Pull up your seats, folks. I'm about to take you on a magical journey of medical f*ckery the likes of which only Reddit could bring you.
Yeah, it's like that.
Reddit user moboyd1_ asked:
Now, normally this is the point in the article where I briefly relay a kind of related story. And I'm going to do that, but I'm going to need you guys to just agree to roll with me because it's a doozy. My story isn't about faking it coming from a patient - it came from other medical professionals and there's a whole active case about it now.
Early in my days as a writer, when I was still a lil baby wordsmith, I had a job working for a social media company. Or so I thought. Turns out haha, nope! I work for a maniacal narcissistic, very short, stereotypical evil villain doctor. The doctor opened a medical training company, and then a second one to create competition for himself, then a web development company, and a social media company, aaand a day spa. Yes, a day spa.
Roll with me here, people, the scheme is lengthy.
The owner opened a "medical training school" to train other doctors on how to do minor procedures like botox , liposculpture, and fillers. They taught (some classes) with hands-on training, using real product. Sometimes. The owner would absolutely water-down the product and a lot of times they would "run out of time" so only a few of the students would be able to do any hands-on work. The training company was, in no way, accredited. It was a useless certificate and everyone knew it. Doctors hesitated to continue buying these classes, which the owner sold for thousands of dollars. In response, the owner created another company as "competition" for himself to prove to his clients that it was a real thing. That worked for a while, but the doctors got suspicious again.
Not a problem! The owner would direct them to this day spa, where he claimed to have trained all the employees. They were his perfect glossy model of success! In reality the spa was a total waste that never booked more than 3 clients a week.
The day spa employees would talk about how great everything was, and how much the training helped them feel solid. Then during idle chit-chat they would talk about how things like defining their image and having a good location also helped them stay busy, but honestly it was totally Facebook that really made things boom.
The doctors, not having any suspicion that a medical training company would have anything to do with a day spa's Facebook page, would ask for recommendations. They would then go to the social media company. The social media company would build their Facebook, manage their Instagram, etc. After a few months the social media company would casually mention how much more effective this would all be with a website. The doctors would ask if they could recommend anyone, and of course the social media person totally has a friend who builds websites and just built one for a doctor not that long ago! The doctor would think it was destiny or something, and go build a website with the company they recommend.
These doctors had no idea they just bought bogus training, heard a bogus success story, paid thousands for a social media company, then a website and all that money went to the same man, who they never saw. The reason they never saw him is because he had a hair-trigger temper and would scream at, threaten, and throw chairs at people. He was bad for his own business, so his wife kept him behind the curtain as much as she could.
The low level employees didn't know it at first either, but it never took long before the truth came out because we got asked to do insane things. Each of us had at least 3 alternate personalities with email addresses and phone lines, we were often asked to leave fake reviews, that sort of stuff. Some of the older employees had a game, every Monday they would gather around to read the new reviews on sites like RipOffReport. Business was shady, wrong, but not MAJOR... right?
Then it came out that the doctors who had been doing the training were never real doctors to begin with. One guy was an accountant with a mullet!
There was no way they could keep the ruse going for long, but no amount of reporting or bad reviews has been able to sink this company, but every single training weekend I would end up with literal hours of voicemails from medical professionals complaining that this was the most obviously fake training they've ever attended. Obviously I didn't last long once the truth all came out. All I wanted was to write some sassy social media posts and get paid for it; not be part of a multinational medical fraud scheme. Yes, we reported - along with a whole bunch of other people.
This company is still in operation and has been open for over a decade. It "trains" doctors all around the world. Careful where you get your Botox, fam.
Now... the answers from Reddit users involve a lot less billion-dollar-business-scams, but that doesn't mean they're any less interesting or hilarious. Pro tip: Blind people don't drive.
Getting pages that patients state they are in indescribable agony and screaming nonstop, then going outside their room and listening a bit while they joke and laugh with their family... only for them to start screaming again as soon as I walk in the room
We have a patient at our primary care clinic who claims to be blind. He always comes in with sunglasses and a white cane. We were always suspicious though. Something definitely seemed off.
One day someone followed him out of the building. He walked through our nearly empty parking lot, and down the street a little ways to a car parked out of view of the clinic. He folded up his cane, got into the driver's seat, merged into traffic and drove away.
I had a woman come into triage in labor and delivery. We ruled her out for breaking her water. She was pissed that she wasn't going to get induced and be delivered. So after I left the room she flooded the bed, the floor and herself with tap water. Literally gallons and gallons of water, it was leaking out from under the door. SOO much water - It was like that scene in Coneheads. She said it was her water breaking.
Again, we quickly ruled her out and told her she needed to go home. She subsequently peed the bed before leaving.
My mom had a patient who said she had passed kidney stones at home and needed painkillers. The lady actually brought in the kidney stones as proof. Patients don't usually do this, and the stones were way bigger than people can pass on their own. My mom sent them to the lab and they came back as "geological origin."
Crazy lady picked up small stones from outside to try and get meds.
Gotta Pay Your Bill First
Called to a bar for a seizure. Waitress says she delivered his bill and he suddenly went to the floor having a seizure. Look over at him, and he's laying there flopping his arms and Legs around, as he looks is right in the eye and screams over and over "I'm having a seizure!!"
We tell him to stand up so we can take him to the ambulance. He does and starts walking to the door. We tell him to hold up, gotta pay your bill first. Man, was he pissed at us. Waitress tells us he does this all the time. Well, not today. He still took a ride to the hospital though. The hospital has good egg salad sandwiches.
The Big E
I commonly have young kids who really want glasses because some of their friends have them. They'll come in acting like they can barely see the big E on the chart. I change some lenses in front of their eyes, give them a little encouragement that they can see better, and they can magically read 20/20 with little to no prescription. They're not big fans when I tell them they don't really need glasses.
Had a prisoner once that was faking full amnesia including name. I told him there was a nerve in his ear that if he put his finger in his ear and couldn't remember his name that he was for sure faking because it even worked with severe dementia. Finger in ear... remembered name; finger out of ear... cant' remember who he was. Instant discharge back to jail.
When they told me they were allergic to Tylenol (acetaminophen) but Vicodin works really well for them.
Not a medical professional but work security in an ER, once had a guy come in, announce that he was going to have a seizure, then laid down slowly and comfortably in the floor and didn't start "seizing" until he was sure everyone was looking at him, then when the nurse (who knew he was obviously faking) said they were going to have to run a tube down his throat he was suddenly fine.
Throwing Things At A "Blind" Child
Pediatrician here so my patient was younger (and I think influenced by Mom)
This 13 year old kept getting admitted for complaints that never made sense. Lack of smell. Dizziness. "Seizures" that would happen while he was walking/running. Heart felt hot, etc. Every specialist under the sun had seen him and cleared him. He had every test and imaging study you could think of.
There was a lot of social stuff going on and this was a hard family to discharge. He'd get admitted, we'd run a hundred tests and as soon as we were about to discharge him, some new symptom would come up. The worst was once after I had already written the discharge orders and the nurses called to let me know the patient had gone blind.
I was grouchy that day and wasn't having it.
I went in with a rolled up piece of paper. I checked his pupils. I used a Snellen. I went through the whole rigmarole. Then when I was talking to his mother, without looking I threw the paper at him hard and fast. He yelped and dodged it. I told Mom that they were going home.
To be honest I still feel a little guilty about it, and don't know what the right thing to do was.