“I was trying to jump from my little brother’s bed to mine. I failed, landing squarely on the floor, and broke my arm. We went to the doctor that night, but the jerk didn’t even bother to take an X-Ray. He told us that I had just bruised my arm and that I would be fine. One week later, I’m still in an immense amount of pain. Pain really didn’t make me cry much as a kid (and when it did, all it took was a joke for me to start laughing and forget about it), but I was still crying over my arm.”
JackTheFlying continues their story by saying, “My parents ended up taking me to another doctor, who took the time to… well you know, do his job and take an X-Ray. It turns out it was broken. That was also the day I learned the word “Schmuck.” Our new doctor used it to describe our old one.” No kid should have to deal with pain like that and be ignored; what on earth was that first doctor thinking not doing a simple x-ray? Keep reading to learn more about terrible misdiagnosis stories.
12. Things like this could easily be avoided, too.
Sofa_Queen shares a story, “Not me, my husband. I took him to a minor emergency clinic for pain in his leg after a fall. X-ray done, Dr. said looked good. Said it must be from a disc in his back, pain radiating down his leg. I went to the spine doctor after images (not sure if CT or MRI, hubby didn’t ask) had injections in the spine. No help. I went to the second doctor, had a test done for blood clots in the leg. Nope. I came home one afternoon to find a big guy on the floor, crying from pain.”
“Took him to my Dr, whom I had been trying to get him to go to for weeks. One x-ray later, broken tibia. It started as a hairline fracture but progressed to a total break since he had been walking on it for weeks. I told him to sue the first two idiots, but he’s such a laid-back guy he didn’t want to go through the hassle.” Something that could have been totally avoided had the doctors actually given the correct diagnosis. Keep reading for more terrible stories about people who had a misdiagnosis.
11. Some doctors don’t know everything and give a horrific misdiagnosis.
“My friend was told, “Your child has a calcium deposit in his heart, that means that he probably has a trisomy, 18 or 23. Would you like to schedule an abortion?” She called me (as I was in school for genetics at the time) and asked me to research this a bit. A quick Wikipedia search alone said that 3-5% of babies with calcium deposits in the heart have a trisomy, but most kids with trisomies have calcium deposits in the heart. I don’t know what the frick that doctor was on.”
“They didn’t even test her kid for genetic deficiencies. They just saw via ultrasound that he had a calcium deposit in his heart, something that will go away on its’ own in 90% of babies. Then, they told her she should get an abortion because there was a 3-5% chance her kid would have a trisomy. I was 21 and in school at the time and diagnosed her doctor with moron syndrome…. The kid is about a year old now and 100% healthy (even a bit tall and smart for his age).”
10. Unfortunately, this person has several misdiagnosis stories to share.
“I have two. Both could’ve killed me. First, I went to the hospital after peeing blood all day and after suddenly having passed many kidney stones. The ER doctor was a total jerk and was close to the end of his shift. I told him I knew kidney stone pain, and he refused to do a CT scan, told me to suck it up, and sent me home with the diagnosis of a UTI. Fast forward two hours, when I pass out from the pain. My boyfriend rushed me back to the ER. The doctor immediately sends me for a CT since I’d mentioned that I had Medullary Sponge Kidneys, which should’ve been a freaking red flag to the other doc, and I was in surgery within thirty minutes. I was septic, had stones, blocking both kidneys, that were both over 1/2 an inch long.”
Melanie continues, “Second, I was told the day I was scheduled for a certain type of fertility test that I was pregnant. I knew something wasn’t right. My OB did blood work and refused to do a sonogram. A week later, I start to bleed. Go to my OB. He does a sonogram of only my uterus and says I’ve had a miscarriage. Blood work two days later showed my levels to be increasing. He ignores it. The next Monday, I’m at work. The worst pain I’ve ever been in.” I call my OB, who tells me I’m overreacting and that I need to go home and take pain meds and a Phenergan and sleep it off. I call my his and back and tell him I won’t be able to get out of the car by myself.”
Melanie goes on to say, “He meets me in the driveway, and catches me as I black out. He drives me to the ER, tell them I’d had a miscarriage a week prior, and that I “seem to enjoy ER visits.” Fortunately, they see the miscarriage and my writhing around on the bed while blacked out, as major red flags, and immediately do a sonogram. Then call my doctor to tell him that not only did I not have a miscarriage, but I was still pregnant; it was a 12-week ectopic pregnancy that ruptured. I was bleeding out. Again, immediately taken back to surgery. I had over 450cc of blood in my abdomen. I lost my right Fallopian tube. My doctor acted like he was mad that he was proven wrong, forgetting that I’m a mother and that his mess up could’ve left my son without a mother.”
