Skip To Content

    29 Toxic Doctors Who Should Have Had Their Licenses Revoked Ages Ago

    "I overheard my doctor refer to me as a 'beached whale' while laughing with his colleague outside my exam room."

    The following contains mentions of eating disorders, suicide, and anti-gay discrimination.

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a time when they felt obligated to break up with their doctor, and there were dozens of infuriating, heartbreaking, and equally important responses.

    1. "My male doctor once asked me during a yearly physical if my husband and I had a good sex life. I thought it was an odd question for a physical, but I answered. I told him that it hadn't been so great lately because things weren't so good in our marriage at the moment. His response was, 'Oh, your poor husband.' I walked out and never looked back."

    —Anonymous


    2. "I kept having episodes of tachycardia that would wake me up out of a sound sleep. Sometimes I'd even go to the ER. The ER doctors would say I needed to go on a heart monitor, but my primary care doctor refused, dismissing the episodes as 'anxiety.'"

    "I dealt with these episodes for over SIX YEARS until someone FINALLY put me on a heart monitor. I was diagnosed with SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). At one point, my heart was recorded reaching 200 bpm. Within a few months of being on the heart monitor, I was having heart surgery. So much for anxiety, doctor."

    funnyyface

    3. "I went to my gynecologist for pelvic pain. I told her that two women in my family have endometriosis and my periods were heavy. She insisted that I probably had syphilis. She tested for it, and it was negative. She said she didn't know and talked about syphilis more...?"

    "I went to her for a possible UTI a couple months later, where she left my sample out and forgot about it. I had to go back in to give another sample, and I did, in fact, have a UTI. Never went back. My next doctor diagnosed me with endometriosis and a rather large fibroid that I needed surgery for. SyPhILiS."

    uncalum

    4. "I had been going to my primary doctor from the ages of 5 to 29. In the days after my fiancé committed suicide in our apartment, I went to the doctor because I could not sleep at all. She proceeded to tell me that 'Mark killed himself because he was gay.' and that 'Mark was going to burn in hell.' I was stunned."

    "She never had met the man, yet was passing judgment on him. Regardless of her feelings on the situation, it wasn't her place to say any of these things. I was so stunned I never said anything but rather stopped seeing her and let my family know what she said. I wish I had the strength at the time to tell her off."

    amymb3

    5. "A psychologist I was seeing was distractedly looking down at herself, picking lint off her sweater, and self-grooming while I was trying to talk about something very traumatic. I asked if she could stop, and she raised her voice toward me and called me a 'bitch.' Paying $200 an hour to get abused after speaking up about my rights as a patient left me scarred. I then left her, and several months later she moved over 300 miles away to her vacation home in a resort community, to be closer to one of the nation's most exclusive yacht clubs in which she was a member of."

    —Anonymous


    6. "I overheard my doctor refer to me as a 'beached whale' while laughing with his colleague outside my exam room."

    —Anonymous


    Doctor laughing with colleagues
    Getty Images

    7. "I initially went to see a new endocrinologist due to dropping a lot of weight and never being able to figure out why. As a gay woman, the whole 'sexually active but no chance of being pregnant' conversation is ALWAYS fun. This woman took it to a whole new level. Didn't even try to hide her homophobia when I explained that I am sexually active, but with ONE FEMALE partner, there is absolutely no chance of me being pregnant. Asked me at least 10 times throughout the appointment if I was SURE I wasn't."

    "'Surely you haven't just been with women.'" After seeing my previous diagnosis of PCOS, she decided to take away my birth control because 'I don't need a contraceptive' and put me on Metformin (which has a side effect of appetite loss) instead, when I came to her because I was worried about rapidly losing weight. So I return three months later for a follow-up appointment, and she states 'how disappointed she was I didn't gain any weight.' Dropped her that same day."

    the_rainbow_coyote

    8. "I had a problem in my right eye that could have led to blindness in that eye. I had a procedure done, and they scheduled my follow-up for the Friday after Thanksgiving. I asked at checkout if they were going to be open that day and was assured they would. I received a text on Tuesday confirming my appointment. I leave work early on Friday to make my appointment and...you guessed it...door locked and a sign saying, 'Closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.' To rub salt in the wound, they called a week later about why I missed my appointment."

