July 8, 2023 | Eul Basa

Unbelievably Dumb Patients

Being a doctor isn't for the faint of heart, especially when you have to treat dumb patients who have no clue how to take care of themselves. These stories prove just how senseless medical experiences can be.

1. She Had A Few Screws Loose

I was a surgical nurse who had a patient return to the OR who had some plates and screws put in their elbow for a fracture. The hardware was causing them discomfort, so instead of talking to her surgeon, she came up with a horrifying way to treat herself.

She tried to remove one of the screws with a blade and screwdriver. I got the case for the wound clean-up and replacement of said protruding screw. She was one of the strangest patients I had.

Dumb Patients Shutterstock

2. A Throat Of No Confidence

I was an ER doc. I once had a 20-year-old and his girlfriend come in at 2 AM freaking out because "something had tore his throat open". He seemed fine. There was no blood, and his breathing was normal. I had him open his mouth and saw nothing. I didn't want him to lose confidence in me.

Clearly, something had happened, so I was looking and looking. There was nothing wrong with this kid’s throat. Finally, I said, “Look, it seems OK. What do you feel or see”? He replied, "I don't feel it, but LOOK, IT’S RIGHT THERE". I asked, “Where”?, as I was looking and looking. It was his uvula.

Somehow this kid had gotten to the age of 20 without ever noticing his uvula. His girlfriend was also horrified. I told them it was normal, but they didn’t believe me. So I told them I was about to freak them out and showed him his girlfriend's uvula.

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3. Detached From Reality

I saw this young guy in the ER who had gotten into a brawl with some guys at a bar. When he woke up the next morning, he started getting some changes in his vision. He said that it was like a “black sheet coming down” on his left eye. This is a textbook symptom of retinal detachment. It’s an emergency in ophthalmology because if it fully detaches, you get permanent vision loss.

You need to immediately go for surgical repair and then be extremely careful with that eye for weeks afterward. You even have to keep your head down most of the time for the next couple of days to help the re-attachment process take. Well, this patient decided to do the worst thing possible.

Naturally, this guy went and rode roller coasters all day at the local theme park with his buddies. He first presented to our ER two days later with permanent vision loss in that eye.

Dumb Patients Pexels

4. Falling Apart

I had a 65-year-old dude who was diagnosed with lymphoma eight months before we saw him. He lived an hour out of the city and didn't want to drive in for treatment, so decided he wouldn't get treated at all and stayed on his little remote place in the country by himself. Big mistake.

Essentially, because it didn't get treated, it spread along his skin and his neighbors called an ambulance when popping in on him. It had spread so far that it essentially went from his head to his knees. It had started to invade his eyes and mouth membranes. He couldn't drink and could barely see.

His skin had started to slough off and he was so severely dehydrated because he was losing so much excess fluid from his open skin that we had to treat him like a severe burns patient!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

5. His Stupidity Fueled His Injury

I had a patient come in who had accidentally stuck a chainsaw in his leg the day before. He managed to cut his fibula and partially cut his tibia. He put some diesel fuel on it, wrapped it in duct tape, and kept working. The next day he stepped off of something, and it snapped the rest of the way through.

He came in the front door with his leg flopping and bending where it shouldn’t be. To top it off, he rated his pain at a 6/10. He was a tough old man. We admitted him to ortho to clean out the diesel and necrotic flesh.

Dumb Patients Pexels

6. Do I Have To Come In?

I was working in an area with lots of Mennonites—a mom called into the clinic because a wheel had broken and one of the spokes had penetrated her toddler’s eye! The reason for her call was even more mind-blowing.

She wasn’t calling for an ambulance—she was calling to see if he needed to be seen by a doctor. She told us that she had removed the spoke and she knew he was going to lose the eye, so asked if there was really a reason for him to be seen. The answer was obviously yes!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

7. No Tea Or Sympathy

I had a patient who came into the hospital with breast cancer. She had a three-year-old kid and was in the middle of a divorce. Her cancer was not very advanced, as she had been recently diagnosed. When my ER doctor asked her what treatment she was getting for her cancer, her response floored him.

She said she was doing alternative medicine—basically some sort of antioxidant tea and homeopathic medicines.

He looked her in the eye and flat-out told her, "Alternative medicine is not going to help. You're going to die if you don't get surgery, chemotherapy, or what an oncologist recommends. Look at your three-year-old and think how he will be left without a mother because you'll be [gone] in a few years if you don't get treated with Western medicine".

I think no one had told her this flat out in those words because the look of horror on her face and her immediately agreeing to an oncologist consultation in the hospital said it all. I still think there might have been better ways for him to tell her all this, but in the end, he might have saved her life by being so forward.

Dumb Patients Shutterstock

8. Waiting For The Tooth Fairy

I’m a dental nurse. My favorite case was a 30-something-year-old woman who came in for a checkup at the emergency low-cost clinic I worked at. Her teeth were broken and almost black. Her gums were swollen, bright red, and bleeding just from moving her tongue against them. She needed multiple hygienist appointments, scaling, and a debridgement.

The X-ray showed that the patient had all her wisdom teeth and 10 fillings. She needed root canals to try and save some teeth and at least three extractions. Her mouth was so messed up, I wouldn’t be surprised if she needed more work than that. I told her everything and did the usual explanation of proper oral hygiene.

Then I asked her if she had any questions, to which she says, “It’s okay if I lose this set of teeth, my others will come through”. Me and the dentist just looked at each other, probably a lot longer than we should have. We had no words. I couldn’t come up with a single reply to that comment.

Weirdest House CallsUnsplash

9. All Choked Up

A woman who I was taking care of while in labor was having heartburn, and she was sucking on a Quick Eze to get rid of it. However, she was also sucking on the gas and air at the same time for pain relief, and she sucked so hard that she choked on the Quick Eze.  We had to call a code blue because she couldn't cough it back up.

We eventually sorted her out, and she was okay and went back to laboring. Then, she did literally exactly the same thing ten minutes later. We had to call a code again. This was one of the times I really wanted to be able to tell a person that they couldn't take their baby home because they were too stupid to be allowed to have children.

Dumb Patients Shutterstock

10. Dragging It Around

I am a doctor and while working in A&E we had an older chap, possibly in his 70s, who several days prior to presentation had a sudden onset of severe chest pain and vomiting while loading the car with shopping. He ignored it and struggled home.

The next day, he started to lose the use of both legs and by the time he came to the hospital had been crawling around his house for several days because he thought it would get better.

He had had a major cardiac event, and developed a clot that his heart had pumped out, it went down his body, broke in half, and blocked off the blood supply to both legs. He literally had useless legs. I don't know what ended up happening to him, but there was no way to save the legs and I reckon the outcome was very poor.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedFlickr, Peter Stevens

11. This Bud’s For You

I had an old coot who was sweet but had clearly spent his adult years drinking away whatever brain cells he started with. He presented with a chief complaint of, "I can't drink anymore. Every time I drink, I just throw it back up a few minutes later". But that wasn't the worst part.

It turned out Cooter hadn't been able to eat actual food in months, was subsisting on pretty much just six-packs, and hadn't pooed in over two weeks. However,  that didn't bother him a bit until he couldn't have his brews; then, it was an emergency!

He had a big tumor blocking the distal part of his left colon, and everything gradually got backed up all the way to his stomach. That's why he couldn't keep his drinks down—there was just no more room at the inn. I fixed him with a colostomy, and he got better and left.

He refused chemo, and I figured he'd just go home and lose his life to cancer. But then, almost exactly one year later, he came back to me with just about the same complaint—obstructed to the point of not being able to drink. Except for this time, it was because his colostomy had essentially retracted into his abdomen and the skin had nearly grown shut over it.

He was pooing out of a teeny-tiny hole in his skin.  Even my oldest partners had never seen anything like it. Once again, Cooter wasn't remotely fazed. He just wanted us to fix it so he could go home and keep drinking. I did, and I haven't seen Cooter since. I kind of hope he's still out there, treating his cancer with Budweiser and just blissfully ignoring the Grim Reaper.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

12.  Chewed Out

I was a nurse for 20 years. My husband had a very high pain tolerance and was always hungry, so one day, I met him for lunch. I was worried when he wouldn't eat and said his lower abdomen hurt. I talked to a doctor friend of mine, and my husband was sent for an immediate CT scan. He was sent home to wait for the results.

So, being who he was, he felt better and ate two chili dogs with Fritos. BIG MISTAKE. Of course, when the doctor called and told him to get to the hospital NOW because his appendix was about to rupture, my husband had to be kept in a holding pattern for 12 hours because he had eaten a big meal.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

13. The Name Game

This is a pretty classic case. I work in pediatric critical care, and at my first job we had this kid that was immediately post-op from a small surgery. He was doing great and was probably going to sleep it off and transfer to a general floor the next day. His mom wanted to knock him out with meds and kept on insisting he had pain.

