It's amazing how many people think they can get away with fooling a doctor. They didn't go to school for eight years for nothing, and they can see right through your shenanigans. But some people barely even try when it comes to faking it. Here are some of the most cringeworthy stories from the doctors themselves.
LegoYoda420 asked: Doctors of Reddit, what's the biggest case of "faking it" you've ever seen?
I See You.Giphy
Had a patient when I was an intern feigning blindness. She would constantly be playing on her smartphone, only furiously trying to hide it when someone from the care team came into her room. The best was when my attending one day strolled past her room and threw his hand up in a highly exaggerated 'hello' wave. She started to throw her arm up to but caught herself half way through, then threw her hand back into her lap and pretended to be 'staring' off into nothing.SinisterlyDexterous
A patient claimed to have all kinds of illnesses and would cough every minute or so.
Have you tried coughing when you don't need to? It's like a normal cough but you take the subwoofer away.
Now imagine that, but ten times more fake. yMidget
The whole 9 yards.Giphy
Nurse for an ophthalmologist here. Had a 21 year old new patient claiming to be completely blind from a sudden and severe glaucoma diagnosis from a previous unknown doctor. Would feel around while walking, tried to keep eyes rolled back into his head. The whole 9 yards. He said he is a famous YouTube rapper that is now unable to make videos or earn a living.
I exclaimed to have heard of him before and very excitedly asked him to search and show me his YouTube channel on my phone so that I could subscribe. He took my phone out of my hand and effortlessly found the YouTube app and typed away in the search bar. Oh, and of course his eyes were back to normal and focused. sexyfoxx85
Use your Movement.
I once saw a patient who had been faking paralysis of the legs for years. Used a wheelchair, never walked, etc. Old records showed extensive imaging, neurology consults, and other tests that proved the patient had full function of all extremities. Family/friends were just going along with it. Not sure if it was really conversion disorder or if the patient had some secondary gain issue. nnkkmmuu
Chose a leg.
One time my roommate (who is an ICU nurse) came to see one of my indoor soccer games. During the game a player on the other team went down "hurt" and starting screaming in pain and swearing and rolling around while holding his ankle before he was eventually helped off the field. He then limped over to where the fans sat and watched the rest of the game brooding in silence before he left early. After the game my roommate told me he was going to go over and see if there was anything he could do to help, until he saw that the guy was limping on the wrong leg. SloopyDoops
WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING!?!?!?!?!Giphy
Opthalmology technician. People pretend to be blind all the time. Go to check their eye pressure with the tonopen (a device you poke them DIRECTLY into the eye with) and they go WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING!?!?!?!?! jmikk85
Really says doc?
Obligatory not a doctor... I'm a nurse. We had a guy who had to come in every 3 months to get a medical certificate to say he couldn't work at his retail job due to severe disabling back pain. He was receiving large amounts of insurance money for this condition. After the Dr had done his usual examination and questions and signed it off the guy asks the doctor to check his shoulder which doc does and asks how he injured it?
Guy says playing rugby for a competitive team. Really says doc? How long have you been playing for them ? Guy has been playing and training the whole time. Doc puts this info on insurance form . Doc loses his shit in staff room laughing. Next week the patient loses his shit in reception because his insurance has been cancelled. mariawest
Wrap it Up.
Guy came to ER (I was a nurse at the time) for stomach ache when asking him about history he randomly mentions a fight with his girlfriend where she left in a tizzy and he fell asleep on the couch. 20 min later when we see the CT, he has a satellite cable remote wrapped in a condom lodged in his rectum. I suppose he intended to frame "her". Didn't get to hear the conversation he had with the doctor. I was curious how he was going to explain why she was nice enough to wrap it in the condom. TorrenceMightingale
He. Was. Serious.Giphy
ER nurse. Bringing a patient back to a room who said he had kidney stones. I had him stop at the bathroom and get a urine sample. Dude comes out with with the specimen cup that literally has a piece of concrete in it. Looked him in the eye expecting some sort of joke. He. Was. Serious. I threw it away and walked his dumbass back to the waiting room to contemplate his stupidity. _Stamos
In front of witnesses...
Not a doctor but I was in the ER one night and there was a seeking drug addict who literally only acted in pain when there was staff around. You ever see those videos where the little kid is fine and then they spot a parent and then bawl then immediately stop and be fine when the parent is out of view? Exactly like that. Sat fine, no movements or wincing or noises then wailing when a nurse was in the same vicinity, then back to fine when they left. ClownsInMyPants
That's very strange.
Had a patient come in for a fall who now couldn't move their legs at all. Did a bunch of tests, didn't find anything. The patient was not at all phased by suddenly being paralyzed which was the first red flag. Didn't really believe anything was wrong but the patient was still not moving their legs. My options are to admit for a huge work up or get them to walk.
So I update them saying everything is fine, tests are negative, you can go home. Patient gets up, gets dressed and walks out without a word.
We had a patient faking a seizure so my supervisor told one of us to get the "brain needle". The patient made a miraculous and swift recovery without intervention.
That's the best part about most of these stories, when they make up some form of fake machine so that the patient stops faking. Cracks me up every time.
Now THAT'S dedication.
Taking trauma call during surgery residency, had a prisoner come in after a fight and claimed he couldn't move or feel his legs. All the CT scans and MRIs were normal, but we would shield his legs so he couldn't see them and poke them with needles and other sharp objects, with enough force to cause pain- he never flinched or moved his legs at all. He was diagnosed with SCIWORA (spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality).
