Doctors Share Their 48 Craziest ‘Thank God They Came In For A Second Opinion’ Stories

Misdiagnoses can have serious consequences on a person’s health. They can delay recovery and sometimes call for treatment that is harmful.

Yet, an estimated 12 million Americans a year are misdiagnosed with a condition they don’t have. Moreover, for approximately 40,500 people who enter an intensive care unit in one year, a misdiagnosis will cost them their lives. The numbers are self-evident.

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For many of these cases, things would have taken a very different turn if the patients had sought a second opinion from a professional. So this Reddit thread sheds a light on the importance of a second opinion, as shared by the doctors themselves as well as the patients who have been there.

Doctors of Reddit, what’s your ’Thank god they came in for a second opinion’ moment?” someone asked and the responses came rolling in. Below we wrapped up some of the most interesting responses.


Wife went to ER for pain in her pelvic region. Ultrasound showed a mass, probably an ovarian cyst they said. It will pop in time. Leave it alone.

Went to th Dr about a week later, had a surgery to pull it out maybe a month later. Did a biopsy on the mass. It was ovarian CANCER. she is now cancer free but wtf.

Image credits: roger_27


Eye Doctor here. I had a patient I saw several months before they came in for their visit but well less than a year, which often means something could be wrong. In this case, as it turns out, nothing was wrong with her by way of complaints, she just wanted to get updated before getting some new glasses. We decided to just run the regular gamut of tests anyway just because we might as well while she was there. She was a 50YO woman, fairly normal exam, perfect vision, retinas showed healthy, but something about her pupils really bothered me before I dilated. We chatted about it and I asked her if she banged her head or anything weird and she said no, but suddenly reveals this crazy history of an old Meningioma (a type of tumorous brain growth) she had removed a few years ago. She had decided to omit this from her history with us as she didn’t feel it was important, but we went and put it into the charts anyway. Turns out she got a CT done two weeks prior to her exam with me which she says turns up completely normal. I tell her she should tell her doctor about this anyway just to cover our bases.

Fast Forward: Patient shows up in my office ecstatic to tell me that my examination revealed that her tumor had returned with an incredible vengeance. She had no idea, was totally asymptomatic and the CT she had prior to me showed what was very literally the size of a spec of dust which the radiologist dismissed as “artifact”. On her return to her doctor, they decided to re-run the CT to cover THEIR Bases, and they found a QUARTER SIZED TUMOR. Within Two Weeks the tumor went from the size of a dust particle to a QUARTER. She was rushed into emergency surgery as the tumor was growing SUPER fast and was close to a blood vessel which could cause a massive stroke. She had it removed that day and returned to me after recovery to tell me of what got discovered as a result of my testing. She is now a long time regular patient I have been seeing for about 10 years.

Edit: For those asking about the pupils, they were asymmetric, and the larger one reacted less robustly compared to the fellow eye. This was a marked change from her previous examinations where no pupillary defects were noted.

Image credits: OscarDivine


ER nurse here. Had a lady in for simple pneumonia. Her 13 year old son was getting bored, so I showed him some equipment. I connected a simple heart monitor to him and discovered he was in a complete heart block. I printed a strip and showed it to the doc. Hmmm…. We suddenly and unexpectedly got a cardiac patient.

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My grandmother had her hip replaced, but the hip always hurt to her. She waited a year, hoping it would go away but it never did, she asked multiple doctors and did multiple x-rays but doctors said the replaced hip was fine. We finally made her go to a private clinic in my hometown, and the doctor saw that the replaced hip was fine and dandy, but the bone around it looked like it was a tad bit eaten by bacteria.

So the new doc did an operation, and there was so much pus in the leg it was insane. If my grandmother waited any longer, her blood would become infected and she would have died.

Thank goodness she went to the clinic.

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Dermatologist here. I have seen probably 5 instances of “My other doctor told me it was fine.” that were melanomas.

A lot of times people don’t want a full skin exams. There are lots of perfectly sane reasons for this, time, perceived cost, history of personal trauma. However, I routinely find cancers people don’t know they have. Keep this in mind if you see a dermatologist for acne and they recommend you get in a gown.

Image credits: BoisterousPlay

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I had a guy come in for a second opinion after the first place didn’t bother asking any medical history.

Of course I took his history and asked more questions as we went. I remember telling him something felt off and we needed to run a test. So I ordered a peripheral vision test.

When I got the test back I was shocked by the most classic tumor pattern I’d ever seen. Two weeks later he was in surgery to get it removed. A month after this guy was back In my clinic thanking me. Totally different guy. Personality was a complete 180, energetic and happy.

Edit: Here’s another one I thought of though a bit more sad. But also good at the same time. Here’s a cautionary tale why urgent cares should NEVER treat eye issues.

Lady was referred to me after 2 weeks of treated for a red painful eye. The PA and MDs that saw her tried allergy meds and anti biotic is thinking it was allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis, or hoping it was mild viral that would resolve on its own.

So I took one look at her and knew it was a herpes simplex infection in her cornea. She was in pain and had been mistreated for 2 weeks. Got her on anti virals, but after discussing how it was odd she didn’t have any active herpetic sores, but had a really bad cough that the ER said was just pneumonia and would go away with antibiotics.

I told her to get it checked with a pulmonologist because it didn’t sound like pneumonia and it wasn’t getting better. I saw her 3 months later to monitor her corneal appearance and she came in using a wheelchair.

