Stupid Doctor Tricks...


Sorry to be a tease, but I dont have time to post my favorite Stupid Doctor Tricks stories but here is one:

Woman had hard dark pustule type thing on her abdomen. To me it looked like an old blackhead that had gotten out of control. It was approximately the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil. But my co-worker freaked out called the doctor to see this “enormous infected mole”, on Mrs X’s abdomen.

Doctor came out… diagrammed it on the chart, and wrote “Its a big ugly zit. No orders.”

One day I went in late to work because my lower lip was swollen into a Fat Albert-sized behemoth. I had a vague recollection of waking up with something on my lip, and then eating it. I think it was a pissed off spider. I went to the doctor, and said “by bip is hubge” Standard questions followed, then a wait in the first waiting room, and then the second waiting room where you sit on the butcher-paper covered bench.

So, the doctor comes in and says “wow your lip is big”
I was surprised by his remark, but at least I felt I wasn’t over-reacting to a huge lip. I got 2 benadryl per 4 hour period prescribed, and spend the rest of the day at work operating no heavy machinery or brain cells.

This isn’t so much of a Stupid Doctor Trick as a Stupid Doctor Realizing that the Patient Doesn’t Always Exaggerate.

A few years back, I was suffering from a rather persistent infection that just didn’t want to go away. My doctor suggested I take a course of antibiotics and wrote a prescription for sulpha, to be taken over the course of a couple of weeks (I’m allergic to penicillin). After filling the prescription, I read the warnings like a good little boy.

A couple of days later, I woke to find myself suffering from a high fever, and a nasty rash all over my body. Nasty rash. We’re talkin’ red bumps the size of quarters all over my back, chest, legs and arms. Realizing these symptoms sounded disturbingly familiar, I pulled out the sulpha warnings and reread them. There, under the “Rare” side effects, were the words “fever” and “rash.” The note insinuated that should I experience these symptoms, I should hie myself posthaste to the nearest doctor. ER for me.

Upon checking in, the nurse heard me utter the words “rash,” and immediately placed me in a solitary room. Hospital policy apparently dictated that those people who look like lepers get treated like one. Hours passed while I waited for a doctor to examine me.

Finally, after my third or fourth request to the desk, a youngish doctor, obviously unimpressed with my protestations of impending doom, strode into the room and pronounced “So. I hear we’ve got a little bit of a rash.” “Well,” I responded “I don’t know about you, but I know I’ve got a lot of a rash. See, I’m on sulpha drugs and under ‘rare,’ it says ‘rash’ and to…”

The doctor interrupted. “Yeah, I know it says ‘rare,’ but when they put that, they mean almost nonexistent. I’ve never seen those rare reactions they’re putting on there. All right, let’s have a look.” Those last words were uttered with a martyred sigh. As if I had interrupted a Very Imporant Day with my mewlings about a little itch.

I pulled off my shirt and turned around so the doctor could see my back. At that point, all I could hear was “[sub]Oh jesus…[/sub]” I turned around as he scribbled frantically on my chart. “I, uh, I’m gonna have to get some consultation on this,” whereupon he turned around and returned some minutes later with an…allergic-reaction, nasty skin eruption doctor. Whatever they call those folks.

What followed was four days of hospital observation while my body purged the antibiotics, and a pronouncement from the allergy doctor that I should put sulpha on my “do not touch” list.

My stupid doctor trick, courtesy of the US Army.

As a young private I slipped and fell off the back of a tracked vehicle during a field problem. I landed on my head literally. Tremendous pain followed. I was collared and put on a backboard and taken to the TMC (Troup Medical Clinic). After much X-raying they figured out nothing was broken. The intense pain in my neck and shoulder and reason I couldn’t feel or move my right arm was a neck and shoulder sprain coupled with a pinched nerve. I was assured the condition was temporary and would heal nicely (It did). I was given two weeks bed rest and painkillers and muscle relaxants. So far so good. Now for the stupid part.

The Army in its wisdom does not hand out 20-30 pills like your neighborhood Walgreen’s. You have to show up every morning for your daily does of prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants. I show up on day two. I see a different doctor. I notice this Captain is Airborne and Ranger qualified. Can you see this coming?!?!

He decides, I don’t need any more painkillers or muscle relaxants, despite the ongoing muscle spasms and my direct requests.

I’m no chicken shit but then again I’m not Rambo either. I tried to be a good little GI and take it like a man. But by 5:00pm my neck and shoulder had tightened up so badly I could barely move my jaw to speak. After evening chow I returned to the TMC and saw a different doctor. A very nice full Colonel who not only renewed by prescriptions but left standing orders that my prescriptions could not be altered.

