The practice of medicine is rewarding in many ways—including as a source of entertainment. Clinicians see the best and worst of humanity, and those at the frontline of care can share endless stories of the funny, weird and wacky.
Read on as we share some of our favorite, non-HIPAA-violating horror/hilarious tales. Clinician names have been abbreviated for privacy reasons.
Never hire family
I had a patient who convinced his non-dermatologist surgeon brother-in-law to do a hair transplant on him, which he did. It went well until the hair started to regrow and, since no attention was paid by the surgeon as to how to orient the plugs when they were put in place, the hair that regrew looked like a corn field after a tornado with hairs running in virtually every direction. My job was to rotate the misplaced wayward plugs so they gave a semblance of orderly hair growth.
What’s in a name
A colleague of mine and I started a list of funny things patients say or write on their intake forms when referring to their skin diseases. Always a good laugh. Below are a couple examples with translation:
1. Bo jangles = shingle aka zoster
2. Erotic lichen penis = erosive lichen planus of the penis
3. Erectile bowel syndrome = irritable bowel syndrome
4. Carrot toasts = seborrheic keratosis
5. Wing worm = tinea pedis
6. Vitilogy = vitiligo
7. Arthur Ritus = arthritis
Be wary of home remedies
A 90-year-old male farmer in the heat of the summer came in with knee-high rubber boots. He asked to be seen quickly as his “galoshes” were full of blood. He had punctured one of his varicose veins and was filling his boot full of blood.
In another case, a 33-year-old Amish mother of six—with a one-month-old on her arm—presented with a large tumor of the left cheek. She had treated it with “black salve” but it did not respond. The tumor was 8 cm x 8 cm and secreting clear fluid. A wedge biopsy showed a salivary carcinoma.
A 21-year-old college student came in for a laser consult for a brown/tan birthmark on her face. The receptionist asked her if she knew the name of birthmark. She could not remember and turned to her friend who reminded her that she has a cappuccino spot. She actually had a cafe au lait macule. You cannot make this stuff up!