28 Nurses And Doctors Tell The Hilarious True Stories Of The Most Painfully Clueless Patients They’ve Ever Had

via Flickr - Paul Sableman
via Flickr – Paul Sableman

1. Keeping It Clean

I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter “because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use.” I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the condom with hot water and soap before he used said condom again..


2. Parents Don’t Understand That Smoke Is Bad For Asthma

I had severe asthma as a kid. I was intubated for a severe attack a few times. My parents were instructed to take better precautions in our home and went through instructions, more dusting, washing bedsheets etc.. and the big one NO SMOKING inside the house. So my parents agree to all of this.

Few weeks later I’m back in the hospital. A doctor recognized me and came over to talk. Then he bent over and smelled my head (I’ll never forget that. I thought it was so weird). He told a nurse to sit there and not let me leave with my parents. When my parents showed up he asked point blank:

“Did you not understand what I told you last time? Do you understand these attacks could be fatal?”

“But we open windows and have stopped smoking in her room when we put her to bed.”


3. “Sleeping Together”

Not a doctor, but my human sexuality professor in grad school had some interesting stories. He worked a lot in very conservative Christian communities and so a lot of times people got married with no sex education. He had one couple who couldn’t get pregnant. Turns out they thought sleeping together literally meant sleeping in the same bed. Another couple was in therapy because neither one of them enjoyed sex or ever had an orgasm. After having them talk through step by step what they did in bed, he learned the guy was just sticking it in and nothing else. He told the guy to move back and forth next time and see what happened. They couple came back one more time to say “THANK YOU!!!!!” and didn’t need any more sessions.


4. He’d Never Been Taught A Thing

I saw a patient for a follow-up after three ER visits in as many days for asthma. He was from another country, so this was the first time I ever met him. His lungs sound absolutely terrible, but he swears he is taking the inhaler every 2-4 hours with no relief. This raises suspicion to me, as the same meds are working in the ER. I ask him to show me how he is using it. He holds it about a foot away from his mouth and does two puffs like Binaca and swallows. I felt really bad, he had never received any education about his illness or medications.


5. Okay, this is completely amazing

We had a diabetic patient who kept coming back with extremely high sugars. We asked him if he was following the regiment we taught him…testing his blood sugar, using the sliding scale, measuring the correct dose of insulin in the syringe etc. He went through all the steps and it sounded like he was doing everything right.

We asked him to demonstrate the steps he took so we could observe and correct any mistakes he may have been making. He did everything right until the very last step. He drew up the insulin in his syringe, pulled an orange out if his bag, injected the insulin into the orange, then ate it.

Turns out when he was taught to practice how to give himself subcutaneous injections with oranges he didn’t realize he actually needed to inject himself for the insulin to do its job.


6. She Carried Her Cane Like A Soldier Carrying A Rifle

Got placed doing a rotation on the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in a rural area of Southern California. I was doing my rounds and saw a patient out of bed and walking around the floor following a knee replacement. She had a cane in her hand that she was carrying like as a soldier would carry a rifle. I asked what she was doing and what she thought the cane was for. She replied she thought the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she’s now “handicapped” and it wasn’t to help her walk on her post-op knee.


7. A Chinese Doctor

I was living in China and taught English on the side to a student whose mother was a physician. This was in 2012 just prior to the London Olympics, the mother wanted to send her daughter to London with a school group to watch the Olympics but has reservations about it. I asked why and she said she was worried that her daughter would catch AIDS from using the public toilets. Yes, a doctor.


8. You Have To Be Married To Get Pregnant

That having sex gets you pregnant. It was a 20+ year old woman that couldn’t grasp the idea that sex leads to pregnancy. She thought that in order for a man and a woman to have children, they needed to be married first and then have a baby. That sex was just an act unrelated to it.

Then again, we are talking about a small rural community in the middle of fucking-nowhere, Mexico.


9. A Growth At The back of her throat

My friend is a student doctor and is on placement at a small town doctor’s office. She had a 70-ish year old woman come in with complaints of a small but painless growth that was visible at the back of her throat.

Turns out it took her 70 years to notice her uvula.


10. They’re Available Over-the-counter

That coming to the ER for a pregnancy test is a very very expensive way to do it. Apparently, she didn’t know you could buy one at the Rite-Aid down the block. Seriously, don’t come to the ER for a pregnancy test, cause the test results won’t be the only surprise you’ll be getting.