The kid denied this, and none of his vital signs or actions suggested he was hiding anything. He was getting scheduled oral opiates and Tylenol, but this lady was insisting on something through the IV. When she didn't get anywhere because the kid kept denying pain, she asked for something so he would sleep through the night.

The nurse said, "We can try some Benadryl". The lady SNAPPED. She demanded a doctor, then she berated the nurse and essentially said we were mistreating her child. Meanwhile, the kid was like, "Moooooom, oh, my God, I'm FINE", the whole time as he played Xbox. The doctor on service was this awesome, brilliant man who was tired of this lady seeking drugs for her kid.

He put on a smile and asked what the concern was. After listening to her complain about how the nurse had offered the kid Benadryl, he cocked his head and said, "Well, what about Diphenhydramine? Have you ever tried that? It's a very effective sleep aid". For anyone that doesn't know, Benadryl is the brand name for Diphenhydramine. They're the same thing.

Immediately, the lady perked up and said, "Difanhymeen? Yes, yes, let's try that”. Meanwhile, the bedside nurse was struggling to keep from laughing. She says, "I'll go get that," and runs to the locked medicine room where she loses it. The kid got his Diphenhydramine.

Medical Practices factsPixabay

14. Hoarding Garlic

My sister-in-law was a GP. She had a middle-aged female patient come in complaining of discomfort, unusual discharge, and odors from downtown. She enquired about her history, but the patient claimed she has had no intimate partners for over eight years.

Ruling out the most common causes for such symptoms caused a little curiosity and an examination. The patient disrobed and presented with an overwhelmingly foul odor. The doctor was trying to remain professional and not throw up. Seconds into examination, she removed a large clove of garlic, followed by two more.

After initially denying everything, the patient claimed she had forgotten all about them and had inserted them six weeks prior. She was worried about odor and had followed the advice of a Google search. The haunted look in my sister-in-law’s eyes stayed with me.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

15. Old Habits Die Hard

This lady was morbidly obese and had already lost a leg to diabetes. While on the basic medical floors, she and her family would consume large quantities of fast food. She didn’t have the strength to lift her own chest up enough, so she eventually went into respiratory failure and ended up on a breathing machine in the ICU.

When we finally weaned her off the machine and pulled out the tube, the very first words out of her mouth were, "Can I get some fried chicken from the cafeteria?"

Awkward Moments FactsShutterstock

16. Have You Been Flossing?

Children’s nurse here, my first week in the pediatric ED, we had a young girl come in with a really swollen jaw and face. The poor girl was unable to move her jaw without intense pain and hadn’t been able to eat for several days. Turns out she had only just started cleaning her teeth for the first time ever, and managed to develop several abscesses and rotten teeth in the process—but that’s not the worst part.

Her mum told us that she was recovering from the same procedures to remove most of her teeth because of almost the same thing. She didn’t want to bother any doctors, as she thought the kid was just messing about to get out of school.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

17. Pee’d Off

A male patient was in for dehydration and other very routine issues. He had an indwelling catheter placed. Some men cannot wrap their minds around not standing up to pee. So even though he couldn't feel any urge to urinate, he stood up to pee. He felt the catheter, forgot why it was there, and promptly ripped it out. He was then left incontinent.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

18. MIA For Some Mash

When I was in med school, we had a patient with a Zenker’s diverticulum. It’s essentially a weak spot in the esophagus that makes an outpouching where food and liquid get stuck. One could then regurgitate their food and aspirate, leading to pneumonia and other bad stuff. We were the primary team, and surgery was going to take him back to the OR on Friday.

On Thursday night, he took off, and no one knew where he went. He came back Monday to the emergency department and got readmitted. When we asked where he had gone, his response made everyone's blood boil. He said there was a big food festival that weekend that he didn’t want to miss, so he went.

Instead of getting the surgery he needed, he left to go eat fatty and heavily fried foods, which literally could have ended him.

Memorable Patient Experiences factsShutterstock

19. A Kick In The Gut

My grandpa ended up dying because he waited too long before going to the hospital. This was about 17 years ago; he was tending to one of his mules when something spooked it and he got kicked in the gut. He was hurting a lot and could barely move due to abdominal pain, so he decided to take it easy and lounge on the couch for a week.

He refused to go to be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, that mule kick ruptured an unknown tumor in his intestines. The doc said it was huge, like volleyball-sized huge, and he may have survived if he came in sooner. By the time we got him to the hospital, he had a severe case of gangrene. His leg needed to be amputated within a day of him being there, and he passed a week later.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

20. Jawbreaker

I used to work at an oral surgeon's office. A patient came in needing a tooth pulled, and because the root was near the jaw, they needed to have it removed under anesthesia. The patient did NOT want to pay the $350 for the anesthesia, so he decided to try and take it out on his own.

He used pliers and ended up breaking his jaw. We had to go and fix his jaw and wire his mouth shut, which ended up costing him $9,000 instead of $500.

Dumb PatientsPexels

21. Not Again

My sister was newly pregnant. We were out shopping, and I could tell she was in pain, and it was getting worse. She claimed it was just gas. I offered to take both carts to the checkout while she sat for a bit. At that point, she was vomiting. I was pretty worried and told her I thought we needed to go to the hospital.

She insisted it was gas, and she had a doctor’s appointment the next day, so she would mention it. The next day, she had an ultrasound before her OB appointment. Five minutes in, she called me and told me she didn’t know what was happening, but they told her to get dressed and not to move, and she heard them call an ambulance.

She had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy with internal bleeding. She ended up being fine and got pregnant two months later with my nephew.  However, she doesn’t learn. After weeks of her being sick and looking awful, I convinced her to go to her doctor—she had pneumonia.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

22. Didn’t See That Coming

I had an itch in my eye one night and figured my contact had dried out. I went to remove it, but the darn thing was stuck on my eye. So I started pinching hard, trying to get it off, and then my vision went all wacky, and my eye started to really hurt. I gave up and went to the ER because I couldn't see.

It turned out my contact had fallen out before the whole process started, and I had been scratching the life out of my eyeball. I had to wear an eye patch and put in some very unpleasant drops for a week or two.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

23. A Tiny Little Secret

When my little sister was four or five years old, my mum took her to the doctor for an eye infection. They told her she had conjunctivitis and gave her meds, and sent her on her way. Her eye kept weeping for weeks and just wouldn’t get any better, so in the end, my mum took her to the hospital and asked to see a specialist, who was super angry he’d been called in just to look at a case of conjunctivitis.

That’s when the bizarre truth came out. It turns out, my sister had pierced herself in the eye with a pair of scissors but was too scared to tell anyone, and it was the fluid from inside her eyeball that had been leaking out for weeks! She was rushed into surgery where they managed to save her eye with synthetic fluids and microscopic stitches. She has almost no sight in it, but still.

The doctor said even a couple of hours more and she would’ve lost her eye altogether. Kids do the darnedest things!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

24. Alleviating The Problem

I had a stress fracture in my foot that had to be surgically corrected. I was given a 60-day supply of Vicodin. My then-husband was a recovering addict who had me convinced that I was going to become horribly addicted if I took them for more than a couple of days. So, I began taking Aleve because it was stronger than Tylenol, and I only had to take one a day.

As a result, my foot was very slow to heal. A couple of months went by instead of the usual six weeks with little healing. I had to get a CT scan, and I was very worried because this small little fracture just wasn't getting better. My doctor asked what I was doing for the pain, and I told him about the Aleve. That's when I realized the disturbing truth.

It turned out that NSAIDs interfere with bone healing. I cut out the Aleve, and my foot healed a few weeks later.

Doctors last wordsShutterstock

25. Self-Shocker

I had a client with a stroke who received TENS—treatment in rehabilitation with really low electric impulses to stimulate muscles and nerves. After rehabilitation, he was offered to get one of the things for home use completely free of charge. He refused because filling out the one-page paper was too much work. He decided to just use what he had at home.

So, he tried using a transformer/transistor for this “therapy”. That completely destroyed the small amount of nerve function we had achieved in rehabilitation and screwed up his condition a lot.


26. A Six-Pack Is Not The Solution

I once had a man with substance issues who basically just enjoyed being in the hospital. He came into the ED and was admitted for cellulitis of his foot. He was also a super uncontrolled diabetic. He had a foot ulcer that probed to the bone and had osteomyelitis (infected bone) in his foot as well. We kept him in the hospital for a few days to get this ridiculous infection under control.

