Note: This post contains mentions of eating disorders and drug addiction.
In any profession, unfortunately, there are always a few bad eggs in the bunch — including the medical field. It's one thing to try out a doctor and realize they might not be a great fit for you. It's another thing when someone in their position is rude and unprofessional because really, that's never called for.
In a recent Reddit thread I discovered, u/beginnerlife22 asked the question, "What is the most unprofessional thing a doctor has ever said to you?" and I was shocked at the stories people shared. Here are some of them.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.
1. "You're tired; you can't sleep and can't eat? Just take a vacation."
2. "'I'm not hurting you.' The dentist had actually been hurting me for about 10 minutes before I started making noise. She perforated an intact tooth."
3. "Just last year when I was diagnosed with brain cancer. The guy walks into the room to chat about my diagnosis, and the first thing out of his mouth was, 'So, I hear you’ve been talking to another doctor,' in a passive-aggressive tone. Later that morning, we met with the other doctor and that afternoon did a pros and cons list on our whiteboard, and the end result was for me to immediately ditch doctor A and go with doctor B."
4. "My brother took a friend to the hospital who had just broken her arm, exposed bone and all. One doctor came out to see them, looked at the broken arm, and said, 'Eeww!' like she was scared and went back inside. A few minutes later, another doctor came in."
5. "I went to a new OB/GYN and while she was examining me, I felt a weird sensation. Not painful, just odd. I said, 'What are you doing?' and she replied, 'I’m tilting your uterus. Some women find this pleasurable.' I was left wondering if I had been violated in some way so that was the last time I saw her. In the 15 years since (including childbirth), I never had another doctor do that."
6. "I went in for a vasectomy referral. I was asked four times if I needed pills for anything."
7. "I struggled with drug addiction and finally caved and told my parents and wife. I was kicked out of my house at the time and living with my parents so my dad took me to our family doctor to get some help. I was severely malnourished and severely depressed too. We walked in and sat down, and I told the doctor what was going on. He laughed and said, 'Yep, usually when people run out of money they come to see me,' and then asked me how much pills were going for on the street. I bawled my eyes out when we left there."
"We went back home, and my mom knew a doctor that she worked with, so she called him. He told us to go to the emergency room at the hospital. I was so afraid and beat down I didn’t want to go there at all. But we did. When I sat down with the triage nurse and told her what was going on, she said: 'Don’t worry, we will get you the help you need.' While giving me a hug. I will never ever forget that nurse and what she did.
What a beautiful soul. I left there with everything I needed. Numbers to call and places to go. I did it. It’s been a long journey and had a few relapses but nothing major. But I know I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for her and my parents forcing me to go."
8. "A psychiatrist told me it was all in my head. No shit, it's in my head — that's why I'm seeing you!"
9. "When I was 15, my mom took me to the gynecologist. He told me to get on the scale to check my weight. He then looked me up and down and said, 'You're underweight, but better stay like that. You're very attractive; it suits you.' At the time, I was dealing with an eating disorder and starving myself."
10. "As a teenager, I went to get birth control pills from my doctor, and she told me that I should also start taking prenatal vitamins in case something went wrong and I got pregnant anyway. If I'm here for the pill, what makes you think I'd be keeping an accidental pregnancy?"
11. "When I had my breast reduction due to back pain, the doctor specifically looked at my husband and asked him, 'What size does he want them?' My husband is a very smart man and told him whatever size would make my pain stop."
12. "'You’re a Marine; you are supposed to be tough, so quit crying,' said the male doctor with his hand inside of me doing a cervical biopsy."
13. "When my wife had her first post-baby appointment, they had to check her stitches. My wife asked how it's healing, and he said very nicely and if she ever wanted to be a labia model, she would make a lot of money."
14. "'A young girl like yourself shouldn’t be wasting her life being depressed and anxious; you really need to be getting over this by now.' This was after I told him I have trouble answering the phone because of social anxiety, and he just chuckled and said that statement. It made me feel horrible."
15. "'You are just stressed and also overweight. Get fit and go on some nice dates; you're a young woman!' I had gone to this doctor with hair loss, fingernails breaking, joint pain, brain fog, and sudden unexplainable weight gain. It was my thyroid, which needed one single blood test to diagnose. Fun plot twist: I only got the blood test after starving myself for months to get rid of the excess weight. The late diagnosis is causing issues up to today."
16. "'You're a mom now. Suck it up, buttercup,' said to me by an OB/GYN when I complained of extreme exhaustion and feeling cold all the time after the birth of my son. I was working 40+ hours a week, and my husband was working 60+ hours, so when I was home, I got stuck with not only taking care of our son but also the majority of the housework. I was so exhausted I couldn't function without a dozen or more cups of coffee a day, and no matter what I did, no matter how much I bundled up, I was freezing cold all the time unless I was outside in direct sunlight or under a stream of hot water in the shower."
"It took me five damn years to figure out that no, feeling that exhausted all the time wasn't normal and that the reason I felt that way and was so cold all the time was my thyroid had basically said, 'Yo, I'm out of here. Peace out, bitches!' Once I got on medication, I was fine."
17. "I had an abscess on my armpit. He refused to put me under to drain it. When the male doctor put the needle in my VERY INFLAMED and red and swollen armpit to provide local numbing, I winced in pain and made a sound of discomfort. He said, 'What? I barely even touched you,' in a very condescending and dismissive tone."
18. "I went to get tested for STDs. Somehow, we ended up talking about shaving and waxing the genitalia area. She said that shaving my vagina went against what God wanted."
19. "All of my glands were swollen everywhere. The doctor told me it looked like lymphoma, and the nurse started crying and gave me a big hug. The biopsy came back in a week. I was fine — who knows what except an overreactive immune system. My body went back to normal in a week or two. I spent a week ruminating about how to spend the last few months/years of my life. Do not cry and give someone a hug when the tests aren’t in."
20. "I had really bad acne starting at the age of 8. When I was 13, I went to a dermatologist, who recommended I take Accutane. For those who don’t know, Accutane does help cure acne but has extreme side effects. So much that you have to get your blood tested while on the medicine to make sure it isn’t causing liver damage. I mentioned to the doctor I was concerned about the side effects. She told me, 'Well if you don’t take it, then you’ll just be ugly forever.' I was so humiliated I ended up taking the medication."
"My acne was not cured BTW. To be called ugly by a medical professional at the age of 13 was so damaging that even now, well over a decade later, anytime someone says I’m pretty, I replay the moment of being called ugly and find myself incapable of believing I’m anything but hideous."
Have you ever had an unprofessional encounter with a doctor? Share your story in the comments below.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.