Advice from board certified medical doctors that would have any rational patient seeking a second opinion in a hurry!
This article on actual doctors’ advice given to patients got its start via social media when I noticed that two parents had posted what a conventional health practitioner had suggested as an ideal food for their children.
One mother said her nutritionist instructed her to feed her toddler Salisbury steak frozen dinners as it “was complete nutrition”. The second suggestion was from a pediatrician who recommended supermarket hot dogs as a first food for a weaning baby “because they are soft and easy to chew”.
I was so shocked by these comments that I started a Facebook thread asking people to post the most jaw-dropping thing a doctor had ever said to them. The discussion quickly snowballed into a string of nearly 600 comments from folks who contributed their own outrageous stories which were so unbelievable that I felt the material deserved its own blog post.
True to Facebook form, there were a few people who thought the discussion was not helpful. Peter N. said, “What’s the point? Shouldn’t you rather concentrate on making things better rather than pointing fingers?”
The overwhelming response to this criticism was that the discussion was in fact very helpful as it was demonstrating to people that outrageous doctors’ advice is given to patients all the time not just by their primary caregivers but also other medical personnel as well. Bottom line? Don’t blindly follow their advice.
In addition, no doctors or medical practitioners were named in that forum, so there was not or single case of finger-pointing or rumor-mongering. The discussion was a simple sharing of experiences to the benefit of those who participated.
With conventional medicine now the third leading cause of death killing 225,000 people each and every year as recognized by the Journal of the American Medical Association and half of doctors routinely prescribing drugs they know won’t work, learning to stand up for yourself in any sort of medical situation and not take advice blindly can be a lifesaving skill.
~An informed patient is a conventional doctor’s worst customer~
Please note that the doctors’ advice and stories below are completely unedited. Do you have your own story to add to this list? Please share with us in the comments section.
- Mary K. says “Have a cigarette – It will help loosen the phlegm”
- Christine P. says “When my son was diagnosed with ADHD, on top of the medication, the pediatrician told me to get him playing video games to help with his focus!”
- Greta Q. says “A doctor told me to stop breastfeeding because my breasts belonged to my husband and it was time to give them back.”
- Mindi E. says “When my son was little we found out her was allergic to dairy. I asked what I could give him instead to make sure he was getting the healthy fats for brain development. She told me French fries.”
- Sherri H. says “My *former* cardiologist told me not to worry about my slightly elevated cholesterol levels because “he has a drug for that”. No talk of diet or exercise was mentioned. Never mind the fact that I was 25 at the time and nursing a baby.”
- Katie H. says “Last Friday an “MD” in St. Helens, Oregon told me to give my very sick, mucus-filled son ICE CREAM because he might have a sore throat from coughing. Yeah, let’s add some mucus to the mucus and get a sugar-high while we’re at it!”
- Alexandra Z. says “A neurologist: ‘Don’t read the warning labels on medication or you’ll never want to take them!'”
- Erica M. Says “My OB-GYN asked my what birth control I wanted to be on . . . He just tied my tubes a week earlier when I had my c-section. LOL”
- Becky S. says “When I told my OBGYN that I was waiting to have sex until marriage…..she said that was dumb and how would I know if i liked a car unless I test drove it first………(Very happily married for 11 years now and we both waited like we wanted to. She didn’t know what she was talking about)”
- Melissa Z. says “OBs nurse told me to stop taking my whole-food based, organic prenatals and to “just go get the ones from Costco”. When I questioned how a synthetic supplement could be better than an organic food-based one- she said “you never know what’s in those”!”
- Candace M. says “Mine told me to feed the girls McDonald’s chicken nuggets!!! I was flabbergasted! She went on to say, “Well if that’s all they want…. “. Like it’s an actual option!”
- Elvis and Bobbie C. says “Our ex pediatrician told us that we had to give our son jarred baby food because my homemade organic baby food (mostly homegrown as well), would kill him from Hepatitis A which is on all produce especially food grown at home.”
- Shana B. says “‘Yeah, you can use essential oils, or you could do a rain dance.’ (When trying garlic oil for an ear pain/infection) Lovely.”
