58 Obvious, Common Sense Things Doctors Had To Tell Their Adult Patients

Common sense isn’t common. It really isn’t. The people who most intimately know how true this adage is are doctors and healthcare professionals. In their line of work, even grown-up patients can’t be expected to act, well, like grown-ups.

Adults don’t always behave rationally, and sometimes, common sense leaves them completely to go on a two-week all-expenses-paid vacation to Bermuda. Because it’s fun to learn what glaring flaws other adults have, here’s a list of the best things doctors never thought they’d have to tell other grown-ups. So scroll down, and upvote the best responses, and let us know which ones are your favorites.

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When you’ve read through this list, check out Bored Panda’s previous articles about a coloring book for grown-ups, the best Halloween costume ideas for grown-up kids, and how a mom made her kids apply for household chores like you’d apply for jobs.


Don’t lick your contact lenses to clean them.



You feel fine because you took your meds, not because you don’t need them anymore.


Worked in an optical practice in the UK. Man comes in complaining of bad vision. His asigmatism has increased by like 3 diopters. That’s a [friggin] load and definitely shouldn’t happen. Optician retested using different kit. Same result. Told him to come back in a week and we will retest it. This time we’re looking at 4 diopters. They freak out. Recheck again, another optician checks it. Same result. They run through health, smoking, drinking, medicine. Nothing out of the ordinary. The guy looks stressed as sh*t, put his head in his hands and put his thumbs against the side of his eyes. The optician asks if he does that a lot. Apparently whenever he’s stressed he pushes the sides of his eyes. He’s done it so much that he has physically changed the front of his eyeball and ruined his vision. We told him to stop doing that. Never thought we’d have to tell another human being to not squeeze their own eyeballs. Also had to tell a kid to not look at laser pointers, but he was just dumb as [crap].

A recent Reddit thread about the most peculiar, obvious and common sense things healthcare professionals had to tell their patients received more than 26,600 upvotes and got over 11,900 comments. It’s pretty incredible how quickly the thread went viral, but it’s no surprise why it became so popular. I chuckled at how one doctor had to tell a patient that ‘probiotic’ and ‘antibiotic’ aren’t the same thing.


Children’s oral antibiotics prescribed for ear infections (which are usually pink, sweet, fruit flavored liquids), are meant to be delivered into the mouth and NOT directly into the ear canal.

Yes. This happens. More often than you can imagine.


That you need to take the packaging off the suppository before you insert it.

Which in retrospect, is why they were making his piles worse…


A couple instances come to mind.

1) Don’t have sex 6 hours after you delivered a baby.

2) Coffee creamer is not the same as infant formula. Please do not feed your day old newborn International Delight.

3) Probiotics are different from antibiotics. Probiotics do not cure syphilis.

Patients can be a hassle to work with because even matter-of-fact things need to be explained to them. But that isn’t the only thing that bothers doctors. See, sometimes patients leave out some basic but very important information during doctors visits


No, belly button lint is not a reason to go to the emergency room via ambulance


My first job after graduating high school involved instrument sterilization at a dental office. One day an elderly woman came in with a complaint of chronic halitosis (bad breath) and stomach problems. Standard procedure for admitting a new patient is to take x rays after removing all metals from the neck and up. The woman carefully pulled out her jewelry and hair pins and the panoramic x-ray was taken and quickly developed. With the imagery in hand, the tech noticed that the woman had not removed her upper denture. The tech returned to the room and let the patient know that she had accidentally left her dentures in and that the x-ray would have to be re-done. At this point the woman expressed confusion about taking out her dentures, the creeping horror set in once the tech realized that the patient had never removed her dentures from her mouth for several years. Our dentist came into the room and explained proper denture care with her before explaining that he needed to have a look give them the circumstances… he pulled out the denture and discovered, to his horror, that the patient not only had maggots underneath the dentures in her mouth but that her hard palate had completely disintegrated. The miasma that swept through the office resulted in cancellations of all appointments for the rest of the day to ventilate the office and clean up all of the staff vomit….

Yes, you HAVE to wash your dentures daily!

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No, your teenaged daughters cannot share a single prescription for birth control pills.

Best Life reveals that it’s important to let your doctor know if you spend lots of time in front of the computer screen, even if you’re embarrassed to tell them the real number. Furthermore, healthcare professionals really need to know if you’ve lost a lot of weight without trying, if you’re experiencing chest pains or if your poop is black.