My brother was in the Navy and told numerous stories about Navy doctors. My brother has recurrent shoulder problems. He experienced this while in the service and was scheduled for surgery. As he walked into the O.R. he observed the “doctor” reading about how to do the surgery from a manual. That can’t leave you with a good feeling. Needless to say, the surgery was not successful.

I also have had problems with my big toes. My toe nail grows out wider than the skin which causes painful ingrown toe-nails. I went to my doctor 3 times. Each time I was prescribed an antibiotic, each one a little stronger than the one before. I was given a high dose of Augmentine which left me with a nasty rash all over. We’re three weeks into this thing. I can hardly walk, I look like a strawberry and I’m getting pissed.

Finally I asked for a referral to a podiatrist. I was given one, though I had to wait another week to get in. When I told the podiatrist the ordeal with the antibiotics he just laughed. “How’s an antibiotic gonna make your toe-nail shrink?”, he asked. It was funny until he started cutting… and whipped out the acid. Not fun but I have never had a problem since.

How about a “resident from hell” story?

I’m in labor. Bad labor. Miserable. So miserable they have to admit me even though I am barely dilate me. Then they give me some drugs and I feel much better. So much so I am bouncing around the ward, walking a lot, trying to advance my labor. Nothing seems to be happening, so 11 hours after admittance I have the gall to politely ask if maybe I could talk to a doctor? Just real quick, like?

The resident storms in and begins to angrily tell me why it’s stupid for me to demand an exam (what!?!) and I should never have been admitted in the first place since I’m not really in labor. By the time he is done with me I am in hysterics. The nurse makes him come back and apologize at which time he tells me he’s going off shift and he’ll never have to see me again. I can tell he still thinks I’m just a big baby.

Fast forward four days later when I am still in the hospital after labor complications, a c-section, other complications, and a baby in the NICU. I’m in a wheelchair in the NICU with an IV and a catheter bag rocking my baby who is hooked up to all those crazy monitors including an IV in his head when Mr. Resident comes in looking for us. He had the nerve to pat me on the shoulder with a nervous smile and apologize for me having a hard time of it. Jerk.

All my other doctor stories are wonderful. I hope this guy is scraping trays in a cafeteria somewhere.

It was my early teenage years, and I was wearing those Dr. Scholl’s sandals, with the hard plastic sole and the wide strap of leather across the toes. I was walking up some painted wooden steps, and slip, smacking the first toe (not the big toe) on my left foot on the edge of one of the steps. Intense pain, toe bent slightly across the big toe. I get taken to the ER, as I was at a summer activities program at the time and they kind of freak over injuries and such.

Now admittedly there were a lot of people in the ER. The doctor takes a look at the X-ray of my foot by holding it up over his head and peering at it through the overhead fluorescent light! He says it’s not broken, and sends me home, telling me to follow up with my regular doctor in a week or something.

I go to my regular doctor, and take off my shoe and sock. He looks at my toe, slightly more raised than the others and tilted somewhat to the right. His response? “Yeah, that was broken.” He opens my chart, finds the X-ray, puts it on the viewer and points out the break on the film.

I broke another toe (other foot) a couple months back. Since it wasn’t a compound fracture or anything, my response this time was to just be sure it was straight, then tape it to the toe next to it. I watched it to be sure that nothing seemed amiss, and it healed up fine and in place. (Not that I actively recommend this for other people, but my mom has done similar for herself, and IANADoctor.)

Okay now I get to rant.

Problem is there are too many stupid doctor tricks that I’ve seen. I prefer to just comment on the funny but no harm done ones. The others are just sad.

My favourite was when I was in training and this is when an OBS/or paeds intern ( is examining a baby.So official. Suit. …check Tie. Check. Pompous attitude…check.

So he’s checking reflexes, hips etc. Dictating into his little voice recorder…blah blah within normal limits…blah blah…And baby does what babies do best. Poop. Loose but sticky BM on the exam table…on the intern’s sleeve… you get the picture…

And this intern… “Uh infant appears to be discharging a large amount of green-black ummmm matter… per rectum”

And my preceptor, an old-school seen-it-all-before nurse says “That would be SH*T, Doctor.”


The rash from Sulpha isnt that rare, and you should be aware that people allergic to Sulpha drugs (sulphonomides) can experience an “also rare” cross reaction to furosemide, aka Lasix, a powerful loop diuretic. (water pill)

We have a lady at work right now itching and scratching with this “Rare” cross reaction… after we sent her sheets to be laundered without soap, discontinued her morphine, (which she really needs)and generaly have tried everything we can think of over the last few days.

My co-worker spent some time with the drug book and we figured it out. We confirmed it with a 24 hour pharmacy, and now are stopping the Lasix, at least till today, when her doc will see her.

