Some silly things doctors say

Real Medical Quotes

Patient: Doctor, can you prescribe something for my sleepwalking?
Doctor: No, you need the exercise.

A mother explained to me recently that her child had been colicky and at six months the G.P. advised to avoid solid food. The reason? The child had poor digestion so we’ll keep her on the food which the child had been unable to digest since day one – formula! The child had never had solids so why assume solids would be a problem? It was obvious the formula was a problem though, which the doctor didn’t consider, for some reason. 

It’s such poor reasoning by doctors that has prompted me to list some of the mad things doctors have said to their patients over the years.  Sadly, because someone achieves 600 points in the Leaving Cert, it doesn’t mean they are able to think.

We’ve all heard the common, “It’s a virus,” when a doctor is at a loss. Here are some more quotes.

• Warning! Sport is bad for your health. We now have “sport-induced asthma.” Even when not playing sports the patient still has sport-induced asthma!

• Teenager visits GP twice in one week with extreme tiredness. Doctor: “It’s your exams.” At the end of the week the teen is undergoing chemotherapy!

• Doctor: “It’s the pregnancy that’s causing your cough because of the raised progesterone levels.” (Now pregnancy is a disease!)
Patient: “I’ve been to you every year at this time with this cough but I haven’t been pregnant every year…”

• G.P. (from a nearby town) to an elderly patient: “Ah, people are living too long these days.” The same G.P., an elderly man himself, while on a foreign holiday took ill. He didn’t take his own advice but instead took the next plane back to Dublin and checked in to the Mater Private.

• “That antibiotic wasn’t strong enough, you’ll need a stronger one.” This is a frequent one. It begs the question; why did the doctor prescribe the wrong one to begin with? Also, it’s a way of getting around the obvious point that the medicine failed and wasn’t scientific or evidence based and perhaps… it’s the patient’s fault because their disease was too strong for that “correct” prescription?

• “It’s your age.” Since when did age become a disease? Recently a gentleman told me that nobody dies of old age! And doctors have made this claim to 12 year-olds with difficult periods and to elderly patients with joint problems.

The age excuse becomes even more humorous when a client tells me for example, “The doctor told me the pain in my knee is due to age.” I always ask the patient the rhetorical question, “But isn’t your other knee the same age?”! They then realise how mad the age thing is.

• “You’ll be better after you have a baby.” Now it seems lack of children is a disease! Not much point being a doctor then, just have a baby.

• Consultant paediatrician to a mother with a two month-old suffering with severe colic: “She’ll be better when she’s two.”

• G.P.: “Don’t go to him, he’s a quack.”
Patient: “You’ve been treating me for 8 years and I’m no better, seems you’re the con man.” (A former client of mine. The G.P. now practises in Ballina.)

•”Ah, sure I have that myself.” This confession of the blind leading the blind is more common than one would expect. I usually enjoy clients who relate this experience to me, especially when the doctor in question proceeds to demand a fee for not curing the patient. And how could he cure his patient when he can’t help himself?

• “You’ve had a reaction.” This is a way of saying, “it wasn’t my medicine, it’s your fault: you reacted, so you are responsible for being worse, the medicine is fine.”

I’ll think of some more to add but don’t think people in the alternative/new age world make sense all the time. You could walk in to some practitioners with your head in your hands to be told “it’s the badness coming out.”! Or… “you’re just finding your balance.” You could be shi….g through the eye of a needle with bowel cancer to be told “that’s great – you’re detoxing.”

Photo credits
Elderly lady; WikiCommons
Baby; WikiCommons

Posted in Ethics, Medicine and tagged .