What‘s an appropriate reason to dial 911 / private ambulance services. No, it’s not okay to call 911 because your boyfriend won’t take his jacket off. And no calling us directly (private ambulance) isn’t appropriate either.


Usually goes along with after a car accident and their kids weren’t in car seats/seatbelts, how their kids… NEED TO BE IN [FRIGGIN] CAR SEATS… But it’s summer so a more seasonal example is the following:

Me- “So whats the problem today?”

Them- “I don’t know what’s going on! I can’t breath! I’m having a seizure!”

Me- “Hmmm.. has this ever happened before?

T- “Yea usually when I smoke crystal meth”

Me- “Did you smoke crystal meth today?”

T- “Yea, like 30 min ago. Why?”

Me- “….”


Don’t douche with bleach.

Patient had mixed bleach, fabric softener, dawn dishsoap, vinegar, and some water (just in case) and burned the bejeezus out of herself after having a baby 3 weeks prior because she was convinced people could smell her. She douched with it multiple times and came in when the burning toned down. Sent off to gynecological surgeon and never seen again.

Some people think these bits of information aren’t worth bothering others with, but they might be indicators of serious underlying issues. Remember, folks, if you’re not sure about something, just ask your doctor — those few seconds can help you out and will save you time in the long run.


Older man, terminally ill. New Years eve. Presented to the ER in the company of a hooker. He had a finishing nail in his erect penis. He was in to penile sounding. He says, “Well, there was nothin’ else layin’ round. And I’m so f***ed up and can’t feel a thing.” Indeed, he was f***ed up. Cocaine, alcohol, mdma, viagra and some hydrocodone. Poor dude just wanted one last rager. I told him, “Wood is just a euphemism, man. Don’t shove sharp things up your pee-hole.” He took it in stride. He was in the hospital for two days. The hooker basically stayed with him the entire time. Come to find out, she was only one of the three hookers he had paid. She wasn’t even the one who shoved the nail up there. I thought it odd that she hung around until he told me how much he had paid them. Turns out the other two were hanging out at his house waiting for his return. I visited him before he was discharge. Dude popped some x right in front me and says, “Just gettin’ a head start. No more sharp sh*t. I promise, Doc.”


I worked in obstetrics for many years. I was taking care of a woman in her late twenties, definitely not a teen mom, married, with a job. She got to 10 centimeters so I did my usual speech about how to push effectively. She nods and pushes when I tell her and she did great, really moved the baby down. I’m excited but I notice she’s whispering to her husband. He looks at me and says “ so why do you want her to do that?” I was a bit taken aback and very slowly explained that she had to that to get the baby out. She asked if I was kidding. At this point I feel like I’m the butt of a practical joke, but it didn’t stop. He kept asking if there wasn’t “a better way to do it” and muttering that I was being ridiculous. She continued to push and thankfully didn’t take long because she kept rolling her eyes at me. I was thrilled to hand this lovely couple off to the doctor. They looked slightly more convinced when he told her to do exactly what I had told her to do and then a baby magically appeared. If she’d ended up in a c section I’m sure she’d have been convinced I had done it all to torture her.

How does a woman make it into adulthood in normal society without knowing you have to push a baby out?

And then there was the time a woman got mad when I told her there was absolutely no way we could do her cesarean laparoscopically.


Me: “Did you miss a dose of [insert medicine name here]?” Pt: “No, I take it every day”. Me: “How many times did you not take [previously named medicine] in the past week?” Pt: “Three and I skipped this morning too”.

This happens probably once a week.

Do you think common sense classes should be mandatory for everyone? Are there any obvious things that you hadn’t figured out until recently? Share them with us by dropping us a comment down below.


I was waiting to get my colonoscopy done a couple of years ago and they were asking the lady in the next station if she’d fasted. They went through all the questions and double checked that she had fasted, then after confirming, almost as an aside she throws in that she had oatmeal for breakfast that morning.

Nurse: Ma’am, fasting means you can’t eat anything before the exam.

Lady: I know. But I always have oatmeal for breakfast.

Nurse: I understand. But you can’t eat before this exam. The doctor has to look at your digestive system.

Lady: But oatmeal is good for digestion.

Nurse: You can’t eat anything before this exam. You have to be completely fasted so he can look at your intestines.

Lady: But I always have oatmeal for breakfast.


Patient had been referred to my pharmacy by his physician for an OTC enema. The guy was not the sharpest tack, and apparently either his physician did not explain it well or the guy didn’t listen, but our conversation went like this:

Pt.: So I drink down this whole bottle and then I’ll hafta [crap]?

