Doctor’s offices are supposed to be safe spaces, with professional people there to help us through confusing or tough diagnoses and moments – and while that’s true much of the time, sadly, it’s not always the case.
Way too many people have stories about being treated unprofessionally during an uncertain time of need, and let me tell you – these 18 instances are really going to boil your blood.
18. Omg what the heck. Ha!
One time I went in for a general check up and my doctor said “well everything is fine with you except for that haircut”
Everyone in the waiting room laughed
17. They didn’t take them seriously.
I have Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is basically an overreaction to the cold where my blood vessels in my extremities constrict too much.
I brought it up during a routine checkup when I was 17, saying that my hands go deathly white and numb in the cold. She told me it’s all in my head. I was 17 and stupid and wasn’t picking up what she was putting down, so I said “no, I can see it happen when I’m cold.” She cut me off and told me again it was all in my head and gave me a condescending look. She clearly just didn’t want to deal with it.
Also my mom had cancer that didn’t get caught until it was stage 4. It didn’t get caught until stage 4 because the doctors she explained her symptoms to would literally say things like “don’t worry, it’s not like it’s cancer or anything.”
16. Not exactly what you want to hear.
I had a very rare complication of the flu and my nerves were getting eaten away by my immune system. I could barely walk and was numb from the waist down. By the time I was transferred to a hospital that could treat me, it was close to midnight and the doctor that admitted me was very young.
I was the first person he’d seen with this condition. He kept saying how cool it was to do a neuro exam on someone who wasn’t an actor and when he would see how weak I was he’d be like “Oh wow, you really are weaker on that side, that’s so interesting!”.
To be fair, after twelve hours of everyone talking to me like I was going to die, I found it quite entertaining! It was unprofessional, but I appreciated his enthusiasm for learning.
15. The doctor laughed.
This happened to me with “female issues”. I went in to see a women’s doctor because I was bleeding (as in heavy blood 24/7) and had debilitating pains that were literally forcing me to have time off of work.
I went in and explained the situation to this doctor who actually laughed at me whilst I was almost in tears trying to get help. I then asked her to do a pap smear to test if I had anything wrong with me, as I was terrified that I had cervical cancer, and she proceeded to do the worst pap smear I’ve ever had.
She didn’t explain what she was doing, looked at me for about 20 seconds without doing any tests or swabs and then told me “it was all in my head”. I ended up crying and leaving because I felt so embarrassed.
I went to another, much better doctor recently and am now getting tested for endometriosis. It is so awful that people become doctors when they obviously couldn’t give less of a crap.
14. Boring is what you want to be.
Last year I had an allergic response to something and had a rash over my whole body. So, I saw my PCP and he legit said, “Iiiiinteresting!” I replied with, “No, not interesting! Boring! I want to be boring!”
13. Were they serious?
I have stage 4 endometriosis, the endo tissue in my intestines and stomach have caused a secondary condition called malabsorption syndrome. Basically my intestines don’t do their job and don’t absorb everything they should out of food, which leaves me with constant deficiencies. I get a lot of my vitamins injected.
A few years ago I moved house to about an hour away. In happy to travel for specialists, but am hour is a bit of a trip just to see a GP. So I gathered up all my documents, my chronic illness management plan, my reports from my gynaecologist and gastroenterologist and started GP shopping.
I’ll preface this by saying I did end up finding an excellent GP who I am very happy with (although I wish she worked more than three days a week), but wow so many GPs do not like reading things from specialists.
Here are some stand out comments
“In not reading that, forget what you’ve been told, let’s start from scratch, a fresh start!”
“Yes, many women think they have endometriosis, they read something on the internet and suddenly they’re convinced. Let me assure you that you will be grateful to not have the pain women who really do have it deal with”
“And what is it that makes you think you have these conditions? What you’re claiming to have is pretty serious and requires specialist medical care, I hope you realise that”
“I don’t read specialist reports, I know more than most of them anyway”
12. A punch to the gut.
To my wife: Don’t worry, nobody ever dies from this kind of cancer. We’ll give you a full hysterectomy and you’ll be fine.
Eighteen months later she was dead.
11. They had to convince him.
A doctor told my husband, “I can’t make chicken soup out of chicken s%*t” in regards to a finger injury he had. He wanted to cut the whole tip off.
We convinced him to just put a couple stitches in it. It’s actually quite amazing how well it healed.
10. There’s no reason for that.
My SO is a pancreatic cancer survivor. The cancer was discovered very early, thanks to a CT scan that was performed to diagnose a completely unrelated condition.
Every doctor involved in his care was very clear that he will be dead within five years. Which was fair, and understandable, but still a very difficult thing to come to terms with.
It’s been 6 years. After his initial surgery to remove the tumors, he has a CT scan annually, and there has been no reoccurrence and no sign of cancer.
Every time this comes up when meeting a new healthcare professional, the response is always “What?? Cool!!!! I’ve never met someone that survived pancreatic cancer!! That NEVER happens! You’re not dead?! Neato!”