Poor woman. Poor Augecheek.

(Lucky me, I just swell up–lips tounge throat when I take Sulpha)

Hoo boy. Another one to add to the list. Lessee if I can remember the name - “Lasix?” Yup. Thanks for the heads up!

Two fun things to hijack your thread:

  1. I used to live on W. 71st & Granville, then moved to E. 11 in North Van. I miss it there…

  2. My aunt is a paeds nurse in Vancouver. I have no idea which hospital, but I could probably find out.

My stupid doctor tricks: while walking one winter, I broke my foot a little (the tendon snapped off of one of the little foot bones for no apparent reason, taking a fragment of bone with it). It starts to hurt real bad, gets a little swollen and blue, and I can’t put any weight on it, so I head to emergency. Now, I’m no pansy-ass either; I had all my molars filled without being frozen as a child, so I know what is and isn’t real pain. This foot was real pain. The doctors take x-rays, tell me it’s just infected, and send me home. I get a call from them later that evening, telling me to come back in because the doctor in charge of radiography took a look at the x-rays, and he says the foot is broken.

I go hopping back in (because I still can’t put weight on my “infected” foot), and they give me the crutches I need for the broken foot, and cast my foot basically just for the practice (I should mention here that I was working as a lab tech at this hospital at the time, so I knew the doctors that were messing around with my foot - they asked me if I would mind being a teaching aide). Then they take the cast off the next day, because casts don’t make much difference with foot bone breaks.

Augecheek, I have lived within five blocks of both of those above mentioned locations. (And many others… 4 provinces in 8 years. Im trying to collect all ten! (Not really))

I didn’t train in Vancouver, here I only work in care facilities.
New Day, New stupid Doctor tricks…this one is my own…

Last May I had diarrhea. Sorry to the squeamish, but I did. For a day or two I dont worry, ok something I ate… whatever. I am a nurse, I know how to treat the symptoms… clear fluids, and I take two days off work. I try to ease onto the BRAT diet, (Bananas Rice, Applesauce, Toast) to give me something more solid than gatorade and Jello brand gelitain desert.

Only Im still not…better. In fact, Im worse.

So I go see the doctor. I get the “rest your gut, drink lots of clear fluids and ease back slowly following a BRAT diet…” speech. Also am told to give it a few days.

I explain that I know this, and have been doing this… blah blah blah…come back if you dont get
relief soon.

A week later Im back. (this is now the end of second week) Im very sick of gatorade and apple juice, my clothes are getting loose,(YAY! but still…) my energy is nil, and I am thinking of buying shares in Kimberly Clark and other manufacutures of “fine tissue products”. My doctor is away, Im seeing her locum. I get this speech about clear fluids…only suggests watering down the juice because it may be too sugary and giving me/worsesening the diarrhea.

Well this at least is something not fully standard, but I am getting tired of seeing now two doctors, and basically being told nursing school semester one remedies. (Q Have you tried avoiding milk products? A. Oh good idea. I will throw out all my clear milk products. Q) Avoiding spicy foods may help. Okay, I wont put cayenne pepper in my flat gingerale. ) I want to get to the cause.

But this docotor wont order tests, because I “really should try clear fluids for a few more days and follow up with your own doctor on Monday.”

So I did. I showed up on Monday. With specimen jars, (full) the smears done, the ones with fixative, the ones without fixative…and my coup de grace… A Lab slip, made out with all the tests I wanted ordered, lacking only a doctors signature. This is all in a bag, carried with me.

My doctor sees me in the waiting room. She says “Oh no, not you again!”

Yes, me again. I go in, I empty my nice little bag with all the goodies, hand her the lab slip and say, would you please sign this, so I can drop these off at the lab on my way out.

She signed. About 4 days later she calls. Yes I had an intestinal virus. Yes I needed antibiotics.

No, I have not been back to see her.

Since we’re sharing scary doctor stories here’s mine.

As a teenager I tended to let my tonenails get a little too long before I cut them. I think its a general teenage boy thing. Anyhoo, I was getting into bed one night and managed to catch my slightly too long tonenail in the blanket. End result, after a lot of screaming, is a toenail hanging on by a thread. Off to my local doctor I popped the next day. He took a look at it, wiggled the loose toenail a bit (did I tell you it very painful to even touch it?) and decided it needed to be cut off. Seven years in medical school well spent I’d say. So he gives me three (count em, THREE) injections in my big toe. Normally injections dont bother me. But the big toe doesnt have a lot of flesh around it so each injection ended up scraping against the bone. Not very nice. So I go back to the waiting room and wait for the anasthesia to take effect. I go back into the doc and he starts wiggling the loose nail again. The anasthesia obviously didnt work 'cos I hit the roof. Hmmm, says the doc, I think you need go to hospital.

