Most of the time, doctors are the ones we go to in need of just about anything. Whether it's a headache or extreme injury, doctors are the people we are supposed to count on to help. However, that's not always the case, some doctors seem to have absolutely no clue what they are doing. In this piece, patients share the tales of doctors who should have their medical degrees revoked. Keep in mind, stories were edited for clarity.
Keep On Drilling
“I was eight months pregnant when I developed a horribly painful toothache. I go to the dentist, he tells me I need a root canal. Fine, great. So he gives me a shot of the anesthetic and immediately starts drilling. I stop him and say it hasn’t sunk in yet, it hurts, etc ‘The anesthetic won’t sink in, it can’t penetrate the infection.’ He then calls his assistant over, who holds me down while he gives me the root canal. He was right, the anesthetic never sunk in. It was the most painful experience of my life. I just sat there afterwards shaking and crying. I later found out he was on probation with whatever local dentist association for misconduct and the other dentist he was sharing the office with was actually supposed to be supervising him.”
Broken Eye Bones
“I got a pool cue up my eye (my own doing. God, I’m stupid). I was taken to a doc who, while I was sitting there disoriented and with my eye all bloody (the lower half was blood red) and telling him I heard a crunching sound when it hit, said I could take some painkillers and I’d be fine. Sent me home. Turned out I’d totally trashed every bone in my eye socket and that I was inches from death due to a bone splinter that had entered my brain. Worst part: he didn’t even get fired.”
Burn Baby Burn
“At University, I got a pretty horrifying super heated steam-third degree covering my wrist, second degree (several blisters the height of grapes/covering the surface area of two or three grapes end to end within about 2 minutes) all down my forearm, first degree from my fingertips to my bicep. I’m an Eagle scout, so I knew what to do for the immediate treatment, and I knew that I needed an ambulance (after I made sure the area was safe for anyone who came in later…most painful 10 minutes of my life). Ambulance shows up, the EMS crew takes me to the vehicle taking all my information etc. I sit down in the ambulance, and the (clearly much younger/newer) girls start taking care of me in the back, while the older/experienced lady drives.
The first thing they do is take an ice pack and apply it directly to my burn. DIRECTLY.
Me: ‘Uh, I don’t think you’re supposed to do that. That hurts…’
Girl: ‘Of course it hurts. Please lie back, sir.’
Me: ‘No, seriously, I really don’t think you should put the ice pack directly on my burn without a towel or anything between it. Can you pl-‘
Girl: ‘SIR. LIE BACK. Everything will be alright, stop what you’re doing.’
Me: ‘HEY LADY. LADY UP FRONT. THEY’RE PUTTING AN ICE PACK DIRECTLY ON MY BURN!’
Girl: ‘Sir you need to stop now! You need to be quiet, you’re going into shock, we will restrain you if…’
Me: ‘HEEEELP! LADY UP FROOONT! THEY’RE DOING IT WROOONG! STOP THEM!’
Lady up front stops the ambulance. Lady: ‘Now what is going on ba…ARE YOU PUTTING THAT ICE PACK DIRECTLY ONTO HIS BURN??? GET THAT OFF RIGHT NOW! YES, RIGHT NOW!'”
Talk About A Crazy Wife
“After I was assaulted by my (now ex-) wife, I was taken to a local ER by an ambulance and two police officers (the police were amazing and very professional, by the way) while my wife got arrested and taken to the police station for processing. I was hit with a metal broom handle that broke over my head, then hit with the metal hook end of a caulk tube about 40 times. I had 3 broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a mild concussion. The doctor who was responsible for treating me got some information from the police and the paramedics before she came in to see me. The entire time she examined me, both before and after the MRI and the X-rays, she just kept shaking her head and making disapproving noises. In between all the head shaking and noises and sounds, she said the following things:
‘I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.’
‘You’re not gay, you’re the man, right?’
‘Why didn’t you get up and run away!?’
‘I just don’t get it! What’s wrong with you?’
To be totally fair, she was older (probably 50-60) and she was definitely foreign (pretty sure she was Filipino). Even so, I was really upset that she would treat me that way. Also, she failed to assign a forensic nurse (which is apparently required by law in domestic violence cases, I found out later) and she did not request a follow-up to check on my injuries or any counseling (also apparently required by law).
Almost 2 years on now, I have a lot of chronic pain from improperly treated injuries, severe anxiety and PTSD that could have been helped by a doctor who gave half a care about me.”