Turns out the pulmonologist was blown away that the ER had dismissed her. She had a really rare small cell lung cancer. The reason the herpes infection manifested in the first place was her immune system was compromised. She told me the pulmonologist said I’d saved her life because they caught it early. It’s been a bit over a year. She’s still undergoing treatment but her spirits are strong and she’s optimistic as is the pulmonologist.

Image credits: coltsblazers


This guy was told he had pink eye.

He had metal shards in his eye from welding

Image credits: Sinai


This is a ‘I wish I had gotten a second opinion’ story. I had a doctor in high school who was unconcerned when I suddenly developed vertical double vision (which was freaking out everyone in emergency, where I had gone initially) and lost 60lbs for no reason.

It was only a year or two later when I told him that my arm would fall asleep much faster than normal when I raised it to ask a question in class that he thought there might be something wrong with me.

MRI ordered. Brain tumour found.

Image credits: Raygun77


Former ER volunteer here.

An elderly gentleman was brought in by his concerned adult children for chest pain. He wanted to believe his primary doctor that it was just some gas or heart burn, but his son “just had a gut feeling” and made him go to the ER with everyone so he could get checked out. Heart attack was imminent, like, we weren’t sure if treatment would take effect in time to prevent it. Declared code blue, all hands on deck, place went from a quiet, empty ER to sheer chaos in a few minutes.

There is no doubt in my mind that that “gut feeling” saved his life.

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Bit of a weird one, because the request for a second opinion came from an intensivist and I was a contributor to their treatment plan.

I work in poisons control. Had a call from a green, but very astute young doctor with a middle-aged female patient presenting with a vague 36-48hr history of malaise, confusion, hypoxia from hyperventilation, and hallucinations. On workup was noted to have pulmonary edema (lung fluid buildup), metabolic acidosis, acute kidney injury, sinus tachy and raised CRP & WCC, suggestive of infection but no temperature. The initial diagnosis was sepsis.

This keen-eyed doctor, pretty fresh out of med school, decided to do a salicylate level on this lady because the hyperventilation paired with metabolic acidosis and AKI was enough to prompt her suspicions of aspirin poisoning, even though they could just as easily be explained by sepsis as well.

The level came back high. Not huge, but high, which prompted her to phone me for a second opinion on how relevant the finding was in terms of the patient’s clinical picture. Simultaneously, the patient’s family investigated the property and located numerous aspirin blister packs suggesting she had been dosing herself for chronic pain, which was present in the medical history.

Chronic salicylate poisoning is insidious and has been referred to as a “pseudosepsis” in the medical literature as it often causes similar features. Comparing a high level in chronic poisoning to the same level in acute poisoning, features are much more severe in chronic poisoning (i.e. pulmonary edema, hypoxia, AKI etc) – there is a disparity. We recommended certain treatments (all hail sodium bicarbonate) and the patient made a full recovery after a 2 week hospital stay.

Whilst there was no question an infective cause was present and contributory, I was impressed with the green doctor’s intuition and willingness to consider other causes – I feel like it greatly improved the patient’s treatment.

Edit: Some words.

Image credits: thatpoisonsguy


I was like 10 and my parents took me to the doctor cus i thought i broke my leg skateboarding. He said it was a 3rd degree sprain told me itd be fine. I pointed out lines in the xray and he said they were nothing. I somehow convinced my mom to take me somewhere else and they confirmed i had multiple hairline fractures in my growth plate.

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Not a doc, but happened to my wife and I. She was 3 months pregnant and did ultrasound. All normal. Baby heart rate was 99, and healthy. However for some reason, the ultrasound tech forgot to measure something and doc ordered a second ultrasound. Second appt in about a month, as my wife wanted to delay as she hated having to drink so much and not pee so the ultrasound comes out clearer.

I couldn’t be with her for second ultrasound as work got in the way. However she calls me tearfully saying that the doctor ordered she abort the fetus for her safety and her health and she insisted on calling me to let me know before she did the procedure. Apparently the baby heart rate hadn’t changed since first ultrasound a month ago, and this was bad enough to put mom at risk in pregnancy.

I f*****g flew to the hospital. I can’t remember how I got there but I crossed heavy traffic to the hospital in about 10 Min of what is normally a 20min trip. Parked on curb, jumped out and rushed to her room. Thankfully nothing happened to her yet.
And I just camped there insisting on another ultrasound.

I kept telling the doctor it was a copy paste error. You see, the heart rate from first ultrasound to second was exactly the same. I knew – just knew, that the tech copy pasted the first report and forgot to update that rate. I screamed bloody murder if anyone would touch my wife. Security was almost called until another doc came in and said just do another ultrasound to decide the issue.

The ordered a second ultrasound and heartrate was normal.

My son is now 10 and I remember that fear and rage everyday I look at him.


I’m not a doctor, but I’m glad my parents took me in for a second opinion when I was complaining about a bad headache when I was 15 years old.
I left school one day and went to the hospital for a bad headache. The doctor said it’s “just a virus” and that I should just rest and take meds. I went home, laid down and took some Advil and carried on with my night.
Around 1am, I was screaming on the floor.
My parents took me to a different hospital and they ran tests and eventually did a spinal tap and discovered a ton of white blood cells. Turns out I had bacterial meningitis.

