Patients Too Scared to Go to the Doctor
If you have a problem, go to the doctor. Nothing is more annoying than when a patient foregoes essential medical care because they’re too scared or worried about personal judgment from the doctor. Most want to help you if you’re willing to listen.
It's best to just bite the bullet and go see what's ailing you. It might seem scary at first, but we suspect that you'll feel a lot better once it's over and done with. Doctors are people too, they understand being afraid of things!
Eating Before Surgery
If you eat before a surgery, the surgery will probably be canceled. If it isn’t, you risk vomiting into your lungs, which could cause infections or death. Plus, it’ll frustrate the nurses and doctors because that’s a slot someone else could’ve used.
You should absolutely avoid food when your surgeon tells you to, but if they don't say something either way, it never hurts to ask just to be safe. Dying is never fun, but it would be especially humiliating for people to know you died aspirating on a Big Mac.
Seduce the Doctor
Why? Just why? It happens way too often than it really should. Chances are, doctors and medical professionals will just call security if a patient tries to seduce them.
If you're really so dead set with getting it on with a doctor, your only option is to wait for them to make a move on you—which is never going to happen because they don't want to get sued into oblivion. Leave the fantasies behind when you hit the waiting room.
Not Knowing Basic Anatomy
So, one Reddit user (an ER doc) brought up a patient that came in, stating that their throat was torn open. Turns out, the patient was referring to their uvula. Know basic anatomy, folks.
No one is expecting you to graduate med school, but if you can't accurately describe what hurts how are they possibly supposed to help you? God forbid, but if your condition was a life-threatening one, that's no time to play 20 questions with the doctor!
Argue with Them
You’re welcome to disagree with your doctor, but it’s best not to say you know more because you Googled your symptoms. A Google search doesn’t equal a degree and years of experience.
That being said, don't be afraid to disagree entirely—doctors are susceptible to the same errors and biases as we all are. But instead of getting into a shouting match with him, maybe just go get a second opinion instead. Most sane doctors aren't going to get their feelings hurt by that.
Doctors don’t have a lot of time, so chatting about things that aren’t relevant to your problem isn’t cool. A little chatting, sure, but 15 minutes of stuff that isn’t relevant? Nah. This goes double in the ER. Don’t keep ER docs busy with idle chit-chat.
Ideally, your doctor already has some tricks up their sleeve to keep patients on track, but things will probably go much smoother and more quickly if you don't ever give them a reason to direct you back to the subject at hand.
Having a Pain Level of Nine
If you’re at a pain level of nine, you better have something seriously wrong with you. If you’re sitting calmly, not writhing or sweating, and have normal vitals—you’re not at a nine. People experience pain differently but be realistic.
No one is saying that you aren't in pain at all, but there's a huge difference between a headache and losing a limb. Overexaggerating how much you hurt will just make it more difficult and time-consuming for the doctor to really figure out what's wrong with you.
Not Following the Treatment Plan
Doctors care about their patients, and (depending on your illness) they spend a lot of time formulating your treatment plan. So, listening to the treatment plan and then ignoring advice is pretty rude. Why even go in the first place?
Sometimes medications can take a while to start having an effect, so if you go off plan, you may be sabotaging your recovery before it has a chance to actually begin. Doing that may be annoying to the doctor, but really, you're mostly playing yourself and putting your health in jeopardy.
Just vaccinate, okay? For real. Vaccination stops the spread of diseases and prevents major outbreaks. The dude that said vaccines cause autism published his paper to get a paycheck from a pharmaceutical company and was later stripped of his right to practice medicine.
While vaccines might be in your best interest, don't let not having them stop you from going to see a doctor if something is really wrong. While doctors technically have the right to dismiss unvaccinated patients, most would not, especially in an emergency situation.
Lying About Habits
One of the biggest things that annoy doctors is when a patient lies to them. They ask about relevant stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re on drugs. What matters is if you tell them, so they know how to treat you. If you lie, you could die.
It can be embarrassing to admit our bad habits to others, but your doctor isn't some disappointed parent who's going to scold you for being naughty—they see so many people on a day-to-day basis that, chances are they've forgotten about your vices once you leave.