    —Anonymous

    9. "First started as my desire to deal with some disturbing arm pain, which was impacting my work at a computer, as well as driving for work to see clients. One doctor informed me that all I needed to do was get myself a 'sex partner,' and that would be the cure to relieve me of my stress. I was obviously so shocked, I could not well respond. Was he offering his services? Can you tell me what store I can go to, and what shelf to look for such a doctor-recommended item for me to obtain?"

    "Second doctor informed me I needed to accept my issues were all emotionally stress related. I at least did tell him off politely. Two weeks later I received a certified letter, requesting that I not return to his practice. Ten years, more tests, to discover I had severe degenerative disease in my neck area. Sadly that occurred AFTER I had been laid off, never to be able to return to gainful employment."

    mbobok

    10. "The walls were extremely thin at my rheumatologist’s office. I heard the doctor ask the patient in the next room how he was doing, and the patient said — his voice so very sad — 'My wife just died, and I’m thinking of joining her.' The doctor replied, 'How’s your back?' He completely ignored the fact that his patient was contemplating suicide! That was the last time I saw that doctor."

    enigmagrotto

    11. "When I was 16, I had severe endometriosis, and I went to a gynecologist to see if anything could be done for the pain. The exam was done by a nurse, and the male doctor came in afterward, and after never even seeing me he told me that I was infertile and would never have children."

    "Eight years later, I have two amazing children, but that haunted me for years, and I always let that hang over me. I will never forgive that doctor for giving me such terrible anxiety about having children."

    patrish_ka

    12. "When I was 16, I started getting constant, extremely painful UTIs. My GP kept (sometimes) giving me antibiotics, even when I asked why they were happening so often. After a year, she finally sent me to a urologist who found a birth defect in my kidneys that had been left so long that I had permanent kidney damage. And had it been left another year with no corrective surgery, it would have killed me."

    silentmeadow

    Woman getting ultrasound of her kidneys
    Endopack / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    13. "I went to the doctor for severe back pain where I couldn’t even move. He told me I needed to lose weight and get a breast reduction (I was 17 at the time). He made me break down because he knew I had an underlying condition that made my weight go up, along with being on a number of pills he described that made my weight increase. I ended up going to the ER, and I had two slipped discs in my back."

    mywholepersonalityismycats

    14. "I changed pediatricians after my doctor fat-shamed me before my eating disorder, and then asked me why I was so skinny and why I was trying to lose weight and then had me stand up, put her hand between my thighs, and measured my thigh gap two weeks before I was hospitalized for my anorexia."

    "As a 13-year-old, I didn't realize how not OK this was until afterward, but to this day it pisses me off that my doctor of all people would do something like that to someone who was severely mentally ill and had a very warped sense of what their body looks like."

    bisexualunicorn267

    15. "After going off birth control to try for a baby, I hadn’t had a period in six months. I went to an OB-GYN and was taken back for an ultrasound. When they went over my ovaries, the doctor literally gasped. She told me over and over again how 'textbook' the cysts on my ovaries were, while I lied there, having no clue what was going on, on the verge of tears. When we got back to the exam room, she told me I had PCOS, gave me a pamphlet, and wrote me a prescription for Clomid. That was the entire interaction."

    "I was told to start taking the Clomid a certain number of days after my period started, which was ridiculous because I was there because I wasn’t having periods. I was in so much shock that I didn’t think to ask about it before I left. When I realized, I called the office back, and the doctor talked to me like I was an idiot and explained that you can’t have a period if you have thin uterine lining like I did. 'OK, so what am I supposed to do?' There was a long pause where she finally realized her mistake, and then she wrote a prescription for progesterone as well. When I did get pregnant three months later, I immediately called another doctor."

    totesprobst

    16. "I have fibromyalgia and take Lyrica for nerve pain. My doctor suddenly refused to prescribe it or even treat me if I was taking it as long as I was driving, even though I was on a low dose. I explained that I was fully functional with the dose I was on. She made it clear that she would send in forms to revoke my driver's license if I continued taking it, so I walked out and never saw her again."