“EDIT… I gained a significant amount of weight over a two-year period. So, I went to my PCP, told her I was eating well and doing Pilates. She told me I was lying about what I was eating. Fast forward two years, and after suffering many miscarriages, my OB/GYN asks if my PCP had ever tested my thyroid. Nope. It wasn’t functioning. I’d gained almost 50 pounds and lost many pregnancies because my doctor never tested my thyroid. She’d run blood work, which didn’t show gallstone issues in my mother or sister. (I was so sick that I threw up every day, all day for over a year.). I finally flipped out in her office and told her to order the dang sonogram already! She did, and I was right. I had surgery the next day.”
8. Even nurses should double-check things to prevent a misdiagnosis.
“Just last week, I had to call my new PCP and request a refill of a muscle relaxer a day early, since I break them in half and several ending up breaking again, getting really crumbly (and they taste like butt), so I waste them. The nurse (or whatever she is) calls back and leaves a voicemail saying, “He prescribed 180 of them!! There’s NO WAY you could be out this fast!” Well, I only got 60. My pharmacy even faxed them and told them so on Thursday. I got no reply that day, so I called back and had to leave a message since they skip out early on Fridays. Then, I got a call this morning asking what pharmacy it was sent to, and I was dumbfounded.”
“I had worked with the same software they use, and I know for a fact it can be looked up to see what pharmacy was used. Besides, I only use one! She’d sent an ointment c lidocaine in it to a different pharmacy completely about a month ago. I called and explained I don’t use that pharmacy, haven’t in years, and their office should have no record of me using it. She got upset with me and said, “Uh well, it’s in here!” So, I had to say, “Uh well, in that case, as the nurse, you should have confirmed with me which pharmacy it should be sent to since there are two in there. Now, remove X pharmacy as Y pharmacy is the only dang one I use.” Apparently, she’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal.”
Bob4apples shares, “To make a long story short, when I was 12, the front wheel came off my bike at high speed. I arrived at the hospital with two broken teeth and substantial lacerations on my chin and the knuckle of one finger, in addition to the other relatively inconsequential effects of sliding down the road on one’s face. The finger hurt so much that I was basically unaware of the other injuries. After a half-hour or so, I’m attended by the one person in the world I did not want to encounter in an emergency room…my family doctor. As he’s putting 14 stitches in my chin and 6 in my finger, I say, “aren’t you going to x-ray the finger?” He says, “No, it’s fine.””
“Fast forward a few weeks. The finger is bent at the knuckle and won’t straighten. Now he decides that an x-ray might not be a bad idea. After looking at the x-ray, he concludes that the tendon over top of the knuckle had gotten damaged and that I would need surgery to shorten it. So I go in for surgery. When I’m sufficiently recovered, they tell me that the surgery was a failure because when they opened my finger, they discovered that the bone had gotten crushed in the accident and, since it had been allowed to mend that way, the only way to fix it would be to re-break the finger (a procedure that I have chosen to forego).”
Some of these misdiagnosis stories are insane, including this one! DestroyerTZ shares their story, saying, “I had this happen to me when I was young as well (like 10-12yo). They told me it may be signs of appendicitis and said they were going to send me to a specialist to check it out. When my parents took me there, the nurse said I was scheduled for surgery. My parents and I freak out a bit and opt to find another doctor for a second opinion.”
“I end going to the ER of a different hospital having all sorts of tests done, all coming up negative until they did a spinal tap. It turns out I had Spinal Meningitis. A nurse from the other doctor kept calling our house, telling my parents I’d die if I didn’t have the surgery, when in reality, the ER doctor told me that surgery would have killed me. Fun times.” As a child, to think about that would have been quite scary, and for the parents as well. Thank goodness they didn’t listen to that nurse.
“I was playing hockey and was part of a fairly harmless check against the boards, nothing significant, other than having my elbow push a rib into my spleen and lacerate it. I immediately knew something was wrong and started sweating badly as well as going pale. Upon going to the emergency room, I was put ahead of others because of the symptoms. I had low blood pressure and felt a bit dizzy. The doctor diagnosed me with a “contusion” and said x-rays shouldn’t be needed because after feeling the exterior of the area that hurt, he detected nothing broken. I was sent home,” says i_am_ericc.