Finally, he was stable enough to send home with close follow-up for wound care. He came back six hours later for the most ridiculous reason. The pharmacy had run out of the pain medicine he had been prescribed, and instead of taking his prescription to another pharmacy, he grabbed a six-pack instead.

He drank the whole thing and then drove to his sister's house. That's when disaster struck. While en route, he pooped himself such that he got poop in his diabetic foot ulcer. When he showed up at his sister's house, she told him he was too sloshed for her to deal with and he needed to drive himself to the hospital, so he came back to us. He lost the toe and part of his foot.

Deathbed confessionsShutetrstock

27. Don’t Worry, It’s Fine!

My brother is an EMT for a warehouse. He recently had a guy come to his station saying something was wrong with his toe. So, he asks him to take off his shoe, which he does.

My brother was about to ask him to take off the bandage around his big toe before he realizes a disturbing realization. That it wasn't a bandage, it was his skin. Apparently, this guy dropped a 20-pound tote on his toe a week earlier and had been showing up at work anyway.

They sent him to the doctor, and the doctor sent him to the ER. The diagnosis came back as a tissue infection as well as osteomyelitis, a bone infection. But wait, there's more! The guy comes back from the ER and tells my brother that he doesn't want to go through the ER doctor and would rather go through his own insurance.

My brother explained to him as best as he could that as it stood, he was already likely going to lose his toe, and if he waited any longer to get it treated, he ran the risk of losing his entire leg. I’m not sure what happened after that, I just hope he got the point.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

28. Headed For Disaster

A homeless man came into the emergency room with a small cut on his scalp. The doctor stitched it up. However, the man went back to sleeping on the streets. He never came back for his check-up a week later. Then, six months later, he showed up—and we couldn't believe our eyes.

He had an entire colony of maggots living under his scalp.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

29. A Sore Spot

I had a patient who came in, and she thought she had scratched her eye, taking her contact out. When we looked, it was bad. She had a gigantic ulcer on her eye. Ulcers, if deep enough, will eventually scar. Depending on where the ulcer develops will determine if there is any long-term damage done.

If her ulcer had been about .5 mm to the left, the patient would have lost some of her central vision. She already had five ulcer scars in that eye and eight ulcer scars in the other. Apparently, this wasn’t her first rodeo. It turned out she would sleep in her contacts every night and throw them out about once every three months to save money.

A year's supply of her monthly contacts was $120. That one office visit alone was about $100 plus about $200 for a tiny bottle of medication to treat the ulcer, not to mention a copay for her follow-up visits. She had no backup glasses, and obviously, she couldn’t wear contacts with an ulcer, so she also had to pay to get a quick pair of glasses made, which was about another $400 setback.

Contact lens wear time is not set to make more money for eye doctors. Your eye will literally develop a sore to tell you that it needs to breathe.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

30. Out In The Yard

I was working in the ER as a paramedic intern. An older man came in with his hand bandaged stating he couldn't get his thumb to stop bleeding. As the nurse unwound the bandage there was a gaping wound oozing blood from where his thumb used to be. The nurse asked him where his thumb was, and the old guy asked what day it was. The nurse said Thursday.

The guy said, “Well, I guess the thumb went out with the trash this morning”. He'd lost his thumb to his lawn mower three days ago and only now was coming in!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedFlickr, Enrico

31. Case Closed

I was a workers comp adjuster and had a claimant completely disappear after surgery was ordered. Two years later, he got an attorney who demanded the surgery be approved now. After months of back and forth, we approved the wrist surgery. But it still didn't end well.

Two days after the operation, the authorities found him walking down a county road, blasted out of his mind on crank, ripping out his stitches. The doctor dropped him, his attorney dropped him, and the state closed his case. The last I heard was he got out of prison, grabbed all his meds from home, and disappeared again.

I never followed up with the doctor and cringe to think what his arm looked like.

Dangerous Doctors Jaw-Dropping Medical MistakesPexels

32. Chakra Con

I had a patient who was utterly ravaged by advanced cancer. Several doctors had told him and his wife that his condition was terminal. The patient seemed to understand when he was lucid, and his wife said she understood as well. He was in hospice for comfort. One night he had trouble breathing, and the wife called for an ambulance, against the patient's wishes.

Thus began a three-week pointless and painful ordeal that involved life support, dialysis, at least one round of CPR on a man whose bones were riddled with metastasis, and diarrhea. His wife was adamant that he would get better through holistic medicine. On top of being in denial, she was dumber than dirt.

She filled the intensive care room with all sorts of new-age tchotchkes, like inspirational pictures and rocks. She even refused pain medicine because it would dim his chakras. The wife left a crystal geode on the bed, and the crystal worked its way underneath the patient's hip. The consequences were gruesome.

The patient developed a raging bed sore that never closed, was nearly always soaked in poo, and was a pain to dress. This was all done on a patient who wanted to leave this earth and was in already excruciating pain.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

33. What Even Is That?

I was called to a suburban ER to see a man who said he had horrible stomach cancer and needed to lose weight in order to get better. He insisted that he'd been diagnosed by a very prominent gastroenterologist with "Barrett's stomach" which isn't even a thing.

I guess I got called in because the story was bizarre and the staff didn't know what to do with him. He eventually disclosed that he'd deliberately injured himself in the leg a few days previously and was waiting for gangrene to set in.

He believed that the resulting amputation of the leg would allow him to lose the required amount of weight, thus curing his cancer. I excused myself to let the ER staff know that they should probably examine the leg and to call the county psychiatric service, which was protocol at this particular hospital.

I'm not sure whatever happened to him but that was a very impressive manifestation of a delusion!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

34. Cut The Complaining

I had a patient in his 60s several years ago that was brought in during my ER training and you could tell something was wrong from the moment you walked into the room to examine him.

I guess his grandson had come to visit him because it was just after Christmas and he had been alerted by the smell in the house. He was a diabetic who'd not been taking care of himself and had developed an infection that had turned into Fournier's gangrene.

Over the next three days, he got debrided twice from both knees up to near his belly button, sparing only a little bit of his perineal area. Amazingly with antibiotics and very diligent care with a very good team, he survived.

However, he continued to scoff and badmouth us through the entirety of the time that we took care of him as if we had inconvenienced him by saving his life.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPicryl

35. Quitting Was Not An Option

My mom's boyfriend had oral and throat cancer. The guy had a stoma and no tongue and was still inhaling around three packs a day. My mother-in-law got diagnosed with stage three lung cancer and quit puffing and drinking for a couple of months.

As soon as the doctor said her condition was improving, she went straight back to puffing and partying. It only took a few months for the cancer to get to stage 4 and spread to her liver, kidneys, and brain.

She smoked up until a couple of days before she passed, and even then, only because the brain cancer caused her to lose control of her limbs, and she physically couldn't hold anything anymore. It was so sad to watch.

Dumb PatientsPexels

36. Hippie Hijinks

I was a therapeutic radiographer. We use radiation to treat cancers. We tell patients to be careful with what products they use on their skin because they can react with the radiation and give awful side effects. We had this one patient who was a total hippy. She was having treatment, and within a couple of weeks, we noticed her skin becoming very burned and breaking.

At the beginning of her treatment, we told her ONLY to use simple moisturizers and to ask us if she wanted to use anything else. We asked her whether she was using anything on her skin. She was like, “I'M GLAD YOU ASKED”! She pulled a pamphlet out from her bag that was about this miracle oil that supposedly treats cancer.

She had been slathering it on every day, and because of this, the radiation was making her skin literally fall off. We told her to stop using it immediately and that if she wanted to use it, she'd have to wait until after treatment. She got all heated and started telling us we were a product of the system and we didn't want her actually to be cured of cancer by this oil because then we would be out of a job. Then, she stormed out.

The next day we saw her handing out these pamphlets to every patient that walked into the department. She refused to continue with her radiotherapy, claiming that we were only harming her and that the oil was going to cure her. We had to get security to show her out and get her doctor to sit down and talk to her.

We then had to take the pamphlets back from our patients and give a big PSA as to why what she was saying was nonsense. We never saw her again.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

37. Sweet Jesus!

A kid had undiagnosed diabetes and went into a ketogenic coma. He was peeing the life out of his body because of the abnormally elevated blood sugar levels. So, his parents saw that this kid was clearly dehydrating, and what did they give him to drink? Soda. Sweet, glucose-loaded soda. You can imagine the rest.

Deathbed cofessionsShutterstock

38. Have You Seen The Gingerbread Man?

A patient came in breathing through his mouth. His mouth was opened as wide as he could stretch it. His breath sounded like someone sucking that last bit of liquid through a straw. Turns out he had snorted 250 grams (nine oz) of cinnamon after his mum's boyfriend dared him to. He then tried to snort some water to wash it away.

