Late to this but my friend has an incredibly tough, alcoholic grandma
She ignored a stroke because she thought it was a hangover
Saw a patient last night who had been having episodes of "wind" for 6 months and had come in because of a particularly bad bout.
Massive heart attack with crescendo angina over the preceding year.
Not that uncommon a self-misdiagnosis but kind of takes you aback when you see it.
Not a doctor myself. My grandfather was a doctor and had a patient come to his office complaining of a slight headache. His receptionist told him to wait in the waiting room. They called his name but the guy never came up to the desk. He actually suffered a major brain hemorrhage died waiting to be seen in the chair.
Man who rode his bike as sole method of transportation came in for chronic knee and leg pain. He had metastic prostate cancer with bone lesions all over. Came in for my legs hurt, left with hospice referral
As a paramedic I responded to a dispatch for a "sick person." When we arrived this old guy was clearly having a stroke. He said I just ate some bad fish or something before taking a 3 hour nap. Luckily his wife finally decided to call 911.
I had a teenager and her mom come in worried she had some kind of serious circulation problem because her toes were blue.
I looked at her feet and thought "that's not really the right shade for loss of blood flow."
I grabbed an alcohol swab and proceeded to wipe the blue color off the tops of her toes. I think it was from her new jeans.
This thread is like Reverse WebMD.
Think it's cancer? You just stubbed your toe
Think you have a cold? 100% cancer.
Not a doctor, but a psych first responder.
Patient self diagnosed as dead. EMTs didn't believe him. He was quite insistent though, and wanted an ambulance ride because he thought a dead person ought to have one. The EMTs argued with him, stating that he was both standing and talking. He countered that he was in hell.
In fact, he was just pretty high with a bad drug combination. I had a fun hour with him while he came down.
As a medic I had a soldier run up to me and demand to see the PA. When I asked why he said his girlfriend has "BV" and now he's sure he does too. I assured him that he most certainly did not have bacterial vaginosis.
Edit to add a note: The soldier in question was symptom-free, and we definitely still let the soldier see his provider.
I personally knew a guy who was diagnosed with lung cancer in college at the age of 22. He was so young and lived a clean life, so it was confusing to everyone, even the doctors. They progressed very quickly with the treatment, and he was scheduled to start chemo. He was doing some sort of pre-diagnostic meeting, and an intern was involved. The intern started asking some very different questions, and he eventually asks the patient if he had been in Kansas recently. It turned out he had, in fact, spent the previous summer working in Kansas (this was a few weeks after). It turned out the intern had been writing a paper specifically about localized diseases, and there was this disease in Kansas that he had focused on. It had something to do with hay (but it wasn't hay fever). The intern was basically telling the doctor to humor him and run this one specific test. The doctor agrees, and the test comes back with results that show the intern was onto something.
The patient went in for chemo treatments with a grim outlook, and he left with 10 pills he had to take over the next 5 days. One week later, he was completely fine.
FWIW, this was in the year 2001.
I'm not a doctor but I am a medical professional at a hospital. Patient came in stating that he had blood in his stool FOR ALMOST A YEAR and was convinced that it was just because of hemorrhoids. He only came in when he started to get abdominal pains. Turned out to be colorectal cancer. Moral of the story is if you have blood in your stool (especially dark colored) don't ignore it.
Elderly man with dementia brought in for suspicion of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis- a serious and life threatening reaction where your skin peels off in sheets.
Nope. It was a very large burn because they left Grandpa alone at the house and he spilled a teapot on himself and the family (and another hospital) were too dumb to figure it out.
I have had an unbelievable amount of patients who think they have Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (thanks WebMD) when they in fact have contact dermatitis from new lotion or laundry soap.
.....I also advise not looking up that condition.
Edit: if you have recently started lamotrigine, carbamazepine, Bactrim, or allopurinol and develop a rash, definitely call your doctor. It may actually be SJS.
I was rushed to the ER as a kid because I woke up and my face was blue. Obviously my parents thought I wasn't breathing. I'm 8 or 9 years old, and everyone's sudden change in demeanor is making me a little scared, and I'm just getting bluer.
At emerge, they're running all kinds of tests that aren't showing anything wrong with me, until finally my dad realized that I put the brand new Toronto Maple leafs pillow case I just got on my pillow. Washcloth later, I was all better.
He had some belly pain and thought he had a UTI. Also had weight loss, night sweats and some other stuff. He had terminal pancreatic cancer and 2 weeks later he is delirious and at deaths door :(
Not a doctor, but I am a nurse. I recently had a patient who claimed that he used to have diabetes, but Jesus cured him of it. His glucose was nearly 300 on admission and he was in the hospital for an amputation of a gangrenous toe that didn't heal because of said diabetes. I'll never forget the doctor's note that said "patient had a history of diabetes but states Jesus healed him of that, but since his blood glucose was 289 on admission we will treat him as if he were a diabetic..."
When I was 15 my mother was absolutely convinced that I had [mono](http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/infectious-mononucleosis-topic-overview
) as I was coming home from school and sleeping for several hours, eating dinner then going back to sleep.
So, she took me to the doctor who did an evaluation. It turns out that I didn't have mono; I was just lazy.
Side note: This period of laziness was only a few weeks after the conclusion of varsity swim season, so I was naturally exhausted from months of training.
I'm not a doctor but I am a medical assistant. I did my preceptor at a Kidney and Hypertension center. Had a guy come in complaining of painful urination and thought he had a uti. Gave him a cup and told him to pee and set it in the window. The lab took the cup and immediately brought him back to a room. Which was strange bc this place stayed packed and it was all first come first serve kind of thing. Well, this guy went back bc there was blood in his urine. A lot of it.
This guy was beyond 300lbs btw. Just massive and extremely tall. Doctors got him in the room and stayed for maybe 15 minutes before we had him transferred to the ER. Apparently, he had a fractured penis and had no idea. The nurse above me said they lifted his gut and his entire groin was purple and black and his penis was at a weird, swollen angle. She said she'd never forget it for the rest of her life.
The guy never did tell us what happened or anything. He acted just as surprised as everyone else.
TLDR: UTI turned out to be a broken dick
I would say after a couple years working in an emergency room before and during medical school that by far the most common egregious self misdiagnoses involve pregnancy.
Tons of sexually active patients coming in complaining of morning sickness and gaining weight, and just sure they have some sort of GI issue or infectious disease. When it comes around to asking questions, oh yeah, come to think about it I haven't had my period in (3,4,5) months!
That's not to mention the people coming in fully in labor and delivering in the ED, truly shocked that they were pregnant at all.
Now I understand people can have irregular periods and there are many cases where the patient is reasonable in not guessing what's going on, but there is a large group of patients who missed a lot of obvious hints.
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt I guess, and I do have empathy for patients in situations where they really don't want to be pregnant and so perhaps are subconsciously blocking it out of their mind. But a medical mystery it is not....