“I’ve broken my what?!”
Doctors of Reddit were asked: “What’s something you’ve had to tell a patient that you thought for sure was common knowledge?” These are some of the best answers.
1/25 Had a lady measure her baby’s temperature by pre-heating the oven and putting one hand in front of it while the other hand was on the baby’s forehead. She told the nurse her baby’s fever was about 250 degrees.
2/25 Have had to inform a few male patients that the condom only goes on the shaft and should not be pulled down to include covering of the testicles.
3/25 Vet here… Dead bodies decompose! If you leave your dead dog I euthanised in the back of your car on the hottest day of the year, don’t come crying to me when its belly fills with putrefying gases and bursts. Demanding I cover the costs of reupholstering your car might be considered a little rude as well.
4/25 In a free medical clinic I had to tell a mother that she should be brushing her 4 year old’s teeth. The daughter came because her throat hurt. After opening her mouth & using a tongue depressor to see her throat, the daughter squirmed like 4 year olds are prone to do & the tongue depressor hit her gums. Pus flowed everywhere & the child wound-up having to be put on penicillin before having every last tooth pulled due to severe infection.
5/25 I once had a patient with a cancer diagnosis completely depressed about not being able to see their family anymore. I was confused because I had spoken with this individual’s spouse and extended family who seemed supportive; there wasn’t any indication of family problems, etc.
It turns out that this individual thought “genetic” and “family history” had meant something similar to “contagious”, leading them to the conclusion that one should stay away from loved ones lest it be spread through the family.
That was one clarification I was so happy to give.
6/25 My favourite was when someone was prescribed estrogen patches and told to stick one patch on herself every other day. At the next follow-up she said she didn’t like the patches because she’d been “running out of space”
I didn’t think to clarify to her that she should have been placing a new patch and removing the one from yesterday each day. Very amusing. She indeed was covered in sticky patches.
7/25 Mom brought her kids to the ER after they ate all of their Halloween candy because they had tummy aches. They were still eating Reese’s peanut butter cups when they were in the exam room. I had to explain to her that they need to cut back on the candy and she looked at me like I had three heads.
8/25 Paramedic here, have informed numerous people that pouring Gatorade into the unresponsive diabetics mouth is not a good idea.
9/25 That they were 8 months pregnant.
10/25 You’re still sexually active even if you are just on the bottom every time.
11/25 I work as a pharmacologist and one of the patients we had at my company was complaining the cat allergy medicine we gave her wasn’t working (formulated in an inhaler). Turns out she was spraying the inhaler on her cat… We have to explain to her that she needs to inhale it…
12/25 Paramedic. During clinical time in the ER 17 yo girl came in with a bloody rectum/anus. Apparently she wasn’t wiping after using the bathroom and it was basically really bad diaper rash. So the nurse had to call social services. And explain to this girl proper wiping.
13/25 So this happened when I was a family doctor. I got a call in the middle of the night (I was on call) from a very distressed new mother. She said her newborn was projectile vomiting with every feed. Projectile vomiting can be a worrisome finding in a newborn so I asked her to meet me in the ER right away. When I saw the baby he was smiling, happy and in perfect good health. The mom assured me that he vomited with every feed. So I asked her to feed him to let me see what happened. She did and as soon as she finished the baby started to fuss then spit up the milk. I asked was this what she had been seeing. It was. So I asked her if she ever burped the baby. She looked at me puzzled. She had no clue about burping. She said she thought it was some “tv thing”. I assured her it was a real thing and at 2:00am taught her how to burp a baby. I asked her to follow up with me in a day or two. She came in and said “you are the best doctor ever, that burping thing you taught me is like magic – now my baby is happy all the time”.
14/25 A nursing home called 911 for a patient who was having difficulty breathing. When we arrived, a PA was standing in front of the patient vigorously “fanning” the old lady with her hands. She looked at us and said, “I’m giving her some oxygen because we couldn’t find a portable O2 tank” and keeps flapping her arms. Remember, this is a physician assistant!! Probably making 100k a year!! I informed her that she could stop now and my partner and I did our best to wait until we were outside to burst out laughing.
15/25 A “No added nicotine” label on your cigarette box is not the same as NO nicotine.
16/25 Pouring Lysol on your foot will not stop your diabetic foot ulcer from becoming osteomyelitis.
17/25 How a shorter/fatter 5 ml oral syringe held more volume than a skinnier and longer 1 ml oral syringe. “How does this hold more liquid when its shorter??”
18/25 ER nurse. I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter “because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it throughly after every use.” I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the condom with hot water and soap before he used said condom again. I had to explain to her that condoms are a one time use product… She had no clue…
19/25 I told a friend of a friend that I had just completed my doctorate, he asked if I could write him a prescription ….sigh
20/25 Pediatric nurse here. I’ve told more than one parent that their infant should not be drinking Dr. Pepper out of their bottle (or any other vessel for that matter).
21/25 No joke, a panicked 29 year old came to the office for corn in his stool. He genuinely thought something was wrong.
22/25 Viagra does not prevent STDs or pregnancy.
23/25 I once had to use the word dick instead of penis because the patient did not know the proper term for his genitalia.
24/25 One lady I was seeing for clinicals was diabetic, and she would come in every week with stupid high blood sugar levels (250-560ish), not knowing why they were so high. She kept a record of everything she ate, and all her food intake seemed fine.
One day, her husband came with her, which was weird, and he ninja slipped me a note while shaking my hand. It read, “Ask her about the Quiktrip slushies. She doesn’t believe me that they have sugar in them.” So I asked her if she was having any soda, lemonade, tea, ice cream, shakes or slushies, and she told me, like a light bulb had gone off in her head, “Well, I have been drinking about 3 of the 48oz Quiktrip slushies every day for awhile now. They’re just so good! And they aren’t food or drink, they’re slushies! So they don’t have any sugar in them, and I don’t need to record them!”
It was so hard to convince her that those are so full of sugar it isn’t even funny. But seriously, 3 a day on a type 2 diabetic. It was one of the stupidest things I have ever heard in my life.
25/25 Vet here. I had this lady bring in her female cat who turned out to be pregnant. She was adamant that it was impossible, as this was strictly an indoor cat. Upon further questioning, she admitted that there was an intact tom also living in the same house, but that he couldn’t possibly have done it because he was the female cat’s brother.
Yeah, cats don’t work that way.