- Andrea B. says “my daughter was given flouride [sic] at her dentist appt, so I called the office and expressed my my disappointment. I asked the secretary to put a note on my childrens’ charts so no one would make that mistake again, and she said, “is that because they don’t like the taste or because it’s poison?”
- June C. says “I asked my dr if they (Kaiser) could get me a mouth guard to wear at night so I wouldn’t grind my teeth. He said no, they couldn’t do that, but he could prescribe some Valium to help me relax!!”
- Elizabeth W. says “My sisters pediatrician told her at her babies 1 year check up that she should stop breastfeeding and switching him over to pediasure because it was healthier for him. The doctor said breastmilk has no advantage after 1 year of life.”
- Skylar T. says ” A WIC nutritionist telling me to feed my 18 month old Salisbury steak TV dinners for optimal nutrition.”
- Crystal B. says “after a shoulder surgery my husband had, due to an accident, I put coconut oil a couple of times a day over the massive incisions and stitches to help the healing and prevent infection. At his one week check up that doctor was very impressed with the healing process of his skin and the lack of any infection. So I told him what I was doing. He got really red in the face and told me how I should stop immediately because doing that could cause a major infection.”
- Jacyln E. says “When my son was nine months old, he was a “slow-grower”, his pediatrician suggested “fattening him up” with foods like Mac and Cheese.”
- Jodie G. says “To give my daughter the gardisil because (and my 12 year old was in the room), ‘she’s going to be having sex soon.”
- Ruth T. says ” I had a doctor tell me that herbs would kill me. When I dumbed things down and asked “ok.. So you’re telling my peppermint and ginger could kill me?” He replied, “well… Those would PROBABLY be alright”.’
- Tifani R. says “The nutritionist at WIC told me that if I didn’t spoon feed my daughter cereal and pureed baby food that she would never learn to eat off of a spoon because it isn’t a natural reflex.”
- Debby P. says “It does not matter what they eat as long as they have their one a day vitamin.”
- Jessica W. Says “That it was “in the range of normal” for my newborn to go eight days without pooping.”
- Benita M. says “My doctor wanted to put my 18 month old on a 6 week run of antibiotics for ear infections as a “preventative measure”… She didn’t have an infection at the time. I refused.” (at least they didn’t suggest ear candling!).
- Julie K. says “When trying to find the cause of my babies eczema a GP told me “there is no cure, get over it, she has it for life'”
- Alena E. says “Skim milk, they don’t need the calories.”
- Nat and Dan says “Before discovering GAPS, I saw a gastroenterologist who wanted to treat my severe stomach pain with a drug they give people who have lost a body part! Great idea – let’s trick the brain into thinking the pain doesn’t exist rather than finding the root of the problem.”
- Melissa B. says “Before being diagnosed as a Celiac the doctor told me “Don’t worry about it, it will get better when it gets better” this is after not holding down any food down for 3 years straight.”
- Melissa J. says “My husbands doctor put him on meds for tuberculosis because he wasn’t sure what he had and didn’t feel like finding out. The medication can be fatal in those who don’t have TB.”
- Rachel C. says “I went to the dr for a raging ear infection. I normally don’t take antibiotics but I couldn’t function at all. I asked if the antibiotic was safe to take while nursing. At the end of the appointment the doctor asked how old my son was. I said “he just turned 2”. He had a look of shock on his face and said “2?! I hope your nipples still work the same when you’re done!”
- Angie W. says “My OB who said all my crazy symptoms were because I was still nursing my 1.5 year old. ‘He’s sucking the life out of you!'”
- Melissa B. says “My doctor tried to put me on antidepressants when I started crying after he told me during an appointment that I would likely never have kids… I’m not sure why he considered crying to be an inappropriate or excessive reaction??”
- Kelly L. says “My daughter was a slow weight gainer so a pediatrician told me to put ice cream in her bottle around 12 months. Said it would fatten her right up. “
- Lisa W. says “A GP told me recently that in her opinion, other than in obesity, diet has no bearing on health whatsoever. When I pushed her further she justified this view by simply saying “I am a scientist”!”
- Brittany S. says “I have a good friend of the family who is 58 years old and she started to train for a 5K with her daughter. Her Dr. asked why she would want to start running at her age and told her to re-think it.”
