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New Category – Medical Messes

It has occurred to me that Ehell has very little content about etiquette faux pas within the medical community.   I’m not naive to think medical professionals and patients are less inclined to be rude than other professions so where are the stories?

I created a new category for stories about doctors, nurses and patients.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • EyesToTheSkies September 6, 2016, 3:21 am

    That’s a very good point. I’ve definitely got some terrible medical stories, but I know that poor medical treatment can be a very shameful, private thing – as if the victim is at fault.

    • admin September 6, 2016, 4:58 am

      Victim blaming…I encountered that and still do regarding my cancer diagnosis 4 and 8 years ago. If I hadn’t eaten *any* meat/fat/sugar/carbohydrates/non-organic I wouldn’t have gotten cancer, or so I am told. I readily admit that there are some environmental factors that are clearly associated with cancer but eating in moderation isn’t one of them.

      • Amanda H. September 6, 2016, 9:05 am

        Indeed. How *dare* you let some of your cells run amok.

      • Dana September 6, 2016, 11:53 am

        I’m overweight – like 75 pounds overweight. So everything I go to the doctor for – back pain, depression, ingrown toenail – all comes back to being overweight.

        BTW – I know someone who eats healthily, never darkened the door of a McDonald’s, takes a multitude of vitamins and such, and still ended up with cancer.

      • lakey September 6, 2016, 3:22 pm

        That is so ridiculous. Almost no one leads a completely healthy lifestyle. Also, they’re continually changing what is good for you or what is bad for you. They used to tell you eggs were awful, now many say that in moderation they are a good source of protein.

        I actually had low blood pressure, now it is well within the normal range. Back when it was low, I was eating in a restaurant and sprinkled some salt on my entree. A woman I had never seen before found it necessary to tell me that that was the worst thing I could do.

        At least part of your health is genetic. In my family there is good cholesterol numbers, good blood pressure, and almost no heart disease. My mother had 6 brothers and sisters, and my dad had 5. Not one of them had a heart attack. There is also surprisingly little cancer in spite of the fact that people of my parents’ generation ate all the stuff that people now say are bad for you, whole milk, red meat, butter, and desserts. They ate in moderation.
        My mother died at the age of 93 and my father died one month away from 98. Again, they ate all the kinds of stuff they people are being made to feel guilty about.

  • TakohamoOlsen2 September 6, 2016, 4:00 am

    Great idea. I’ll bet there will be many a story to be told here.

  • Just4Kicks September 6, 2016, 4:59 am

    I have many stories, as my husband has had four back surgeries and I’ve had many problems leading to an emergency hysterectomy almost ten years ago.
    The two that pop up in my head right now are when I was being prepped for my emergency hysterectomy, my female ob/gyn was going over my chart with my husband and I before being whisked away to surgery.
    She looked bug eyed at my chart, then looked at my husband and I and said (and I quote)
    “Holy shit!!! FOUR KIDS?!? Are you two crazy?!?”

    One summer night when my daughter was about 8 or 9, I noticed her one eye was a little swollen.
    I didn’t really think much about it until I went to wake her up the next morning and her eye had swollen up to the size of a golf ball.
    I called our family doctor who said bring her right in.
    The doctor walks in, takes one look at my girl and asks to see MY right hand.
    Confused I held it up for him to look at, and he chuckled and said “well…mom, your knuckles aren’t black and blue…so I guess you didn’t punch her….hahaha….”
    Listen, Shecky…could you examine my daughter please? We are both freaking out here!!!
    Turned out it was a spider/mosquito bite that just happened to sting her on her eyelid.
    Maybe he was trying to diffuse our worry, but at that moment I wasn’t having it!

    • LadyV September 6, 2016, 8:41 am

      I would be looking for a new family doctor after an insensitive comment like that!

    • Cheryl September 6, 2016, 10:38 am

      The only time I commented on the size of a patient’s family was when I was getting ready to do a PAP smear and gyn exam on a new patient. I was taking her history and found out she had eighteen children, no multiple births. I told her I didn’t want to be rude but what was it like having that many children? She said it wasn’t that bad; there were only twelve home at any given time. My thought was “Oh, only twelve. Well that is manageable!” but what I said was “Oh, okay.” It must have worked for her, as she looked years younger than her age and was quite serene.

      • Green123 September 7, 2016, 6:24 am


        Oh my…

      • Just4Kicks September 8, 2016, 4:01 am

        Reminds me of Michelle Duggar….some days my four kids are more than I can handle!

        • GeenaG September 8, 2016, 12:17 pm

          The older girls function as nannies and teachers for the younger ones. The mother doesn’t actually hands on raise the kids since the older girls became old enough to be in charge.

      • Karin October 9, 2016, 5:57 pm

        18?? That’s a classroom. I have one child, and there are some days that I feel drained between him and my full-time outside the home job!!

  • Lady Macbeth September 6, 2016, 6:15 am

    Feel good Friday, Wedding Wednesday, and now… Medical Monday?

    • Lady Macbeth September 6, 2016, 6:15 am

      That wasn’t a complain. Just a name suggestion. 🙂

      • Lady Macbeth September 6, 2016, 6:15 am

        *complaint (sorry!)

        • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 5:47 pm

          Medical Monday sounds great.

    • Dessa September 6, 2016, 6:25 pm

      That was my first thought when I read about the new category. Yay!

    • TakohamoOlsen2 September 7, 2016, 2:58 am


  • Ginny September 6, 2016, 7:46 am

    My sister who suffered with chronic pain from a degenerative disk disease had to make repeated visits to particular clinic for medication, for which she was charged a nominal fee – something like $4 or $6 — one visit, the nurse informed her that because she somehow “owed” some amount for a test (again, a co-pay of a few bucks), they would not process her prescription until she paid! At that time, though, my sister’s disability claim (including Medicaid)- filed 6 months earlier – had just been approved. When she told the nurse, the woman laughed and said sarcastically “Well, I guess you just hit the lottery, then…” (note: it’s pretty well understood that when you FINALLY are approved for disability it’s after many months, and most always includes a retroactive payment — but really!)

    • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 6:03 pm

      That was poor.

      To get declared disabled it was find a lawyer, file, get denied, go to appeal and after approval, five months before it kicked in. It was at the start of a backlog so we had to survive about 18 months before benefits kicked in…. a year later the backlog was up to five years!!!!! How are you supposed to survive on AIR for that long. Plus often there are some expensive out of pocket tests and stuff like that. If you don’t have any savings or retirement funds to raid (at penalties) you are very bad off until the benefits arrive. Very poor of that nurse!

  • Susan September 6, 2016, 8:03 am

    I remember when my son was nine years old and broke his nose. I was going through a divorce at the time and had to sit in the waiting room with my soon to be ex husband. I was very upset, but trying to keep it together for my son. The nurse who was caring for my son said, “look! you’re braver than your mom, she’s over there crying” I felt humiliated and furious.

  • robin September 6, 2016, 10:06 am

    My worst story isn’t horrible, but…
    Doctors who treat you from the neck down are on my “list”…
    I thought I had bronchitis. When I got to my doctor’s office, he was just about to leave for the day, but his new associate was still seeing patients. So the new associate examined me, told me that I probably had bronchitis but needed a chest x-ray.
    He told me to go to the hospital down the street, to go to the ER, and that they’d do the x-ray.
    He told the ER that I had pneumonia and tachycardia — a rapid heart rate — and that I was probably a cardiac patient.
    So I went to the ER, had the x-ray and a few other tests. And I was sitting with a nebulizer in my mouth when my doctor arrived. He said “I’m having you admitted” and walked away before I could even ask why. I had to ask the ER attending.
    Turns out I did have pneumonia, but the tachycardia was caused by dehydration, and resolved as soon as they started giving me intravenous fluids.

  • Cheryl September 6, 2016, 11:08 am

    I was seeing a young woman for a gyn exam and PAP smear one day and I asked if she was sexually active. She replied yes and I then asked her what form of birth control she was using. She said none. I asked her if she wanted to become pregnant and she replied no. I then asked her if she was sexually active and wasn’t using birth control, why did she think she wouldn’t get pregnant (I was quite used to the magical thinking of “Because I don’t want to be pregnant.”). She looked at me at said, “Because I’m a lesbian.” I sat there for a moment, then told her”Let me take my foot out of my mouth, and we can do the exam.”. She smiled and must’ve been okay with it because she ended up referring a few of her friends to me.

    • chelee74 September 9, 2016, 1:50 pm

      Haaaaa! Love this!

  • Kai Lowell September 6, 2016, 11:18 am

    Ah. Yes. Medical etiquette fails. I think I might have a doozy or two to submit…

  • Dana September 6, 2016, 11:52 am

    I’ve worked in the healthcare field for over 15 years now (first in a doctor’s office and now in a nursing home) and boy, do I have stories to tell! Unfortunately, due to HIPAA my stories would have to be so vague that I doubt they would make sense!

  • jellyjar September 6, 2016, 12:54 pm

    As a medical professional, I would be very hesitant to post anything about patients online as it can easily be a HIPAA violation.

  • jane doe September 6, 2016, 1:20 pm

    I am overweight and have had a lot of doctors use that as an excuse to be lazy or treat me disrespectfully.

    When I was sixteen I ruptured two discs in my back and was in severe pain and could barely move. This was the result of an injury. At the time I was only slightly overweight. The doctor told me he would not prescribe me any pain medication because my back would feel better if I weighed less (totally ignoring the injury part) and that maybe the pain would motivate me to lose weight. This was the same doctor who had no problem prescribing my overweight father tons of pain pills every month for a back injury less severe than my own.

    When I was eighteen I went to a gyno in the same HMO because my periods were irregular. His response was, “Lose weight and they will get regular.” No blood work, no additional explanations. Then he left the room, leaving the door wide open, with me in stirrups. Many years later I was diagnosed with PCOS which he could have easily have done had he not left it to, you’re fat, end of story.

    After these and similar experiences I really learned to fear going to the doctor and avoided it at all costs. I managed to lose weight and was a normal size and started to feel better about myself. I thought I should finally go see a gyno since it had been many years. I was so nervous but sucked it up and went. Thing were going good until as she was doing my breast exam said my breasts were too droopy, said I should get a boob job, and pulled out all of these pamphlets for plastic surgery performed by her “friend.” I felt so vulnerable and horrified and it was many years before I went to a gyno again.