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I’m not a doctor but I originally went in to the doctors because I was really tired the doctor waved it off but my mom insisted I should get a CBC (complete blood count) they found that my platelets were extremely low which resulted in them running additional tests to find that I actually had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. No idea to this day why my mom made me go back to get a CBC but I’m great full

Edit: I get it it’s grateful

edit #2: a lot of people are saying that the doctor should have run a CBC to start with but in her defense I am a minor and it was a school day so i think that the doc thought that I was tired from sports or something normal and was trying to skip school

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I am a (semi) retired physician and I don’t believe in second opinions. I much prefer two first opinions.

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I can’t count how many “I was told it was a headache but I just wanted to come in and have it looked at in case it was something else”’s I’ve seen. Of course, those are the patients that are the nicest and are profusely apologizing for “wasting our time”, and of course, those are the patients that have a brain tumor show up on their CT scans…

Edit: Well this blew up. Big apologies to everyone but I’m not a doctor. I work in the hospital alongside other doctors and I get the chance to see everyone they see. Apologies if I misled. That was not my intention, and I will make sure to be clearer next time.

Image credits: _Than0s


This is my second story to post here but a great story no less. Mid 30’s man walks into my office with what looks like a black eye and a broken blood vessel in the front of his left eye. He went to his primary and it was simply assumed that he got punched or hit or something, and he was dismissed. He was noted to have high blood pressure, but a script for medicine was written and a follow up in a few months. Gentleman comes in to see me to get another opinion on the matter and I look at him and immediately start the line of questions: How long has it been there, do you have a headache, and when you plug your ears with your fingers do you hear a “wooshing” sound? He had a cavernous sinus fistula (CCF). I sent him directly to the emergency room with his family of 4 in tow and he was in the OR within an hour of arriving. Saved his eye and possibly his life that day.

The best news: He was a kitchen guy at my local diner which I frequent and they still treat me like royalty there when I come to eat. They all remember the time I saved one of theirs.


I got a moderate traumatic brain injury in October and the week after I got home from the hospital I wasn’t acting like myself was refusing to eat and just didn’t make much sense. My mom called the doctor a few times they said it was normal but to take me in if anything changed. She took me in on the Saturday a week later becaude I started slurring my speech and was unsteady on my feet. The injury cause my sodium levels to dropfrom 140(normal) to 119. This in turn caused stroke like symptoms which were in reality a series of small seizures

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I’ve had a couple of gems, but the one that really sticks out in my mind actually happened about a month or so ago.

A young mother brought in a 6 year old to emerg, she was super nice, and apologetic because she thought that she was wasting my time, because she said that her son had started to develop different spots all over his body and she has no idea why. My initial first thought was chicken pox, so I had some swords and shields up ready to go for the anti-vax debate, but she claimed that she had her son vaccinated at all stages up to that point, and upon closer inspection they were mass of clusters of warts.

Not uncommon, but because of how rapidly that they were growing, I ordered some blood work to make sure there wasn’t an underlying cause as kids immune systems are pretty well equipped to handle that sort of thing. And I’m really glad that she brought him in, because he had a severely low white blood cell count which revealed a primary immune deficiency disease.

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Not a doctor, and this isn’t about a human. On New Year’s Day, 2 years ago, our little hound dog would not get out of bed. Her back half was unresponsive, and she would yelp in pain if anyone touched her. We took her to the emergency vet, the only place open to get care on January 1.

We were there for 6 hours. The place was a mad house. Eventually, doc checks out our pupper. They take a bunch of x-rays, and the doctor tells us that there are no breaks, which means there are likely lesions on puppy’s spinal cord, and our options are either very pricey surgery and a significant quality of life decrease, or put her down and save her the pain. They give us some pain meds for her, and we take her home to think about the options.

The next day, we get in to our regular vet’s office. Dog is still limping and heavily favoring a leg. Regular doc inspects poochie and asks what other doc said. After hearing ER doc’s prognosis, regular doc advises us never to go back, and informs us that our dog likely banged her knee really hard on the bricks of our porch and was just being a baby about it.

Two days later, doggo is 100% fine.


Had a patient come in for therapy after his PCM yelled at him for being a hypochondriac and saying his symptoms were all in his head and that he was just trying to fish for disability. His symptoms were pretty obviously neurological so I referred him for an MRI (to my shock he had only ever had x-rays). Sadly, I had to tell the 19 year old man that he had Multiple Sclerosis. With great satisfaction I got to tell that PCM he dun goofed and that I would be talking to our mutual Chief of Clinical services about the incident.

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Can I go ahead and speak on behalf of my doctor? 19m at the time (33 now), I felt sick for about a week, flu-like symptoms, didn’t want to eat, just felt bad all over. One day at work I feel a very uncomfortable cramp/tear in my abdomen, so I go to one of those 24 hour clinics. At this point I’m slumped over, can’t stand up straight without insane amount of pain, just generally uncomfortable and hating life. After a few hours at this clinic, they say “You probably have kidney stones, go home, drink fluids, sleep it off”. This seemed fine to me, I was ready to go home and listen to the doc, all was good. BUT my girlfriend at the time (didn’t last much longer than that) wasn’t a fan of this diagnosis and drove me to the E.R., against my wishes of course. After a few minutes at the E.R., they determine my appendix has ruptured and I’m going septic. Apparently I was pretty lucky to not have died, though I did pick up bacterial pneumonia while in the hospital, so the recovery kinda sucked. Now I just have a crazy 6-7 inch scar on my belly to remind me to not avoid hospitals when I’m sick.