Me: No sir, this is an enema. It is used rectally.

Pt. (confused): So what’s that mean, I don’t hafta drink the whole thing?

Me: No sir, you’ll lie on your side and insert the applicator tip of the bottle into your rectum and squeeze the contents into you bowel. You’ll then remain lying on your side and hold the enema in until you feel the urge to have a bowel movement.

Pt.: You tellin’ me I gotta stick it up my ass!?

Me: Yes sir, this is an enema and it is used rectally. There are detailed instructions and diagrams in the box.

Pt.: F**K YOU!

And he stormed off. That was the last I saw of him. Not sure if he thought I was messing with him or what, but I hope he eventually got to sh*t.


the 3 that come to mind for me are

(1) trying to explain to a patient why it probably wasn’t a good idea to eat a container of cottage cheese that had been sitting out on the counter all night

(2) the entire family of a lady with a pacemaker, they kept insisting that she did not have a history of heart problems… they were convinced, that because the pacemaker helped her. that it meant she no longer had any kind of heart problem.

(3) family with a mom that was 650 pounds.. and if they wanted to move her anywhere, they would have to call the fire department – they were always apologetic and such and said they just didn’t know why she was so heavy and that she’s tried everything to loose weight.. but all around her bed, is nothing but butterfinger, babe ruth, reese cup packages, fast food bags. I’m like, she can’t walk on her own.. bring her a salad. all this junk and no movement is why she’s so heavy.


Old friend of mine is a Nurse Practitioner. She told me she once saw a patient, male, complaining of severe rectal itching and general pain.

She is a very smart people-person, she can read people very well. She got right to the point and asked him about his daily hygiene routine. She had a hunch based off his presentation that he was a “man’s man”…”aint go gay stuff happening here!!!”

Long story short, when showering, he NEVER cleaned his ass. Ever. He told her, that it was “homosexual” to touch his anus.

She had to explain to him that the severe rash and itching he had been dealing with for apparently YEARS was a direct result of his perceived “homo acts.”

She instructed him to go home, take a proper shower, and apply witch hazel for a few days.

Amazing that a grown man thinks this way.


Yes, you smoking in your house is likely making your kid’s asthma worse.


Why showering regularly is important. I am a home health Physical Therapist.


Not my story, but my friend’s, who is a doctor. One day an extremely obese lady came to the hospital with some kind of ailment, and it transpired that she needed an operation. This lady was too big to wash herself thoroughly beforehand, so the nurses did it. As they lifted up one of her enormous breasts, a TV remote control fell out and dropped onto the bed. She had a TV REMOTE lodged in her body for god knows how long. She apparently wasn’t especially embarrassed about this, either. The medical team had to have a word with her about maintaining basic hygiene standards, as well as asking for help with self-care when needed.


Today for example, I had to coach a grown person through their decision making process about why they thought it was ok to spit on the floor.


“You need to wash your hands”


Yes, your babies need to be fed through the night. They are not born eating three meals a day and sleeping 10 hours a night. Please, dear God, wake up and feed them.


Wife had a baby. The process involved about 100 professionals telling never to shake my baby. Of course, I thought, everyone knows that!

Wife’s water breaks, we’re in the hospital, and she’s getting checked in. I’m there with two other soon to be fathers. A nurse comes by and almost casually starts giving us a basic rundown of what not to do. Stuff I’ve heard a hundred times. We get to ‘Never shake your baby’, and one guy looks confused.

A bewildering conversation takes place where this man insists he’s never heard of that, must be cultural differences, insist everyone where he came from was shaken, and eventually is led away to talk to the doctor!

I never saw him again, but I’m still scared for that baby.


My mom is a nurse and had to teach these parents how to read a clock. Their baby wasn’t eating enough because they didn’t know when its time to feed him.


Primary Care Doc here, here’s a few of my favorite things I’ve had to tell patients

Please leave your marijuana/pipe/joint/paraphernalia in your vehicle or at home; don’t bring it to your appointment

You don’t need to bring a hunting knife to your appointment.

No I can’t write you a letter saying your rabbit is a service animal so you can fly it around the country with you for free.

Showing up drunk to an 8am appointment and asking me to prescribe you Xanax doesn’t get you Xanax

I am not qualified to tell you how much masturbation is too much masturbation.

It is not my job to teach your adolescent son about how to get a girlfriend.

