* * Anonymous Doc

Monday, March 8, 2010

Okay, let me try and correct some faulty patient assumptions. These are all from one patient-- ONE CRAZY PATIENT-- in clinic today.

1. We don't prescribe medication based on body weight. I can see you're a small woman. That doesn't mean you should be cutting your antibiotics in half. I'm giving you the right dosage. You don't have to keep questioning it.

2. You're not allergic to water. You need to keep yourself hydrated. It's important. I don't know who told you you're allergic to water. It wasn't a doctor. You're not. Your body is mostly water. Drink more water.

3. Even though your blood work came back fine three years ago, I still have to do it again. Things change. That's the whole point. You didn't have these symptoms three years ago. You do now. So I have to check. A blood test isn't like an IQ test. I'm not just testing for blood type. It's important.

4. Just because you and your husband sleep in the same bed doesn't mean you should take his medication. In fact, sleeping in the same bed has nothing to do with sharing his medication. "But I already have all of his germs" is not a sensible reason to take his medication. At all.

5. Your bowel movements don't change your weight by ten pounds. You aren't ten pounds heavier than last visit because you haven't gone to the bathroom in two days. Sorry. Not correct.

6. You can eat all the vegetables you want. The pesticides will not hurt you. And even if they will, they won't hurt you more than your diet of red meat and ice cream does.

7. Headaches are not caused by the sun.

8. Your blood pressure has nothing to do with which bra you happen to be wearing. "My blood pressure is always higher when I wear this bra" is not a comment grounded in any sort of logic at all, and when you tell me this, I have no idea how to respond without laughing at you.

9. Just because I don't have a vagina doesn't mean I can't tell you what's "normal down there." The symptom you are complaining about is not normal. It's not "normal for you" or "not a problem" just because you think it is. And even though I don't have one myself, I am a doctor, and so I know things.

10. Just because the "dye" they use in an angiogram is pronounced the same way as the word "die" does not mean it is going to kill you. They don't call it "dye" because you're going to "die" from it. They call it dye because it is dye. I don't know why you don't understand this, especially since your first name is also a word, and it doesn't mean you are what that word is. Good grief.


  1. HAHA. Awesome. Did you try to educate her on her ridiculousness? I'm not sure how much patience I would have with someone like her.

  2. I love #10.
    but really, it's people like her who would benefit from precise explanations of why she might hold those misconceptions, and why they are not real issues. I can see why 1, 3, 6, and even 5 can be reasonable concerns for someone not specifically educated in medicine/science. so, why not explain how much information a blood test can give and how dynamic it is, or how much effect body weight has on taking medication. heck, tell her how much poop actually weighs.
    the point is...when you're a patient, it helps a lot more to know the reasons for doing things, and it makes you trust your doctor a lot more. when someone is telling you that you're wrong because they're a doctor who went through lots of school, you probably wouldn't listen to their advice because they don't understand you. educating by authority isn't education at all.
    anyway, that's just my two cents.

  3. I read a study that I accidentally found on PubMed (so I cannot tell you where it came from) that showed that the most likely side effect of a certain kind of pesticide, used to treat apples, was to cause young women to enter in to puberty early.

    Given that I'm past those years, I no longer stress about washing my apples when there isn't a ready source of water.

  4. #10 reminds me of the thing with radiation.
    In particular, the difference between electro-magnetic radiation which can be harmless or harmful - depending on the wavelength and energy. And radioactive radiation which is often harmful and pretty scary.

    I believe that most of the fear of microwaves and especially cell phones comes from people thinking that anything that has something to do with radiation is really dangerous and will kill you...

  5. #8 may make some sense. In the week before a woman's period, she may gain water weight. If it was causing this particular patient to need to wear a different bra AND the water retention caused her blood pressure to be above normal she may have noticed the correlation between the two and wrongly concluded that the bra caused her blood pressure to be high.