Websites like WebMD were intended to be helpful. People were supposed to be able to either confirm or rule out things based on the symptoms they were having, before going to see a doctor. Somewhere along the way, every one in the world became a hypochondriac with doctorate and began taking WebMD suggestions as gospel or even worse, self-treating based on what they think they might have instead of going to the doctor. In case you were unaware, this can be very dangerous. Take it from the doctors below, who posted on Reddit, these stories of the most incorrect self-diagnosis’ from their patients.
Phew! So Now We Know This Doesn’t Work
Seizures from a parasite. He was actually psychotic and was self-treating what he thought was a parasite infestation by drinking household cleaning agents. When he started seizing afterwards, this reconfirmed his parasite diagnosis in his mind, so he drank more.
Diagnosis: Too Much Fun! Anal cysts. Nope, he just touched his anal cavity too much and left it irritated.
I’ve had a patient claim that amputations run in his family. He said that was the only reason he needed both legs taken off above the knee. He was adamant that it was not actually due to his uncontrolled diabetes, his enormous and continual sugar intake, his refusal to use insulin, or his refusal of treatment for the giant infected wounds on both feet.
Just Imagine If It Was Vice-Versa
Patient had diarrhea. It was yellow and liquid. The patient said there was something very wrong, and somehow the tubes got crossed inside of their body because the pee was coming out of their butt.
Blue Jean Baby, ER Lady
One time a woman came in via ambulance yelling about how her hands were turning blue, and she was worried about her circulation. A nurse, being the smart ass she was, took an alcohol wipe to her hands and her hands magically weren’t blue anymore. Turns out she had bought new jeans and didn’t wash them before wearing them. I’ve never seen someone so embarrassed, she practically ran out of the ER.
He Meant It Will Get Better With “Bionics”
Patient comes in with a gangrenous toe. He says it will get better with antibiotics, he doesn’t need to come into the hospital, he knows his body, etc. He left AMA with the antibiotics he came in for, and told to return if anything changes. The patient came in the next day. The toe fell off.
I was taking the history of a guy in clinic and I asked about his past medical problems, including if he had had any heart attacks. He responded, “oh yeah, I’ve had about 20 of those.”
“…you’ve had 20 heart attacks??”
“Which doctor(s) did you see about them? Do you have a cardiologist?”
“Nah, I never went to a doctor. My wife is a massage therapist, and whenever a heart attack hits, she starts to massage some pressure points and it stops.”
“…Uhh, ok…what does it feel like when you have a heart attack?”
“I don’t ever remember them. My wife tells me that I fall onto the floor and my arms and legs start jerking. She says it takes about a minute of her massaging before it stops. I then get really confused and tired afterwards, and I can’t remember much of anything that happens to me until I take a nice long nap.”
The dude was having seizures, and thought that they were heart attacks.
12 Pairs Of Lumps
I had a male come in to the ED complaining of a “breast lump”. He anxiously stated that the mass was very painful to touch and was convinced that he was going to die of breast cancer. After a battery of questions I asked him to take off his shirt so I can examine and palpate the mass. After a couple of seconds, I turned to him and said, “Sir, that lump is your rib.”
That’s One Way To Find Out
Patient was dizzy. Patient thought she had a brain tumor. Went to the medical general practitioner. General practitioner thought she had a chronic middle ear infection. Went to the ear, nose and throat physician. ENT diagnosis: pregnancy.
The Perils of Google
Had a 19 year old girl come in asking for antifungal medication because she was convinced she had oral thrush. Her and her boyfriend had Googled her symptoms, and at 19 you’re never wrong. When I suggested that perhaps we check an EBV antibody to rule out mono, she looked at me like I was actively drooling on myself and refused, because there was, “No way I can have mono.” Eventually I convinced her to have some diagnostic testing done, and sure enough she had mono. I tried to explain that having oral thrush as a 19 year old could possibly be much more concerning than mononucleosis, but she didn’t seem to get it.
It Means It’s Working
Had a friend come to me claiming she was surely dying and had colon cancer. She had dark stool and stomach pains. I asked her what she had been taking to help with her stomach pains. She said Pepto-Bismol, of course. I told her to stop taking the Pepto-Bismol, and told her to go see her primary physician about it. Sure enough, it was just the Pepto-Bismol. It literally says on the label that it can darken stools.
What Happens When This Baby Starts Teething?!
A family with a two week old who was convinced the baby had 1) anxiety- because he cries. 2) autism- little eye contact 3) bipolar disorder- because baby would seem content then angry. I spent HOURS explaining child development, what these diagnosis mean, how they would present in kids. I provided them with books, hand outs, etc. They insisted on going to see my co-worker. Even after meeting with two other professionals, they still weren’t convinced. They requested psych meds from the doctor.
Man came into the ER in a panic thinking he had incurable skin cancer. Turns out he had a wart on his foot.
They Call Those Tickles
Vet here. Twice I have had people worried that their dog’s abdomen was “covered in ticks”. Turns out both times to be the nipples.