Your medicine only works when you take it.

I’m not going to give you my cell phone number

Women are doctors too

No I can’t just remove your gallbladder in the office; I’m also not a surgeon.

You shouldn’t be taking your friend’s/mom’s/grandma’s medication.

You can’t just ‘pull your panties to the side’ for a Pap smear

….and the list goes on and on


To a girl once that she needed the morning after pill because she thought that “girls only have babies if they think really hard to have one”


Not to make major decisions using a magic 8 ball application on their phone. Just because it’s an “algorithm” doesn’t mean it knows anything about your life


Had a partner try to threaten to take our our patient out of the hospital because she was in increasing pain and we werent atopping/fixing it. Note, she was in labor and minutes away from delivering. Had to explain that leaving now would not help her pain as its normal to increase as labor progresses and by leaving we would have to remove the epidural and that would definitely make pain worse (note, we had zero plans of actually doing any of this, but still had to point out how stupid his logic was. There was no way we would let someone whose about to deliver to walk out. Like close enough we checked between legs to make sure no surprise baby on the bed level close to delivering). Luckily her mom showed up a few minutes later and very quickly put him in his place. He tried to brag to her about how he was threatening to leave (going for “tough guy/macho” type persona) and she told him to either shut up or wait down in lobby


Pretty frequently have to explain to patients that they can’t have metal in/on their bodies during an MRI, even if the jewelry/whatever is on a different part of their body than what is being imaged.

“But I’m only getting an MRI of my foot, why do I have to take my earrings out?” “Because the magnet effects the ENTIRE room, and it will RIP your earrings out and throw them around the room.”

Also people who have pacemakers who are pissed off when we don’t let them have an MRI, because they think it won’t be any big deal. Sorry, I know you really want the best possible imaging for your back pain, but we really don’t want to kill you to get it. Really, doctors need to be screening their patients for things like that before scheduling them for an MRI, but you’d be shocked how much it happens.


Jumping from a first floor balcony onto an alfresco dining shade umbrella below will not make you bounce up and down like you are on a trampoline. Instead your 100kg body will simply crash through the fabric onto the footpath below and break both your arms. You will not impress the ladies with this, like you originally intended – and besides, what exactly is a semi-obese man in his forties still doing trying to impress women like that?

(What I actually said to him, which encapsulated all of the above, was ”what part of you thought it was a good idea?”, followed by ”and remind me how old you are again?”).


I know you are trying to help but you don’t do CPR on someone who is actively telling you to stop between compressions


I worked for a pediatrician who told me she had to explain to a patient why “Chlamydia” was not an appropriate name for a child. The woman had not given birth yet but had told the MD that was the name she had in mind, apparently she had no clue it’s an STD and just thought it sounded pretty.


Newborns don’t get gas because their mothers drink soda while breastfeeding.

Its a bad idea to drink sodas while breastfeeding. That’s because caffeine can pass to the child-not the bubbles.

Also, hot baths aren’t recommended while pregnant. That’s because of the heat-not because your baby will drown.


Paramedic here; I had a Pt once who was complaining of being unable to sleep. He’s telling me all these different things he’s been trying in order to sleep. You know basic things like counting backward, counting sheep, melatonin, NyQuil, Benadryl, Zzzquil, Warm milk, Alcohol, Weed, and meth. This has been going on for about two weeks. Wait a minute, meth? So I proceed to ask how long they’ve been on meth, “I started like two weeks ago when my gf showed me.” At this point I thought this 47 year old man would catch on, but nope, not even a flicker of a light bulb. So I say to him, “you realize meth can cause insomnia?” It was as though I removed the bottle of stupid juice he was drinking, and opened up a can of ACME knowledge because he responded “oh my god that makes so much sense, cause I was even smoking meth to try and sleep!” Yeah this productive member of society went straight to the waiting room.


Nurse here. The number of people I’ve had to tell to not drink or to stop drinking their urine is surprising.


No. I cannot tell the race of your baby on ultrasound. You’ll have to wait until birth to have an awkward conversation with one of your boyfriends.


I (A man) have to explain to older woman who come in with “mysteriously reoccurring” UTI’s that wiping back to front is a no-no and that wiping front to back will significantly reduce the mystery UTI’s. It is always baffling to me that this goes on for 40, 50, even 60 years before I have to end up explaining the “life hack” to them.


Brush your [friggin] teeth twice a day people.