- Janel E. says “After finding that my 3 year old had developed gluten antibodies, the allergist said gluten-free was just a fad.”
- Wendy S. says “My uncle was just diagnosed with a massive lung tumor and his doctor told him to keep drinking soda and eating sweets because he will need the nourishment during treatment.”
- Traci C. says ” My son had a rash a Dr recommended giving him 2 1/2 at the time an anti depressant to stop the itching.”
- Leslie D. says “After my 10 yr. old daughter’s dx of severe Crohn’s disease and 10 days in hospital on a PICC line w/ no food, the GI dietician suggested she have cereal such as “Lucky Charms” for her first meal. When I told the Gastroenterologist we were thinking about doing the SCD protocol or GAPS diet, her response, “Don’t do that to her! I don’t know what I’d do without my chocolate every day!'”
- Michelle F. says “Don’t use toothpaste containing fluoride for the baby, but here’s a prescription for fluoride pills to give her..”
- Kelly M. says “My daughter had an ear infection and he gave me a prescription for antibiotics. When I asked him if I could wait a few days to see if she got better he told me he wasn’t comfortable with parents making medical decisions.”
- Keirsten A. says “Diet coke in the morning to combat heart burn/indigestion.”
- Heidi P. says “Never eat chicken. It’s from the devil.”
- Nina A. says “To ignore my baby when he cried.”
- Kristine B. says “My mother was told, with me, that she should only give me powdered milk otherwise I would be fat.”
- Kimberly C. says “I once told my MD I was having trouble losing weight (with recent hypothyroidism diagnosis). I told him I was eating six times a day, 200 calories or less at each meal. His response, ‘eat even less’.”
- Christine S. says “At the one year check up doc said to stop breastfeeding because breast milk no longer had nutritional value!! Apparently my milk had am expiration date…!”
- Annamarie F. says “Ketchup qualifies as a vegetable and grape jelly qualifies as a fruit.”
- Rachell R. says “My first born broke out with the most horrid blisters and rash on his bottom come to find out he was alleric to disposable diapers the silly doctor told me ‘just cut holes in them’.. It’s called switch to cloth!”
- Amy C. says “I had an ER doctor tell me to let my non responsive-struggling to breath 2 month old “just go unconscious and then he will wake up.”
- Jenn R. says “She suggested that I give my 4-yr old daughter Kool-aid at mealtime to solve her constipation problems.”
- Elizabeth M. says “While going through chemo treatments and losing a lot of weight a doctor told me that I should go to McDonald’s and drink as many shakes as I want.”
- Angela W. says ” I was told to roll my toddler up in a long carpet runner from his shoulders down and prop him up in a corner until he would behave.”
- Kristen K. says “That I wasn’t getting enough iron because I don’t eat processed cereal!!”
- Danielle S. says “I as diagnosed with endometriosis as a teenager, At 17 my GP told me to go ahead and have kids now (yup, at 17!) so I could then have a hysterectomy.”
- Barbara R. says “A friend mine said her pediatrician told her to give her kids carrot cake to get them to eat vegetables!”
- Ali H. says “I was told I needed to put my 12 month old in speech intervention BC he wasn’t yet speaking words.”
- Minette W. says “I attended a birth as a doula. The attending OB refused to delay cord clamping and cutting because as she claimed it would “cause the baby to be anemic”. She believed that if she placed the baby on the mothers chest directly after delivery without clamping and cutting the cord the blood in the baby would drain out and back into the placenta due to gravity.”
- Christina M. says “hen I told him (Pediatrician) I was using a lotion for my son that had tea tree oil in it, he was worried and told me that my son may grow boobs.”
- Ashley G. says “That my son didn’t need that ” junk, ” anymore ( breast milk after a year).”
- Keely O. says “Give baby a bath in water and bleach to ease the eczema.”
- April C. says “My OB told me my amniotic fluid was low and told me I should drink Gatorade!!! FYI: I don’t drink sugary drinks. Apparently I was drinking too much water.”