    —Anonymous


    17. "Went to my doctor complaining of back pain. He told me that I was just a fat woman who didn't exercise, so he sent me to PT. After a couple of weeks, I was in so much pain the therapist couldn't touch me. She called the doctor and demanded I be seen. The doctor very begrudgingly agreed to take some X-rays, stating it wasn't going to show anything. I went in for the X-ray, then left for work. I hadn't even gotten to my desk when the hospital was calling me. I had an enormous growth in my lower abdomen."

    "What the doctor assumed was a fat gut turned out to be a malignant ovarian tumor the size of a cinder block. Full-blown ovarian cancer brushed off as just another whiny fat woman being a silly hysterical female. Jackass never apologized for nearly causing my death and ending my reproductive ability. Would you believe he went on to become the new hospital director in my county!"

    —Anonymous

    18. "I went to my VA doctor to go over some new sudden symptoms I had been having. Severely high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and pain. Instead of running any tests, she told me there’s nothing wrong. My blood pressure was 165/100, and I’m a 33-year-old woman. She accused me of just trying to score some drugs and that I was lying about my blood pressure being high (her nurse was the one that took my blood pressure)."

    "We argued with each other for five minutes, and she then left, and that was apparently the end of my appointment. I went and saw a new doctor the next week not affiliated with the VA. Turns out I was about to have a stroke because of my birth control (prescribed by the VA). As soon as I got off of it, my blood pressure dropped into normal range. Those horror stories you hear about the VA are all true, if not watered down."

    —Anonymous


    Woman getting her blood pressure checked
    Getty Images

    19. "My doctor called me on the phone at 10 p.m. one night to tell me I needed to lose weight. This was out of the blue — I hadn't had a recent appointment."

    —Anonymous


    20. "I went in for a routine checkup, but my doctor was out on maternity leave, so I was assigned a new doctor. To this day I have no idea why, but after our very first appointment together she informed me that she thought I was bipolar! This freaked me out, so I agreed to make an appointment with a psychiatrist she recommended so that he could diagnose me. Well, I had a session with him the next week, and afterward he said, "You definitely are not bipolar." WTF, how did she come up with that, literally after having only known me for 20 minutes? Obviously I changed doctors."

    —Anonymous


    21. "The doctor had comic strips mocking fat people pasted onto the walls of her exam room. The general themes were that fat people are lazy, lie about their health efforts, and waste doctors’ time, which would be better spent on thin people. I figured she probably didn’t want the business of a lazy, lying time-waster."

    —Anonymous

    22. "I had a missed miscarriage (a miscarriage in which my body did not expel the products of conception), and my doctor prescribed me Mifepristone and Misoprostol, two medications also used for abortion. I could not get the Mifepristone because of abortion restrictions (which are very common, BTW). She told me to just take the Misoprostol, which works on its own in most cases. It didn’t work in mine, but I didn’t know it didn’t work, and she did not follow up. I basically had a miscarriage extended across six months before I found out. My doctor was constrained by the hospital she worked at, as well as state laws, but the whole thing was too traumatic for me to go back to her."

    —Anonymous


    23. "In my early 20s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was really struggling. I had my first big girl (stressful AF) job, my fiancé at the time was still in school, and on top of that we were raising his 3-year-old son. In order to stay balanced, productive, and frankly alive, I was on a lot of medications (as part of a clinical trial) and saw my psychiatrist three times a week. Well, at one point my partner and I found out we were pregnant. In addition to not being financially secure enough to support a second child, there wasn’t enough data on how my meds would affect the fetus, and it wasn’t safe to just come off of them abruptly."

    "So we made the agonizing decision to terminate the pregnancy. I was devastated, but felt I was making the responsible choice. When I brought it up with my psychiatrist, she went on a pro-life tirade for the better part of my session, trying to change my mind, AND called her own OB-GYN to make an appointment for me because 'once I saw a sonogram I’d never entertain abortion.' She called me every day for a week trying to get me to cancel my abortion appointment. I was absolutely floored. I reported her to the director of the mental health facility she was affiliated with and never saw her again."