11. A Novel Way To Clear Up Acne

A mother came in with her son to discuss treating his acne. Son was about 15 years old and didn’t really care about the acne but mom did. After going over treatment options she asked if he just needed to “do it” to get rid of the acne. A grown woman with a child thought that by him having sex his acne would magically go away…smh.


12. Jenny McCarthy Strikes Again

“I don’t want my baby to get a vaccine because Jenny McCarthy’s book says her son got Autism from the Thimerosal in his MMR vaccine.”

  • Jenny McCarthy is a one-time playboy model who wants to sell you her books.
  • MMR is a live vaccine and does not contain Thimerosal.
  • Thimerosal contains Ethylmercury which clears from your body in a ~10 days unlike methylmercury which stays for months and actually causes damage.
  • Measles killed 135,000 people in the world THIS LAST YEAR
  • Autism has a strong genetic component. If one identical twin has it, there is a 75% chance the other will as well.
    with 75% of identical twins both having autism.
  • Andrew Wakefield faked the research linking autism to MMR vaccine, lost his license to practice medicine, and made millions helping lawyers sue and selling books. He lives in a mansion in England.

I went to school for 11 years, spent 10,000 hours studying and just want to make sure your child stays healthy. Quit thinking your 5 minutes of internet research means anything, get over yourself, and vaccinate your damn baby.


13. A Man After My Own Heart

That the 30+ cups of coffee he was drinking every day could possibly be the cause of his chief complaints of anxiety and insomnia. He said he was not willing to give this up or try decaf.


14. Germs Aren’t A thing

So I’m only an EMT, but I want to weigh in here to this conversation.

I had to tell a patient with severe pneumonia (and the patient’s family) that you don’t get sick (i.e. catch a cold) by leaving your skin exposed. The family was vehemently debating me on the fact claiming that I had no idea what I was talking about because I’m not a doctor.

Attempting to explain to them the necessity for a foreign body to enter your system was the most preposterous thing to them.


15. Dick Ignorance

Nurse here. Retired after 27 years on the job. The number of American 20-somethings that don’t know if they’re circumcised or not is surprisingly high. When one with urinary tract infection symptoms needs to give a specimen for testing, I ask, “Are you circumcised?” If not, I have to tell them to pull back the foreskin before peeing in the cup. The number of guys who have asked, “What’s that?” is way too many. For the record, I can count the number who were uncircumcised on two hands.


16. Tampons Are Just Absorbed Into The Body

I had to explain to a grown man I still work with that tampons don’t break down in a woman’s urine after they were finished using them. He’s been married 12 years. It was not his best day.


17. Losing Weight In Your Gums

My mother helps the Amish get dental care. One Amish woman complained that she needed new dentures. When asked why she thought so, she replied, “Well, I’ve lost weight, and you know that when you lose weight, you lose it in your gums first.”

Doctors and dentists: if you’re looking for a community to serve, the Amish can truly use your help. I could write a book about the things I’ve seen.


18. She Always Used A Rubber

My mom was the head nurse at a clinic here in Houston in the 80’s. She worked for an old WWII doctor that had gone into private practice (old school GP) when he returned back to the states. Well, one afternoon she told me that they had a patient come in that was running a high fever and was complaining of pain in her pelvic area. Mom also tells me that there was a stench coming from the woman’s lap that could only be described as enough to Gag a maggot off a meat wagon. She begins to interview the patient who told her that she and her boyfriend had been sexually active and that she has been in pain since. She thought that the woman may have contracted an STD and asked her to undress and wait for the doctor to examine her. The doctor arrives and closes the door, only to re-open it a few seconds later mentioning about the need for fresh air.

The doctor noticed that there was a vaginal discharge began to question the patient about her sex life, was it protected, non-protected, etc… According to mom, the patient told her “No doc, we always use a rubber.” The doctor looked down then noticed that there was a small rubber band extending from the woman’s vagina. The doctor reached in with his gloved hand and pulled it out. What came next can only be described as a magician pulling the magic cloth out of someone’s mouth… one rubber band after another came out over the course of the next 10 minutes. Finally, once they were all removed, the Doctor had “the talk” with the woman about sex education and that rubber bands were not a successful contraceptive and not what they meant by “wearing a rubber” and then wrote her a prescription for Abx.