After a couple of hours spent sitting in the ER (toenails are obviously way down the list of priorities) this junior doctor sees me. Again with the wiggling of the toenail. Again I hit the roof. Hmmm, says the junior doc, nothing I can do for you. Tells me it should drop off itself in a week or so. Another seven years of medical school not wasted I see.
Now for the gruesome part. After I got home I decided I could tolerate this situation no longer. I obtained a sharp knife and decided home surgery was the only answer. So I sit on my bed and proceed to hack the loose nail off as best I can, stopping for a rest when the pain became unbearable. My older brother comes in and sees what I’m doing and nearly faints. To this day he still gets queasy thinking about it.

Whew, that took longer than I thought!

ABout four months ago now, I pulled something in my groin (you’ve probably read my rants already). Just saw the doctor again, and here’s the quick rundown:

3 doctors
2 surgeons
1 physical therapist
1 ultrasound of my nuts

diagnosis: “I don’t know.”

Then I sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes waiting for them to say “Yeah, come in next Monday at 2:00,” so I left. Three weeks of seeing doctors, an hour and a half wait to be told “Yeah, the tests say there’s nothing wrong with you, so…um…yeah,” and then they make me wait. I’m so sick of doctors, they can all kiss my soar nuts.

Disclaimer: Podiatrists are not doctors.

My grandmother was having some trouble with ingrown toenails. So her podiatrist, in his infinite wisdom, removed both of her big toenails. Not only was this procedure completely unnecessary, but my grandmother is diabetic. That was two years ago and my grandma just started seeing someone at the wound care center (after going through three other doctors) in an attempt to heal the wounds created by this quack.

My grandma is almost 80, but she’s active. She does volunteer work, she substitute teaches, she likes to cook and tend her garden. She can now harly move from her chair to the bathroom.

I’m usually horrified by the idea court rooms and lawyers and insurance companies or any combination of the above. However, I wish my grand parents would sue that bastard!!


You know there’s a nerve in your back that if you hurt your back muscles in a certain way it causes a LOT of pain in your nuts.

This is a hijack, but I just wanted you to know, that I had the same reaction to sulpha. Even worse, I was a poor college student without health insurance, so I tried to fight it. I finally broke down on Sunday (started Friday) and went to the doctor, even though I was feeling marginally better. My fever then was 104 F, and I know it was higher the previous two days. I also had an extremely low white blood cell count. So low, the doctors were worried it was AIDS. I recovered without having to take anything more or stay in the hospital longer, though.

<emphasis added>

I hate to be pedantic here, but I hope that you’re using “virus” in a general “I have an infection that needed to be treated” sort of way, because antibiotics aren’t used to treat viruses, they treat bacterial infections. People clamoring for antibiotics when they have viral infections (for which antibiotics do diddly) just for the sake of feeling like they’re “doing something” are actually hurting themselves by reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics when they really do need them. Overuse of antibiotics is believed to be a major factor in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, making these infections even harder to treat.

[sub]…slinks off into oblivion…[/sub]

I hate to be pedantic here, but I hope that you’re using “virus” in a general “I
have an infection that needed to be treated” sort of way, because antibiotics
aren’t used to treat viruses, they treat bacterial infections.

I hope I did that correctly…(the cut and paste thing)
No, you arent being pedantic. No I did not have a virurs. Yes I meant it in the general way. I had “campylobacter pylori,” obviously NOT a virus, and I too am forever telling people they dont need antibiotics for a virus. I am not sure how I typed that, except it was late at night and I had a shift from hell that night.

But still… Im usually not so impercise.

Thanks for reminding everyone and keeping me on my toes.

Heh. I was a poor university student in a country with nationalized health care. I got lucky.

I had the low blood cells, too. After taking a count, the doctor looked at me and said (paraphrasing here, it was a while back): “Your white count is 2.”

Me: “Oh.”

Dr.: “No, no…it should be around 8 or 9.”

Me: “Oh…OH! Aw crap, that could be leukemia or AIDS, couldn’t it?”

The doctor reassured me that it was also a symptom of a sulpha reaction, which calmed me down nicely (this was the allergy-doctor, not the noodlehead who first examined me). He told me I was only going to be there overnight, but then I guess he went on a little trip or something, 'cause they wouldn’t release me without his say-so and I didn’t see him for days. Stuck in a room with an old Asian gentleman with a nasty-ass lung infection. Who couldn’t speak English. Gad.

Juliefoolie, the best way is to cut the needed text, then open a {quote} tag (use square brackets). Close it with {/quote}. That’s how you get the funky paragraph like I’ve got throatshot’s above. Or just click on the “quote” icon at the bottom of each post.