“The next day, I could barely stand up. If I was up too long on my feet, I would blackout and fall over. Using the bathroom was a serious hassle, and also, performing the act was pretty painful. We decided to follow up with a local doctor since the game I played was out of town. After some x-rays, I was immediately rushed to a larger hospital upon the discovery of my actual injury. They told me I had lost a ton of blood internally and had a 50/50 chance of removing my spleen. Basically, I could have died overnight if I had kept on bleeding out. What was odd is there were no signs of any of this externally, such as bruising or anything. I ended up staying 3 nights there and keeping it. My hockey season ended early, though.”
4. Luckily, this misdiagnosis got figured out in time.
“My senior year of college, I appeared to have contracted a case of pink eye. I stopped by the college med center. No one argued with my assumed diagnosis. They gave me pink eye drops of some sort to get rid of it within a week, supposedly. Two weeks go by, and it does not seem to be getting any better, so I manage to get an appointment with an actual eye doctor. He continues to not necessarily argue with the diagnosis and gives me something (stronger?) else that should clear it up. After another month goes by (due to tricking myself into thinking it was getting better)” shares badchecker.
“I get another check-up from the eye doctor pointing out that I thought things were getting better, but they seem to be getting worse now. They seem secretly worried and surprised to see such a thing. Two weeks later (or so…the timeline on all this is sketchy at best), I finally receive a phone call. It starts with the question, “Have you ever heard of chlamydia?” I’ve never looked up anything on google as fast as the words “chlamydia std permanent?” in all my life. By the end of said google search, I have the knowledge that Chlamydia of the eye is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States…(luckily?) it only took him 3 months to figure it out. So yup, there’s that.”
“My fiance had issues with recurring infections regarding her tonsils. As the daughter of two cardiologists, she wasn’t exactly an idiot regarding her own body and health and told the fellow about her issues and her desire to get her tonsils removed. He, of course, scoffed and disregarded her. Imagine that the contempt doctors have for web MD was amplified for people with MDs in the family. She pointed out that her tonsils were so bad she could produce tonsil stones (that foul-smelling white stuff) on demand.”
Trodamus goes on to say, “He still didn’t want to hear it and didn’t want her to show him. At this point, a veteran physician that knew her parents came by and heard some of the stories. So they gave her a tongue depressor, and he told her to show them. And she did: a quick press on one of her tonsils sprayed the mirror with the stuff. The sage advice the doctor gave the fellow: If they say they can show you, let them!” Keep reading for another misdiagnosis story.
“My cat was outside when I heard him wheezing. I brought him in, and he continued for a while. He was kind of unresponsive and didn’t move very much. We brought him to the only vet open, 45-minute drive. The vet wanted to do an x-ray/test for cancer. It could cost up to the thousands. My dad, after learning this, immediately asked how much it would cost to put him down. The vet’s reaction was priceless (upon later rumination). He also asked if it could be asthma.” says Ha_window.
“The vet said it was “VERY rare” for a cat his age to suddenly start showing signs of asthma. My dad insisted that as well as keep him in the oxygen tank, they give him a steroid shot. It turns out we avoided a butt-load of medical bills because my dad is a heartless cheapskate (not really because we were spending a lot on our dying dog at the time). We still have a report the vet wrote for our visit on our fridge. It makes my dad sound like a heartless cat-eating jerk.”
1. This is why doing tests accurately is important to prevent a misdiagnosis.
“My “growing pains” turned out to be maltracking knees and scoliosis. When I felt like my heart was skipping beats and was told it was my anxiety. I found out later it was a Mitral Valve Prolapse. Not an inaccurate diagnosis, but I’ve also gotten: “I see no visible break, but it’s definitely broken.” Uh…thanks, doc? I think. Also, there was the time I went to the emergency room for what turned out to be an easy treatable bladder infection but got treated for STDs. Not any specific STD, they just pretty much instead of cutting off a branch burnt the whole forest down.”
Owlshark continues with their story to say, “Two big shots, and lots of pills that caused a lot of stomach issues later on. They did a pap smear but didn’t do any sort of urinary tract analysis on me and didn’t do an ultrasound. I was 3 hours away from my Primary Care Doctor. When I got back a few days later, he called the hospital I was at to get my results. Apparently, the lube they used when they did the test botched the results. I raged pretty hard that day.” That was the last misdiagnosis. Can’t get enough? Keep reading about the craziest nights at the ER.