    I wish I had the backbone then that I do now. I have since regained my weight and have a heart condition (unrelated to being overweight.) Last year I was having a horrible time breathing, bad enough that I could barely walk five feet and they finally put me on oxygen. I had also gained 75 pounds in a VERY short time. The cardiologist was very dismissive when I mentioned the unexplained weight gain and blamed this on eating habits. I told her she was wrong and taking the easy path. I saw another doctor and they quickly recognized I had severe edema and put me on a very strong water pill. I lost more than 60 pounds in less than two months and regained my life as I was able to breathe and move again.

    I am not a sensitive flower. I understand I am overweight and there are health implications to that. I have no problems with doctors telling me I should lose weight or if my weight is legitimately the root of a health issue. It is part of their job. I do however have a problem with doctors who use my weight to take short cuts on their job and as an excuse to be dismissive and condescending to me. Fortunately I now have a backbone and speak up for myself and have found wonderful doctors who treat me with respect and do not automatically attribute every single health issue to being over-weight.

    • AppleEye September 6, 2016, 5:21 pm

      I had almost the exact same thing happen to me – “nope, you’re not *actually* in pain/irregular/gaining weight for no reason. You’re just far and clearly lying when you say you eat healthy and excersize.” Then turns out later, pcos! (Which, for those of you unfamiliar, causes weight gain…)

      • AppleEye September 6, 2016, 5:21 pm

        Fat, not far. Autocorrect grrr

        • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 3:25 pm

          I wear a Fitbit One by doctor’s orders, and it finks to a website dashboard that shows what I do every day in 15 minute increments. There’s NO lying to doc about exercise and by same token, proof I went out and did the walking and stair climbing. I walk six miles a day and do 15 flights of stairs, this IS my diet, so why is the weight still here? (smile sweetly at doctor). With my allergies and restrictions there isn’t any cheating there either, or I’d be very sick. The rest of me is THIN but the bay window is there yet (age, medical condition, and metabolism) though in a reduced form. Oh well…

    • NostalgicGal September 6, 2016, 6:16 pm

      Over the decades I have learned to ask questions, be active in what is done to me, and, I Can Say NO. Even to the doctor. (I have one story I should submit about a doctor that took me to task so I returned her the favor…. she went down tailfeathers smoking). My doctors are part of my health management, we have to work together. Sorry you had several in a row that took the dismissive shortcut (that’s what started that one tit and tat).

    • Cheryl September 6, 2016, 10:42 pm

      I have had many patients in varying stages of being overweight/obese with varying levels of back pain. As I tell them, your back pain would be better if you lost some weight. However, the weight didn’t come on in a day and won’t come off in a day. Then I would prescribe varying treatments for the patient, but not usually narcotic pain pills first off unless the pain was pretty bad based on the 1-10 scale.

      If it matters, I am overweight myself, but when I was younger was quite active despite my weight (Now I am disabled for several different reasons, none of which are weight related). In school, only one girl in the class was faster than I was at middle distances, I could out-walk all of my friends, I biked, hiked, swam, etc. Just because you are overweight doesn’t automatically mean you are out of shape or all your problems are due to weight, just as being a certain age doesn’t automatically explain every little ache or pain, being tired, etc. I never let a doctor get away with telling me that, even before I was a doctor myself.

      • Aletheia September 8, 2016, 2:03 pm

        With all due respect, if you tell your overweight patients with back pain that their pain would be better if they lost some weight when they come in with back pain that came on suddenly and is debilitating, like jane doe’s was, you’re part of the problem. :/ Don’t treat their weight, and don’t comment on it unless it’s obviously related to the pain. If it’s long-term pain, then yes, it’s okay to mention it. But being an overweight person with an injury and having your doctor tell you “just lose some weight and it’ll feel better” is *so ****ing insulting*.

        (And I say this as an overweight person who injured her knee cleaning a few years back – something tore when I was kneeling down to clean under a cabinet. I had to go to three doctors before someone actually believed me that it wasn’t due to weight-stress. And I’ve stopped going to the urgent care my insurance covers unless absolutely necessary because, no matter what I do or go in there for, the doctors *always* give me a computer printout at the end about obesity and how I can combat it – with the tired cliches of if I just eat less and exercise more, and the weight’ll fall right off! Never mind that I regularly meet the step goals on my Fitbit and usually eat healthy. askjuf.)

        • NostalgicGal September 8, 2016, 8:38 pm

          You have my sympathies and condolences. My issues took a total of seven years and finally finding a combination that worked. Downside is I’m on restricted carbs and calories for the rest of my days. Food is not my enemy, but my body isn’t a team player. I have managed to balance my diet according to testing, and my fitbit is my little buddy that proves I did the walking and stair climbing, but. I will always have to watch it. I do hope your knee is mended and not giving you any long term grief, and that you can strike a balance. I would counter to the doctor about ‘I’ll take it under advisement, thank you’ and just keep on going. (I’m the woman who has looked 8 months pregnant for twenty years, at shows I had a button that said ‘NO I am NOT expecting, Thank You anyways’ because I got tired of people asking when I was due and reaching for my stomach. The only thing I was carrying was a metabolic disorder… sigh)

    • Miss Herring September 7, 2016, 8:52 am

      Regarding the gyno who told you to get plastic surgery:
      That is horrible! Is that something that can be reported to a licensing board? Especially since she had the pamphlets right there, waiting to be pushed at women at a very vulnerable time! “Droopy” breasts is certainly not a medical problem, and it is quite a normal thing for most women!