Don’t get angry when a doctor won’t give you what you ask. When they prescribe Tylenol for a mild cold, that’s what you need. A cold doesn’t require antibiotics—in fact, it won’t help at all!
Getting angry at the doctor isn't really going to help you get what you want—what doctor is going to be swayed by a hissy fit? If you really disagree with your doctor's suggested treatment, your only real course of action is to get a second opinion from somewhere else.
Being “Allergic” to Certain Pain Killers
Some patients actually go into their doctor saying they’re allergic to most pain killers so that they can get opiates. It’s obvious to the doctor that those patients are just drug seekers, and they’ll get a treatment suggestion of Tylenol.
If you're lying to a doctor to get meds, that's probably a sign your should be in rehab. And chances are if your doctor thinks you have a problem like this, they're going to try to convince you themselves to get into a program.
Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon, so if he says something about the heart, he’s probably right. If he says something about nutrition or another part of the body, he’s probably wrong. Nowadays, he’s known for peddling pseudoscience, and docs hate it when patients follow his word to a “t.”
Plus, it's kind of rude to bring up other doctors when you've got one right in front of you giving you advice. Whether it's Dr. Oz or anyone else, telling your physician, "Well, Dr. So and So says..." is never a good start to a conversation.
Pulling Docs Aside at ERs
This one is specific for ERs. You’re worried about your family, and everyone knows that. However, the doctor you’re pulling aside at the nurse’s station may not even know about your family member’s case. Wait for the doctor or nurse to come into the room.
We understand that the ER is a stressful place and that injuries or conditions could be life-threatening, but trying to corner a doctor isn't going to make anything better. Being patient is hard, but it's a necessity in times like these.
Coming into the ER with Food
The ER is an Emergency Room. That means you need immediate care as quickly as possible. If you had time to stop for food, then is it really an emergency? There are plenty of quick care clinics to visit instead, and they’re a lot cheaper.
Plus, who could actually eat in the emergency room? You're surrounded by pain and suffering, and you know that at least a few people are going to be there because of something really gross. It's the perfect place to lose your lunch if you're not careful!
Arriving Late for Appointments
Have you ever wondered why your doctor was late? If they weren’t caught up talking to a patient that wanted to go on and on for 30 minutes about something not important, they were probably held up by a patient that was late. When the first appointment is late, it just compounds throughout the day.
You definitely want to be on time for your doctor's appointments. If you're too late, you may find that the front desk has bumped you from the schedule entirely! If you know that you won't make it on time, at least give the clinic a heads up to let them know you'll be late.
Trying to Manipulate Doctors
Doctors know your medical history and can spot when they’re being manipulated. Don’t lie, try to manipulate, or scheme medical professionals. Plus, if you’re honest with your doc, they’ll like you and trust you more.
Doctors don't take too kindly to being lied to, and who can blame them? Most of the time when someone isn't being honest with them it's because they're looking for drugs. Even if that's not your intention, it's going to be their first thought when they realize you fibbed to them.
Not Follow DNRs
This one is tough. You love your family, and you don’t want to let them go. That being said, if your loved one has a DNR, the doctor’s hands are tied. Yelling and forcing them to do what’s against your loved one’s wishes won’t help anyone.
The best way to avoid painful situations like that one is to talk with your family about your and their wishes should something like this ever arise in the future. You might still not agree with their decisions, but at least you know beforehand what those wishes are.
Torture Loved Ones
This one goes with the one above in a way. Your family is first and foremost, but what a patient wants is most important. If your loved one wants “comfort care,” then the doctor will want to provide it instead of pushing fluids, keeping them in the ICU, and treating them with medicines that’ll make them feel worse.
This is another instance where talking with your family about all your medical wishes is a must. If you think they're making the wrong decision, you might be able to convince them otherwise, but a doctor's hands are tied legally when it comes to wishes like this—they can't do anything to help you.
Not Providing Legal Names
If you want to be called Bill when your actual name is William, that’s fine. However, when medical professionals ask you for your legal name, give them the full legal name. Otherwise, you could be rejected life-saving medicine due to a discrepancy in the paperwork.
As nightmarishly bureaucratic as that sounds, that's just the reality of the situation. And don't worry—there are plenty of people who are embarrassed by their full names. We promise that doctors and nurses have heard more ridiculous ones before!
