When you think of someone going into a doctor’s office and faking symptoms, or heading to the hospital with completely fabricated problems, it can be easy to judge. Do they want attention? Pain meds? Are they mentally ill?
Well, after reading all 16 of these stories, you’re still going to be judging…but if you’re like me, you’re also going to be fascinated by human psychology all over again.
16. I hope he told the truth in court.
Years ago I had a patient who had been rear-ended in an auto accident a few weeks before I saw her. She had a history of lupus.
She was decked out in the usual “I’m crippled” paraphernalia (crutches, neck brace, elbow braces, wrist braces, knee braces) and could barely walk.
I saw her a couple of times and she showed no improvement. One Saturday I was on call but had to take a ‘back streets’ route to the hospital because of an ‘event’ taking place on the main thoroughfare. I apparently drove through her neighborhood, because, wonders behold, there she was wearing old-lady spandex power walking down the sidewalk (holding weights in both hands). I did not call out to her.
Next week, she was back in clinic, with her “I’m crippled” getup on again. Hmmm. A few weeks later I got the subpoena for the deposition, and it all became clear.
15. Are they maybe just afraid they’re actually going blind?
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 FUCK IS THAT THING!?!?!?!?!
14. YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.
I’m a surgery resident.
When I was on my trauma rotation we had a patient come int after an MVC, with question that maybe the patient had seized and that had caused the accident.
So he’s in the trauma bay, and starts shaking. The trauma nurse goes “oh this isn’t a real seizure”.
And the patient stops shaking, sits up, turns to the nurse, and yells “you don’t know a fucking thing about me!”.
13. Guess he didn’t think too hard about that one.
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.
12. Some people are children forever.
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.
11. This is…really something.
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.
10. My grandfather faked hearing loss whenever my grandmother was asking him to do something.
Audiologist (hearing specialist), have worked in private sector with legal claims, and with the V.A. handling veterans’ claims of hearing loss.
With those two populations, having people faking hearing loss is pretty common.
Now, as a professional, for me the hearing test starts when I call the person’s name from the waiting room. In a normal voice I call them, if they answer I already know that they’re normal/no worse than mild loss. This was the case with this guy. He answered and came in, we had a normal conversation. So, case history over, time to test, I give the instructions over the headphones at a reasonable 50 decibels (dB). “Raise you hand when you hear the tone.”
50dB tone, should be easy and clear, but he doesn’t raise his hand. I go up. And up, and up. Finally, I’m putting a 100dB tone in his ear, he’s flinching from pain it’s so loud, but he doesn’t raise his hand to indicate he’s heard the tone, even with re-instruction. I immediately know what I’m dealing with. I have taught entire classes on how to spot and try to get estimated true results from people trying to fake it. Long story short, I wrote a damning report outlining all his inconsistencies and faking behaviors. The thing that made this one so memorable, is that we had such a pleasant conversation before. He was a fire chief, I have firefighters in my family, it was one of those where you think “if it wasn’t for professional/patient appropriate distance, we could hang and be friends.” But then, this guy was determined to get a disability rating, and it just pissed me off.
I have other stories in case anyone is interested, but it’s likely this comment gets buried.
9. Yeah he draws the line at not being able to eat.
I am a nurse but not a doctor.
I had a patient who worked in a hospital (janitor) so he knew enough to fake a bit. He was seeking pain meds, complaining of chest pain, wanting morphine. He was worked up for everything cardiac and was fine. Then he tried to claim GI discomfort when he was being discharged.
Cleared again for everything. Faked chest pain again. Cleared again. Now he’s my patient. I’m a new face. He’s telling me he’s having abdominal pain. I call the doctor, knowing this guys history. He says he’ll be up to see him soon. This patient wants a ginger ale (some stomach ache). I decide to go to lunch. My coworker comes into the lunch room, disgusted. This guy had taken a dump in a basin and then dumped the ginger ale over it and tried to tell her he’d had fecal vomiting. He obviously needed dilaudid right now for the pain. I walked into his room and sure enough, a pile of shit in a puddle of ginger ale. I told him I’d have to take away his food and drinks and we’d have to put an NG down.
Suddenly he changed his tune. He admitted to faking it.
Why do these people do what they do??? (In the story, opioids).