- Jevena E. says “After trying to donate blood I was told I was anemic. I went to a doctor who tested and said yes indeed I was “VERY” anemic and all of my iron stores were depleted. Treatment was to “take some iron pills” and then he tried to give me Prozac samples. I asked why in the world do I need Prozac for anemia? He told me most people have symptoms of depression with anemia and I said won’t iron alleviate those symptoms? He looked at me with total shock on his face and said, “most people are thrilled to get this’!”
- Shay M. says “That I didn’t have enough milk to breastfeed – should switch to formula.”
- Julie H. says “Pediatrician recommended breaking both legs and casting them for inward turning feet.”
- Christine T. says “When first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and listening to the Dr’s treatment plan, I asked if there was any alternative treatment rather than the three heavy duty medications he was prescribing. (Medications that had Horrible side affects.). He said, “if you want to move to California and smoke weed, be my guest!”
- Lilly W. says “When I was having gut/inflammatory issues (later to find out it was caused by gluten insensitivity) he told me to try Weight Watchers.”
- Eric S. says “Too much thinking for one’s self seems inflammatory. I think there is a pill for that.”
- Jessica C. says “When I was dealing with secondary infertility, the Dr I was referred to told me to just be happy with the one baby I did have and forget my dreams of having a large family. She was content with her career and 2 dogs, so I should be happy just having 1 kid.”
- Jackie B. says “mine saw NO problem with taking xanax to sleep and adderall for daytime.”
- Rachel J. says “Your still nursing your 20 month old? Oh, that’s more for you than for him, isn’t it.”
- Daedra S. says “I was missing periods quite regularly and this one old fart OG/GYN told me I should be thankful because many women my age are taking drugs to STOP their periods. It’s ok, he said.”
- Mary S. says “Oh, my doctor told me to limit my smoking to one pack per day while I was pregnant in the late 70’s. The same doctor told my friend to drink at least one beer per day for her kidneys while she was pregnant.”
- Charlotte M. says “I was having difficulty sleeping and the doctor asked what I was doing about it. I said I usually took one Benadryl at bedtime. He said Benadryl has too many side effects and promptly gave me a prescription for Ambien!”
- Heather D. says “When I was about 10 I had stomach aches all the time (Lactose intolerance wasn’t a “thing” yet to diagnose) My Dr. figured I was constipated and recommend eating more fast food. A McDonald’s meal once or twice a week should get things moving!! “
- Colette H. says ” My friend was told by an orthodontist that she should let her brake [sic] her 12 yr old son jaw because it wasn’t “manly” enough.”
- Michelle M. says “When I was a baby I had jaundice. When my mom told the doctor he commented by saying “we’ll look at the outfit you have her in! No wonder she looks yellow.”
- Amy H. says “I brought my mother in law to the doctor when she was having an extremely difficult time detoxing off of prescription meds. She was having a constant anxiety attack, spasms, and couldn’t hold anything down. He told her to drink soda pop to help her not get dehydrated!”
- Pam M. says “My mom suffered with severe allergy to cats but still wanted them in her home. The doctor back then told her to smoke 2 cigarettes a day (she was a non-smoker) and to have a tot of whiskey every day. “
- Kristen V. says “My pediatrician told us to give my toddler son benadryl to calm him down before we bring him in the office again.”
- Gregory M. says “My 32 year old Dr. Told me” there’s only two ways to lose weight. Exercise or drugs.” I disagreed. He replied. ” never underestimate the power of prescription drugs” I mentioned the possible side effects. He dropped the topic.”
- Nikki K. says “When my daughter was about 4 – 6 weeks old and constipated the doctor told me to stick my finger up her bum to stimulate a BM.”
- Ellen K. says “I told my doctor that I was concerned my son had a blood sugar problem. I asked for an A1C test. She told me to just keep a candy bar in my purse for when he started acting emotional.”
- Jiggle B. says “When I was pregnant with my second, we thought it was ectopic. The obgyn said in front of my son and husband that children were parasites and to stop breastfeeding so I wouldn’t be feeding two parasites at the same time.”
- Yvonne I. says “Well a Dr. who couldn’t find what was wrong with me, after seeing me 25 years later, said omg I thought you died.”