Near Death Experience
“When I was 15, I got a sore throat. It felt worse than normal and my mom sent me to my lifetime doctor. He took a blood sample and sent it to the local hospital for analysis as he thought it could be mono. However, since mono is pretty bad, he made me see the local Otoralyngologist the same day. He took a 2 minute look at me and prescribed me ampicillin just for good measure for my sore throat.
48 hours later I woke up weaker than I’ve ever been. My fever was burning at 107.6F and my mom gets a call from my lifetime doc that I have mono. My mom tells him about the ampicillin and the crazy red rash I have all over my body. He says I have to go to the hospital NOW!
I’m picked up in an ambulance. Last thing I remember is that I pass out on arrival at the local hospital. I woke up 24 hours later in a stable state. Apparently the ampicillin, which you never administer to a patient suspect of having mononucleosis, knocked out my immune system with the rash and almost killed me.
Since this is Denmark, the doc scratched it up to ‘it happens’ and was fined for misconduct. I moved away. Far away to another country with a private health care system!”
Pushpins Can Kill
“A couple years back, I was putting a poster up on the wall in my room, I was using pushpins to put it up. As I was positioning the poster, I put a pushpin in between my lips to hold it for a second. I began coughing uncontrollably and the pushpin ended up going down my throat. I went to see the doctor at my university health clinic. This guy was a complete idiot, here is out conversation:
Me: ‘So, uh, I think I swallowed a pushpin.’
Doctor: ‘Oh, that’s no big deal. You’ll pass it in a couple of days, just try checking your stool to make sure it comes out.’
Me: ‘Uhhh, is that all?’
Dr: ‘Well, I guess we can send you for X-Rays. I’ll make an appointment for Tuesday (it is currently Thursday).’
Me: ‘Um, isn’t that something that should happen sooner rather than later?’
Dr: ‘Well, you can go down to the hospital if you want, but you’ll probably end up having to wait awhile. I’m sure you’ll be fine either way.’
Upon realizing that this man was a complete idiot, I decided to go down to the hospital, because when you have a pushpin lodged somewhere inside you, a little wait seems like no big deal.
As soon as I get to the hospital and let them know what’s wrong with me, doctors start freaking out. They rush me through X-Rays, where they discover that THE PUSHPIN IS LODGED IN MY LUNG!!! That’s right, I somehow managed to inhale a pushpin. So yeah, checking my stool samples would’ve found poop.
During the first attempt to remove the pin, I was still awake just heavily sedated. I watched on a monitor as they stuck a tube (kinda like a vacuum) down my throat and tried to suck it up. After being unable to extract the pin (they tried for 1 hour), they decided they’d try the procedure with me unconscious. I waited til the next morning for an open operating room. They were able to remove the pin on this attempt (after 45 minutes of trying) and told me after I came to that they were about to give up that method and were going to cut me open to get the pushpin out.
The doctors at the hospital told me that the doctor at the university health clinic had given me the worst possible advice and could’ve killed me because of it. That doctor was promptly fired the very next day.”
“The Worst Pain I’ve Ever Felt”
“So, back in the 90s I was about 11 years old and I had some pretty extensive surgery done on my legs. All my life, I had been walking ‘pigeon-toed,’ meaning that when I walked, my feet didn’t point straight ahead, but were angled inwards. This not only made walking/running more tiring for me, but resulted in me being even clumsier than the average kid, often tripping and falling down as my feet got tangled in each other.
So I go to get this surgery, which involves making an incision on the inside of my thigh, just short of the knee (on both legs). The femurs then get sawed in half and the two halves are twisted relative to each other and then set, so they can heal, with my feet now properly aligned for walking. This surgery is not where things went wrong.
I spent a bit over a month recovering with my legs in casts from my thighs to my toes (super fun in the summer), and something called a Dennis Brown Split connecting the two casts together, making my legs even more immobile. This sucked as a kid, but was only the prelude to the truly bad part.
So, after a month or so, I go back to the doctor to get my casts changed from the ones that completely encased my feet, to some that would only go from thigh to ankle, so I could start walking (at least with crutches). This was gonna be pretty sweet, because being in a wheelchair stopped being fun really fast. I go in to the hospital with my parents, get the old casts removed and the new ones put on. The doctor says he wants me to try walking (with my parents beside me to help me balance). I’m nervous, but I decide to give it a try.
As soon as I got onto my feet, I’m treated to the worst pain I’d ever felt before or since. The soles of my feet feel like they’re walking across shards of glass covered in salt and vinegar, that are also somehow on fire. I react the way any 11 year old kid would. I start crying and screaming at the top of my lungs about how much my feet hurt. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where the doctor, a specialist who deals specifically with kids who have serious orthopedic issues, looked at me and said in the most condescending voice possible. ‘No, you shouldn’t be having any pain in your feet.’
