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Doctors Share The Worst Cases Of Patient Ignorance They've Ever Seen

Doctors Share The Worst Cases Of Patient Ignorance They've Ever Seen
Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Doctors can only assist a patient to the extent that the person accepts the help. That acceptance is by no means automatic.

Often, a doctor's work is hindered by a patient's own closely held theory, which is unprofessional, not proven, and comes from God knows where.

Reddit's doctors have no shortage of horror stories in this regard. They shared the most concerning examples of a time when the patient waited way too long to seek medical attention, or disregarded it completely when they finally did.

It's a thread that throws serious doubt over home remedies and, more importantly, shows the perils of that self-deception which a health crisis can often provoke.

cinnamon_woods asked, "Doctors of Reddit, what's the worst case of patient ignorance you've come across?"


"Doc here. I had a patient come in with tumors in many parts of his body. I'm not an oncologist - he came to me for an unrelated issue. But his shirt was bloody in several areas where the tumors had ulcerated through the skin."

"Judging by his chart, all his other docs had tried to get him to get biopsies done and see a specialist and he always adamantly declined."

"His reasoning was that he believed an electrical device was the cure for his cancer and that the entire medical community was completely wrong."

"He had a manual for this electrical device with color coded tabs and he practically had the thing memorized and was trying to convince me that it says xyz here, which indicated it may be able to help with his condition."

"I tried, like all those before me, and failed."

-- olunarorbit

Cleaning a Wound IS Something You Can Do at Home

"Corpsman here . Had a Marine come in to clinic on Monday for abrasions to the hands on Friday. His hands were dirty AF which begged me to ask if he had washed his hands since at all to clean the wound."

"MARINE: I thought that was your job."

"The wound was gross and starting healing over the dirt and grime. Ended up debriding the wound which is very painful and basically tears the old dirty skin away to clean the wound."

-- wizard4life

The Profound Capacity for Self-Delusion

"I worked for an optometrist and a patient came in for a routine eye exam. When she checked in, the left half of her cheek/eye was covered under a loose band-aid. Under the band-aid, her face was completely eaten by cancer."

"I could see the flesh hanging from her cheek bone it was so deep. I looked at her chart shortly after and this had been going on for years with the doctor's note, 'Still waiting for God to heal cancer.' "

"The oddest part of it all was she would only try on designer frames from the optical and insisted she wanted high end frames. Lady, no one is going to be looking at those frames."

-- SucculentOwl

Gonna Need More Than Lotion

"Not a doctor, but a paramedic. Had a lady call 911 for foot pain. Got there, this lady had advanced gangrene to both feet to the point that they were turning black and had that unmistakable smell of gangrene."

"She told me that she had some cuts on her feet and had been applying lotion (like jurgens type lotion, not antibacterial stuff) to her feet and then had been putting slippers on them.

"She was honestly shocked when I told her that she could lose her feet and possibly her life. The smell was so strong that I could smell it when I entered the house."

-- Flamethrower75

Clinging to Hope

"I had a sad one happen to me. I saw a patient with very advanced colon cancer, who was convinced that she was misdiagnosed. She had gone to multiple doctors who told her she had cancer, using blood test results, imaging, and biopsies to back them up, but she was sure that we were all missing something."

"She had brought in a copy of her official pathology report with the results of her biopsy. She was so excited, 'look doctor, they told me it was cancer, but I've been through this report over and over, and it doesn't say cancer anywhere!' "

"The whole report had 'carcinoma' plastered throughout it (medical lingo for malignant cancer)."

-- OwlBeRightThere

Tough to Square That Circle

"Just yesterday I got a call for chest pains. Show up on scene and the dude meets us at the ambulance. Hops in and we start assessing him and his chest tightness."

" 'Sir do you have an past cardiac history?' "

" 'No I don't think so.' "

"I lift up shirt so we can do a 12 lead and see a scar from a CABG--'Sir are you sure you don't have any cardiac history? What's this scar from?' "

" 'Oh I'm not sure my wife might know though.' "

-- jesus-christ-of-ems

A Politically Charged Ignorance 

"Anything anti vaccine. Real talk, parents who don't get their kids vaccinated should be charged for murder should their kids fall victim to the disease."