Edits, more info, medical terms, etc etc.

Image credits: OhHeyImAlex


I’m an Emergency Medicine Doc in the midwest USA

The patient was transferred from rural nowhere to our tertiary care facility (big hospital with every specialist). Call was of really bad quality, but the transferring physician described a 21 year old male that had rapid heart rate and breathing rate, low blood pressure, low oxygen, confusion, and a severe opacification on his chest x-ray on the right side. Diagnosed pneumonia. He gave him a ton of fluids, started antibiotics, put him on a ventilator, but he wasn’t getting better, and wanted to send him to us. Sure, send away.

An hour later the gentleman arrives, and looks young, fit, and not the type to just drop dead from pneumonia. We roll him onto our stretcher and find… A huge stab wound in his back.

The X-ray finding was his entire right chest full of blood. We put a tube in it, gave him back some blood, and he had to go for surgery to fix the bleeding.

Lesson: Look at your patient.


A bulk of my career lately seems to be maligned patients with legitimate medical issues who’ve been labeled as hypochondriacs and sent through for a psych work up and meds / counseling.

People with histories of all kinds of endocrine issues, like thyroid cancer / thyroidectomy patients who see someone once every two years about their thyroid and never have labs checked or med dosages fixed. Or diabetics with poorly controlled sugars, people who’ve had bowels surgeries and take time release meds, and then wonder why they aren’t working.

The piece meal system of health care in the US is really doing such a disservice to actual humans. So many specialists and no one piecing together the big picture.


My son was about one month old and was s******g small amounts of blood. And getting worse

Pediatrician ignored us because new parents.

Second trip to pediatrician and I refused to leave. It said “something is wrong and we aren’t leaving”.

About that moment he s**t his diaper full of blood and the pediatrician freaked out and sent us straight to emergency.

The doctors there ordered several different bacterial tests.

Just before they sent the test upstairs, an OLD doctor came in. Asked us a few questions and told the tech to test for one more type of bacteria.

That was the one. C-diff. 25% fatality rate untreated. Worse in infants.

Thank you old man doctor.


In 2002 I started vomiting everything I ingested. About that time my hands and feet became darker in color. I had no insurance, but my Mom paid for me to see my family doctor.

For two years he would give me nausea medicine and cautioned me to stay out of the sun. The darkened color of my feet and hands travelled toward my torso and I began to lose weight at an alarming rate.

On January 3, 2004 my friends picked me off my bathroom floor and took me to a the emergency room. I was 5’6” and weighed 100 pounds. I was severely anemic and suffering from malnutrition. The hospital admitted me and the next day a gastroenterologist visited me. After talking about all my stomach issues, I asked him why I was so dark. I showed him a picture taken several years before where my skin was Irish pale. He went home that night and did research.

The next morning he ordered blood work and told me I have Addison’s disease. AD is an adrenal insufficiency, if it is not treated, AD is fatal.

The doctor also told me I was within hours of dying. My friends saved my life that day.

Now, 16 years later I am getting along pretty well. I take steroids and a lot of other medications. My skin stopped bouncing back to its original color so I look extremely tanned.

I am so thankful for that doctor who diagnosed a disease that nearly killed me. It will one day, but not today.


22 yo guy came in after seeing his primary at another hospital. His mom was my patient and asked if I would see him (I am an Internal Med doc). He had told his doctor he had a headache. I did a usual full review of symptoms since he was new and he also marked his left testicle had a lump. Did exam and he had hard small lump on testicle. Knew right away likely had metastatic testicular cancer. 1 stat brain scan and Testicular ultrasound later confirmed it.

Asked him if told other doctor about the lump and he said yes but the other doctor told him it was normal.

Edit: He lived by the way but it was close a few times.
So fellows if you note a lump on your testicle ask for an ultrasound and don’t be embarrassed to bring it up.

Edit 2: For those of you who are concerned after examining yourself:
There is a small soft area posteriorly that should be similar on both your testicles known as the epididymis.
That is normal.
A hard lump on only one side only is not. Monthly self checks between ages 15-34 can be done but since rare (5/100,000) not a general recommendation.


My Dad ( a pediatrician specializing in Neuro issues) was seeing one if his patients at the hospital got dragged into the NICU unexpectedly by a nurse who insisted a baby wasn’t well. The attending doc insisted the kid was fine and just tired from a difficult vacuum assist delivery. My Dad could tell the baby wasn’t okay and managed to talk the parents into a brain scan. The NICU doc insisted my dad was nuts to the parents. Dad was right and the kid had a brain bleed and was rushed to surgery. The baby would have died without the nurse bringing my dad in and the parents listening to him. As is, that extra time almost certainly cost brain function.


Only a medical student but I had one in my GP rotation that I won’t ever forget. I’m taking consultations but have the real GP on backup to prescribe and handle more delicate tasks.

60’s lady comes in with bleeding again, she said she had hemorroids before and got treated by the last GP perfectly fine, no problems. Bleeding stopped and now a year or so later has started again. I question her and it seems, by all accounts, to be the same problem. She just wanted to double check with the GP before we went and got the creams and such. I offer to examine her to make sure and she gives me a “oh go on then”, her back passage is normal but I figure maybe the problem has resolved, as I can’t see any blood on DR. As an after thought I ask the GP (female) to take over for a speculum examination. PT nice enough to let me look: no haemorroids, significant visible cervical cancer, like, I can see the outgrowth through the os. F**k.