Yes, we are beyond fortunate and he is definitely an “outlier” so to speak…. but it left us with what could maybe be classified as survivor’s guilt, and a tremendous amount of fear regarding what the future could bring. Those reactions from healthcare professionals are usually way more uncomfortable than they are positive.
9. This is terrifying.
That happened to my mom with me! She brought me to my pediatrician’s office about 5 times because she said I wasn’t acting right. He told her that she was turning into one of those parents that wanted their kid to have something wrong with them.
She went back one final time (THANK GOD) and saw the nurse practitioner instead. She sent us to Children’s hospital in Boston.
I had a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball.
The doctors said I would have most likely died if I had been brought in any later. Doctors, amirite?
8. Yeah, nope.
For a routine exam, the doctor insisted that his young nurse take my temperature rectally, not orally – much to her embarrassment as she inserted the probe.
As I once described, he claimed that the rectal reading was more accurate. But for a routine check-up, it’s hard to see the benefit of this relative to the embarrassment it causes.
7. Ok time to go.
I make nerdy accessories for myself. I had on a pendant I made of a certain character when I went to a doctor appointment.
Before examining me, a doctor noticed my pendant and told me about how an actress tied to the franchise caused his sexual awakening.
6. That’s assault, friends.
I had a doctor who always found a reason to “digitally examine” my rectum. Whether it was a backache, migraines, the flu – whatever – the rectum was always on his list. I was 18 and he was my first doc after having a pediatrician- I didn’t realize this was weird.
Until.. One visit (for high heart rate), he did the usual inspection and I turned around abruptly to actually ask him why it was necessary. HE WASN’T WEARING GLOVES. No gloves. Bare hands. Naked fingers. You get the point. I was embarrassed and confused and said I was done with the appointment and had to go.
He left, I got dressed and went straight to patient assistance. I filed a complaint. Months later, I received paperwork saying the inquiry was complete and they found no wrongdoing on his part (I had already changed doctors after the gloveless incident).
A few years later, I read in our local paper that he lost his license due to inappropriate behavior with female patients. Shortly after that, a nurse had to be present during exams when clothes were off or certain body parts had to be checked out and I was pretty happy about it (had nothing to do with me – just good timing for that change to take effect).
5. If that’s what you’re looking for.
My wife’s OBGYN was this young-ish Russian doctor who was actually quite accomplished and respected, no clue why she was practicing at this rural hospital.
Anyway, my wife was pregnant with our son and around the 4-5 month mark we’re in an appointment and the doctor says in a thick accent, “Your weight gain is…fine now. Try to stop gaining weight.” We laughed for quite a bit at this.
We loved this doctor as well, she was great but also didn’t mess around. A lot of her reviews were negative due to her lack of f**ks to give in regards to coddling her patients.
4. Sometimes your brain just freezes.
Doctor here and I really hate to admit this…
Very early in my career I was talking to a male patient. I had to ask him about penile discharge and I just couldn’t remember what the professional way to ask was. Do I say dick? No no. That’s not right. Cmon, think dammit. You’re a doctor now. Wait. There’s been too long of a silence. Dong. I went with dong…
E – never expected this to take off. Love all the comments and conversations thus far. And to all of those asking – yes, ‘penis’ would have been the word of choice but it slipped my mind. Hence the ‘dong’
3. Not one but two.
I have a genetic predisposition to hernias, so I’ve had several. Went to a new GP in college cause I felt like I had another one.
“I think I have another hernia.” (it would be my 2nd)
“I can’t feel anything.”
“huh, I’m pretty sure it’s there”
“you’re probably just stressed with school or something”
fast forward a few months, I went to see a different GP because it really felt like I had a hernia.
“I think I have another hernia”
[other doctor does the hernia check]
“no, you have 2 hernias. One’s quite bad so I’m going to get you a meeting with the surgeon this week.”
Sure enough, I had 2 hernias by that point and needed surgery.
2. Absolutely hilarious.
Eh, I’m 56 and borderline diabetic. I also have low testosterone unless on TRT. So the physical in question was a A1C check, a testosterone check and all the normal cholesterol shit.
I love my doctor and his country nurses. One of them is questioning me prior to my blood being drawn and the relatively new nurse said, “Do you ever feel Im Po Tent?” And I thought she said Important, which is a confusing question at a doctors office so I said “What?”
With a confused look on my face. She said, “You know, Your d*%k work alright?”
1. You know your own teeth.
I have a tooth than gets chronically infected. I felt it flaring up again and went to the Dr, knowing exactly what antibiotics I needed. She scoffed at me and told me it wasn’t infected, just a little swollen and to take some Advil.
So I shell out money I don’t have to see a dentist (Alberta health care is stupid. Teeth, eyes and prescriptions = luxuries). Turns out that, YUP! It’s infected!
Almost like I knew what I was talking about! (Oh well, at least I found an amazing dentist for all my efforts.)
I cannot stand people in positions of authority or power not taking care of the people who come to them for help.
What’s your story in this vein? Share it with us in the comments!