"Yes, you can refuse the vaccine, but children should have the right to common vaccines, Hep A and B, Polio, tetanus, etc. Nothing crazy fancy, but a select few vaccines which we know will keep them somewhat safe."

'If their kid gets the disease and is treated, parents are fined or serve community service, and the children are educated and allowed to make their own vaccination choice."


Here's to That Losing Popularity

"Pediatrician here. Once working in the ER I was brought a septic 6 days old newborn. He had a weird stinky thing over his umbilical cord."

"The mother said it was a popular remedy to make the umbilical cord fall faster. It was made from horse manure, spider webs and some plant."

"I lost that baby."

-- Wicz69

Even Drinking Water Can Be an Impasse

"Pregnancy woman is admitted for severe dehydration. My mom is her nurse and apparently their first interaction was something like..."

"Mom: the Dr. said you're very dehydrated and we need you to drink at least x amount of water before you leave."

"Patient: I don't drink water."

"Mom: your baby is becoming stressed and you should try to drink as much as you can for your baby."

"Patient: I hate water. I only drink soda."

"Rest of the day she basically refused to drink any water no matter what anyone else said to her."

-- aislyng99

A Wild Pain Tolerance

"Saw a guy came in with a R hemisphere stroke. Completely paralyzed on his left side. Symptoms started 2 days ago."

"I asked him why he waited so long. He said he thought he slept on it funny so wanted to wait a day. Unfortunate too. He had a big clot in his r mca artery."

"Probably could've fixed it if he had shown up earlier."

-- Goseki

Healthiest Meal of the Day

"Not a doctor but when I was at university my Chinese teacher who was about 60 at the time said she is retiring early because she got diabetes and also said she was shocked to learn that eating 5 eggs at breakfast is unhealthy."

-- WestAussieInJapan

Wildly Obedient

"I'm not a doctor but somebody who is a doctor told me that one time a guy was sick, so they told him to drink lots of fluids, but the guy really went to town and drank gallons a day. He didn't die, but it apparently wasn't great."

-- --------idk-------

A Couple Lessons to Live By


  1. "sex causes babies, yes anal counts. (Horrible one due to religious lack of sex ed, and a low enough IQ that consent to sex was a very grey area)"
  2. "If one of your balls is the size of a large grapefruit, please go to hospital. This had been going on for a year."

Don't Go Willy Nilly with the Herbs, People

"(Third world country here) Once a child was brought to the ER because of sleepyness, and vague response. The mother gave the kid in a normal basis herb tees. It was hard to determine the cause, but people really don´t think that herbs could cause harm."

"Herbs are a very important cause of liver failure... And in kids its way more toxic/potent. Watch what you drink/eat. Everything is a potential poison, even oxygen and water!"

-- Wazabie

Gotta Cut Corners Somewhere

"Years ago we had a patient come into the ER for a broken arm, she was treated and received a full arm cast. She was given a date to come back to remove the cast. The week she was due back she came by ambulance for a partially amputated arm..."

"...her boyfriend had decided that since they didn't have insurance he would take off her cast with some kind of electric saw, he almost took off her whole arm."

-- MiMisViews

Doctor's Orders

"Not a doctor, but I went out to eat with my friend who had just seen a nutritionist for her diabetes. She told me the nutritionist told her to eat more vegetables, so my friend ordered fried pickles."

"No, I did not try to set her straight because I knew it would lead to a fight."

-- chenliiin

Missing the Point

"A patient newly diagnosed as a diabetic was instructed how to use insulin by nursing staff before being discharged to home. The nurse showed them their insulin vials and injector, using an orange as a pin cushion so to speak, in order to demonstrate how to inject the insulin."

"The patient returned to the emergency department several days later, very sick, with diabetic keto acidosis, a life-threatening complication of poorly controlled blood sugar."

"They told the emergency staff that they don't understand why they got sick because they've been injecting and eating oranges every day just like they were shown."

-- Mohrisbetr

Attention All Males--Be Nipple Mindful

"First patient I saw as a medical student presented to the ER because, as he put it, 'my nipple fell off.' Very nonchalant."

"Turns out he'd been watching his left breast get bigger over a period of months until the underlying tumor finally eroded through the skin causing said nipple to 'fall off.' "

"Male breast cancer is more common than most people realize."

-- SloTriMan

Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "🤐" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.