His mucus became like a biscuit. He had a cold, too. I tried very hard not to insult their collective intellect.

Viral Trends And Challenges factsShutterstock

39. Charity Is A Virtue

In my first year of dental school, not even three weeks into the program, our class went down and did a Mission of Mercy trip. This is where dental providers from around the state provide free, 100% no-cost-to-you dental work. It can range from simple cleanings to full on root canals, flippers, etc.

Keep in mind, at this point I had three weeks of dental knowledge, which equated to nothing. I escorted a patient to the dentist that allowed me to assist. The patient bragged about how he never brushed his teeth or flossed and had good dental health. They couldn't have been more wrong.

Their breath smelled of rotting flesh and burnt hair. During the health history portion, the guy talked about his diet of McDonald's, PBR, speed, weed, and more PBR. We finally got to the portion of providing the dental care. All of his teeth were rotted or in the process of rotting.

The patient grilled me on what to do and accused the dentist of lying about the decay. He asked me to help him out and said he didn’t need any procedures other than a simple cleaning. I tried to persuade him otherwise. The dentist tried to persuade him.

Eventually, he stormed off saying that the whole thing was some corporate greed nonsense even though it wouldn’t have cost him a cent.

Brontë Sisters FactsFlickr,Omgdilara

40. A Real Eye Opener

I was an ophthalmologist. We once treated a patient who had a very severe corneal ulcer in his right eye. We tried everything to treat the ulcer—antibiotics, Aciclovir, antifungal eye drops, everything we could. The ulcer would not heal. We asked the patient if he was using any other substance in his eye, such as corticosteroid drops or ophthalmic anesthetics.

We explained to him that he could never use these kinds of eye drops for his condition because they could make everything worse. He would always be empathic, saying that he'd never do such a thing. We then scheduled a corneal transplant, even though it was a risky procedure, it was the last chance we had.

Then one day, I was talking to him, and he seemed very confused about the eye drops and their posology. I asked him to show me all the eye drops he used to explain their posology, one by one. He took out a bottle of ophthalmic anesthetics from his purse. My stomach dropped.

I asked him how long he had been using those drops, and he said that since the beginning of the treatment, he started using them to get rid of the pain, which meant he had used those drops for basically eight months, every day, four times a day. I asked him why he did that, even after we warned him not to do so.

He said, "I thought you guys were exaggerating". Because of his crazy anesthetic use, he made a very simple corneal ulcer become a very severe one. His eye ended up having a perforation after that, and a corneal transplant was performed. After the surgery, he stopped going to our service, so who knows what he's doing to his own eye by now.

Bad DoctorsShutterstock

41. Sealed With A Tick

I was a nurse. One summer, I picked a tick off of my belly, rubbed some antiseptic on it, and went on with my life. Over the next few weeks, I had a consistent red circle where the bite had been, but I had been in the sun, so I didn’t think anything of it. After about a month, I started having a terrible stiff neck and ear pain daily, which I just kept brushing off to “sleeping wrong”.

I ran a 10-mile race and woke up the next day exhausted, aching, and with a fever. Again, I thought I had just pushed myself too far. Twenty-four hours later, there were circular red rashes on my joints. I showed one of the doctors I worked with, and he asked me how long I’d had Lyme disease.

Medical Horror StoriesPexels

42.  Valentine’s Day Of Doom

I messed up. I knew all of the signs and symptoms to look for and would’ve told literally anyone else to haul themselves to the ER, but I was stupid and stubborn. It was Valentine’s Day, and I was sick. I had a fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, and general misery that had kept me home for the day.

I worked in the medical field myself, and it seemed that the entire region was being decimated by the flu, so no biggie. I had a weird twinge in my side that started a few days prior that I thought was probably a pulled muscle from too many back stretches at the dance studio, so I shrugged it off.

However, now it legitimately hurt with every step I took. I figured I would go to have it checked out later, but was in need of sleep, so I went to bed. I woke up with barely enough time to fling myself out and towards the hall bath, just in time to vomit more fluids than I thought I had consumed.

I also noticed the lack of the coughing or congestion that typically arrived with the flu, so I thought that maybe there was something else going on. The pain in my side was right over my left kidney. I called my husband and explained the current circumstances, asking him to come home and take me to the doctor.

Because I was a stubborn paramedic who hated when people went directly to the hospital’s emergency room for ridiculously minor things, I went to an urgent care clinic near my house. I expected to have a PA confirm my self-diagnosis and tell me to tough it out with Flonase and Mucinex.

The PA took a quick look at me and told me to go to the hospital. I protested, but she was serious enough that I was actually considering going. I finally agreed to go just to make my husband more comfortable with the situation, but I fully expected that this was a waste of time and hours of my life I would never get back.

By the time we arrived, I’d accepted that I had pyelonephritis, a kidney infection, but I still felt the ER was too much. After triage and a preemptive blood draw for labs, I was taken to a room. I didn’t even have time to change into the stupid, drafty, rear-baring gown provided before my nurse arrived to start a saline drip to treat my dehydration.

Several minutes later, I was talking with the physician about my signs and symptoms when there was a knock at the door, and a lab tech entered to hand-deliver my test results. I watched her eyes widen as she read the CBC values, and then she announced, “Yeah, we’re gonna be keeping you overnight”.

She then ordered a second IV line, serious pain meds, and a massive dose of IV antibiotics and left me trying to figure out what had just happened. I expected a patient transport tech to come to fetch me and take me upstairs to a general medical ward. Instead, an RN started to wheel my bed toward the elevator, which was really weird.

Nurses usually have better things to do than move patients between wards. At that point, I hadn’t been told anything about what was wrong or where I was going. I started to get somewhat nervous as I was moved into an intensive care unit. I rationalized this by telling myself that they must be out of general med/surg beds, so I was being put into this room as overflow.

It was a huge room, and my nurse appeared to have only one patient—me. Within minutes, I was hooked up to every type of monitor I’ve ever attached to a patient and then some. I also had a transmitting cardiac telemetry monitor stuck to me. My nurse went through the endless list of health history, lifestyle, and medication questions and asked my husband to bring my birth control pills from home.

I said, “Uh, is that really necessary? I mean, I’ll be home tomorrow”. She looked at me with both amusement and pity, then continued bustling about the room doing important nursing tasks. It wasn’t the flu. She shattered my last layer of denial by showing me my lab results. My white count was 28.77, where a normal blood cell value is between three and ten.

I was so far past that, that I was in critical condition. I was in septic shock in addition to renal failure and E.coli septicemia. Had I waited a few more hours to seek medical help, I’d probably have been toast. I couldn’t deny the seriousness of the situation anymore, I just felt too sick to even care.

After a sleepless night and an endless parade of nurses, CNAs, phlebotomists, X-ray/imaging techs, and a priest, I finally met my attending physician and a whole crew of residents. I was exhausted, grumpy, and in pain, but apparently, I still needed to be lectured on how dangerously close to the end I’d gotten by waiting to seek help.

Afterward, we had a nice, round-table discussion of my treatment plan, how the antibiotics were working, and about how I was probably going to be just fine in a couple of days, but I was wrong again. The massive infusion of fluids and treatments to kick-start my kidneys caused my lungs to fill with fluid, resulting in a condition called ARDS, in which you can’t breathe.

The alveoli, those little sacs in your lungs that do the CO2/oxygen exchanging, were effectively flooded, meaning that no matter how much air I was gulping in, I simply couldn’t extract the amount of oxygen needed to live without medical intervention. I really didn’t want to end up intubated with a ventilator breathing for me.

So, my awesome attending let me try the less dramatic option of diuretics and staying awake to remember to breathe. It sucked. It was, seriously, the worst, most miserable experience I’ve been through, but it worked. On the morning of day five in the hospital, I got transferred to a general medical ward.

It was blessedly quiet, at least until I dozed off, and my oxygen sats would drop again, and then the monitor would shriek me awake. I was slowly weaned off of supplemental oxygen over the next few days and eventually got to go home on the condition that I’d sleep with a little extra oxygen at night.

The scariest thing about the whole experience was how it snuck up on me so stealthily. Our working theory is that I must have had a completely asymptomatic UTI that progressed to my kidneys, but there was no way to know for sure. UTIs aren’t generally subtle, and if I’d even suspected I had one, I would have gone to urgent care for a UA and an antibiotic prescription.

I knew what to look for, and it still nearly managed to end me.

Insane CasesShutterstock

43. Hiding It Away

About 12 years ago, I was asked to look at and give advice on a lady who had a very slow-growing tumor on their nose. A Basel cell carcinoma. It’s usually not much of an issue because if it’s caught early, it can be removed with surgery or a short course of radiotherapy. Turns out this lady was quite vain, and as soon as the lump had started to grow, she hid it under a scarf.