  • Elle September 6, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Good category. Question about an existing category: Civilized Politics. The link is dead. I assume this is no coincidence, considering the state of presidential politics?

    • admin September 6, 2016, 5:01 pm

      CivilizedPolitics.com isn’t a category, it was a distinctly different web page but it never got off the ground. Probably because few people can discuss politics civilly.

      • Elle September 8, 2016, 9:42 am

        Thanks for the explanation. Cheers. –E.

  • Callalily September 6, 2016, 2:50 pm

    All these year later, this disturbs me.

    I got accepted to College Whatever, and upon acceptance was required to get a physical. Why I don’t know, I didn’t remember any of my friends mentioning physicals was a requirement for college. Or maybe they did; it was a long long time ago.

    So my mother walked with me to the local GP, and showed him the paperwork. He took it from her, and he went about doing a very basic exam. Then he mentioned that the exam required a breast exam, and my mother, cowed by doctors as many people were then, let him paw me for a few minutes.

    When we got out of there I was sooo freaked and upset, I was this( )far from either vomiting or passing out right on the sidewalk.

    • IndieGir September 6, 2016, 6:33 pm

      Erm, every year when I get my physical, my doctor does a breast exam. It’s pretty standard. It doesn’t really sound like a faux pas to me. I’m sure it was distressing if you weren’t expecting it, but it is a standard part of an exam for women.

      • Amanda H. September 7, 2016, 12:06 am

        I’ve never had one as part of a standard physical, only as part of OB-GYN visits, which makes sense to me as OB-GYN visits involve “female stuff” (reproductive health, including breasts).

        I guess the real indicator would be if prostate exams are part of a regular physical for men.

        • Cheryl September 7, 2016, 6:41 pm

          Yes, yes they are. I speak as a family practice doc. And rectal exams are part of a gyn exam where I went to med school and later where I trained in FP. You can’t find a problem if you don’t look for it. And I did breast exams during “standard” physicals because I knew too many Gyn docs who walk in when the patient is already up in the stirrups, do the Pap and pelvic and leave. How did I know? Patients who complained to me about not getting questions answered by their Gyn and describing the exam to me.

          • Amanda H. September 8, 2016, 11:42 pm

            Fair enough. I guess some doctors do things differently. None of the GPs I’ve been to included a breast exam, while I just had a routine checkup at my Gyn yesterday and it included a breast exam, as has been standard with most if not all of my Gyn checkups.

      • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 2:13 am

        Yep, right of passage into puberty was being taught the exam bit. My 8th grade health class, they borrowed something from the state health office, it was a torso bust with realistic b-cup breasts and four lumps. One was very small. We learned to do the exam with that and had to find all four lumps… you usually are taught this/get introduced to this about age 12.

        The one where you usually get handled heavily is a mammogram. I am in a high risk category and met my first one at 35. Doctor scheduled a meeting over it, and I thought it was being done instead of him broaching to me having it done. He started his standard spiel, I realized it wasn’t going to be done that day and said so. His jaw dropped, and he said I was his first patient in over 20 years of practice, that didn’t have to be convinced to do this. I knew I was in high risk, so, it had to be done. I have over the years coached and coaxed many a friend into getting their first one… if you don’t have it done they can’t find out if there’s something wrong. You WILL get handled a lot by the tech (and they always do all views THEN all the alternate views so 8 smashings per breast on me). I have the attitude of ‘a good shower, aspirin, and cotton batting in my bra for a day or two’ and I will be fine. Don’t be afraid of it you just have to do it! No needles. 🙂

        • GoBoobs September 7, 2016, 6:12 am

          FWIW my first mammogram didn’t hurt at all. I think it probably depends on a lot of factors, types of breasts, etc. I hope that passing this experience along might help someone go ahead and get one if it’s just fear of pain holding you back. It’s not the same for everyone.

          • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 3:27 pm

            My post pain is some tenderness, but I had worse when I was menstruating. The worst issue for some of my friends is ‘being handled’ and that too can be survived.

        • Amanda H. September 7, 2016, 7:21 pm

          What sort of equipment is used for mammograms? I know my ladies get manhandled a lot when I go in for echocardiograms, but that’s because they’re kind of large and thus get in the way of getting the ultrasound of my heart.

          • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 10:13 pm

            Big honking angular metal machine that squats there and has a literal vise that is adjusted for height and your body part is put in there and the clamp is tightened some. You are definitely attached to that machine and you are not going ANYWHERE. Then they take an image. Then they come out, rotate the clamp, and clamp you in again for the next shot. A regular series of images is four per breast at varying angles. I always seem to rate the ‘alternate views’ which is another four per breast. It’s not HARD pressure but you are really not going ANY where when in there, I usually can’t even shift weight. And the tech really does have to grab your body parts like only you or your lover ever do and position things. That’s the part a lot of ladies don’t like. And it’s usually easier for small cups than for large ones… and men can be put in the machine also.