19. They Just Switched To Diet

Dentist here, things I’ve had to explain to parents:

  • Breast milk CAN cause cavities
  • Don’t put your kids to bed with a bottle with Coke in it. (They then switched to Diet Coke).. facepalm
  • Don’t wiggle out your permanent teeth just because the tooth fairy will give you money.
  • You can’t brush cavities away with toothpaste or any of these new Internet fads (oil pulling, honey, chocolate) once your cavity is deep enough it needs to be fixed by a dentist.
  • Fluoride isn’t poison any more than table salt is poison. Small quantities are good for you. Anyone who tells you otherwise has been lied to and believed it.


20. Just Showing Off

Patient made an appointment and brought in his shit in a box. He was concerned about the size of his turd, and if it’s normal. All he got from the visit was, “Normal turd. Yes, it’s pretty wide.”

Turd box was set out with biohazard waste. Waste guy thought it was a misplaced package and put it on the front desk. Secretary got quite the surprise that day.


21. Hey Doc, Just Up My Meds!

My brother is a general practitioner in rural Tennessee. Enough said, right?

He says most of his patient visits go about like this:

MD “Well, person, you’re pre-diabetic, have high blood pressure, and are complaining about joint pain. Have you been exercising and cutting out sugar and carbs?”

Person “yeah I have, doc, but it doesn’t seem to help. Do you have any better meds you could prescribe?”

MD “well, let’s talk about your diet. How much water do you drink a day?”

Person “I don’t like water, so I get extra ice in my sweet tea every day to make sure I get enough water.”

MD (explains how that’s not enough water by a long shot) “how much sweet tea are you drinking every day? Those can have a lot of sugar in them.”

Person “well I get a large one from Hardee’s/McDonalds/ wherever on my way to work with my breakfast, and another one on my way home for dinner. Then I have a glass or two when I get home.”

MD “well, that’s a lot of sugar. And a lot of fast food if you are eating it twice a day. What do you eat at home?”

Person “I don’t like to cook so I usually don’t eat anything but little Debbie snack cakes at home.”

MD “those have a lot of sugar too…”

Person “I thought that all I had to do was cut out Mountain Dew! Now you’re saying I can’t eat my food or my snacks?! What are you suggesting I do? Eat salads for every meal?! Why can’t you just up my meds?!”


22. I Hope They Answered “Yes”

A 32-year-old grown man asked me if the hot spells he was experiencing at night meant he was going through menopause.


23. Someone Call Child Services

I don’t know how much of this is true, it was my cousin (who is a doctor) who told me. He was in his first year in a clinic and people went there to have an appointment because he was good looking. Elder ladies loved him particularly. But this is totally unrelated, and the worst case was when this elder lady goes in with her granddaughter, around 8 yo. She had a severely infected wound in her head. Upon close inspection, he saw the wound crawling with small maggots and the smell was terrible. He was pissed, of course, and asked why didn’t she washed the wound and brought her earlier. She said she thought it would heal with time and was afraid to wash it, lest water enters her brain and kills her. There was also this woman that took her 6 yo daughter there to check why she still didn’t have pubes.


24. What Are Glasses For Again?

I regularly have people come in for eye examinations because ‘when I take my glasses of things are blurry’. Often these aren’t passing comments during the exam, but the main reason for their visit to the clinic.


25. An Offense To God

Both my parents are doctors. My dad told me about an extremely religious male patient who was concerned about his nocturnal emissions. He saw it as an offense to God and wanted to know what he could do to stop it. My dad’s response: “Well, It’s gotta go somewhere guy.”


27. No chance she was pregnant, none

From when I was a resident, working in the living hell that is the GYN-ER at a major Florida hospital.

Woman comes in complaining of missed periods. Hasn’t had one in two months.

Me: Do you think there is any chance you may be pregnant?

Patient: No! That’s impossible.

Me: Are you sexually active?

Patient: Yes, of course

Me: Do you use protection?

Patient: No.

Me: Do you think you might be pregnant??

Repeat for 15 minutes.

I swear, we could have reduced the number of visits to that ER by stapling a bag of pregnancy tests to the door with a sign saying “Think you’re pregnant? Take one” and tacking a vaginal ultrasound probe to the door with a sign saying “Want a picture of the baby? We use this to take the ultrasound.”


28. Adults Still Don’t Understand Colds

Christ, the number of times I have to explain colds to adults. You’re 40 years old, you’ve probably had 100 of these, how have you not figured this out yet?? Do you come to the doctor every time??? Antibiotics won’t help, drink fluids, sudafed, and write this shit down for next time.

tuki Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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