Medical Errors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, doctors are people, too. They experience the same emotions as the rest of us, including the occasional desire to poke fun.  But that’s a desire they must suppress in the clinical setting. And like the rest of us, they sometimes let words or sentences slip out that shouldn’t.  Sometimes office staff makes mistakes that come back to bite the physician in the ass.

How would you feel if you experienced one of the following epic communication fails? Some are made up, some actually happened – I’ll let you figure out which are which:

♦ Upon reviewing your test results, your doctor asks if you’ve given any thought to funeral pre-arrangements.

♦ After reviewing your lab work and explaining all the things that are currently wrong with you, and all the things you’ll now need to give up (like food), the doctor says, “Oops. How did these get in your chart?! – these are Mrs. Jones’ results!

♦ For men:  The burly 6’3” male physician’s assistant enters the exam room donning latex gloves and whistling “Moon River.”

♦ For women:  Your family doctor has finally convinced you to undergo a Pap smear, which you’ve been putting off for years because you refuse to go to an OB/GYN (too embarrassed to sit around with all those young pregnant woman).  Just as you get properly positioned on the table (“move down a little more, please, now just a little more …”), the doctor turns to his nurse and says, “I haven’t done this in awhile. Which way does the speculum go?

♦ You’ve put off that colonoscopy long enough and have finally decided to undergo the test. You’ve done the cleansing prep, arrived at the medical facility, and are now dressed in one of those gorgeous, breezy johnnies.  The nurse enters the room and says, “I apologize. We have to re-schedule.  Dr. X finally managed to get a tee time at the country club.”

♦ You’ve just explained to your family doctor that you have no available cash to join a health club.  You’re lucky if you can keep the mortgage and utilities paid.  The doctor replies, “Maybe you could hire a personal trainer?

♦ Upon arriving at the pediatrician’s office for your child’s regular exam, you find a handwritten note taped to the door indicating that the offices have moved, and giving the new location across town.  By the time you drive there, you are, of course, seriously late for the appointment.  You apologize to the receptionist, indicating that you hadn’t received the notice that the office was moving, and are told that one was never sent out.  WTF?  What if the child were sick?

Are you ready to chat with your doctor at your next visit? Got any communication failures you’d like to share?  Feel free to comment below.


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Image by Cordelia’s Mom

This entry was posted in Health, Humor, That's Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Medical Errors

  1. AmyRose🌹 says:

    If I started I wouldn’t stop. So know that there have been many physician’s errors that ended up hurting me. So I take care of me as best as possible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that, Amy. If you ever want to unload, you’re welcome to do a guest post for me.

      BTW, what do you think of the photo? It didn’t work too well in full color, and since I was doing it on my lunch hour, I didn’t have time to retake it. Is it even marginally acceptable?

      Liked by 2 people

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Your photo is excellent, CM. I mean that. As for a guest post …. Thank you, I am really honored. This is how I manage what happened to me. Not think about it, not talk about it, and just go on with my Life as best as I can. SO much bad happened, just take my word for it. My trust has been greatly broken and I am truly grateful for the GP I do have because he does not push drugs or testing. Bless that man!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. joey says:

    Oh boy. I think a lot of these are places I’d never return to. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you. My favorite, which I forgot to include in the post, was the urgent care doctor who never even came into the exam room. I had gone there after a car accident (rear-ended in a bumper-thumper). The doctor stood at the exam room door, asked me to turn my head from one side to the other, told me I was fine and to go home.


      • joey says:

        Did all of these things actually happen? All of them in the post? :O


        • I knew someone would have to ask. Most of them are true, although the “funeral pre-arrangement” one is totally made up.

          I got the “For Men” story from my husband, who saw a burly 6’3″ PA in his urologist’s office and just prayed he would get the female PA instead (he did).

          When I was pregnant with my first child, my OB/GYN was constantly mixing up my chart with that of a woman who had the same name.

          As for the colonoscopy, my daughter had gone through the prep and we drove her in the middle of a horrendous snow storm to the clinic for the test. Fortunately, the doctors and nurses felt obligated to stay and do the test since she had gone through the prep (even though there was now a winter driving ban and all businesses and schools were closing), and she was the last patient of the day. We barely made it home afterwards.

          Everything else were incidents that actually did happen.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Elyse says:

    I would find it shocking if there are many men around who hadn’t been serenaded with “Moon River” at least once! This sort of thing is why I can/could never be a doctor. I say inappropriate things all the time!