  • lakey September 6, 2016, 3:38 pm

    “Then he left the room, leaving the door wide open, with me in stirrups.”

    Yikes. My doctors have always had a nurse in the room when they did the pelvic.
    I’m glad you learned to move on to decent doctors.

  • Wild Irish Rose September 6, 2016, 4:13 pm

    Four years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through the usual nightmare of chemotherapy but no radiation. For my fifth chemo treatment, my oncologist switched to a different chemical. I had a very bad allergic reaction to it and ended up in the hospital with severe burns on my hands and feet. Also, all my nails fell off. (No, really. It was weird.)

    Anyway, I had one nurse who really ticked me off. At shift change as she was just coming in to work, she came into my room with my chart in her hand, and she appeared to be reading it. I was feeling terrible anyway, and I know I looked bizarre with my bald head, hospital gown, and no makeup, but her next comment just hit me wrong. As I said, there she stood with my chart in her hand, which chart presumably had my VERY FEMININE name on it; then she looked right at me and called me “Sir.”

    No harm meant, I’m sure, but it upset me to no end that she couldn’t even be bothered to call me by name or at least get my sex right from looking at the chart at the BEGINNING of her shift, which meant she most likely wasn’t suffering from fatigue. I could have excused that. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the one who is out of line here, but I’ll never forget how hurt and insulted I was by that nurse.

  • AppleEye September 6, 2016, 5:32 pm

    I could probably tell a dozen bad medical experience stories. But I actually must say my most recent hospital experience was as positive as it could be, under the circumstances.
    A close family member was recently admitted to the end-of- life unit at our local hospital. The staff, from the doctors and nurses right down to the kitchen and housekeeping staff, were incredibly kind and sensitive. They were always asking what they could do for us, had we eaten, did we need more coffee, could they bring some food or water, did we need a quiet place too take a nap or just have a break… at the end they all hugged us and cried along with us all. It was so touching that all these perfect strangers who were, after all, paid to be there, were just so caring and did everything they could to ease a difficult situation.

  • Sarah B. September 6, 2016, 5:36 pm

    My primary care doctor works in a practice with several other doctors; they’re pretty much the only general physicians in my small town. I woke up with strep throat (as anyone who’s had it more than once knows, it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s strep and when it’s just post-nasal drip or something) about 12 years ago, and went in to get the proper antibotics to clear it up. My primary care doctor didn’t have any appointments free, but one of his partners did, so I saw her. They made me take a strep test ($75!) and the doctor told me I didn’t have strep; just go home and take cough drops or throat spray. This is *after* she’d looked at my throat. I paid the bill and went home to get along the best I could, in shock that anyone with a medical degree could miss something as simple as strep. Week later, I got a *cheerful* call saying, “Oops, misread the test. You really *do* have strep. Where should we call in the script?” No “we’re terribly sorry for the mistake” or even an apologetic tone, or a professional one. Just sounding happy that they messed up and I had to suffer for a week with a thing I knew I had even without a medical degree. I refused to pay the lab bill (it was an in-house lab owned by the doctor’s office, not an outside lab) and told them why, calmly and politely. If they couldn’t do a simple test correctly for a thing generations of doctors were able to properly diagnose without a test, I felt they also didn’t require my money, as it meant I had to suffer for a week in a lot of pain. My throat has never completely recovered. Perhaps I was rude for not paying the bill, but it still seems fair to me.

    • Rose September 7, 2016, 2:12 pm

      well….the rapid strep test is only correct 90% of the time. Most of the time, a follow up culture is done if the rapid test is negative; the culture takes several days but very, very rarely misses strep. I doubt it was a “misread” of the first test, it was just an issue with the sensitivity of the initial test, and the follow up test did reveal the problem. Giving antibiotics for a non-strep throat infection can actually cause significant side effects. For example, mono can cause symptoms that are very similar to strep, and the throat exam can be identical, but if a patient with mono takes amoxicillin or penicillin, they will almost always break out in a miserable rash. It sounds to me that the clinic followed standard of care. Perhaps they could have explained it better but they treated you properly. And not paying the bill is not rude, it is theft.

  • Fifthmarch September 6, 2016, 11:13 pm

    I think the reason why there aren’t many submissions on this site is because most negative interactions with medical staff don’t count as bad etiquette which can be handled. They are cases of negligence or abuse – since the patient is powerless to walk away from the situation in most cases.

    That said, good idea Admin!

    • Michelle September 7, 2016, 9:30 am

      Here’s one with bad etiquette for you: When I was in the hospital having my first child, I asked if I could get something for the pain (not an epidural, just an IV shot of something) and the nurse smirked at me and said “all this pain for just a few minutes of pleasure”. 45 minutes later when she finally got around to getting approval for the shot, it was too late. I had been hitting the call button because I told them the baby was coming out. Ms. Smirky kept saying she would be there in a minute. Finally, another nurse came in because I wouldn’t stop hitting the button and immediately called for the doctor because my child was crowning. If Ms. Smirky had done her job properly and had checked my progress instead of just making comments and ignoring me, my baby would have been delivered by my OB instead of the resident who was napping in the staff lounge.

      • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 3:32 pm

        In a teaching hospital for my hysterectomy and I started developing bedsores. I knew what they were and I kept requesting some op-sit (a clear adhesive dressing) for the pressure points. The student nurses kept ignoring me. I finally had the RN in charge come in and check on me about 6 hours later and they were starting to get bad, I explained about I’d been requesting the op-sit all day, and she steamed off and returned with the dressing AND every student nurse on duty. They all got lined up and lectured–they had someone with badly ulcerated bedsores on the floor and got told to LOOK at my spots and the fact that I knew what was going on and had been asking for the dressing for SIX HOURS, was inexcuseable. She dressed the spots, I got much relief, and they learned. I don’t really blame them much but someone should have checked with the RN in charge a lot earlier.

        • penguin tummy September 13, 2016, 11:42 pm

          Dressings will never halt or cure pressure injury, the only way to do this is to get off the injury. They should have got you out of bed, or moved you around more, or encouraged you to move yourself frequently.

          • NostalgicGal September 15, 2016, 2:09 am

            I had worked as an aide in a retirement home at 15, I was well versed in bedsores. I had one forming on an elbow and one on a leg and you bet I rearranged myself. I was on my first day post and had gotten up the night of surgery (+14 hours to going under) and a few times that day. The op-sit helped with surface irritation as it dulled the rubbing which was part of the pain issue. Less irritation=less pain=more patient comfort + moving to other positions more frequently, meant the next day when I showered I could take the dressings off. I’d asked for the dressing for surface irritation relief.

  • Liz September 7, 2016, 9:35 am

    I’ve been pretty lucky with most of my medical care, but I had one incident which really ticked me off. My docs are all part of a huge multi-specialty practice that was started many years ago by two doctors, and has since grown and keeps expanding.

    I had what they thought was a cyst above my tailbone, which requires surgery, so I had an appt with a surgeon. I was not thrilled at that idea, but figured I’d go see what he had to say. This was the head of surgery in the group, so highly regarded. But no bedside manner whatsoever.

    Strike one; the exam room they took me into had a dirty, used speculum in the sink to the side.

    then the dr. comes in, and i’m naked from the waist down, with a drape over that area. He pulls it off to look, then walks out of the room, leaving the door open, and me uncovered. He was also very gruff, and “we will do this and that, blah blah blah” Uh huh. no thank you. Fortunately, i think they were wrong or it resolved itself so no need for any further action.

    When the group expanded and moved to a brand new facility, said surgeon had retired but one of the buildings is named after him!

    second was when I had a small growth on my eyelid, just at the lash line. My eye dr. didn’t feel confident removing it, so referred me to an ophthomologist/cosmetic surgeon. who was not in my plan, so her office referred me to someone else.

    I go, and am waiting, and see there is a bottle of lydocaine, and syringe, already laid out. Um really? I’m just here for you to look at it, and advise, not remove today. Unless its a true emergency, whcih it is not, you aren’t doing squat today.

    He comes in, and from the get go, just based on looks, I don’t like him. He seem put out that i was’t going to let him remove it, but hey, its my eye, and i had to get back to work (appt was during lunch).

    Never went back, and ended up going to another plastic surgeon in my group, who was lovely, his staff was lovely, and after looking at it, i came back and he removed it and stitched me up in under 5 minutes. It wasn’t huge, just in a bad location.

    • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 1:45 pm

      I had neck issues for many years due to a few poorly treated accidents in younger days. I had things ‘go out’ and needed a decent chiropractor to do two physical manipulations I was very used to having done. (one was a ‘neck click’ a certain way and one was a ‘back push’ between the shoulder blades in a certain way). We were visiting relatives and my SIL highly recommended this one chiropractor, and we called and he could see me. I was very clear I needed a physical manipulation, he said yes he did them. We show up and he’s balding and very overweight and stuffed into a 20-30 year old polyester top that was four sizes too small and stained. Okay… I get on table and he takes out a tuning fork and puts it on my spine and tings it. I ask him what the bleep he’s doing… I came in for the click and crunch. Oh, no he doesn’t do that. I got off the table and walked out. I ended up in an ER to get serious codeine and wipe out the rest of the visit because the simple solution wasn’t to be found… she had no idea when she referred me that he was not a manipulator. Even if he had put the stimulator shock thing on me I would have gotten relief, but I didn’t even see one in the room.

  • June September 7, 2016, 12:07 pm

    I have one to tell on myself. I had the most horrible abdominal pain, and had held out on going to the ER for as long as I could. I shouldn’t have waited: my appendix had ruptured. They immediately admitted me and rushed me up to surgery to clean up the mess.

    It was my first time under anesthesia, and waking up was… well, a slow and sloppy process. I vaguely remember them rolling me from place to place. Eventually, however, I ended up in the recovery wing, with a very sweet, very tiny nurse (I’m six feet tall, everybody seems small to me, but she was especially tiny) getting me settled in. She put a pulse oximeter (one of those little clip things with a red light; it tracks your pulse and your blood oxygen levels) on the middle finger of my left hand.

