.
We brace ourselves if we fear the worst, but oftentimes, we end up being comforted by a minor diagnosis.
But all the medical degrees and years of education can't teach doctors to practice empathetic, yet professional, doctor-to-patient interaction on a basic human level.
That has to come naturally.
Curious to hear from patients who have had disappointing or distressing interactions with their physicians, Redditor TheSpasticSheep asked:
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
It's horrifying when even doctors don't have a clue about your condition and, even worse, they gaslight you.
"A gentleman I worked with showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, very lethargic and was looking very jaundiced."
"we insisted that he go to the doctor, as he looks like he is on deaths door. He told us that he had been to 2 separate doctors and the ER, letting them know that he has Malaria, and can they please give him some anti malarials. Both doctors and the ER insisted that it 'was impossible to have malaria, as Australia doesn't have malaria,' and that he probably just had the flu, or some other viral infection. And they are correct. We don't have malaria here. But, what they failed to grasp was that this gentleman was an expat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria 5 times already. So not only is he an expert in what malaria 'feels' like, but he is also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hasn't been to Africa in a few years."
"He ended up having to go back to the ER, and basically force them to run a test for Malaria, after which they were like 'oh wow, you do have malaria.' And he was like 'no sh*t, i told you that 2 days ago.'"
Not Going Mental
"I had smashed my face on my steering wheel during a bad car accident and was experiencing intense pain. I teared up when he put the scope in my nose and was told I obviously have psychological problems and if I went on medication it might not help my pain, but I wouldn't care as much."
"Finally found a good doctor and surgery removed the chunk of nose bone that was stabbing into a nerve in my face."
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and went to see a skin cancer specialist. Who said it was a malenoma and I was going to need most of my scalp removed. Without even having a biopsy. He starts telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that will disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He started saying ill need to wear a wig and my hair may not grow back and the skin above my eyes will need to be removed."
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Years ago, one of the sexual health nurses at my work told me she just saw a woman who very clearly had a scabies infestation around her genitals. She said the treatment was simple and that a cream was applied with almost instant relief. She said what upset her about that patient was that almost a year earlier she’d been to a doctor about the infestation, the doctor didn’t even inspect her and just prescribed her antidepressants. I was horrified and still am over 7 years later. So much medical gaslighting."
"Too Young" For Cancer
"Not one, but two doctors to my dad- 'you’re too young to have prostate cancer, no need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem.'”
"He died 15 months later from an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to create tumors all over his body."
The "Sad" Pill
""While teaching abroad in Vietnam I was struggling with depression. The doc diagnosed me with homesickness and prescribed a box of 160 hydrocodone to take 'when I feel sad.'"
"I was 21 and this was 2007, way before pill use was talked about mainstream. Subsequent boxes were $12 each at a walk up pharmacy, no script needed. I became addicted for 6 years."
"Edit, as I have many people stating that pill use has been discussed forever: I’m talking about the point we got to where most people knew about the dangers of opioids, what the main ones were, the fact that they were being overprescribed etc. Had I heard the word hydrocodone and been exposed to the world and media like I have over the last decade with the spotlight on the opioid crisis, I would never have taken them. That’s the main point I was attempting to make."
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
"Not a doctor, but a dentist. When I was like 13 or 14 he commented on my lack of gag reflex, telling me that I’m going to be 'very popular with the boys.' It took me a few years to realize what he meant by that."
Mom To The Rescue
"I was the opposite. My dentist said, 'If you always gag like that, you're never going to find a good husband!'"
"I didn't understand why my mom yanked me out of the dentist's chair, but I'm proud of her for that. I think I was 6 or 7 years old."
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
"Mentioned that my sex drive was abnormally low to my gyno, and she said my husband just needed to be more forceful when initiating and I’d get into it. Immediately switched doctors and never looked back!"
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
"Mine was the opposite. Moved and went to a new gyno that several women raved about. I expressed concern over my low sex drive (especially since I was only 25). The next thing I know she is giving speeches and pamphlets and trying to give me info on women’s shelters. I was so confused."
"She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem and he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem."
"Never went back. She even called several times to 'check' on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean there was literally no red flags, quite the opposite. It was weird."
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Patients should never have their stresses exacerbated by an unqualified doctor giving them a false analysis or downplaying their concerns.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.