He stayed in the hospital for a week, no improvement. Always had one guard with him. One night they were down in the lobby watching some television but the guard needed to use the restroom. The patient said, "where could I possibly go? I'm paralyzed!" Guard left him alone for two minutes.
Patient last seen sprinting down the road, naked butt cheeks flapping in the breeze. Made it to a city four hours away by car before he was caught again. I have never seen anyone fake it so well. Truly playing the long con!
That's so frustrating.
While taking a break from the ICU (due to it being emotionally draining) I worked in home health for a bit. I had a patient who clearly had Munchausen syndrome. On a daily basis she would call her insurance to see what things would be covered if she was diagnosed with this or that. She called her Doctor's office an average of 5x during my shift with her, she would report all kinds of non-real symptoms. She pestered the doctors into do exploitive laparoscopic surgery, of course nothing was found.
One day I walked in and she was rubbing her incisions with rotten cabbage trying to get it infected. She wasn't seeking pain meds (except to sell) really she was just as happy with antibiotics or stool softeners, anything, as long as they wrote her a prescription and she got to go to the pharmacy where she did a whole song and dance for them too, claiming allergies and reactions.
She always increased the exaggeration of her story too. One time she fluttered her eyes (after making sure I was looking) and said she lost consciousness in that half a second. She called the doctor and claimed she lost consciousness for 5mins, she called the insurance and claimed it was 10min, she called the pharmacy and claimed it was 30min, then she called 911 and told them she woke up on the floor after loosing consciousness for 4hrs.
The worst thing about her was she was a mom. Her son was 28 at the time and by all the stories of his childhood illnesses and all her saying how he is severely disabled I knew she basically f*cked up his childhood with Munchausen by proxy. She portrayed him as being severely disabled and that's why he would never find a wife...I met him, he was healthy and of average intelligence. He wasn't looking for a wife, he was gay, but she refused to accept that.
Working with her was so miserable that I took a couple years off from any and all healthcare after that.
Almost got away with it.Giphy
Physical therapist here.
Working mom comes into the clinic with her infant in a stroller. She's limping like she's got a nail in her foot. Wincing in pain and tears in her eyes. She's crying during her visit with the PT. None of us think she's faking it...
She limped out of the clinic. I glanced out of the window and saw this woman BOUNDING down the sidewalk. Hips swaying, full stride, going places.
We were all fools.
Not the best way to get away from police.
Young (18-20) Woman went running into small rural hospital ER pretending to have abdominal pain. Police officer had tagged her going 40+km over the limit which was 'stunt driving' as per the new law in Ontario (impound and license suspension automatic). Cop followed her into ER and apparently said he'd be waiting for her when she left.
Locum staff such as myself were housed at a small B&B about 15 mins away, and the ER had pre-printed order sets to be done before we arrived.
When I arrived she flat out admitted that she just came in because she freaked out and didn't stop. I told her we'd give her 45 mins to call her parents/family before I booted her.
Except, bHCG came back positive, and subsequent ultrasound came back showing extremely early ectopic pregnancy.
Officer figures out something is up when he hears air ambulance call come in over radio.
She was completely asymptomatic and just worked out that she dodged both charges and a life threatening issue by accident.
It was definitely a WTF moment.
So much for "weakness".
This patient comes in for back pain with "weakness" of the legs. Gets a full workup with MRI, standard blood work, and then some immunological things to look for stuff like myasthenia gravis. No neurological or immunological explanation for the "weakness." Patient is seen by physical therapy and they are of the opinion that the patient is holding back intentionally.
Go to see the patient at the end of the day and prep them for discharge. Patient is infuriated that they're being discharged. Yelling and screaming about how they aren't better, how they're disappointed in the institution, blah blah blah. They said one particular thing that still clearly stands out 3-4 years later. "I can't believe you're sending me home already. I haven't even told my family I'm here, and now you're going to send me home before they even have the chance to see me?"
My attendant and I leave the room to arrange things with the nurses. We go back in and the patient is out of bed and standing up in the middle of the room. Miraculously the patient is able to walk with zero assistance when they had so much difficulty with any assistance over the previous two days. At that point, they were enraged we went in to the room without knocking. They were discharged home after a conversation regarding abuse of medical services.
Working at a pharmacy we saw a guy come in to try and get a refill on some pain meds that had no refill. After pleading that his ear really hurt we told him again we couldn't refill it. One of the other employees saw his step into a side hallway and take a pencil and JAM it forcefully into his ear repeatedly, drawing blood. He calmly left and went to the ER. He came back a few hours later with a prescription for pain meds.
They had to weigh their options.
My brother was an EMT for two years and he told me this:
People will try to use the ambulance as a means for transportation from Fulton to Oswego (because the hospital is in Oswego), by faking seizures. Sometimes when the head EMT guy was feeling fun and knew that the person was faking, he'd say something like "man it's weird that he's having seizures but not peeing himself". Apparently the person would kind of snap out of it for a second, weigh up the repercussions, then either pee themselves or stop faking. I thought that was hilarious.
A miraculous cure!
Patient was convinced she had a melanoma and needed a biopsy and would need to be on workers comp.
I told her it looked like ink from a marker.
She demanded a biopsy.
I wiped the area off with an alcohol swab and showed her the ink and that there was no spot on her skin anymore.
She stormed out threatening to sue.
I'm just glad I cured her melanoma.