Not Showing Up for Appointments
If you can’t show up for an appointment, that’s fine, but do the courteous thing and let the office know. That time slot could go to another patient that really needs it.
If you don't watch out, you're likely to be hit with a cancellation fee for not showing up. Most places will let you know those policies up front, but it's not good to tempt fate even if you think you can get away fine-free.
Not Finishing Antibiotics
When you take half of your antibiotics, you’re bolstering the bacteria that are left over. This means it’ll be even harder to get rid of because the strongest will multiply. Basically, it leads to resistance.
Even if it feels like you're fine and dandy once again, you should always be taking your medication as directed until you run out of it. We promise that your doctor didn't write you that prescription just for funsies.
Not Accepting a Diagnosis
Doctors are wrong sometimes. We’re not saying they’re right 100% of the time. That being said, if a doctor has evidence of your diagnosis and can source why they think so, it’s best to trust them. Get a second opinion but accepting their diagnosis can save your life.
Having a serious condition can be a scary thing, but trying to deny the obvious isn't going to make you less scared or help your physical health. One doctor might be wrong, but if you get the same diagnosis from multiple ones, it may be time to face the music.
Using Homeopathy in Place of Medical Treatments
There’s been a rise of people thinking that homeopathy can take the place of medical treatment—talk about something that annoys doctors! Homeopathic doctors often aren’t even real doctors, so you’re not getting treatment.
Your free to practice and believe what you wish about homeopathy, but it's probably not great to bring it up with your doctor. Right or wrong, it's a pretty safe bet that most medical professionals are going to be vehemently opposed to it.
Lying About Symptoms
Don’t lie to your doctor about symptoms—it’s the first line of offense against beating whatever you have. If you’re going to the ER, lying about chest pains to get to the top of the waiting list is a douche move.
Plus, lying about symptoms is a great way to get a misdiagnosis! Chest pain might get you plenty of attention at the ER, but what good will that do you if the doctors don't realize your real problem is a bum gallbladder?
Being Disrespectful to Staff
Some people are nice to the doctor but super rude to the appointment coordinator or another member of staff. Doctors care about who they work with, so it’s annoying when someone is sweet as candy to them but rude to other people in the office.
If you happen to find yourself being disrespected by the staff, don't play their game and get rude right back at them. Killing them with kindness is the best way to diffuse a jerk!
Having Several Issues for One Appointment
Patients don’t know that appointments have a time limit. When a patient has several issues, they have around 20 minutes to go over all those issues, perform an exam, create a treatment plan, adjust medications, and arrange a follow-up. That ends up with the patient getting subpar care.
If possible, try to schedule appointments for different ailments. Obviously, that's not always possible if things are particularly severe, but it's a good rule of thumb to try to live by. Trying to juggle 20 different issues in a limited time span isn't going to win you any favor with your doctor.
Not Knowing How Appointments Work
Did appointment time limits surprise you? It may also surprise you that the doctor has no control over the amount of time per patient—that’s actually set by the office or hospital group. It’s pretty aggravating when a doctor has to rush through five problems with one patient, or they’re late to multiple appointments, especially since it’s out of their control.
That's annoying for sure, but don't get angry with the doctors—save that ire for the bureaucrats that set the dumb policies. Your doctor will do their best to get through all of your issues, but at the end of the day, they're not miracle workers or time travelers.
Bait and Switch
Bait and switch is when you make an appointment for one thing, but then change why you needed the appointment without saying anything. This is pretty annoying since the doctor prepared for the other issue.
It's fine if you legitimately need to switch the reason for your appointment, but that's something you definitely want to share with the doctor's office before you arrive. Surprise symptoms are just going to annoy your doctor and make things more difficult.
The Doorknob Comment
This is a phrase used by doctors that refers to a comment that’s said as they’re walking out the door. For example, someone says that their wrist has been hurting a little, and they spend most of the appointment on that. Then, when the doctor is walking out the door, the patient mentions that they’ve had a difficult time breathing over the last couple of weeks.
If you're going in for an appointment to deal with multiple issues, you absolutely need to prioritize them. The most serious symptoms or conditions should be discussed first so that they can be addressed as quickly and accurately as possible.