She ended up hiding it for 20 years. By the time it was seen by any medical professional, the tumor had taken over most of her nasal cavity, crushed one of her eyes, deformed her whole face, and grown in between all the nerves and blood vessels. It was inoperable and there was very little you could do with radiotherapy without doing a lot of damage to everything else.

It was such a shame as it would have been so easy to fix 20 years ago. Please get lumps and random bleeding checked out!

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

44. What’s Bugging Them?

We see a lot of people who get a common rash like eczema or some other unspecified dermatitis who very sadly convince themselves that they have bugs, worms, or other creatures in their skin. They dig at their skin, pour bleach on themselves several times a day, or even cut into the skin to try to dig these nonexistent parasites out.

In doing so, they hurt, sting, itch, and suffer more. Some even isolate themselves from family and friends, fearing they'll spread a nonexistent infestation. It’s very sad.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

45. Mr. Clean

I once thought I was having a heart attack at work, so I drove myself to the ER. After skipping triage and getting an EEG/EKG right in the hallway, I was placed in a bed with a curtain divider. One of the five other roommates separated by curtains was a 53-year-old man. He was there for a "burning sensation in his crotch".

I know this because multiple people asked him about his condition, and he had no volume modulation. Everyone kept asking him, "Did you put something...chemical in it?" His response to each one was, "Yeah…I might have". It took five nurses and a doctor before he finally admitted the horrific truth: bleach. He said he dribbled bleach INTO THE TIP OF HIS PECKER to keep from getting an STD.

The nurse was silent for a few solid moments. Then she asked why he did this and if he did it every time he was intimate. He said he wanted it clean, and that he wasn't intimate with anyone at the moment. He wasn't intimate with anyone. He had done it after fooling around with himself and was under the impression that he could infect himself with something he didn't want.

The nurse had to lecture him that if he wasn't intimate with another person, he likely wouldn't contract an STD. She also told him that soap and water were a good way to stay clean in the future. I was frozen in my bed making that face from Edvard Munch's The Scream with my wife mirroring it back to me. The man was moved elsewhere, perhaps to rebuild his urethral lining.

We were still too shocked to discuss it until leaving the hospital four hours later.

Everyday mistakes FactsShutterstock

46. Slipped Away Due To Snake Oil

I was an oncology nurse. I had a patient with a relatively treatable cancer fail to tell us about an herbal cure that his son bought for $300 a bottle. He was taking it while getting chemotherapy. It wound up shutting down his liver and kidneys, being hospitalized for weeks, and delaying treatment, so the cancer spread.

His system was too weakened to resume treatment. He lost his life because of the snake oil cure.

Strangest Last Words Ever HeardPexels

47. Jitterbug

I had a Marine check into my battalion and tell my Corpsman that she was allergic to epinephrine. I questioned her, incredulously, about the circumstances of her allergy: “So, Staff Sergeant, your record says you're allergic to epinephrine?” “Yeah”, she said, “when I went to the dentist, he gave me epi and I had a bad reaction to it”.

That piqued my interest, “Oh? Oh, really? How so?” She told me that it made her jittery. Okay, but that wasn’t an allergic reaction. I said, “Uh…no. No, you don't have an allergy to epi”. She tells me that the dentist diagnosed her allergy. “I doubt that,” I stated. “Feeling jittery is a common side effect of epi. It's adrenaline”.

“So what? It's in my record”, she said. I tell her, “Yeah, and it shouldn't be”. She asks why. I finally said, “You can't BE allergic to adrenaline. You'd die in utero. Your body MAKES it. Naturally”.

Not In Medical School Not In Medical School Not In Medical SchoolShutterstock

48. Wake Up, Stupid!

I had a patient who was found unconscious and brought into our hospital. Unbeknownst to him, he was a diabetic and went into a coma. We got him straightened out and sent him home with insulin. A week or two later, he came into the ER for vomiting, dehydration, and blurred vision.

He hadn't been taking his insulin since “only really sick people need insulin”.

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49. Crossed Wires

I had an odd interaction with a patient after looking at her chart and seeing she had diabetes. I asked her if she had any medical conditions, and she told me that she didn’t. I asked, “Are you sure? You’ve never been told you have any diseases?” “Never”, she said. So, I asked, “What medications do you take?” With a straight face, she says, “Insulin…for my diabetes”.

Most Cringey Slip-Ups FactsShutterstock

50. A Sticky Situation

We were doing an auditory brainstem response test on a kiddo with severe developmental delays. At the top of the chart, in bold red letters, it says “ADHESIVE ALLERGY”. Well, to perform this test we need to use adhesive electrodes. Plus, the kid had already had the test in the past, so I was wondering how they did it before.

I went to talk to the kid’s mom about it and she goes, "Well, I just don't like the way his skin looks after they pull all of that tape off him". I just left.

Random factsPublic Domain Pictures

51. It Was All Greek To Me

I was a nursing student and had a female patient with an indwelling catheter to help void her urine because she had fluid overload from heart failure. I was at the nursing station giving my assigned nurse a report when I saw my patient walk up to us and start speaking to us in Greek.

It took me about two seconds to realize that she didn't have her walker with her and another two seconds to notice she didn't have her catheter with her either. I walked her back to bed and saw the catheter attached to her bedpost with the balloon still fully inflated.

Dumb PatientsPexels

52. An Acute Case Of Stupid

I looked after a man diagnosed with high-risk acute leukemia. We gave him chemo, which basically destroyed his entire immune system and bone marrow. He decided he simply could not give up smoking, so multiple times a day, he would leave his room and go down to the bottom floor to light up.

When you have no immune system, if you pick up the smallest of infections, they become life-threatening. Sure enough, he got severe sepsis and had to stay in the ICU for a spell. But that wasn't all. He also left the ward once with the chemo running IV. The cannula tissues and the chemo infiltrated into his muscle instead of the vein.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

53. Patching Myself Up

I was working as a surgical junior when my team was called down to A&E to see a patient who had come in with a complication from a recent hernia operation. When we came down, we saw that the patient was holding a plastic bag over their abdomen. When this was removed, we found that their wound had opened and their intestine was visible to the air.

It was horrifying—and we later found out the twisted reason why it had happened. It transpired that this was not something that had happened overnight, it had taken several days. The patient had started using plastic bags and newspaper to dress the wound when they ran out of dressings, which is why they came in.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPicryl

54. No Casting Any Doubt, We Were Stupid

When I was in college, my new roommate started the year with a cast from a summer injury. He had it on for a week or two and had about another six weeks to go when the semester started. He met many new people those first few weeks, and he was getting annoyed being referred to as “cast boy”. He also came to the realization a few weeks later that none of the college girls really dug a guy in a big arm cast.

All those things led to him and me getting tipsy and cutting off his cast about five weeks into his six-week healing process. All seemed good until my buddy went in a few days later for the final check-in.  The doctor let him know that by taking his cast off a week early, he had completely messed up the recovery process.

He showed back up to school the next day with another cast that he had to wear again for another full six weeks.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

55. System Overload

I had a patient come in totally altered, with a blood pressure of 73/45. It turned out he took his blood pressure at home and, seeing that it was elevated, decided to take his blood pressure medications. The thing was, he had never taken these medications before, one being prescribed in 2016 and the other in 2017 by different physicians who didn't know about the other prescription.

After we got his pressure up and he started talking sense, he started complaining of a terrible headache. I told him, “Well yeah, you have a headache. You just under-perfused your brain for who knows how long. You should be thankful you don't have brain damage”!

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

56. Rolling With The Punches

I had a patient come in saying he couldn’t see. How long had it been going on? For five days. The man had been blind for five days and didn’t come in because he thought it might be “like a cold or something”. But then it got even more deranged.

During the exam when I asked him to move his legs, he said “oh, I can’t do that”. I asked how long he’d been unable to move his legs or walk. His wife chimes in—about two whole years! He never saw a doctor about it; they just borrowed a friend's wheelchair and kept it rolling.

Turns out he’d had multiple strokes with multiple risk factors he never addressed. Given how little insight he appeared to have into the condition, I honestly felt sorry. He didn’t have insurance, so I’m sure that played a role in him avoiding seeing anyone.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

57. What A Crackpot!

I had a little old lady come in complaining of coughing up blood. She was bringing up huge clots of blood every few minutes and had pain in her throat. I asked her if she had done anything for the pain, and she told me, “Well, I smoked some crack”. I asked her if she normally does that, and she said, “No. I’m a drinker, but I thought it might help”. Crack will not help—with anything.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

58. Time To Celebrate

I was required to stop working while I was pregnant, so I went into the WIC office to sign up for vouchers. I was in line behind a woman who, when asked if her newborn was fully breastfed, replied, "Yes. Except for the cake and ice cream". The staff told her that babies under six months old should only have breastmilk or formula.

