First things first: hats off to all the doctors and other healthcare workers out there who are doing a great job during these trying times.
But now it’s time to look at the lighter side of their work and explore some funny stories about patients who were either totally OVERdramatic or not dramatic at all.
You know that doctors see it all, so this is gonna be a lot of fun!
Let’s check out these interesting stories from AskReddit users.
1. Tough folks.
“Farmers are notorious for being underdramatic.
Had a farmer awhile ago who was up a tree for some reason, and fell out. As bad luck would have it, someone had left a dirty meat hook at the bottom in the tree and he landed on it, impaling his butt cheek.
He proceeded to pull it out, finish what he was doing, drive himself home and go to bed.
The only reason he came to hospital was because his wife woke up to a bed full of blood and insisted he get that looked at.”
2. Not messing around.
“The one that stands out was on an OB/GYN rotation when I was in school. This stoic Eastern European lady went into labor while she was at work earlier in the day.
Apparently she never called her husband to tell him. So there she is, about to start pushing, and her husband calls her. She just says “I’m having the baby.” Then there is some pause where he says something. She replies, “No, you stay there with [other child’s name]. I’ll be home tomorrow.”
Then she hung up, and pushed out a baby.””
3. My tummy hurts.
“So we’re in this small treatment center in a small island in Greece, night shift, and this guy comes in through the ER door.
Now I want you to imagine the most typical bulky Russian guy. Two meters tall, wide as a bull and just straight up menacing, this is the guy you see in movies bouncing at a mob club.
So he’s walking slowly towards us, and in broken Greek he says “tummy hurt” with the most thick russian accent. He’s holding his abdomen and has a sour face, looking like he has some GI issues, so we point him to the internal medicine room after he does the paperwork.
He takes his time, reaches the bed and just sits there, chilling. We ask what’s wrong, again, same answer, just a small “tummy hurt”.
Yeah, he was shot three times.
And I’m pretty sure he walked it off, came here on his own and the only thing he figured he should say is a chill “tummy hurt” like it’s a Tuesday and he had some indigestion.”
“I had a patient that did not believe the coronavirus was a real thing.
She did not believe that CoVid 19 was real. What was she there for you ask? CoVid 19. She believes she has pneumonia. But doesn’t believe that CoVid caused it. She refuses remdesivir, decadron, zinc.
The only thing she accepted was oxygen…because she couldn’t breathe.”
5. Brave kid.
“We had call for a 911 trauma on its way to our ED for a child who was accidentally run over by a riding lawn mower. Reports were that the patient was essentially eviscerated.
They roll the child in and I’m expecting this kid to be unconscious and unresponsive. But this kid was wide awake, their innards hanging out of their abdominal cavity. Not crying at all. Only time they showed distress was when the nurse tried to insert an IV.
We got that kid straight to the OR as soon as we could and he ended up okay in the end. But I’ll never forget how “calm” he was considering I could see his kidney when he got rolled in.””
6. Stay calm.
“A woman was brought in after a fall saying she was in pain (in her 30s) but very calm.
Apparently she got ignored for like an hour plus until this tech asked about her CT. Finally got her one- she had 3 fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and a dislocated hip… Allegedly her calm demeanor meant she couldn’t possible be injured or in pain.
She was a chronic patient (like myself) who regularly had injuries but knew to stay calm or things would get worse. She got a lot of apple juice and apologies…”
7. This is nuts.
“Had an old guy who slipped and fell in the kitchen.
Had some pain but meh, decided to put socks on and get into bed and sleep it off. Next day, it still hurts so he came in. I took off the sock and his bone was literally sticking out and his ankle was deformed. He told me he used to run marathons all the time and didn’t think much of it.
To this day, I’m still not sure why he thought putting a sock on would be a good idea.”
8. Looking for drugs.
“I was at work once in the ER when a known drug seeker came in.
He claimed to be in horrible back pain but he was dramatically thrashing in his chair, grabbing the back of the chair in front of him and shaking it, and throwing his head back and hollering. It was bad acting. Most people who are in severe back pain move as little as possible.
He came in with a new severe pain every week. They always had to run tests, but after he became well known, he didn’t get opiates anymore.”
9. Overdramatic teenager.
“Most overdramatic was a teenage girl whose mom and boyfriend would bring her in at least once a week. The boyfriend would literally carry this girl in, cradled in his arms, the girl limp and “unconscious”.
And the mother would fuss that her daughter needed to be seen immediately. I tried to put on my best customer service face but this woman was nuts. There was never anything wrong with the daughter (not my diagnosis, but verified with the folks in back who had medical degrees).
I wouldn’t put up with mom’s sh*t, her yelling at me and demanding to be seen immediately. I never held back their info or anything, but I calmly explained to her that the emergency room was not first come first serve, that we triage everyone and treat based on emergent status, and the nurses and doctors would see her daughter as soon as they were able.
The woman began calling after every visit to complain about my poor attitude. I insisted that I was calm and professional and that my boss should ask the other people on staff if I had done or said anything inappropriate, which of course she didn’t. My boss finally got the hint when once again the mom called in and complained, so my boss caught me to ream me once again as soon as I sat down to begin my shift.