    Real errors? A friend of mine’s doctor “forgot” to mention that my friend’s scan came back showing that he had a brain tumor…

    I’m ok with my doctors goofing around with me. I actually hate having doctors with no sense of humor. I got freshly pressed on a post about that very topic:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sure, Elyse, rub in the fact that you were Freshly Pressed, and on subject(s) that are dear to my heart and on which I have also written posts. (Yes, poop is funny.) Now that Freshly Pressed is no more, I have no way of catching up.

      Ah well. Having finally read your post (I wasn’t in the blogosphere in 2012), I must say that I do agree with you. A little light humor in the medical setting is not always inappropriate. While most GI doctors are more serious than necessary, I do recall my first one (the GI surgeon) telling me he was happy I got better during my hospital stay so he wouldn’t have to “get out the knives.” He then referred me to someone who knew more about current medicines and told me he would be very happy if I never had to see him again (because he mostly only does GI surgeries). Thank heavens that treatment for bowel disease has advanced since the 1980s and that so far, I haven’t needed surgery.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Elyse says:

        I can honestly say that surgery isn’t all bad. I got 22 years of remission from mine, so I’m not complaining a bit about it. Of course I’d rather I ddin’t have to go through it, but those years were pretty sweet!

        Sorry to rub it in. Will it help if I tell you that I was also freshly pressed for a crappy post? It’s true.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul says:

    Yep, lack of communication would be my biggest beef with doctors as well CM. Aaaargh! Some of them are so thoughtless. i had a stupid doctor do an ultrasound on my bladder in preparation for getting on the transplant list (sort of – actually everyone is on the list and then they throw you off as needed – i.e. active cancer). – and declare casually -“Oh, your cancer is back.” and then walk away. Taking his word for it,I was actively planning my suicide when I happened to have an appointment with my urologist and I mentioned the conversation. He was flabbergasted and looked at the results (we have e-health here that allows docs to pull up any test results immediately and anywhere). He said that he would schedule a CT to check and he did very quickly. Then I had an appointment two weeks later with the urologist to confirm results – that was the end of September. The day before, his admin called and asked to remake the appointment for October. I agreed and come the date, another call and another rebook for November. Then a rebook to December (they actually scheduled me in when the offices were closed. ) then a rebook for January, then a rebook for February. And you think I am exaggerating – I’m not – 5 rebooks. At one point I asked what the test results were and of course I was told I had to see the doctor.Finally at the end of February, my appointment was at 3 pm, so I arrived about 2:30 pm. Nothing at 3, nothing at 4, nothing at 5 – at 6 pm they called my name. they wanted to know if I would like to rebook. If I hadn’t known I would get evicted, I would have responded with a string of obscenities that would have made a stevedore blush. I politely indicated that I would like to wait. At 6:30 pm the doctor came out to take me to his office. I asked about the CT results and the doctor said there was no cancer – it was small gatherings of cells that are normal for someone over 50. I lost it. I was careful not to use any obscenities but I did let my volume go up and although I normally respect a doctor’s time,he had lost that respect. I told him about all the cancellations,my plans to commit suicide, being sure that I had cancer again, the emotional trauma from not knowing but taking the doctor’s word for it, the inability to get an appointment with him, the lack of communication – allowing me to believe for 6 months that I had cancer when i did not. I railed on him for more than 30 minutes until he was a bright red with embarrassment. He assured me that he would address these issues and any time I needed to speak to him, I could call and leave a message and he would get back to me same day personally..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Victo Dolore says:

    I learned in med school to never say “uh-oh” or “That’s interesting” while examining a patient. No matter what you say after that you can never make it better!


    • That’s amusing, Victo. During my last colonoscopy, I was pretty much awake during the entire procedure, and watching that little screen. Things were going along well, until I heard the doctor say “Hmpf.” I wasn’t sure what I was looking at on the screen, but it definitely looked different that what I saw before that. Sure enough, the doctor told me after that there was still an unhealed, inflamed area. Just meant an increase in my meds temporarily, but I could have done without the “Hmpf.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    A doctor recommended a personal trainer to a friend. She told him she couldn’t afford one. He suggested that she eat out less often. When she explained that she didn’t eat out often at all, as couldn’t afford that either, he was dumbfounded.


  7. RN Ratched says:

    Very interesting and this kind of stuff happens all the time!!


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