    Problem was, the clip was broken; I think the spring was missing or something. It wouldn’t stay on my finger. I was pressing it down with my thumb, but, like I said, I was pretty zombified from the anesthesia. Either I was pressing it too hard, or not keeping the pressure even, but the thing wasn’t giving a steady reading.

    So the nurse comes in to check — same nurse, by the way — and had to break out a new oximeter. As she did so, she said, “You broke it!” (she was smiling and teasing, not angry). I slurred, “No I didn’t.”

    “Yes, you did! Look at it!”

    She showed me the clip and sure enough, it was broken. I said, one last time, “It wasn’t me.”

    “Okay, if you say so,” said the nurse.

    Her last retort annoyed me a little. So I held up the finger that had the new oximeter on it. Only that finger. That middle finger. Yes, i flipped her the bird. As I did so, I slurred out, “Well… up your…. oxygen!” PLEASE DON”T HATE ME! I was very VERY stoned at the time, that’s my excuse for my behavior.

    Nurses must be tough as nails, because it didn’t make her mad. She started laughing until I thought she was going to explode. Seriously, she had to stop work and lean on the bed until the fit passed. I guess she decided I was funny, because for the next three days, she was an absolute delight, full of jokes and fun and quick to laugh at anything and everything I said. Even sent me a get well card after I went home, and worked “Up your oxygen!” into the note she wrote on it.

    So it all turned out well in the end. But that doesn’t mean my face doesn’t burn every time I even think about it. Or when I see a pulse oximeter. 😀

    • Amanda H. September 7, 2016, 7:38 pm

      I suspect she’s used to people recovering poorly from anesthesia and not being quite all there, plus “Up your oxygen!” is really funny (and a definite clue you were still partly out of it).

      As a side note, I don’t recover well from general anesthesia either. I opted for the knockout when I had my wisdom teeth removed because I’d heard from a friend who was awake the whole time that it was awful hearing them work. Took me three days to stop being narcoleptic. Same when they had to do an emergency C-section when I had my oldest child. It’s to the point where if there’s any not-knocked-out option for any procedure I need done, I take it, because I don’t like being useless for three days straight.

    • penguin tummy September 13, 2016, 11:45 pm

      That is pretty funny though! At least the nurse saw the funny side too.

      When I woke up after having my wisdom teeth out I was just crying and crying and asking for my Dad. I was 27 years old and didn’t live with my parents, nor had my dad dropped me off at the hospital. Very embarassing!

      • NostalgicGal September 15, 2016, 2:24 am

        I had to have what was left of two teeth cut out of my lower jaw and I opted for general. I asked for I would gladly ‘check in’ and they could determine everything went well then I wanted one dose of ‘feel no pain at all’ (juice me to my eyeballs) and if I slept, wonderful (sleep through the worst of the swelling) after the procedure-nothing else, just that one dose. I hit post op, rolled into the bed, and did all the answer stuff and got poked with the pin, then they gave a large Percocet. I knew what it was and how strong it was, years back my dad had had major back issues/injury and they had given him those. I recognized it immediately and said what it was and the strength. They paused, I said I wasn’t the one that took the stuff but (relayed dad story). They gave me that pill and I was lucid, not hallucinating, but was I happy. I guess I was a bit like, um, drunk. The nurses had a good laugh until I fell asleep. I did do as promised though and stayed IN the bed. When I woke up they sent me home. Was a lovely time despite a mouthful of dissolveable stitches.

  • JD September 7, 2016, 3:21 pm

    I had given birth to my first child, a daughter. This was before routine sonograms, so we didn’t know the sex beforehand. My husband was delighted, as he wanted a girl, although of course he’d have been just as delighted with a boy if we’d had one. I had known I was going to be happy with either sex, as long as baby was healthy, and I was indeed thrilled to have my darling little girl. The hospital had to keep us a couple of days extra, as I ran a slight fever and her bilirubin was a bit elevated, but finally, we got to go home. He brought the car around front with the car seat in back. I was wheeled out by a nurse, carrying my precious baby girl in my arms, so excited and nervous to take her home, and the nurse says, after we get the baby strapped in and ourselves seated in the car. “Well, see you next year when you come back to have that boy you want!” Excuse me? For the first and only time in my life, my husband had to grab my arm to keep me from coming out of the car and tearing a strip off of her. I was hormonal, I know, but to seem to imply that our girl wasn’t good enough for us? To this day, I can still get mad, thinking about it.

    • Amanda H. September 7, 2016, 7:40 pm

      Far too many people seem to think that every set of parents wants one boy, one girl, and that’s it, and they’re somehow failing or unhappy if they don’t have that perfect one-and-one. My parents had five girls (they *were* trying for a boy four times, but were just as happy with all of us girls), and my husband and I have four girls and we’re all perfectly fine with it. While I would’ve loved having a boy too, at this point I’m not sure I’d know what to do with one.

  • Cheryl September 7, 2016, 6:45 pm

    The biggest gripe I had about patients in general was being called Ms./Mrs. X instead of Dr. X because there is no way you can convince me that a male doc is called Mr. X (not in the US anyway and I have lived several places in the US).