This one isn’t toward the patient, but rather the school or company. Requiring a doctor’s note for a visit is a waste of everyone’s time. “Patient stated they had a cold. Examined and determined to have a cold. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time.”
It's annoying for the doctor that they've got to make a note, and it's embarrassing for the patient that their employer doesn't trust them to actually be sick when they say they are. It's time for doctor's notes to go the way of the dodo.
Having a High Pain Threshold Yet Terrified of Needles
Needles suck, and we can all agree on that. Doctors find it annoying when patients say they have a high pain threshold, and then act like they’re being murdered when they have blood drawn or an IV inserted.
Being afraid of needles is embarrassing, yes, but lying about it will just make things even more so. At least give them a heads up before you start flopping and flailing and screaming around the examination room!
New-age medicine may help some problems, but it isn’t going to cure cancer. Furthermore, most claims have no evidence. If a patient says that beet juice can cure diabetes, their doctor probably wants to roll their eyes so hard they’d become their own neurologist.
If natural cures are your thing, go for it, but we promise your doctor doesn't want to hear about it. Some of them will be too polite to rebuff you, but if you happen to nab yourself a particularly crotchety physician, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a long lecture!
Bringing Other Medical Professionals to the Appointment
Sometimes patients bring family members that have medical training to the appointment for the sole purpose of arguing with the doctor. If you want a second opinion, that’s fine, but the doctor wants to treat the patient—not argue with family members.
Having someone at your appointment for moral support is perfectly fine, but don't let them act like a prosecuting attorney whenever your doctor says something they disagree with. Strangers arguing with them isn't going to make your doctor like you more!
Blaming the Doctor
If a patient doesn’t follow a treatment plan, then the problem will persist or get worse. That’s just the way it is. Don’t blame the doctor for making things worse when the treatment plan was thrown out the window.
While rare, if you rant and rave loudly and dishonestly enough, you may find yourself served with a libel or defamation lawsuit! Having legitimate problems with a doctor is one thing, but if you're not following the plan, you have no right to badmouth them.
When you say it hurts, you gotta know where. If you’ve had a symptom, how long have you had it? “A while” can be anywhere between a few days to a few months depending on the person. Vomiting for a couple of days is bad but vomiting for two weeks is worse.
Remembering the exact onset of every single symptom can be a challenge, but try to be as specific and precise as you can when you're describing what's wrong to the doctor. The more accurate your account is, the more accurate their diagnosis can be.
Smoking During Pregnancy
This one is a biggie. Smoking during pregnancy is harmful toward the baby, and honestly, it’s dangerous to the mother, too. Doctors will tell you that quitting smoking when pregnant is essential, and they’re more than happy to help you do so.
That being said, please don't avoid the doctor if you're smoking while pregnant. They will probably say something to you about it, but no one is trying to demonize you, and regular doctor visits while pregnant are essential for so many other things as well.
Expecting Pain-Free Solutions
Here’s the dealio: if you hurt yourself, the treatment may also hurt. Doctors hate it when patients come in with something broken and expect them to take the pain away while also fixing the problem. Treatment for stuff like this will hurt, but it’ll be better in the long run.
Your doctor will probably do what they can to make you as comfortable as possible, but sometimes getting well hurts. Let your doctor know if you're experiencing pain from treatments, obviously, but sometimes that's just the way it has to be.
Patients Who Spread Illness
Everyone gets sick—it’s an unfortunate reality. When someone gets sick (and they’re contagious), they should stay home. Going out with a fever, coughing, and sneezing will just spread the illness. That’s how the flu gets so bad each year. That, and people don’t get vaccinated, but we’ve already touched on that.
Don't avoid going to the doctor just because of fear of spreading illness, but try your best to minimize contact with other people while you're there. Hacking up a lung outside is probably better than doing so in the middle of the waiting room.
Requesting Docs of a Certain Gender at the Appointment
If you want a male doctor instead of a female (or vice versa), don’t wait until the appointment to say something. At that point, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Doctor offices will work with you, especially if it’s for religious reasons.
Plan ahead if this is going to be an issue, or the doctor's office may not be able to accommodate your request. That means you'll probably have to reschedule, which will only postpone treating your problems even more.