I work in a professional office. We have cartoon-esque signs in the men’s rooms reminding people they should wash their hands after taking a piss or dropping a deuce.

People still walk out without washing. I called one dude out on it a could months ago. He got very defensive and informed me he washes his hands before he uses the bathroom.



This conversation happened once.

Me: Also, you need to eat more fiber.

Guy: Okay, sure.

Me: That means more vegetable during meals. And you can have fruits for dessert.

Guy: Urgh… But I don’t like vegetables.

Me: Yeah, but you gotta eat more of them now.

Guy: No, I don’t eat vegetables.

Me: What do you mean?

Guy: I never eat vegetables. Like, since I was a kid. Never.

Me: Why?

Guy: I don’t like how it tastes.

Me: …..

The guy was in his 30s, severely obese with lots of pimples on his face. His cholesterol was through the roof. And he was having problem with his colon health. He was there with his wife and two kids, too.


I am a clinical lab scientist, and I frequently have to tell patients that I cannot accept their stool samples in tupperware, mugs, food to-go boxes, etc. The worst is when they take the sh*t-filled mug back home with them cause they don’t want to lose a “perfectly good mug”.


That her labor and delivery process wasn’t over until the baby was pushed out of her. She kept asking me, in all seriousness, if she was all done when she hadn’t even started pushing.


I work in health information management currently. I get to explain to parents that even though they are biological I still can’t share information about your adult kid about a half dozen times a day.


I had to tell a patient that food cooked in restaurants does in fact have salt (sodium). He was under the impression that they just, didn’t? idk. I was like, no dude, that’s why their food tastes good.


You’re 22, wash your dick


I worked in Hospital Administration for nearly two years. While working on something I decided to take a break and go down to the cafeteria to get something to eat and not look at number.

While there, a woman was on the phone with someone and was pretty openly talking about how she kept drinking the night before surgeries to calm her nerves and how she thought it was ridiculous that the doctors couldn’t/ wouldn’t just pump her stomach so they could get the surgery started.

Now I don’t know all of the details on what she was getting done, nor was I there for her presumed tirade on our doctor’s as she was prepped for whatever it is she needed done, but I am grateful I wasn’t. She continued this conversation for probably a minute with her friend completely oblivious to how ridiculous she sounded.


Don’t hide bottles of five-hour energy in your vagina.

My pt came in with a complaint of “vaginal foreign body”. Doc goes in to do the pelvic exam, pulls out unopened, sealed bottle of five-hour energy. Cue her explanation of hiding it from her spouse because he doesn’t like for her to drink energy drinks. Then she asks for it back so she can drink it.


Nurse here. I have to explain daily to patients that they can’t eat before an operation. They’re always saying things like “but if I ate and had an accident wouldn’t they operate on me?” I have to explain that in case of life and death situations the doctor takes some risks but why risk during an routine operation.


“Sex makes babies.”

Okay, so maybe not as succinct. You would be shocked at the number of calls related to abdominal pain turn out to be pregnancy even after asking the patient if there is any chance they are pregnant and they answer “no.”


That “pulling out” isn’t an effective way of preventing pregnancy.


My wife is an x-ray tech, and the advice she dispenses most often is “if it doesn’t have a handle, don’t stick it up your ass.”

To be fair, she can’t legally give medical advice, but that’s some good general advice, right there.


Maybe don’t force your Autistic non verbal 9 year old son to drink bleach.


Worked in women’s health……so many things but one that always makes me shake my head is a woman telling me that her doctor said if she pees after sex she won’t get pregnant. I had to explain to a grown ass woman who had already given birth three times that your urethra and your cervix are two different holes and peeing after intercourse can help prevent UTIs but not pregnancy. Learn about your body ladies, no one else is going to teach you.


Do not smear mashed potatoes on your nipple in an effort to get your newborn to latch.


“If you continue to insist on this gluten free vegan diet for your infant, we will be forced to get CPS involved before he dies of malnutrition.”

“No ma’am, there’s no mystery or conspiracy here. Your daughter has to come to the ER every other week because she has asthma and you still smoke two packs a day inside the house.”

“I see here your child is suffering from constipation. How long since his last bowel movement? I’m sorry I must have misheard you. 30 minutes ago? Here in the waiting room? I’m going to be laughed out of case presentation…”

“You came to the ER. For calluses on the soles of her feet. Please tell me there’s more… No, we do not keep a podiatrist on call overnight.”

Loved pediatrics. Hated their parents.
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