I ALMOST let her go without offering speculum and vaginal examination (since i figured ladies have a good idea of where stuff is coming from). GP definitely would have stepped in if i’d sent her out, but damn, if it wasn’t for her and mine iffy feelings on the matter. Who knows. Thank god she came back to double check. We reckon first doctor must have missed it.


I have a story of a friend who was severely mismanaged. I’ve probably posted it before, but I’m to lazy to look.

For 2 years, my friend had been going to her GP complaining about migraines, bouts of severe vomiting, and dizzy spells. Every time, he would order bloodwork, then tell her she was fine.

One morning, she woke up, and after a sexy morning with her husband, could barely stand. She was so dizzy and had such a bad migraine. She told her husband not to worry, sent him to work and had her neighbour driver her to the emergency room. She doesnt remember arriving.

When she got there, she started acting erratic. They had to sedate her, and sent her for a CT scan of her head. There, they noticed a huge mass in her brain. The hospital wasnt equipped to deal with that, so they sent her by ambulance to the nearest hospital that could, a 4 hour drive away.

This hospital immediately sent her for an MRI. It wasnt a mass. They could actually see the “mass” growing as they did the MRI. No, she was having a massive stroke.

She was immediately taken in for surgery. They put in a stent, and had to remove most of the left side of her brain as it was all dead. Afterwards, she was in a coma for nearly 72 hours. They were uncertain if she would wake up, and if she did, if she would ever recover.

Thankfully, she did. It took almost a year of physio, and speech therapy (among a few others), but she has made almost a complete recovery. They even had their first child 8 months ago.

Turns out, she had incredibly high cholesterol. With all the bloodwork that was done, her GP should have caught it. When she confronted him, he told her that her diagnosis was wrong. That she hadn’t had a stroke and had made it up. She went after his license.


Not a doctor but my doctor said this to me.

I had a PICC line (like a long IV that stays in your arm for a while) for infusions. I had a complication that resulted in a type of allergic reaction, which caused an ulcer that got infected. An infection can spread through a line very quickly and turn into sepsis because the line goes right into your heart.

I was sent to the hospital by my infusion nurse and the doctor at the hospital told me he didn’t have any knowledge about central lines, and sent me home without doing bloodwork or looking at the site. I went to a better hospital in a nearby city the next day and the whole line had to be taken out, plus a course of two antibiotics. Doctor there called the other one an idiot.


One of my sisters friends was diagnosed with cancer at age 10. They were advised to pack up their stuff and move across the country to go to a specialist because they would have to stay there for at least a year. They even had to hire a private plane so she wouldn’t get sick on the plane from any passengers. Well before they left they got a second opinion saying it was pneumonia. Then they got a third that again said it is was pneumonia. Now several years later she is healthy and never got cancer treatment and has been tested for cancer regularly.

Image credits: anon


Not a doctor, but I heard my son’s doctor say this. I took him to the ER late one night because of coughing and a high fever. They took an X ray, gave him IBUPROFEN, and told us he was fine. Doctor showed me the X rays to prove it and gave me a dirty look when I asked what the dark spots were. I told her she was and idiot and took him to urgent care 4 hours later. The doctor that saw him immediately diagnosed him with pneumonia and confirmed with xrays. I flat out refused to pay for the ER visit and told them that if the persisted with collections I would push their incompetence. They never called me again.

Edit: This really blew up! I would like to thank all the fine medical professionals out there for explaining dark spots on X rays. These are the exact answers that I was expecting for my question to that doctor. The fact that I did not receive any explanation of any type and received backlash at the mere questioning of a diagnosis would indicate some type of insecurity or complex that makes that doctor put their time and feelings ahead of my child’s health. The fact that all of you spent a few minutes explaining and typing this on reddit really makes that doctor look really bad considering she couldn’t spend 30 seconds giving an explanation.


Military doctors suck. Ask anyone.

For the past four years, I’ve had abnormal pap results. Each year, they told me it was fine and that it hadn’t grown or become worse. But NO ONE would look further into it. They insisted I didn’t need any opinions.

Since I’ve been busy with life and work the past few years, I decided they were right. Cause I’m an idiot.

FINALLY, my new doc saw the results and became immediately concerned. She asked if anyone had told me to do a biopsy. I explained what the previous docs told me. She shook her head and booked me an appointment with the dysplasia clinic ASAP.

Turns out I had cancer cells that, while not fully bad, put me at a high risk for cervical cancer in the future. They performed a LEEP procedure and successfully eradicated what could’ve developed into something much worse.

I’m so thankful to my doctor for knowing what was up and taking action. She’s awesome and I’m going to be sad when she PCS’.


This woman came in through the Emergency room with a Chest pain. She visited her GP 2 times already (Monday, Wednesday), he treated it locally with subcutaneous anesthesia injection (Lidocain). Turned out she had huge myocardial infarction, as we told her what we think it is and that she needs immediate coronary intervention, the stress caused further contraction of the closed coronary vessel and she had asystole right there. After ca. 2 minutes she jumped back on and we could eventually save her, although her heart was damaged after this. But the follow-up showed improved heart performance, so she got that going for her, which is kind of nice…


This actually happened a few weeks ago.

My sister went to urgent care because she had a bad cough and was having trouble breathing – they said it was a virus and gave her antibiotics

My mom took her to her primary dr who confirmed it. 10 days later she wasn’t better so my mom took her back and INSISTED she get an x Ray. The doctor said, “I don’t know why you brought her back in – it’s just a cough.”

