Patients Reveal The Most Hurtful Thing A Medical Professional Has Ever Said To Them
No one is a fan of going to the doctor. It’s an experience often accompanied by sickness, concern, and stress. Sometimes, you luck out with a doctor who is spectacular at his or her job that you hardly mind going in for a check-up. However, other medical professionals can be incredibly insensitive, invalidating, or even cruel, which makes an already unsettling experience even worse.
Could you imagine having your weight insulted while going through cancer treatment? Or being told that you’ll never grace the cover of Vogue from your dentist? What about being told that your body looks terrible… despite not being sick at all? Or not getting your anti-depressants refilled because your doctor thinks Christmas will cure you?
These are only a few of the tales from patients who left their doctors more feeling insecure. They took to the Internet to share the most disturbing and hurtful things that doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, dentists, and more have told them!
#1 Don’t Worry, It’s Just School Stress!
I went to the doctor’s office as a child because I was terribly ill and throwing up. The doctor asked if school exams were coming up. I said yes. She simply said, “Mmmhmm, that explains it then.” And then she rolled her eyes. Not only did she diagnose me incorrectly, she also didn’t prescribe m anything that helped me get better.
#2 No, It’s Not All In My Head
“It’s all between your ears,” the doctor said after he overlooked my two crippling vitamin deficiencies. It took me two and a half years of thinking I was lazy and pathetic before I went to another doctor and got diagnosed.
#3 Excuse Me, Everyone Has Stretch Marks
The doctor commented on the stretch marks on my hips and around my breast. I was around 17 years old and had gotten them when I hit puberty because I developed so much in a short amount of time. I explained this to her and she had a whole dialog with herself about how I could have gotten them because I used to be fat. He also commented on how sad it must have been for me that I would have to live my entire life “with a body like that.” I changed doctors the next day.
#4 Yeah, I’m Definitely Stressing Them Out…
When I was 16, I dealt with partial deafness. The doctor said to me: “Sometimes being a teenage girl is hard, but it’s hard being a parent too. There’s no need to exaggerate things to make things harder for them. Knock it off, there’s nothing wrong with you.” I ended up having two tumors, nine surgeries, and a CSF leak later. Yes doctor, there really was something wrong.
#5 Wow, This Is The Epitome Of Cruelness
I was three months pregnant and I started spotting. I spent about 10 hours at the hospital getting ultrasounds and lots of diagnostic testing. They said there was nothing they could do for me and recommended that I just go home and wait to miscarry. I was a wreck. It’ was now late, dark and rainy outside, and I didn’t have a way to get home because my hubby was at work with our only car. The doctor told me that the nurses had taxi vouchers that they could give me to get home, so I went to the nurse’s station and asked for one. A nurse said, “We only give taxi vouchers to women who have living babies.”
#6 Bullying A Sweet Old Lady
I work at a hospital and so does my mother. We had a 43-year-old woman who had a very rare form of cancer. She fought for about twelve weeks, from diagnosis to her passing. The medications, therapies and the general lack of mobility caused her to become swollen and obese. She was a terribly sweet lady. They took her down to Radiology for a scan and the technician made a bunch of really mean comments about her weight because she was too large for our machines.
They had to arrange for her transfer to another hospital to get her scans done, then have her transferred back. The technician must have thought that because Miss Jeannie was dying and sick, she could no longer understand English any longer because while they were alone, she made so many mean comments. Miss Jeannie waited until she was back in her room waiting for her transfer before she started crying. I’ll never understand people who feel the need to make others feel terrible about themselves.
#7 But…Isn’t That What You’re Here For?
“You need to stop talking to me about your past. I have other patients who had it worse than you, you know.” I’d only been seeing this doctor for two months. It had taken me years to work up the courage to seek help because of the fear that my problems weren’t real problems. When I came in, the doctor simply decided that I had a generalized anxiety disorder, and that was that.