I kid you not, this woman replied, "But it was her BIRTHDAY. She had to have cake and ice cream!" All these years, I’ve thought she was just a special kind of stupid.

Wedding DramaPexels

59. The Undertaker

A doctor said this. I noticed that all the patients sent by a particular doctor were freaking out badly when they came for their MRIs. Now, some patients are claustrophobic but each and every patient? That is odd. So, I called the doctor and asked her what she was telling the patients. She answered, and suddenly everything made sense: "I tell them that having an MRI is like being stuck in a coffin and buried".

Done For MomentsPexels

60.  Procrastination Almost Did Me In

I put up with appendicitis for five or six days before going to a doctor. I couldn't eat or sleep, was in constant pain, and vomited multiple times an hour, but I just thought I was ill and would be fine in a couple of days. My heart stopped as my appendix burst mid-surgery.

I shouldn't have even been operated on, but a slot had opened up. If it were not for that, I would have lost my life in my hospital bed just because I thought I would be fine. I had to spend a week in the hospital for a routine operation.

Dumb PatientsPixabay

61. A No-Show Was Not The Way To Go

I worked in a cancer clinic. There was a woman who had a mammogram a few years prior that showed a small (<1cm) cluster of calcifications but no discernible mass or distortion. She was instructed to come in for a biopsy but never showed up and never got another mammogram.

Years later, she came into our clinic with a primary complaint of unequal bust sizes and a right bosom “significantly firmer” than the left. Imaging revealed she had a 14 cm mass in her right mammary. Essentially, that entire bosom was replaced by cancer.

The saddest part of this was that our oncologist believed that if she had done the biopsy years back, they likely would have either found an extremely early-stage invasive tumor or possibly only carcinoma in situ. She likely would have needed a lumpectomy and radiation and may not have even needed chemo.

She would have had a very high chance of surviving to her normal life expectancy. She lost her life about three months after coming in. The cancer had spread all through her body. She was in her early 50s; she left behind two teenage children.

Medical Mistake Horror StoriesShutterstock

62. Playing Catch-Up

One of my patients thought he was getting better, so he stopped taking his prescribed medication last week. When he started feeling sick again, he went ahead and got caught up on the medication—seven days’ worth at one time.

Medical Blunders factsPexels

63. Three Snickers A Day Keeps The Doctors...Not Away

I was working in outpatient medicine and one of my patients came in for a normal follow-up. She was obese and told me that she'd read chocolate is good for your heart. She had been eating three Snickers a day diligently. Poor woman. I had another patient who proudly told me that she never received vaccines. I asked why.

She said the last influenza vaccine stopped her heart. I thought maybe it was anaphylactic shock, but that couldn’t be it because she hadn’t been hospitalized or received any treatment. And her legs had some mysterious mild swelling at the ankles, which could be from a lot of things. I asked her how her heart had been restarted. She confirmed it was still stopped.

Worst Teachers factsPixabay

64. Bleach Bungle

I was in the Navy, and this girl in our battalion got lime burns all over her hands from not wearing gloves and not washing her hands after handling fresh concrete. It was a rookie mistake. After being treated the week before and given additional training on the dangers of chemical burns, she went to the doctor, saying her burns had gotten significantly worse.

Once he looked at them, he noticed that they were essentially raw all over and bleeding in spots. When he asked her what had happened, she stated that, “My aunt is a doctor and told me to wrap my burns in bleach-soaked rags to heal”. The doctor was speechless.  He didn’t know if her aunt was actually a doctor or if she had the bright idea herself and was too embarrassed to admit it.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

65. Duped For A Doobie

Before I got into medical school, I worked as a healthcare assistant in an emergency department. One day I was working in the resuscitation room (resus), where the sickest patients were looked after. One woman had been in resus for several hours and was very unwell, but she was absolutely itching for a smoke. She kept pestering us to let her out to have one, to the point of threatening to pull out her IV lines and just walking out. We decided it would be an overall lower risk for me to take her out in a wheelchair and supervise her while she had a really quick smoke. So I did.

I parked the wheelchair just outside the emergency department’s main entrance, so we were still nice and close and could rush back in if necessary. The woman whipped out the biggest spliff I had ever seen and lit it right up. I was so embarrassed! There were other patients and visitors sitting right next to us.

She kept toking on it right until the end despite my pleas for her to stop. When I took her back inside, I don’t know what had happened, but the ED was FULL of law enforcement agents. I had to wheel her right past them all, both of us absolutely stinking of weed. I could not leave that shift soon enough.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

66. Invincible

My grandfather has had diabetes ever since I can remember. So, at least two decades. He's never changed his diet whatsoever. He still eats tons of caramels, loves salted ham hocks, and drinks a lot. A lot. He's lost half of his right leg and half of his left foot so far, and for the life of them, my grandparents just can't figure out why.

No matter what anyone says, they won't believe his eating habits need to change. When he was in the hospital for his most recent amputation, my grandmother brought in a saltshaker and salted all of his food. His doctor had ordered a low-sodium diet and my grandfather “couldn't live on that”. I'm honestly surprised he's managed to survive this long.

Ancient Civilizations FactsPixabay

67. Baby On Board!

"Wait”, my patient said, “second-hand smoke? Yeah, right, that doesn't exist. Baby'll be fine". An hour later, he says, "No, my fiancée and I don't want our daughter to have any of the vaccines, the vitamin K shot, antibiotic eye ointment, or PKU testing. It's poison. Poking her with the needle is worse than the cold she'd get without the poison".

He then drove his newborn daughter and fiancée home in a car that absolutely reeked of weed.

From Crush To Disgust FactsShutterstock

68. The Repeat Offender

When I was working in the ER, I had a guy come in with a gunshot wound to his leg. It was a simple injury, missing the major arteries and nerves in his thigh. All GSWs have to be reported, so I asked the guy what happened. The more he talked, the lower my jaw got: Apparently, he was upset that his neighbor had done something annoying. The patient grabbed a hammer and used it to "knock" on said neighbor's door.

The neighbor answered the door holding a .22 rifle and told the patient to leave or else he'd blast him. My patient then tells me, "I didn't think he'd do it again!" That's right, “AGAIN". Apparently, this wasn't their first confrontation. They'd had an argument the previous year that had ended in the neighbor firing on him.

I can only speculate that it was justifiable since the neighbor wasn't locked up. I couldn’t believe this guy went back to the house of a person who had previously blasted him, banged on the door with a hammer, and was surprised when he got shot again. Heck, the neighbor was nice enough to give him a warning. He even called an ambulance for the moron.

That patient was the dumbest human being I've ever met.

Nightmare RoommatesShutterstock

69. Here We Toe Again

When I was a newer nurse, I cared for a diabetic patient who was going to lose another toe. The patient knew the toe had been scratched and knew the risk of infection but couldn't afford to go to the doctor for care. They finally had to be admitted to the hospital, where said toe was amputated.

The patient's exact words to me were, "Every time I come in here, I leave a piece of me behind".

Dumb PatientsPixabay

70. Freshening Up

One of my patients called me up and sounded worried: “You know those holiday air fresheners that you plug into a wall? Are they bad for you?” I asked, “Bad for you how?” They said, “My baby got into one and drank the stuff inside, so I put some in my mouth to see if it’s bad. Now, my mouth burns". Mission accomplished.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

71. It’s Taco Tuesday

The patient was in critical condition, intubated, sedated, and on vasopressors. His family brought in a bunch of tacos. After explaining that the patient couldn't eat because he had a breathing tube and a ventilator that was giving him life support, the family paused and said, "Yes, but can we put the tacos down that tube?"

They were pointing at the breathing tube. I live in a community where people think food is love and can cure anything.

Disaster Dinners FactsUnsplash

72. Sniff Test

My stepdad is a lung doctor, and he had a guy come in with trouble breathing. They took an x-ray and saw what appeared to be calcium buildup. While the patient was in the waiting room, they saw him snort something. They asked him about it, and he said that it was an all-natural remedy for his cough. He bought it from someone on Craigslist for $200.

He said he did this because "doctors are liberal scam artists who think they know better with their poison-pushing agendas and ObamaCare money,” and he was only there because his wife made him be there. Suspecting illicit substsances, they ran a test on the stuff. It was plaster of Paris. His wife confessed that he'd been using it for at least three months.

The seller claimed you could mix the plaster into your water to clear a cough, but the patient figured it was best to breathe it in.