OH, WELL THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING THEN, DOESN’T IT?
How can any doctor say something like that to someone in debilitated pain, let alone a kid, I will never know. Eff that guy.
Anyway, for those of you who are wondering what was causing the pain, congratulations, you’re apparently overqualified for this guy’s job. We later found out (from a different doctor) that I had developed a pretty severe case of plantar fasciitis, which is basically a condition where the soft tissues in your foot get messed up and inflamed, and probably happened as a result of my feet being immobilized in the first set of casts for so long. A couple years later my mom (a nurse) would happen to encounter a woman who had the same condition, and described the level of pain as second only to giving birth to her children. Now I’m not claiming my case was necessarily as bad as her’s, but that at least gives you an idea of how bad it can get, and why I am getting mad at that stupid doctor even thinking about it after all these years.”
Worst Doctor Ever
“My wife, myself, her parents, and my grandparents all went to the same doctor in the small town where I grew up.
My wife’s story: My wife went to him twice a year for checkups and stuff because she had some problems with ovarian cysts when she was a teenager. He put her on some birth control pills and called it a day. He checked her again a few years ago because she had some strange pressure in her abdomen and didn’t know what the deal was. He prodded around and said everything was fine, so she went to another doctor for a second opinion. Turns out she had a grapefruit-sized tumor growing on/in her uterus. She had to go to a fibroid specialist to get it removed, and he was like wow, I am amazed that your doctor didn’t catch this. It is immediately noticeable to anyone with any medical training.
Wife’s mom’s story: she had a cough that wouldn’t go away, he thought it was just allergies, so he prescribed her some Claratin. She kept feeling worse and worse, so she went back and this time he prescribed her some cough medicine. She started running a really high fever and couldn’t breathe and barely could get out of bed, so she went to another doctor, and he immediately admitted her to the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs.
My grandpa’s story: About 5 years ago, he started dropping various items that he was holding, and would have problems saying words or getting up out of a chair. Doctor said that it was just old age. 3.5 years ago, my grandpa started having problems walking and couldn’t help but shuffle his feet. He went to the doctor again and told him that it was like his brain was working but his body wasn’t responding. Doctor said it was just old age, nothing can be done. About 2 years ago it got to the point where my grandpa would ‘lock up’ and freeze in place as he was walking or doing various other random things. He was also losing a lot of weight and having extreme difficulty forming sentences. He went back to his doctor and again the diagnosis was ‘old age.’ Finally, they thought the doc was full of lies so my grandma took my grandpa to a specialist in the city and the specialist was like, ‘Wow, you’ve got advanced Parkinson’s disease. These signs should have been getting increasingly worse over the past few years. Since you were misdiagnosed for so long, we can’t do much other than this experimental treatment that will only work for a few months, then your decline will accelerate. I am sorry, there is nothing more we can do.’ He died this past February from complications of Parkinson’s disease.”
“After having sinus surgery, I developed severe gushing nosebleeds, pretty much confining me to bed because walking or anything that upped my blood pressure triggered it. My surgeon had me come in and packed the nose (basically shoved a tampon up there) and said that should do it, but I quickly realized that all it did was cause the blood to go down my throat and out of my other nostril and mouth. Of course by this time my surgeon was on vacation, so I went in to the ER.
After a two-hour wait, they finally brought me back because I was spewing blood all over the lobby, so they put me in a stretcher and sat me in the hallway for an hour. Finally, an ENT resident comes by and talks to me. I tell him that I’ve been gushing blood from my nose for 4 days, and packing had been inserted but that just diverts the blood. He shines a light up my unpacked nostril and looks in my throat and says, ‘Well I don’t see any bleeding, it looks like the packing is doing it’s job.’
I was just too dumbfounded to respond. Apparently the whole part about how I keep having gushing nosebleeds didn’t register. I offer to go show him my blood on the carpet in the lobby, but he declined. Eventually they dismiss me with a prescription for a beta blocker to lower my blood pressure to try to help, and tell me to follow up with my surgeon. Who is out of town.
So next day, the surgeon’s office gets permission from my insurance company to see my surgeon’s partner (who is not on my plan) and tell me it sounds pretty serious and I should come in right away, and he’ll get me into surgery to stop the bleed. I go right in, have a 5-minute surgery to cauterize the nicked artery. Surgeon says it was really easy to find, just a huge pulsating leaking artery that never would have healed on its own.