Turns out entire right lung was collapsed, which showed on the x Ray. It had been for almost two weeks. The doctor called us and said “you need to go to the ER right now.” And then began an emergency surgery in the er, admittance to the hospital for a week, and another surgery two days later

Edit to add:

Checked with my mom, sister was prescribed the antibiotic Clarithromycin. And confirmed that they did say “virus” originally

It was a really horrible experience overall – from the urgent care to the primary doctor. At the ER (and then the hospital when she was admitted) it was a bit better. She had an emergency surgery in the Er where the doctor put a tube in her through her back to inflate the lung and another to remove excess liquid from her lung. So for the rest of her time there she had the tube connected from her back to a big plastic clear briefcase looking thing that filtered blood and liquid out of her lung.

Her second surgery was bc her lung wouldn’t inflate back up bc – surprise! – she had a big leak in her lung they needed to repair

She was kind of hilarious bc while on morphine she kept dropping f bombs (“where is the f*****g nurse with my food”) but she doesn’t remember anything from the hospital anymore

She has Down syndrome and the cause of the collapsed lung was actually because at the special olympics her team of petite women played against 6’0”+ tall men w tattoos. (Don’t even get me started on how stupid the special olympics can be, with literal “ringers” used to win gold in the lowest division.) A man chest bumped her and fell on top of her and we think that’s what caused it. She’s predisposed to these kinds of things bc of her Down syndrome – and had open heart surgery at 2 for a hole in her heart

Anyway, she’s a champ. Heading back to work today unhappily, but excited because she’s been cleared to go to a special needs prom next Friday ✨✨✨


I am a doctor (Primary Care with some Emergency), and can’t really think of any good examples of this right now. It’s definitely happened, but never in a way that I end up holding it against the other doctor involved. You kind of end up too busy doing your job. One phrase that I find myself repeating to patients is “I don’t really understand what [previous doctor] was thinking here, but the way that the guidelines/my experience has taught me to approach this problem is [hopefully correct solution]”

Most of the time, the fact that the patient has gone looking for a second opinion or another consult tells you about their level of concern and changes your management. Doctor #1 might see a patient with 2 days of low abdo pain and (correctly) reassure the patient that it’s probably nothing and come back in a week if symptoms continue. Patient then goes to Doctor #2 a couple of days later, more worried and cheesed off at #1. With the increased level of concern, #2 then orders an ultrasound that reveals Ovarian Cancer. The issue here is that both doctors are correct.

The next abdominal pain that comes in to see either doctor at 2 days of symptoms will still receive reassurance as their primary treatment, because it will most likely be something simple like constipation or cramping. Giving every patient with simple symptoms an ultrasound is not economically feasible.

I would hope that any diagnoses I’ve missed or mismanaged (and I assume there’s been a few) were picked up by another doctor and that they also gave me the benefit of the doubt.

(Do I win by being the first not not a doctor?)


Not a doctor, but the patient. Went to my family doctor with the worst headache of my entire life. She dismissed it, telling me it was a tension headache and that I should take a Tylenol and lay down in a dark room.

Over the course of the next month, I saw her a total of 13 times, each time with worsening symptoms. First it was dizziness, then vomiting, then eventually I could no longer see out of my right eye. Every time she told me it was just a tension headache or a “weird migraine”, gave me a prescription for pain killers and sent me on my way.

The final straw was when I was no longer able to walk properly. I would try to take a step, but all I could manage was this weird shuffle. She reluctantly agreed to send me to a neurologist.

The next day I showed up at his office and was in there for less than a minute. He took one look in my eyes and immediately called an ambulance.

Turns out I had hydrocephalus. My ventricles were 5x the size they were supposed to be, and my brain was literally being squeezed out of my head. Go figure!


Not a doc, but a nurse. At a clinic a lady came in for breast pain with a lump. I was in the room for the exam for safety of everyone. The doctor told her it was a sprained muscle and to go away. When he left the room I told her the name of one of our other doctors that specializes in women’s health. Told her she could not let this go. She saw him and he referred her for some radiology and that’s how they found her breast cancer. She later told us all this in a sweet card she sent telling us if I hadn’t told her to advocate for herself she may not have followed up.

Edit! Wow my first gold ever! Thanks so much friend!

Edit edit! Omg 2 golds?! Wow thanks again! If anyone can take something from this just advocate for yourself and your families in healthcare matters!!! Sometimes you have to make them see it!


From the time I was 13,i had a growth on my thumb. It became so big that it affected my piano playing. I went to the doctor about it, and he diagnosed it as a wart. That had been there for nearly a decade. He used acid on it. That hurt, and did nothing. He used an electrical instrument to burn it. That really f*****g hurt, and again did nothing.

I moved to the UK, and was at a dinner party a friend was hosting. She was a nurse, and many of her friends were nurses and doctors. One of the doctors, a surgeon, saw the ‘wart’ on my thumb and became very excited. He called to his wife, a nurse, to come see. He told me that he couldn’t diagnose me because I wasn’t in clinic, but to make an appointment with my GP. I did, and was diagnosed with a neurofibroma, a type of tumour that developes around a nerve. I had surgery to remove it. It was the size of a lima bean. Thankfully, it was benign, but no wonder the wart treatments hurt like a sonovabitch.