    • NostalgicGal September 7, 2016, 10:24 pm

      A veterinary clinic near the last place I lived had two male doctors and one female. The lady had her engraved nametag and another one that said “Yes I *AM* the doctor.” She was so tired of being taken for a vet tech…

    • Amanda H. September 8, 2016, 11:46 pm

      And that’s a pity, when people don’t take you seriously just because you’re the “wrong” gender for the job.

      On the other hand, I get to tease my husband when he gets mail for “Dr. Lastname,” because while he does have a doctorate, it’s in philosophy (science) rather than medicine.

      • NostalgicGal September 11, 2016, 2:04 pm

        This… though. Someone who earns a doctorate other than an MD has the right to use the title Doctor. They earned it. A PhD does count. Some get very upset if you don’t use their title, and some get cheesed if you do use the title they earned.

  • Mama September 8, 2016, 12:21 pm

    Oh man – where do I start? Here are a couple stories that might work:

    1 – The day before I delivered my 2nd child and I was getting my stress test because I was “old” (35). I had talked with my doctor about delivering my son vaginally even though my 1st delivery was a C-section. Usually considered risky but my doctor felt confident and so did I. The subject came up with the nurse doing my stress test and she said “no nurse” would advise delivery this way because “they know what can happen”. Not the greatest bedside manner at all! Yes, delivered the way I wanted and my son is fine.

    2 – Same baby during delivery. Nurse kept breathing in my face, leaning on my IV and counting to 10 REEEAAAALLLLY slowly when I pushed so I asked to have her removed.

    3 – My dad didn’t take my mom’s last days well and wound up in a psychiatric facility. As a result, he sadly wasn’t present when my mother actually passed. My sister and I called dad’s doctor to tell him we would be by and what news we had for my dad so doctor could be prepared. Doctor said “ok, I’ll let him know”. What?!?! You will do no such thing, we said. My sister and I will tell our father that his wife and our mother had died. Doctor – “ok, I’ll let him know”. What?!?! Wound up screaming at the doctor to stay away from our father until we got to the facility. When we got there, he couldn’t figure out why we were upset.

  • Doris September 8, 2016, 4:49 pm

    1) The head nurse when our first son was born wanted me strapped down during labor and delivery, moved the mirror so I couldn’t see my son being born, and took him to the nursery without letting me hold him. Even though I was married, the nurse thought I was too young and would/should give the baby up for adoption. Luckily, a friend was working maternity that day and brought my son to me.

    2) I have an extremely high tolerance for pain. I also do not like showing emotion in front of strangers. During an ER visit because of repeated, intense pain, the nurse assigned to stay with me kept shooting me disgusted looks and then leaving the room to talk about my “faking it.” When I told my husband, he yelled at her, “Look! You don’t understand! She has a very high tolerance for pain, plus she won’t scream or cry in front of people. She’s hurting! Lose the attitude!” The nurse scuttled away to talk about him “enabling” me, but had to come back when the doctor came rushing in. Turns out I had pancreatitis. One doctor said later, “You’re the sickest person I ever knew who lived.” I’ve had three kids, broken bones, two back surgeries, and many severe migraines, but pancreatitis pain is greater than any of those! Hearing the diagnosis, the nurse FINALLY starting treating me as a legitimate patient.

    • NostalgicGal September 11, 2016, 2:17 pm

      #1, I would have had that nurse removed right away even if I had to get off the bed and physically evict her myself with my foot in her heinder. All my passes nobody ever tried to strap me down. I would have physically strangled them first (I have some claustro issues, strapping would make me go nonlinear and I can be frightfully dangerous with that much adrenaline). And the nerve of that nurse to deprive you of the birth moment and what was her reasoning to whisk the child away????? I’d have her reported/written up.

      #2 my tolerance varies though in general I use less pain meds than most and tolerate a higher level of pain than a lot–as long as I can get the occasional ‘juiced out of my mind’ break. (My philosophy is give me enough to sleep through the worst of it then I’ll cope). That nurse needed an attitude adjusted and I hope that nurse learned. You have my sympathies on both.

  • oregonbird September 14, 2016, 9:35 pm

    Realized after several days that a slight abdominal injury I’d suffered while combining yoga & dance was getting worse — as in I was having seizures, and they were getting scary. Took the bus to the ER, where I began seizing much harder while waiting. The ER head nurse stood there and watched while I seized, then screamed at me for kicking a table during the seizure. When they finally took me back, every time I told them a seizure was starting, the nurse or doctor would immediately leave the room, closing the curtain behind them, and leave me to seize for up to an hour. I was having cognitive problems with the seizures, but communicated as clearly as possible — while every answer was greeted with ‘That’s stupid. That doesn’t make sense.”
    Then the doctor, after a 1 minute ultrasound more than seven hours into my visit, told me that I wasn’t seizing (when I still couldn’t speak after the last seizure and my right side was still numb and lifeless) and if I stayed she would send me to the psyche ward. Took the bus home, had seizures for several more days, and spent the next few months pulling myself back into human form.

    • NostalgicGal September 19, 2016, 9:03 pm

      I would have gotten a good lawyer and not looked back. That is awful.