8. Hahahaha she just couldn’t resist a peek.
4th year medical student
On my ER rotation and a trauma came in from a women that the had been arrested. During the drive the patient “banged” her head 4 times against the window of the police car and then went unresponsive.
She came to us with a bruise over her forehead and unresponsive. We all smelled bs but the patient was a great actor, didn’t even flinch during the digital rectal exam (which is standard for all patients that come in through the trauma bay). Though some of the nurses said that they caught her “peeking” at us when would leave the room.
We ended up getting a CT scan (which was normal) and was even considering intubating her to secure her airway when our attending finally walked over to her, opened her eye lids and held them open while telling her to wake up. Finally she started fighting to close her eyes and the jig was up. The doctor called her out and she proceeded to start screaming at us. She was much more pleasant when she was pretending to have a brain injury.
7. You never want to invite kidney stones from the universe. Fact.
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.
6. They’ve gotta put something down in the chart.
Not a doctor but nurse. I once read a specialist’s consultation report and at the end of the report the actual diagnosis given was “fictitious ailment.”
5. This is a very powerful story about addiction. Because kidney stones are awful.
My next door neighbor would drink a 12 pack of Mountain Dew a day and keep kidney stones year round to get pills. He had a pretty sweet deal too, getting 90 loracets, 90 Xanax and 90 something else (i forget) every month from his doctor. He just couldn’t stop doing other drugs and pissing dirty.
I tell this story just because I was impressed with his determination to hurt himself and get surgery once a year just to get high. Like, the absolute determination that takes. My mother is a recovering addict and had been getting the same pills around that time and I don’t recall her intentionally hurting herself. She just went with already messed up issues before she got herself into a clinic to get clean.
4. Wait people do this?
I had a patient when I worked in a ICU that was sedated and on a vent.
A “family” member showed up out of nowhere and was staying day and night. I got pretty suspicious of them because they were clearly lying about knowing this person. Just talked to the fake family member about how it must have been sad since they just celebrated their birthday a week or so before getting ill. This person said it was a wonderful party and such, to which I replied their birthday hadn’t occurred yet and wouldn’t for months.
Turned out when security came it was a homeless person who snuck in and found a room with a sedated patient and decided to make it a place to stay. Needless to say security to enter the ICU was absolute shit.
3. Wow. My kids just get suckers.
When I was a medical student I worked in the pediatric side of the emergency room and we would give popsicles to all the kids. One afternoon an 8 year old came in with his father, and I asked what was wrong. The kid couldn’t remember what he complained about to his dad, and the dad couldn’t remember why he brought his kid in. The kid’s mom was a nurse, she was working at another hospital at the time, and she was the one that would keep track of these things. Anyway, after a few minutes trying to figure out what was going on the kid asked “so, can I have my popsicle now?” The kid was 100% healthy.
Unfortunately we reinforced bad behavior and both the kid AND the dad subsequently left with popsicles.
2. Kind of hard to blame him though, right?
Prisoner came in with signs and symptoms of a big stroke.
At that time the protocol was to get a non contrast head CT to rule out a bleed and then give tPA, a powerful clot busting drug that’s only worth the risk if the benefit is to mitigate a major stroke. So that’s what happened.
Later in the course he got a little carried away and started embellishing his story with symptoms that didn’t make sense with his stroke diagnosis, and that’s how we figured out he was faking it just to get some time away from jail.
1. What a smart little twerp.
My cousin got glasses. Her 7 year old little sister also wanted glasses because she thought it was so cool to wear them.
So she started telling her teachers she couldn’t read what was on the chalkboard. And she’d squint at home, and go incredibly close to the tv to watch things because she said she couldn’t see things clearly. Her parents got worried and took her to the doctor.
She read everything wrong on the vision test. Everyone seemed convinced that she needed glasses. But the doctor was a little concerned because the tests indicated she needed really thick glasses, and usually that wasn’t the case unless there was a family history of vision issues. Her parents both had 20/20 vision and her sister only had astigmatism. They all realized she was faking it.
So the doctor told her parents in front of her that she’d need some pretty intense eye surgery so she’d be able to see without glasses. They even wheeled in a machine to make it convincing to say they could do the surgery right then and there.
She freaked out, confessed to faking it all and started to cry. She got grounded for a while.
See what I mean? Human beings are so weird!
Do you have a story like this, from either the patient or doctor’s point of view? Tell us in the comments!