Now I don’t expect the ER to operate on me, but I would hope the on call ENT would be qualified enough to not tell me it looks like the packing is working when I just explained I’m having horrid nosebleeds with the packing in there. On the plus side, the guy who did the follow-up surgery turned out to be his supervisor, so I made sure to put in a bad word…”
New Nurse Fail
“When I was in 6th grade, I had to go through a series of immunizations, including Hepatitis B, which is taken in a few doses. After the first shot, I had no problem getting shots, so I was never nervous about the procedure. The second Hepatitis shot I got, though, was administered by a nurse who must have just graduated from stabbing oranges. She was so afraid of giving me the shot, that she did all of this:
-She couldn’t control her shaking hand, meaning that when she administered the shot, her hand shook while the needle was IN MY ARM (that didn’t feel good)
-She took about 3 times as long as the first nurse did to insert and remove the needle, slowly withdrawing it from my arm
-She missed with the bandage (???), it was about an inch and a half from the tiny dot of blood
-She positively bolted from the room as soon as she could.
To be fair, she was probably new to the field and was afraid of hurting a little kid, but she was more afraid of the shot than I was!”
She Is A Professional After All
“I recently saw a clinical psychologist for the first time after years and years of anxiety, hopelessness, self-injury, and suicidal ideation that all began with a messed up childhood. I told them that I had never seen any sort of professional for this, and I needed to do something.
I didn’t get any sort of evaluation. She didn’t ask me any questions. She just told me to tell her about myself then stared at me in awkward silence for several minutes while I failed to think of anything about myself due to all my brain processes being occupied entirely with trying not to run away as fast as I could. I eventually said something, and proceeded have to tell this person I didn’t know or trust all of these extremely personal things.
I asked what the purpose was of just talking about my past when I needed to learn how to deal with NOW, and I had been spending years analyzing my past. I could already identify all my anxiety triggers and connect almost all of them to my past and understand WHY, but it didn’t make me feel any better, and I wasn’t coping well with my thoughts and feelings. She said in her 20 some years of doing this, she’s seen that teaching me to cope with symptoms won’t help, and that that type of therapy might make people feel better in the short term, but is ultimately ineffective.
I left and didn’t sleep for two days. I just cried and hyperventilated. But I went back the next week, because this is a professional, they know what’s best, and everyone says it has to get worse before it can get better. I had done my research and picked a doctor with really good reviews on multiple websites. So I went back the next week, and the same thing. She just stared at me, didn’t even say anything this time. I managed to talk about my feelings for an hour, then the same thing. My anxiety was skyrocketing, I was angry. So I didn’t go back again, which actually made me feel better than I had in a long time.
I never got any answers. I still don’t know what’s wrong with me. It was an incredibly frustrating experience, it felt so wrong to open up like that and it didn’t make me feel better, and I didn’t get help. What I did get was a bill for $200 in the mail a free week later(after insurance).”
It’s All Bad From The Name
“10 years ago when I was in the 4th grade, I was diagnosed with acute appendicitis by the local family practitioner. My mom rushed my to the hospital where they ran some tests and confirmed the appendicitis. An hour later my surgeon showed up and even though I was a kid and quite sick, he seemed a little off. First his name was Dr. Looney. Then he spoke way too fast and he kind of giggled as he spoke.
Luckily the surgery went fine and I have a sweet little scar on my stomach. That wasn’t the good part of the story though. Skip ahead five years to 8th grade. I had heard about my friend’s mom’s crazy new boyfriend for a couple weeks before I went over to her house. One day she invited me over for dinner. When I got there she basically went into a rant about the new boyfriend, how he had just lost his medical license because he had been found inebriated on the job too many times. He was a total weirdo and treated her and her sister badly, just general bad stuff. Then she says the worst part of it is his name is Looney. My stomach has never dropped so quickly and forcefully. A few minutes later, he came inside (he had been out bbq’ing) and introduced himself as Doctor Blah Blah Looney. My face must have been as white as a sheet, I was terrified because I had heard stories about this guy for weeks, and I only just learned that he had cut open my stomach and messed around with my intestines. I kind of meekly suggested that he may have operated on my appendix. Then the doctor gave some spiel about how he was the best surgeon around, and he checked out my scar commenting on how small it was, once again he was the best… I sat through dinner literally petrified. In his defense he did a fine job operating on me, but if that appendicitis didn’t give me 2 of the scariest moments of my life.”