Doctors Are Sharing Times They Caught Other Doctors’ Mistakes (26 Stories)

We all know the human body is one heavily malfunctioning machine so it’s no surprise that doctors have seen some really wild sh*t (literally, probably).

The doctors of Reddit are telling stories of some of the absolutely horrible things they’ve seen in their careers that other doctors had missed.

Reddit used u/Gorgon_the_Dragon asked:

“Doctors of Reddit, what was the worst thing you’ve seen for a patient that another doctor overlooked?”

And the answers are as shocking as the fact that there are actually this many doctors on Reddit.

Here are the 26 worst mis-diagnoses from all kinds of doctors, nurses, and even some patients.


“Patient was lactating but not pregnant or breastfeeding. Previous doctor told her it was residual from her baby that had been weened for 14 months. Sent her immediately for a brain scan, brain tumor. She had surgery a week later to remove it and is doing very well now.” –Accomplished_Yam2747


“I’m a dental assistant and a patient came in and his color was off. His jaw hurt and tooth. He’d just come from the doctor who told him to see us. I was suspicious of heart attack. I put the pulse ox on him and almost fainted myself—82 percent. I grabbed our emergency high flow and yelled for the AED and 911. The guy was having a heart attack. The guy lived and brought me a big old heart-shaped box of chocolate at Valentine’s. I’ve never been so scared or angry for another person. The dentist I worked for called the doctor and said, “my 25-year-old assistant just saved your patient’s life.”kelleycat05


“I work in EMS. We got a call for a female with leg pain. When we arrive on scene, this woman’s leg is three times the size of her other one, blue and purple, and she has no pulse in her foot. She fell on ice a few days prior and the urgent care didn’t do any X-rays, they just told her she had a sprain and gave her a walking boot. In reality, her tibia and fibula were both so badly fractured they were cutting the blood vessels and muscle tissue. She lost her foot.” –the_taco_belle


“Once when I was a medical student on surgery rotation, in trauma, we had a patient come in after he fell on the street and bonked his head. Well apparently he had fallen once earlier that day and was discharged when the trauma workup at the other hospital was negative for injuries. We examined him and noticed his eyes were kinda…yellow.

So as part of our trauma workup, given that he couldn’t give a great story and we couldn’t be sure what happened, we CT scanned his abdomen, and saw his common bile duct was like 3 times normal size, could drive a truck through it. About that time, we take the next set of vitals. His temp was 103 degrees. Guy was floridly septic from ascending cholangitis which is why he was falling down. Big miss and that is an emergency.” –zekethelizard


“In residency, I saw a cardiologist miss a STEMI (heart attack). By the time the patient came to us, some of the muscles supporting one of his heart valves had completely died and he was in cardiogenic shock (basically his heart function was so bad that it wasn’t circulating the blood in his body enough to support life). It was awful. Happily he made it through though.” –alkahdia


“Medical doctor here. Recently was called over by a nurse who told me a patient’s bandages were wet as they were bleeding a little. Patient had recently had his leg amputated. We pulled his bandages off and found a spurting femoral artery — at this point the patient passed out. Patient was sent to theatres for an emergency operation. Close call for sure.” –risenpixel


“I found an obvious huge rectal cancer on a patient who was previously told over and over again that she had hemorrhoids.” –LAL17


“Neurologist sent patient to our ED without informing her that imaging showed a glioblastoma assuring her impending death. He didn’t overlook the disease, he overlooked the communication.” –AzureSkye27


“I was working nights and a patient came in for a nailbed repair under general anesthesia (it was a slow night). As they’re anesthetizing him, he aspirates so we do a chest X-ray to see if he’s got any spit/blood in his lungs.

What we didn’t know is that prior to this emergency surgery, he’d been going to his GP for over 6 months complaining about chest tightness. They’d put him on various different asthma medications, but none had any effect on him.

The X-ray showed a massive dark mass in his left lung. We kept him asleep and transferred him to ICU. His wife and three-year-old daughter were waiting for him on the ward. We had to tell them where he’d gone, why he’d gone there, and what was going to happen. He died from lung cancer within the month.” –ExuberantStarchild


“Medical student here (will be doctor in May). Working an ED shift we found what was probably a missed testicular torsion. Previous doctor told patient he probably had cancer. When he showed up at our ED, what he had was probably a dead testis missed at initial presentation weeks prior.” –thestruggleiswallen

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