Strangest thing patient saidShutterstock

73. Time To See The Light

I was an optician and optometrist, and SO MANY semi-blind people refuse to get glasses because they don't want to "spoil" their eyes. They come back six months later with migraines and complain about not being able to drive in the dark or read, and get angry because their eyesight is not getting better, although they're always "training" their eyes. It doesn't work like that.

Blown Away Stupid FactsPiqsels

74. Suitable Living Arrangements

One night, when I was a paramedic, we received a call for respiratory distress. We arrived to find a middle-aged woman sitting cross-legged on her living room floor, completely bare and out of breath. Turns out she had heat-induced asthma and thought taking her clothes off "would help". Meanwhile, 15 cats roamed her house, and she hadn't refilled her inhaler prescription for months.

Water FactsFlickr

75. The Patient Is Always Right

One incredibly dumb patient stands out. He adamantly told me, “I can smoke with the oxygen on. I smoke through my mouth and the oxygen goes in through my nose. I know how this works". Sure, you do, buddy.

Disturbing homesShutterstock

76. Good Intentions

We got a call for a stab wound. Okay, not a good call, but depending on the blade and location, stab wounds are pretty in-and-out for us. It was the aftermath of a shady deal gone sour, and someone got shivved in the leg. The guy pulled the blade out, but his buddy read or heard that you should leave it in. So, he put it back in the poor guy’s leg.

Disturbing studentsPexels

77. One Last Puff

My grandma was in the hospital for heart surgery, sharing a room with a guy who was waiting for a lung transplant. The guy was out on the balcony having "just one last smoke" when he was supposed to have quit months before. The transplant surgeon came in and saw the guy puffing away.

He didn’t speak to him but left, took him off the transplant list, and booted him out of the hospital.

Dumb PatientsPixabay

78. Herbal Hideaway

An old guy was in for rehab after some kind of orthopedic surgery. He had been taking Warfarin for DVT prophylaxis. His INR (a clotting time test) was coming back as out of whack, time after time, despite dose adjustments, and nobody could really figure it out. I went into his room on some routine task and saw a large pill bottle on the dresser.

It turned out to be an herbal supplement containing, among other things, garlic, ginger, and ginseng, all of which interact with Warfarin to make it more effective. The guy's wife took the pills home, and he was lectured, "Please run even over-the-counter meds past your doctor because you absolutely did this to yourself". After that, his labs normalized.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

79. Shrugging It All Off

My father, who is in his 60s, fell during a holiday a few weeks ago. We weren’t aware. He has had similar accidents before in his life and always shrugged it off. This time it was bad, but he thought he was fine. The next week, he started to show confusing behavior and speech, which led to fellow employees starting to make their concerns.

They informed the family, and that’s when we looked into the situation. Turns out he had been working the whole week and eventually had a 39-degree fever and had to puke two days in a row, but still shrugged it off. He went to work like nothing was wrong. He had to call for a doctor and after an exam, he told my father he had to be hospitalized as soon as possible.

He had a wound from the fall that led to a serious infection, and eventually ended up staying at the hospital for a week and a half.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPicryl

80. You Did WHAT?

Had a guy show up in my clinic one day with a complaint of finger swelling. So as the story went, his finger got swollen and painful about a week prior. It just got worse and worse, and about three days prior to coming, a hole opened up in the tip of his finger. This point is where I, personally, would have noped right to the doctors.

So come the day of the visit, he says, “By the way, I pulled something out of the hole in my finger yesterday with a pair of tweezers, and I have no idea what it is”. I asked him if he took a picture or kept it, and he produced a tissue from his shirt pocket. I was so stunned, I nearly passed out.

The object was the last bone in his finger! The bone had gotten infected and the body did its thing and basically tried to eject what was now a hot foreign body. The guy pulled his fingertip out of his finger. A better or grosser magic trick, I have not since seen.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

81. No Bones About It

My mom's a nurse, and she told me about a patient she had who they were pretty sure had bone cancer. Her calcium levels were through the roof, and it was beginning to mess with her heart function, which was how she ended up on the unit with my mom. Several days had gone by, and they couldn't get her calcium to level out with any treatment and were having even more trouble finding where the cancer was.

The patient’s friend visited her, and my mom walked in to find them eating little chocolates her friend had snuck in as a treat. It turned out they were calcium choco; Ie chews. This woman had been eating nearly a bag of those every day. She didn’t have cancer, and there was no lasting heart damage, but she did have a long and very stern talk about reading the labels on things and telling your doctor everything.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

82. One, Two, Three, Clear!

I work in a very rural hospital, and we have a patient population that seems to avoid the hospital at all costs. I have had so many bad stories, usually related to diabetics with foot sores almost always resulting in the amputation of a toe. However, my favorite was an elderly farmer who came in with chest pain that, “Wouldn't go away”, as he put it.

When we asked him if he had it before, he said that he had been having chest pain on and off for years, but it would typically go away after he grabbed his electric fence. Apparently, the first time he had the pain, he was standing out near an electric fence on his farm, and he reached out to steady himself and accidentally grabbed the electric fence.

The fence shocked him and made the pain go away. So after that, whenever he would have pain, he just went and grabbed the fence and it made him feel better. He had literally been cardioverting himself for years. He was fixed up and sent on his way, but we all still chuckle about it now and then because he was so nonchalant about it.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedFlickr, C. K. Hartman

83. Sunkissed

The most outrageous thing I've heard was from a boy who was something like 20 to 22 years old. He came from a very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsilitis and refused to take any meds because all he needed to do was "bite the sun". Basically, at noon he would look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and "bite" the sun so it would "burn" his tonsils.

He hoped this would cure him over the course of a couple weeks. When that wouldn't work, plan B was to do the same at night but only under a full moon.

Tennessee WilliamsShutterstock

84. Ignorance Is Bliss

Optician here. We had a patient who refused to let us use the tonometer, a machine for checking ocular internal pressure to diagnose glaucoma. He said that the “puff machine” gives people glaucoma and we weren't going to pull that on him. He told us that his father had an exam and got glaucoma after using that machine.

He said that his uncle and brother also had no signs of glaucoma, yet after getting the puff test, both people had been diagnosed with the disease. Glaucoma doesn't have any outward symptoms before you start going blind. This moron just told me he has a very strong familial disposition to glaucoma and refused to be tested for it.

Doctors Knew Lying FactsShutterstock

85. For External Use Only

I worked at a pain management clinic. To combat opioid use and addiction, a lot of patients were prescribed a medicated cream. It looked a lot like sunscreen. I watched the nurse carefully tell people how to rub it onto the skin. She used small, uncomplicated words and went through the motions of applying the cream several times.

But every so often, patients would complain that their cream "tastes bad".

Travel Horror Stories factsPixabay

86. He Came Out Swinging

I was a theater nurse.  One day, I turned up for a night shift and looked through the theater window to see what case the evening folks had on the go. I saw a surgeon and a scrub nurse working away on some fingers at a hand table. The rest of the patients did not arrive at the theater for another 45 minutes.

It was a pretty standard circular saw injury—an older guy who was doing some home handiwork had a momentary lapse of concentration. I took over from the evening scrub nurse, and we spent about two hours working on trying to salvage and reattach this guy’s fingers.

It was followed by another three or so hours trying to tidy up the damage and repair what we could after deciding the fingers were too badly damaged. At about 4 AM, we’re finally done. His poor stumpy hand was wrapped up like a boxing glove, he was back on his bed, and the anesthetist was waking him up.

Sometimes patients wake up sick, sometimes they wake up peacefully, and sometimes they wake up crying. This guy woke up swinging. He was rolling around in the bed, trying to get up, waving his arms about, shouting. Unfortunately, when you first wake up from an anesthetic, your body might be awake, but your brain isn’t keeping up, so telling him to lie down was like talking to a brick wall.

I will always remember looking at this delirious half-awake man on his bed on all fours, with a large portion of his considerable weight resting on his newly refashioned knuckles. All I could think of was, “I am so glad we didn’t just put fingers back on that hand”!

Dumb PatientsPixabay

87. The Tattoo Troubles

I’m not a doctor, but an Army medic. I had a dude come into the aid station at like, 2 AM with his arm all wrapped up. I took the wraps off, and his arm looked necrotic. I asked him what the heck was going on. That’s when I found out the nasty truth. Turns out, the weekend before we went out to the field, this man went and got his whole forearm tattooed. He then spent the next week wading through chest-deep swamps, figuring that if he just kept his arm wrapped, he’d be okay.

Obviously, he was not.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

88. Equal Division of Labor

This girl came to the pharmacy to return her birth control. I asked her why and she said she got pregnant. I asked if she took it every day. She said, "No. On the days I didn't feel like taking it, I made my boyfriend take it". I couldn't believe the stupidity. I made them answer a bunch of questions until they realized how stupid they were.