#8 Nah, I Think I’m Gonna Go
When I was nine, I remember being put under anesthesia for the first time ever for oral surgery. I was extremely scared. The nurse said: “You need to grow up. I’ve had kids half your age not be as much a scaredy-cat as you.” My mother was not, by any means, a helicopter parent… but she gave that nurse a verbal thrashing. The other nurse in the room just chuckled at it. My mom then took me out of that office (the surgery was not a time-sensitive thing) and got me ice cream. I had the surgery done at a different office with staff that had far better bed-side manners.
#9 What, Now Young Adults Can’t Feel Pain?
“I just don’t know how you could be in so much pain, being so young. I’m not going to be able to write you a prescription,” the doctor told me. My response was, “You’re a dummy. I came in because I was hurt at work, doing heavy construction. I never asked for a prescription in the first place, I had assumed I was getting an x-ray to see if I had broken anything.”
#10 Well, That’s A Way To Crush Someone’s Self-Esteem
When I was 21, I went to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor asked me to lift my shirt and I did. He immediately showed a disgusted reaction on his face. I was gaining weight too quickly, and because of that, I had stretch marks. I’ve lost the weight and am at a normal weight now but I still can’t shake that moment. It happened 8 years ago.
#11 She Sure Changed Her Mind Quickly
I went on a video chat service to talk to a doctor for 15 minutes. I told her my symptoms and thoughts since we were low on time. I had been very sick for weeks with a possible urinary tract infection and respiratory infection. I also gave her my other ideas from my symptoms. She initially told me I had valley fever, then she redirected in her final email and said I had Somatic Symptom Disorder.
For those who don’t know, Somatic Symptom Disorder is basically another way of saying I was making all of my symptoms up and I was perfectly fine. The prescription she attached to the email was for a psychologist! She told me in detail about my possible valley fever even though I said I hadn’t been to the areas where she said it was prevalent. I made an appointment with my normal doctor and had a few tests ran. Turns out, I had a respiratory infection and a kidney infection!! Ten or so days of meds and I was fine. My gosh, I was so angry at that quack.
#12 I Didn’t Ask Your Opinion, Bud
I started going to a dentist that came highly recommended by a few people. When I asked him about the possibility of straightening my front teeth, he said, “Well, you’ll never be on the cover of Vogue, but I think we can help you out.” I stopped going to him a few appointments later when he got mad at me for telling him that the filling he did months ago still really hurt.
#13 Actually, I Probably Will…
“You aren’t going to die over the weekend or anything!” The doctor told me this despite the fact that I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink in the past six days or so. Turns out, I had burned a hole in my throat and had to be admitted to the hospital the next week. The doctor who told me this said that I was in pain because of my diet and that I should go vegetarian.
#14 Okay, This Is Straight Out Of A Sitcom
I went to the emergency department with my friend who was nine months pregnant and due any day. The doctor asked which one of us was the pregnant one. My friend was laying down on the chair bed and I was sitting in a chair. I started laughing because I was so mortified. The worst part is, he was definitely being serious.
#15 Thanks For The Hot Tip, Jerk
I was in high school seeing the doctor for a sports physical for basketball. I was 140 lbs and 5’9”. He told me, “You need to lose a few pounds and then you will make the wrestling team!” While winking. That comment about my weight as a teenager stuck with me for years. Some doctors don’t understand that their words can have a huge effect on people’s mental well-being.
#16 Wow, What A Thorough Examination!
The doctor said: “You’re too young to have that pain, you’re the textbook definition of a hypochondriac.” Then, she refused to do any further examinations of my feet, which I specifically came in for. She performed no tests on me; she just ran her hands over my feet. I was in my 20s and my feet started killing me during workouts and runs. Later in my mid-30s, I saw another doctor and he diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis, arthritis, heel spurs, and a few other things.
#17 Thank God They Were Persistent
My wife took our two-year-old daughter to the doctor because she was sick and her behavior seemed to be changing. She couldn’t eat or drink. Our local doctor said that was just how kids were sometimes and to just monitor her behavior. As we were pretty sure there was something definitely wrong, we kept seeing other doctors. The last one said we were acting hysterically and that our behavior was a problem.