I found this odd because I actually hadn’t seen them in a couple weeks. I had seen this family so many times I had their info memorized so I looked up the daughter’s medical record number and politely informed my boss that their most recent visit was on a day I didn’t work, so there is no possible way I had given them an attitude.
She finally got off my back about it after that.”
10. A wild ride.
“This guy came in and was screaming, like absolutely insane stuff. Apparently attempted suicide (according to emt who had NO IDEA what was happening), his wife was poisoning their child- they didn’t have a child, everyone was killing him.
Full psychotic break down, we thought it was drug induced. Doctor later came and explained whT happened to me. Guy was fine, he had severe narcissistic personality disorder and his family had basically said he needed therapy Bc he was abusive towards his wife. He had a melt down and took off and started all this to, I kid you not, in his own words, “get the cops to arrest the b*tch for not making me dinner properly”.
There was like pages and pages of notes and insane things written the wife brought in to try and help the doctors understand. The wildest part was this was a very conservative Muslim family so they were absolutely baffled by his behavior.
To this day I was still confused but the amount of drama it caused. He didn’t actually take anything like he claimed or drink anything and his psych eval was clear except for the narcissistic personality thing (so no actual psychotic break signs and we had a psychiatrist witness the entire thing to determine what happened).
“Suicidal drunk fella, at a bar, jumped up onto the bar and slashed both his wrists deeply with a Bowie knife. He got swarmed by the crowd, tourniquted and brought to us.
Vitals ok, and with Trauma and Hand in attendance we cautiously let the tourniquets down. The anatomy was pretty cool, you could see all the flexor tendons of fingers, completely transected. Not much in the way of bleeding. “close it loosely and we’ll do a proper OR repair tomorrow” Hand tells us, and leaves.
Mammals have two sorts of blood vessels. There are the veins, which are thin walled and compressible and carry blood from the extremities toward the heart. And there are the arteries, which have smooth muscle cells in their walls in order to handle the pressure of the heart beating blood into them, toward the extremities.
This fella taught me a thing. So there’s this creepy life-saving thing that arteries do. If a patient is bleeding out and gets hypotensive, the smooth muscle in the wall of the artery can spasm down and stop the bleeding temporarily. And the radial artery, spasmed down, looked godd*mned exactly like a flexor tendon, to the entire surgical team. So they left him with me.
And fifteen minutes later, once every one had left the room to make calls and enter orders on his behalf, this last ditch survival thing relaxed, and he quietly, drunkenly filled the floor of his room with blood.”
12. Skateboard accident.
“We picked up a guy that fell off a skateboard ramp. He’d landed on his forehead, can’t remember if he had a helmet or not, probably not.
He was in good spirits when we arrived, never lost consciousness and could walk, looking a little bruised, talking, pretty with it. This was before concussions were as well understood and we figured he probably had a moderate concussion and a black eye and that was it. He almost turned down the ride to the ER but we convinced him not to mess around with possible head/neck injuries and get checked out just in case.
Good thing he didn’t because on the way he started losing consciousness, blood pressure, vomiting huge amounts of blood, unconscious and very low vitals by the time we got there. It was crazy how quickly he went downhill, this was only like a 10 min drive.
Turned out that whole quadrant of his face/skull was crushed but instead of bleeding outside, the blood was draining down the back of his throat into his stomach so it didn’t seem that bad at first glance.
We made a crucial mistake by deliberately not touching his obviously banged up forehead to not cause him more pain (normally you would do this as part of an assessment), had we done that his forehead and eyebrow ridge would have felt soft and spongy, a very clear indicator he needed to get to the ER pronto with sirens/lights and have the ER surgery ready.
He ended up with massive brain swelling and emergency brain surgery, the silver lining is they found a previously unknown brain tumor that was removed and he made a full recovery.”
13. A huge burn.
“One of my patients who is currently going through the long road of heroin addiction recovery, and as a result is seen every day for related care.
One day comes in with an absolutely enormous burn on his ankle/lower leg. He’s barefoot because it hurts too much to put shoes on. But what is worse is the huge sac of fluid, a blister of impressive size, hanging from it, dragging on the floor.
Calmly, he limps over, before asking me solemnly, “Do you think I need to go to the hospital about this?””
14. Nice and calm.
“Farmer came in for bilateral hand injuries by private vehicle. Hands were wrapped in towels.
Calmly told us that he was helping a birth a calf by wrapping twine around the protruding legs and pulling. Mommy cow decided to take off and the twine became tangled around his hands. He is covered in manure because the cow dragged him a bit face down
. Unwrapped his hands and he still has the twine embedded to the bone in three of his fingers. We unwrapped the twine and there was nothing but bone still intact underneath. Still completely chill.
Started on iv antibiotics and began to wash the wounds. This was the point where I called a hand surgeon and transferred him.”
Now we want to hear from you!
If you work in health care, tell us about some of the most dramatic OR underdramatic patients you’ve ever had.
Please and thank you!