    —Anonymous


    24. "I tore my rotator cuff. I'm not sure how, but I did. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon. I looked past the fact that he was convinced I was a victim of domestic violence (I wasn't) because I couldn't tell him how I tore it. I understand he was just doing his due diligence. So I had surgery to repair my rotator cuff. Six months post-op I was still having a lot of issues with my shoulder."

    "At my final appointment with him, after waiting three hours past my scheduled appointment time, he seemed annoyed that I was still experiencing a lot of pain. He actually looked at me and said, 'Oh, well how often do you use your arm anyway?' ...um what????? So I replied, 'How often do you use your brain?' He said, 'What is that supposed to mean?' and I said, 'It means you're fired, goodbye.' And then I walked out."

    —Anonymous


    Man holding his shoulder in pain
    Jan-otto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    25. "When I was a kid, I started having asthma symptoms in PE at school. So my mom took me to the doctor to get evaluated. The doctor wanted me to run a few laps around the building to see if I got any asthma symptoms. When my mom said that was absurd, the doctor shrugged us off and sent us home without further discussion. I wasn't properly diagnosed for months."

    —Anonymous


    26. "My doctor's questions always seemed inappropriate verging on sexual. Whenever I went to see him as an adolescent he would ask me if I had been kissing boys. As an adult, I went in to have a kidney infection treated, and he asked me if my husband 'makes you wet.' That was it for me."

    —Anonymous


    27. "Annual well woman visits are already an awkward ordeal. During the breast exam portion of this particular visit, my provider says, 'You have nice skin.' It felt very much a Silence of the Lambs moment. I made eye contact with the nurse, and I could tell she had become just as uncomfortable as I was. I spoke with the office manager and had my medical records transferred immediately after leaving the exam room."

    —Anonymous


    28. "I have several trauma-based diagnoses that cause me to have dissociative episodes. This means that my body shuts down and freezes, and I can not move or speak. I once had an episode that happened toward the end of a therapy session. The psychologist accused me of loitering in his office and threatened to call the cops on me if I didn't leave, and also said I was doing it to 'control [his] life.'"

    —Anonymous


    29. "In my 20s, I was having horrible and increasing abdominal pain. I was bounced from primary care to OB-GYN and repeatedly told I wasn’t in as much pain as I claimed. I was labeled as 'drug seeking,' and it was very obvious that the providers thought I was exaggerating for effect. A OB-GYN put me on hormonal birth control for a period of six months for suspected endometriosis. Insurance wouldn’t pay for confirming surgery without that step first. The whole six months I knew I was declining."

    "I went back to the doctor multiple times. I was told to resume normal activities to help with the pain (running and working out), that I needed to reduce stress, and that I was making it out to be worse than it was. I tried exercising a few times, thinking maybe they were right and it was all in my head, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I might collapse and die on a run. I was just existing — going to work and coming home. At the six-month mark I was desperate, constant increasing pain, barley able to stand up, and I was going to bed thinking I would die in my sleep, knowing my body was shutting down. I demanded exploratory surgery through the OB-GYN doctor's office. They went in assuming they would confirm endometriosis and discovered that my appendix had been rotting inside my body for months. It was roughly 12 cm long (ridiculously huge for an appendix), septic, inflamed, and pushing into other organs and could have burst at any time in the last six months. A separate surgeon was brought in to remove it. It would have been life threatening if it had burst while on a run 'because it was all in my head.' When I returned to my primary care and explained what they had found, her response was, 'Well chronic appendicitis is very rare. It’s such a low percentage of appendicitis cases.” No apology, no compassion for my extended and unnecessary pain, no concerns that she had acted with assumptions and had been gaslighting me for half a year. I changed doctors immediately and never went back that practice. I now deal with pretty severe medical PTSD based on how I was treated by this physician that I had trusted to take care of my health."

    —Anonymous

    Woman with an appendix scar
    Getty Images

    Have you ever broken up with a doctor? Let us know in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.


    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US and UK from the Crisis Text Line.


    If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.


    The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.