Psychiatrist here. A 30 year old man with mild depressive symptoms was in-and-out of the hospital fairly quickly. He was under pressure from his home life, living with 4 roommates who were making life a bit difficult for him. No suicidal thoughts. He was cleared of all psychopathologies by me and two other doctors.
A few months later he came back. Same symptoms, however this time he talked about 5 roommates. It felt wrong, and I digged in his story. Tried to contact his roommates. He lived alone and was severely psychotic. I have no idea to this day how he hid it so well from everyone.

EDIT: a few more details:
The patient talked, dressed and acted normally however after admitting him for a longer period we noticed he talked with his “roommates” often. He was single, no contact with his family and somehow working, however in a routine job with little to no personal contact.
After a few talks he also claimed other peoples thoughts were sometimes “thrown at him and sitting on his head”, and he could thus read people’s minds against his will. The interesting thing about this patient was, that his internal world somehow fitted the external world when asked – his roommates sounded perfectly plausible (they were not e.g. shadow-people, vikings, 12 m tall) and they teased him by hiding his stuff. But he ate with them, watched TV with them, so on.
Normally a person with paranoid schizophrenia (paranoid meaning all types of delusions) will have multiple symptoms sometimes easy to see for the untrained eye. The patients can dress, talk and present themselves in odd ways, usually different from cultural norms. They can have incoherent speech, make up words and phrases or are clearly separated from reality (another patient of mine insisted that I was in jail for medicating him, even when we talked).
When we quickly “scan” a patient for psychotic symptoms we basically look for inconsistencies in the patients experience of the world – the patients normally know “something is wrong” or “weird” or “different”, but often belive it is the world around them, that have changed. This is due to discrepancy between what they experience (input), failed assessment of the inputs (due to the thinking disorder) and testing hypothesis based on failed assessments which collide with the real world. This will activate defense mechanisms fx denial, wild explanations, accepting both “realities” at the same time, and so on. (e.g “I am not sick, my doctor must be a bad guy, bad guys are in jail, my doctor are in jail, but my doctor is sitting right in front of me at the same time, he must have an identical twin or this is an alternate reality). This is usually the way delusions are made.

To summarize: when we scan for psychosis, we look for inconsistencies between the patients subjective experience of thinking, being and acting and the objective reality accepted by the generel cultural norm. This patient managed to live in a subjective psychotic world that just fitted so well with the objective reality that he tricked several psychiatrists including myself.


Obligatory not a doctor, but I’m good friends with one. I get stories all the time.

Two stuck with me.

#1 Guy in his late 20’s comes in complaining about chest pain. Nurses and first ER doc write him off. They ran an EKG and didn’t interpret the results correctly because it was subtle. But when he got ahold of them, he was having a heart attack…

#2 14 year old girl. Discharged from another hospital for being “combative”. Brought into my friends hospital because her mom was persistent. Liver enzyme count was 10,000! (normal is like 10-40 for AST) He put two and two together and immediately gave her Acetylcysteine (Tylenol antidote). Turns out, the girl tried to kill herself.

She was life flighted out to a bigger hospital and was in ICU for a month, he thought for sure she needed a new liver. BUT she lucked out. Between her age and it being caught just in time, the girl made a full recovery.


Not a doctor, but remember reading something related in another thread.

/u/pete1729 said [here](

> My girlfriend is an ER doc. A hippie type guy came in a week after a bike accident. He’d been treated and released by another hospital. He was complaining of some neck pain. She immediately had him backboarded and ordered xrays.

>The xray tech called her and asked why, when he had been treated across town, were they xraying a guy who was obviously indigent.

>”Because his neck is broken. OK?”

> She was right. If he had tripped on a door mat and fallen, he would have likely been paralysed.

> I like to remind her of this one when she’s had a hard night of fighting off drug seekers and attention w


My dad went to the same ear doctor for around 9 years due to poor hearing, and was told there was nothing wrong. When he finally went to a second doctor, they referred him to the hospital and found tumors in his ears that had eaten entirely through his inner ear bones and ear drums. He needed 4 ops to remove them, one every 6 months. If the second doctor hadn’t offered their opinion he would probably have had tumours eating through the back of his skull into his brain


As an ophthalmologist, I’ve seen quite a few misses unfortunately. The eye is just not very well studied outside of this field so many doctors do not feel comfortable with the eye which is understandable.

There was one case of a small child who had a minor trauma to the eye. The ER called and stated that everything looked fine and she was most likely ready to go home but would prefer if we came down to take a look. Got down there, examined her and she had an open globe (eyeball was ruptured meaning there is actually a hole in the eye that needs to be closed surgically). Was very glad we got that call.

Another time a patient came in to the ER complaining of complete loss of vision. Upon exam his vision was light perception only in both eyes. This means that the patient cannot even see a hand waving 2 inches from their face but they can still make out light vs dark. He stated he had went to the ER 2 months ago when his vision first started deteriorating but was told he had “conjunctivitis” and given antibiotics ointment. He did not return to the ER for 2 months because he did not have insurance and was homeless at the time. My alarm bells were already ringing at this point. I did an exam to look at the retina and saw numerous white plaques which is a sign of inflammation with infection being the most concerning. The patient ended up having syphilis that had gone into his eye and made him blind. Unfortunately, at this point his prognosis for recovering vision was poor even with treatment.