Five days later, our daughter seemed to be having a seizure, so we brought her to the hospital. It turns out, she had a brain tumor and the doctor at the hospital said it should have been recognized sooner. He was astounded that we’d seen five doctors all blaming us as parents to “just be acting up over nothing.”
#18 Are You Calling Me Ugly?
Doctor: “I can tell you’re incredibly sick by your skin.” Me: “Oh no, I always look like this.” Doctor: “No, your skin is grey and sallow. Plus, you have heavy dark circles under your eyes. You look clearly very unwell.” Me: “Really, I swear I always look like this without makeup.” I really did look exactly how I do on a daily basis. Apparently deathly.
#19 Oh God, This Must Have Been Terrifying
Not psychologically hurtful, necessarily, but the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been told…“We’re going to have to defibrillate you and we don’t have time to sedate you.” They rolled the crash cart with paddles into my room and I said, “Get that thing away from me!” My mom was in the room with me and was absolutely hysterical. Thankfully a cardiologist was able to look at my EKG in the nick of time and determined my heart rhythm was stable enough for me to just be transferred to a room for further evaluation without defibrillation.
#20 This Is A Cold, Cold Blow
I have an extremely rare muscle disorder. Not generally life-threatening though. Despite some minor physical limitations (I can’t play sports or overexert myself physically), I live what is, mostly, a perfectly normal life. I had a discussion with my specialist when I was 15 about the potential of passing my condition on to any children, and he said, “Eh, we’d test it in the womb and you’d just abort the baby—uh, I mean fetus.” Regardless of one’s opinion on abortion, having it put so crudely that my own doctor more or less thought I should have been aborted was an extremely hurtful thing for my teenage self to hear.
#21 Way To Be Invalidating, Man
When I was about 15, I decided to open up to my doctor about my depression to see if there was something he could recommend. His response, while laughing, was: “You’re not depressed, you’re just a teenager.” Following that, I told my parents I wanted to switch doctors and I closed back up about my emotions. It took years of self-destructive behavior before I tried to seek help again, all because that guy was a jerk when I was feeling very vulnerable.
#22 No, Buddy, It’s Not Just The Weather
My doctor put me on a different sort of anti-depressant to see if it worked better than my previous prescription. I had a follow-up review with a different doctor six weeks later where I told them they weren’t making a difference and my old ones helped more. They joked that it was probably because it was January and I was just feeling bad about the weather. “Guess we shouldn’t give you a morning appointment either then, haha!”
#23 Well, That Was A Violent 180
During my first hospital visit, the doctor said: “There’s nothing wrong with your foot, so get your shoe back on and get back to work you malingerer,” after a solely visual inspection. During my second hospital visit, the doctor said: “Why are you walking on that foot, it’s obviously broken! Someone get that soldier some crutches!”
#24 What Is It With Doctors And Teenagers?
No one told me that I couldn’t eat before having anesthesia. Instead of being put under for my teeth pulling, they just numbed me. When the doctor heard I had eaten he said, “Well look at her, of course, she ate.” I was a teen at the time, so I felt gutted. No patient deserves to be attacked when all they seek is assistance.
#25 I’m Thinking It Was The Other Gal’s Fault
My wife was run over by a car while waiting in line at a bakery. The driver was parallel parking and hit the wrong pedal. My wife almost passed away and was in the hospital for two weeks. One doctor came in to check on her progress and said, “Maybe next time, you’ll look both ways before you cross the street.”
#26 Alright, Guess I’m Never Asking For Anything Again
Finally worked up the courage to work on my mental health problems and asked my doctor for a recommendation to see a therapist. His only response was that I was too poor to get a therapist since my health insurance sucked. The worst part is that his statement bore some truth to it. It made me feel even worse about my life. That was a bad day.
#27 Ah, Christmas! Why Didn’t I Think Of That?
When I went in for a repeat prescription for antidepressants (since I was suffering from PND, anxiety, PTSD and OCD), the nurse refused to prescribe them and told me to: “Just cheer up, it’s almost Christmas!” Silly me! Why didn’t I think of that first?! Of course Christmas is the solution for all mental health issues!