- Cheryl R. says “Health nurse told my sister to feed her kids hot dogs because they have a lot of calcium.”
But wait, there’s more!
Unfortunately, FB has deleted the original thread listing all 578+ comments on actual doctors’ advice given to patients, but at least some of the most ridiculous ones are preserved here!
Debbie H LeBlanc
When my 1st born son experienced projectile vomiting after nursing, my pediatrician first said he was probably allergic to my milk (so very, very rare), also to feed him cereal, – it was heavier and would ‘stay down.’ At 2 months, a Dr. at Walter Reed Hospital discovered he had Pyloric stenosis and needed surgery.
My son’s pediatrician, when I told him we had eliminated food dye and processed sugar in his diet, to improve his behaviour, said: “kids need sugar, they have to have it to grow”. I was stunned. We never went back to him, and found a new pediatrician instead.
When I was 16 years old, my mother took me to see the local female doctor because I was suffering from severe menstrual cramps. She then proceeded to tell me and my mother that I should get pregnant to avoid having menstrual cramps.
A jar had fallen from a faulty shelf onto my 19 month old daughter’s head and within a day or two her eyes started to cross in badly. She had also been acting differently for a couple months. We were worried she had a concussion or something else going on in her brain. We took her to the ER at a children’s hospital. We were in and out of there in 7 minutes because the nurse that checked her said she “really didn’t seem like she had a concussion and probably needed an opthamologist”. We took her back to our home state a few days later to find out that she had a brain tumor the size of a small orange and it had shifted as was causing hydrocephalus. Lazy eye doesn’t come on that suddenly- I know because I had lazy eye as a child. The neurosurgeon told after the surgery that if we’d waited even a day longer to bring her in, they wouldn’t have been able to save her.
Good thing we skipped the eye doctor and went with our parental gut feelings.
It isn’t the craziest story we have either. In fact, it’s probably one of the least crazy of crazy stories.
FYI..HUD is paid for with my taxes. So yes, you are using other people’s money to kill yourself smoking. Accepting it would be the first step to quitting. I am an ex-smoker. There is no “trying”. You are a grownup. Stop buying them, stop consuming them, stop killing yourself. I am usually all for trashing doctors but in this case, I probably would have been even meaner to you than your doctor.
I was referred to a GI after my “normal” abdominal pain became unbearable and I started drastically losing weight…I dropped under a hundred pounds.
He told me that most american women would be thrilled and a little nausea and cramping was probably worth it. He told me I’d have to drop to at least 85 pounds before he started to worry and then congratulated me on my hard work (???)
The long term discomfort was Celiac disease. The unbearable discomfort was pancreatitis. Glad I got a second opinion!
Just today, I went in for pain in my legs. My doctor previously knew my family and I had been homeless and that I am disabled. He asked at the end of the appointment how things were going for housing and I let him know that we got an apartment through Catholic Charities (It is run by them, but is a government subsudized housing unit and is entierly baised on our income so that we are able to afford a place to live) He then read my chart stating that I’m a smoker (I’ve tried for years to quit and with all the pain I’m in on a daily baises aside from recent unusual pain I’m not in a place where I can handle quitting right now) Stated that it is a shame I would use other peoples charity and waste it away smoking. I use my money to pay for my apartment, (anything that isn’t covered by what I can afford is paid by HUD not individual doners to the church or charity group) my electricity, internet, (to stay in contact with family that I otherwise would not be able to) my phone, and groceries, I spend approximately $60 a month for my “horrible habit” (addiction) and that is for 2 smokers because I want to be able to have an otherwise healthy lifestyle by eating well, and I have to pay for Rx’s every month for the rest of my life. I would love to be able to use that money for something else, but berating me isn’t going to make me quit. I’m switching doctors in the morning.
Very interesting subject , thanks for putting up. “I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure-that is all that agnosticism means.” by Clarence Darrow.
Number 97 works though. A friend of mine’s baby had constipation and was screaming in pain. Mother in Law was called and a rectal thermometer was lubed up and gently inserted. It worked! They kinda “worked” her every couple minutes. It was quite a mess but it worked. No drugs or expensive doctor or sugary drinks (she was under 1, maybe 6months even.)