This next one was not really a miss but more of a delayed diagnosis. A patient came to the ER 1 month after a gunshot wound to the head. Did surprisingly well since the bullet missed most of the important structures in the brain. He was back in the ER as the swelling on his eye had not gotten better. It’s common after a big trauma like that for the eye to be swollen for 1 to 2 weeks before getting better. He also was complaining of double vision. On exam his eye was swollen and being pushed forward out of orbit and he could not move his eye to the left. Given his history I was worried he developed something called an artery venous fistula which is where an artery and a vein combine causing the high pressure in the artery to enter the vein and build up a back pressure causing the vein to engorge because it can no longer drain blood. Got a ct scan to confirm. Patient went to surgery the next day.

I do caution the general public to be weary of this thread though. It is unfair to doctors look at this thread and claim incompetence. Diseases usually develop on a continuum age and one doctor might catch it at a later date because it has had more time to present itself.

There is also a stepwise approach to medicine. If you gave everyone with a headache a ct scan there would be more harm then good. It’s possible that when a person gets a second opinion they see the first doctor already ruled a lot of things out so they are in a better position to diagnose, whereas if you had stayed with the original doctor and continued to work with him he may have gotten to the diagnosis as well.

As a patient it can be frustrating but be mindful that most doctors do want what’s best for you and there may be a lot of things going on in the background you are unaware of.

For example when patients come in for cold symptoms, they assess usually frustrated when they are told there is no treatment needed. They feel like it is a waste of a trip. But that doctor used his medical knowledge to 1. Reassure you 2. Avoid harmful if unneeded antibiotics 3. Made sure you didn’t actually have a diagnosis that requires emergent treatment


not a doctor but we took my baby brother to the er because of extremely labored breathing and he became really cold and uncharacteristically calm. they couldn’t find anything wrong with him and sent us home with tylenol. the next morning we went to a sick clinic and they took him to an out of town hospital immediately (the one here clearly sucks) with several different viruses and a double ear infection. he had to stay in the hospital 5 or 6 days and be on oxygen. the doctors said he could’ve died during the night he was sent home because the effort of breathing would’ve been too much so he would’ve just stopped. he’s happy and healthy now, though, thankfully!


A bit of background: in my field of audiology we have people licensed to diagnose not only hearing issues but balance disorders and other factors impacting listening and understanding. We also have another field who popped up when it was not considered as ethical for us to *treat* those more serious hearing issues (i.e. with hearing aids) but they don’t need the same doctorate level training, just barely high school or some college depending on jurisdiction.

So I had a patient come in with a serious difference between left and right hearing and this in itself is considered a red flag because both ears are exposed to the same things over time… and there are very few explanations as to why one would get so bad. The patient could hardly understand words on that bad side and the better ear was pretty good overall, just minor hearing loss perhaps age-related.

Immediately upon seeing these test results, the ENT and I agreed to send this patient for an MRI of the head because something was off. The patient confirmed no MRI or medical treatment had been recommended in the past and only hearing aids by this lesser-trained hearing aid dealer (working for a popular U.S. chain). The patient had been wearing these hearing aids already for a few years.

The MRI results came back. Massive tumor on the hearing nerve. The hearing aid dealer is being investigated currently for malpractice (or more specifically a violation of state laws regarding red flags).

Edit: since a few of you are asking what happened with the patient, I’ll paste what got buried below. I don’t usually get to see these cases if they get sent for surgery. I’m not in a big metro area so the very specialized ENTs (neurotologists) have their own audiologists to handle post-op testing. Anticlimactic, I agree


Not a Doctor but a lucky patient, during my last 4 days of Boot Camp, I woke up 2 hours before we were supposed to and I couldn’t breathe, I was gagging and choking and it took about 2 minutes before I could again. Everyone thought I was just malingering so that I’d get out of the last 4 days and relax until I went home. Went to a doctor and they did basic tests, said it could be my allergies or something (suuuper allergic to pollen but not this bad) and I was sent back to the barracks. My trouble with breathing continues and I’m more sore than I have been since the first week or so. Anyways, I go home (still live with my family) and and I was obviously tired and sore and wanted to be lazy for a bit, so when the first couple days I was sleeping for 16 hours a day my family just thought I was exhausted and needed rest. After 7 or so days of this they got tired of me being lazy and decided make me get up outa bed and do a bunch of house work, wash their cars just anything to keep me outa bed. I tell them I don’t feel good and everything still hurts, my chest feels heavy and I need to get back in bed but they aren’t having it. Finally I convince them to let me see the doctor, but they just agree its muscle pains primarily, and that I need to keep using them to eventually make the soreness go away. Eventually, going back to University, one of my professors notices I don’t look to well, I explain my symptoms and tell him what’s going on, (this was a math prof. not even medically trained just common sense) he suggests I get tested for Mono, and lo and behold guess what I got?

Turns out, the people doing the health screening neglected several people, and the officers in charge of us said if ever out of water share canteens with the closest person to you. So no running to refill it or anything, this apparently spread mono throughout my Battalion. When I got a doctor who confirmed this, they later find out my Spleen was on the verge of rupturing, and if I had gone another few days or a week more, ~~it would have and I would have drowned internally~~ could have caused a life-threatening intra-abdominal hemorrhage.

Edit: Drowning internally is not possible, this was likely an exaggeration from me trying to remember and retell the story over the years, maybe a mixup in my head or something. In actuality I would have just become really really sick, would have required surgery and s**t but I wouldn’t have drowned and died. Apologies!

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