#28 Yikes, That’s Super Messed Up
I had gained a lot of weight around my mid-section a few years back, and my periods stopped. I was young, scared, and thought I was pregnant, but the tests came back negative. I went to a doctor to have myself checked out and she did some basic tests before telling me. “There is nothing wrong with you, you’re just fat.”
I already had body confidence issues, but hearing it from my doctor, when I was trying really hard to get in shape, really hurt. I worked hard to lose weight, but my belly just wouldn’t shrink, I was starting to feel really sick and went back to the doctor, who again told me it was that I was just fat. I was crushed. A year later I went to the hospital for something unrelated, it was discovered that I had a giant ovarian cyst, about the size of a newborn. It was throwing off my hormones, making me gain weight, I have since lost the weight and I’m feeling super confident now, but that doctor really messed me up for a long time.
#29 Great Work Crushing Their Confidence!
“You have a very erratic way of speaking. What’s wrong with you?” I have a speech disorder called cluttering, so thanks for pointing that out, jerk. I should note that this was within two minutes of meeting him for the first time.
#30 But…Didn’t I Tell You No?
He asked me if I felt lonely. I said, “I don’t think of myself as lonely.” He wrote down “lonely” and underlined it. Twice.
#31 How Does An Ear Infection Equal Pregnancy?
I went to the doctor for an ear infection. As soon as I mentioned I was suffering from nausea, she refused to treat me until I’d done a pregnancy test. God forbid a teenager from a less well off area isn’t getting knocked up. I ended up getting admitted to the hospital for two nights and still have scarring in my ear canal.
#32 Well, That Wasn’t Very Doctor-Like, Was It?
I was having my wisdom teeth removed and was supposed to be knocked out. I can still remember everything, and it was quite a traumatic experience. I could feel and hear the doctor roughly scraping the gums off of my impacted teeth and grinding them up so that he could yank them out. There was no pain, but just knowing what was going on made me cry and scream through the whole thing. I couldn’t breathe through my mouth, understandably, so I took a deep breath through my nose and inadvertently snorted. The doctor said, “Well that wasn’t very lady-like, was it?”
#33 Hey, Let’s Not Insult Little Kids
When I was about nine, my pediatrician (he was my doctor since I was born) diagnosed me with being overweight and asked me if I wanted to be a fat pig. I know it was meant to be a sort of wake up call, but I was freaking nine. I barely even knew how weight gain and loss worked.
#34 So…You’re A Real Psychiatrist?
“I’m taking you off your meds. Type 2 Bipolar Disorder doesn’t exist.” This was said to me by a PSYCHIATRIST who was older than time itself. I had to change doctors. Thankfully, I was able to find a much better one. Who knows how many lives and families that jerk destroyed in his career… It’s just so sad to think that people are putting their well-being into the hands of that man.
#35 It’s A Little Too Soon, Ma’am
Several years ago, my ex-sister-in-law miscarried her first pregnancy. The doctor’s response was very dismissive: “You’re young. You can have other kids.” While it was reassuring to hear that she was still able to get pregnant again, it was the worst possible way to say it to someone who just had miscarried.
#36 Ah, This One Must’ve Hurt
My female doctor, now retired, once told me I had great birthing hips. I’m a male.
#37 She May Have Crummy Lungs, But You’re A Crummy Doctor
The doctor told me there was nothing she could do about my mom’s “lung cancer.” She ended the conversation with, “What do you expect? The woman had bad habits!” My mom quit 20 years before any of this. I have seen lung cancer before in other family members and I knew that was not what it was. I made the decision to have an autopsy done. Turns out, my mom had breast cancer. Not lung cancer. The unfortunate part was, they didn’t realize until too late and they were unable to do exploratory procedures.
#38 You Know What’s Fun? Not Being Mean To Children
“What chronic illness are we sick with today?” the doctor asked me. I was 12-years-old. Puberty was kicking my butt. I was depressed and constantly sick because my home life was in shambles. But my mother dressed nice and was a well-known figure in the community, so I was faking the illnesses I guess. Anytime a kid acts out for attention, I pay attention because it means something is going on. But that doctor just shamed me into the pit of despair. I’ve had trouble trusting any medical professional since.