True Medical Plot TwistsWikimedia Commons

89.  Playing Doctor Is Dumb

I was an ER resident and had a patient who came in for pain in his schlong. He said it had been going on for two days, and he couldn’t feel the tip of it, and the shaft was very tender and painful. On examination, he had the top skin retracted, and it was so swollen it couldn’t be reduced over the tip. So, I asked him, “Did anything happen in particular when this first started”?

He said he had some mild discharge a few days ago and decided he needed to clean it off. But it was what he used to clean it that as so disturbing. He took “the cleaner I use to clean the dashboard of my car” and rubbed it on the tip of his manhood because he thought it was sterile, like antiseptic.

This, of course, burned, and the tip of his junk blew up like a balloon. This continued for two days. He said he could still pee, so he “didn’t think anything of it”. Then, he said that morning, he decided to try and reduce the skin, and it wasn’t working, so to decrease the swelling, he took Purell hand sanitizer and rubbed it on the tip again.

As he was doing that, his wife walked in, saw how deformed his schlong looked, and brought him to the ED. He really did not know when to stop playing doctor.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

90. Aspiration Situation

I did clinicals at an LTACH, a nursing home that can take trachs, catheters, vents, etc. A patient there was forbidden from eating orally because he could aspirate—but that didn't stop him. He had a feeding tube but squirreled away candy bars, chips, and other non-perishables in his drawer.

Every day he ate something from his drawers, and every day there would be a code because he aspirated it. On my last day there, he drank Dr. Pepper and aspirated it to the point they had to take him to the hospital. Last I knew, he had aspiration pneumonia and had to have a trach put in due to him not being able to get off the vent.

Medical Horror StoriesShutterstock

91. Donor Dilemma

When my grandfather was in his 80s, he had to have one of his knees replaced but was in great health otherwise. When they did the surgery, there was an issue of him not having enough blood to circulate in his body, so he needed several transfusions. The doctors weren't really sure why this was happening.

It turned out he and my grandma had gone to donate the day before his surgery!

Dumb PatientsPixabay

92. No More Wire Hangers!

I had a patient whose throat was itchy. Coughing and hacking weren't helping, so he tried scratching it with his finger. When he couldn't reach the itchy part, he decided to get a tool. He decided that using the hook of a wire coat hanger would do the trick. It seemed to be working, as he could finally reach the itchy spot, but then the hook got snagged.

His solution was to tug harder. The guy ripped a hole through the back of his hypopharynx, the wall opposite the base of his tongue. Gas got from there into all the soft tissue in his neck, face, and chest. If you felt his skin, you could feel the gas moving around underneath. It still makes my skin crawl.

Scariest experienceShutterstock

93. Just Go To The Hospital!

My mother was one of those holistic medicine types who preferred to treat her chronic illnesses with herbal supplements she could buy off of the Internet. She had chronic constipation for months, and a persistent sore on her abdomen that would not go away, no matter how much Manuka honey she smeared on it. I wish she’d taken what was happening seriously.

Long story short, my brother finally convinced her to go to the doctor for this sore that wouldn’t heal and they discovered that she had a tumor that had eaten through her viscera and through her abdomen, the same one that was obstructing her bowel. She only lived another six weeks. Stop diagnosing yourself on the Internet, friends.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels

94. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

I work for an optometrist, and this happened the month before school started. A woman brought her son in to have his eyes checked for the first time. It seemed like a pretty reasonable thing for any parent, even if the boy was a little older than usual for a first eye exam. Better late than never, I guess. The mom was well-spoken and appeared fairly intelligent.

Everything went as normal, and the doctor examined the boy and ended up prescribing glasses. The doctor was explaining to the mom that her son had to wear his glasses all the time since he's nearsighted and basically can't see clearly past five feet in front of him. He also told her that the boy would definitely need glasses for school.

For some reason, this caused a switch to flip in the mom. She absolutely LOST IT on the doctor. She kept saying that her son didn't need glasses and that the doctor was only saying that he does because he wants to sell glasses. She said that she only brought her son in because there was some form for school that needed to be filled out.

She finished up by yelling that doctors were all con artists trying to push unnecessary medications and interventions. The doctor tried to calm her down. He explained that he was only trying to help them but that she was free to get a second opinion. He gave her a copy of the kid’s prescription and sent them on their way.

About four months later, the lady came back asking for another copy of her son's prescription. Apparently, the first semester midterm results were in. Her son failed them all because he couldn't see the blackboard in his classes and needed glasses!

People SuckWikimedia Commons

95. Back And Forth

I once had an older lady call in wanting a prescription for pain meds because she was sure she had shingles. She said her neighbor had them and she was sure that’s what it was. She hadn’t been in for an exam in almost two years, so the doctor asked that she come in to be evaluated before a prescription could be given to her.

She refused and called again the next day asking for a prescription. This went on all week. She called for pain meds, and the doctor asked her to come in to be seen. She finally agreed to make an appointment. It wasn’t shingles. It was actually skin ulceration from advanced breast cancer.

These Patients Should’ve Been WAY More WorriedPexels


96. Allergic to Everything

Registered nurse here. I see some crazy stuff, but one thing that stands out was the time I was admitting a guy to the hospital. I can't really remember what for but he was diabetic, had heart disease, and was generally unhealthy. Anyhow, I'm at the computer going over some admission questions with him and his 10 family members who are crowded in the room with him.

A few minutes in, he starts complaining that he's thirsty. He needs something to drink right now. So I get on my phone and call the nurse assistant, and ask her to bring in some ice water. As soon as the words are out of my mouth the whole family screams: "NOOOO! NO WATER! HES ALLERGIC TO WATER!" Well, this is going to be a problem.

Turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but Sprite and sweet tea for years, because of his "water allergy". The next question his wife had was “Where are we all supposed to sleep?" The whole family, 10 people, were planning to stay at the hospital with him. You can't make this stuff up.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

97. The Milk Is For The Baby

I saw a patient who was concerned because she was still lactating, despite the fact that she stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She said: "sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my husband sucking on my chest. He says he's trying to drain the milk for me".

I had to explain to her that breastfeeding her husband will lead to continued Lactation.

 Adult Patients Believed This factsMadamsabi


98. Hunger Pains

My patient was a three-year-old who needed surgery on her tonsils and adenoids. The day before the procedure, I told her father, "Don't let her eat or drink anything after midnight”. While I was intubating the girl the next morning, she vomited scrambled eggs, causing her to aspirate them into her lungs. Then her heart stopped.

I did chest compressions on her for 25 minutes. We got her back, aborted the surgery, and transferred her to the pediatric ICU on a ventilator. Her father's response made me want to scream: "She said she was hungry. I thought you were being too hard on her. It must have been something you did to her". Sure, blame me for your inability to follow a simple direction. Idiot.

Rude WaiterPxhere

99. A Tickle Under The Rib

I saw this one patient with a really odd condition. While she was asking me why she gets rib pain so often, she literally reached under her own rib and jiggled it with her fingers.  Turns out, there were a lot of other things she could do that she shouldn’t ever be able to. I attributed it to a variant of Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which causes connective tissue abnormalities.

I was so distracted by the popping in and out of her rib that initially, I didn’t even notice how horrifying it was that she could get her hand under there.

Doctors not normalShutterstock


100. He Was Dumb, Warts, And All

I was a Navy hospital corpsman. I was on deployment in Japan with a Marine artillery battalion. On a relaxing weekend off, I was awakened around 3 AM to a POUNDING on my barracks room door. It was common practice for my Marines to come to find me should they require medical aid on our off time.

Aggravated by being rousted awake, I opened the door to find one of my jarheads standing there. My jaw DROPPED. His eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and he was completely sloshed, without a stitch of clothing, with the exception of the red hand towel he was covering up his manhood with.

He said, "Doc! Please help, I'm scared, and it won't stop". After a very brief exam, the problem was obvious. The red towel was actually white but had become soaked through with blood. This young man had contracted a case of genital warts a long time before that night. Embarrassed to come to see us about it and thinking he would be in trouble, he kept it a secret.

Naturally, with enough time, his case worsened and grew, spreading over a larger area of his groin and clustering as this condition does. Warts are also very vascular, so they bleed easily and profusely. Having filled himself with liquid courage, this young Marine took it upon himself to apply a little home treatment.

He sat in the buff on the edge of the tub and went to work on himself to remove his many genital warts. His tool of choice was a pair of nail clippers. Blood was draining down the side of the tub before he got to the point he became desperate enough to reach out. I wrapped a blanket around him and took him to our battalion aid station (BAS) just like that.

Dumb PatientsShutterstock

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,



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