#39 After All That Hard Work…
My doctor handed me a treatment note when I left. It read: “Lose weight, exercise three times a week.” I had just lost 60 pounds and had reached a healthy weight range for my height for the first time in 15 years. The nurse who took my weight even told me I did a great job. I had been so proud of myself. My happy bubble had never deflated so quickly.
#40 Uh, Yeah, We Already Knew That
I had to take my son to the ER when he was two years old because he was having trouble breathing. The ER doctor said he most likely had asthma, so she gave him an inhaler. Fast forward three days at his follow-up appointment with his pediatrician. Dr. Jerk said: “So, he saw this ER doctor once in his life and you trusted her to make a lifelong determination that your son has asthma? That’s pretty ridiculous.” Six months later, after three more ER visits and my son still unable to breathe, Dr. Jerk said: “It looks like I owe you an apology. It turns out your son quite likely does have asthma.”
#41 Just Admit Your Mistake, Pal
When I was in middle school, I would get violent nausea anytime I got hungry. It felt like my stomach was on fire, and I would miss school a lot because of it. After a lot of fighting with my mother who accused me of exaggerating, she agreed to take me to a gastroenterologist to be checked out. We agreed to do an endoscopy, but not before the gastroenterologist told me I was making a big deal out of nothing because I was a teen girl and that’s just apparently what young women do.
He suggested I was just making up my symptoms for attention, and then asked me point blank if I was lying about my pain level just so I could skip school. I had severe acid reflux, as confirmed by the endoscopy he reluctantly agreed to perform on me. Instead of letting it go, the gastroenterologist made a point of angrily telling me that I had “the stomach of an 80-year-old man” and that I have been intentionally eating poorly to mess up my stomach. I have a family history of stomach problems and GERD. I don’t understand why it was so implausible that my brother could have acid reflux at a young age, but I must be a hysterical liar when I claimed to have the same symptoms in my teens.
#42 You Wanna Check My History, Bud?
The doctor suggested that I had confused a panic attack for a seizure. To clarify, this was my first grand mal seizure. My father had them prior, and my mother witnessed both him having one and myself having mine. According to her, it was identical. I even hit all the textbook marks of having had an epileptic seizure, from the memory loss to the postictal fatigue.
The emergency room doctor didn’t run any tests or examine my family history of epilepsy. He simply noticed the anxiety disorder in my medical history and assumed that I was just having a panic attack. He wrote it off as my only issue. Talking to my psychiatrist later about the incident, he confirmed based only on my account (corroborated with mom’s details where I couldn’t fill in) that I definitely had a seizure. He sent the orders for further testing himself. He also couldn’t refrain from saying, “What is wrong with this doctor?” I’m glad that at least one of my doctors took me seriously.
#43 What A Terrible Way To Find Out
I woke up in the hospital and heard a nurse running out, saying, “He’s awake.” The doctor came into the room and told me to move my toes. I asked them where I was and he just got more insistent, saying, “Move your toes.” I asked again where I was and he almost yelled at me. I told I was moving my toes, and immediately he said: “You will never walk again.”
That’s how I found out I was a paraplegic at 21 years old. I had been in a single car wreck and was thrown 70 to 80 feet from the car. My vertebrae ended up dislocated and laying next to another one. I don’t remember the car wreck, but that exchange with the doctor is burned into my brain. That was 31 years ago.
#44 A Trip To The Bathroom = No More Brain Tumor?
The doctor said to my mom, “Oh, just let him hide in the bathroom.” I hid in the bathroom when I got really bad headaches. It turned out that I actually had a brain tumor. The doctor must’ve assumed I was doing something else in that bathroom.
#45 Ah, I’m So Proud Of You, Son
My wife brought our very ill son into the ER when he was little. The nurse was giving her all kinds of heck about him not looking so bad. My wife was getting tired of the attitude. When the nurse asked, “Has he even thrown up?” As if on cue, my son projectile vomited across her desk and onto the nurse. My wife said she was so proud of our son at that moment.