1. A Mother Finds A Way…
“Had a mother come in and INSIST that her child had Silver-Russell syndrome. You can go read on it. It’s not that easy to fake, as it’s a bunch of metabolic conditions mixed with congenital abnormalities.
The kid was small, but not that small (around 6th percentile). He didn’t weight much (5th percentile). All of this, with a right arm length 2 cm more than the left side, were borderline criteria for Silver-Russell. Did genetic testing, which came back negative, but 30% of cases are negative.
So the deciding factor was one of the ‘soft’ criteria of hypoglycemia. Once she heard about this (she printed out 30-40 articles on the disease), she came back with the kid in a coma. But when the kid was in the hospital, he was never hypoglycemic. He went home, and came back in a coma a few weeks later. Again, as soon as he was eating normally at the hospital, he was never hypoglycemic.
She starved her child into comas repeatedly for the diagnosis of Silver-Russell. She was also a ‘bougon,’ people who live off welfare and make a game out of it. By the way, she was in a wheelchair when at the hospital. Once I had enough of her bullshit and walked into the room after only knocking once. She was walking around normally and jumped into the wheelchair as soon as she saw me.
I believe it was for money since in Canada/Quebec, you get money when your child has a genetic disability… God, if it was legal, I would have slapped some sense into that her.”
2. It’s A Miracle!
“My husband is a firefighter and EMT and he told me about a time where they were called for a man seizing. When they got there a guy was lying face up on the floor not moving and then started faking a seizure. They stood there saying things like ‘Oh wow. This is a bad one. But if they did X then we should really be worried!’ and the patient would suddenly start doing X behavior. Apparently this went on for a while until he miraculously woke up in the ambulance asking for opiates.”
3. Whooping Cough
“My mom’s an ER nurse and she said once some crazy lady came in and complained hat she had the whooping cough. And whenever she coughed she followed it with a loud ‘woooOOOP!’”
4. “A Nice, tasty Lortab Might Help, Doctor”
“When I was a resident, I had a patient in clinic that was doing that round-about thing patients do when they want narcotics but aren’t going to directly ask for them. She would hint at having arthritis pain that ‘just doesn’t seem to get better except that one time she took lortab’ and that ‘you know, her friend gave her a Percocet once and it helped a lot’ (never mind the fact that this lady was 100% functional despite ‘debilitating pain’.
At the end of the clinic visit, when I offered a physical therapy referral and stronger NSAIDs (the actual treatment for osteoarthritis), she suddenly sat straight up, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘Doctor, I don’t know how…but I’m totally paralyzed.’
Seriously. She pretended that, all of a sudden, everything other than her mouth was totally paralyzed. She made us send her to the ER (but not before she had my nurse unwrap a peppermint and literally put it on her tongue because ‘her blood sugar felt low’). We had to lift this nutcase into a wheelchair (during which we could all feel her shifting and repositioning…not something a paralyzed person would do) and roll her to the ER to be evaluated for ‘sudden paralysis’.
While in the ER, she suggested to the ER doc that maybe Lortab would fix her paralysis, and when the ER doc rightly refused this treatment, she got out of the stretcher and walked out.”
5.Girl Begins Fake Convulsions Out Of Grief
“Not even a patient but a family member. The family was grieving in the room due to the patient just being made comfort care and not expected to survive the day. A niece of the patient, who was easily in her 30’s, started screaming like she was being murdered and fell to the floor near our nursing pod. She started ‘convulsing’ but her family completely ignored her. Some even side stepped her or literally stepped over her while trying to leave the unit. The niece would randomly convulse while we were loading her onto a stretcher. The charge nurse picked this ladies arm up and let it fall. It some how just softly returned to her side. Finally she was loaded up and we were ready to transport her to the ER. The ladies aunt/mom/sister? looked at the doctor and asked if the hospital was going to pay for her tests. The doctor on the unit said no and ‘miraculously’ the niece shot up and acted like she couldn’t remember what happened. The rest of the family just left her there and told the desk not to let her back in to the unit once she was escorted out.”
6. Kidney Stones From The Parking Lot
“Husband is a Urologist. ER calls with a patient who is reportedly writhing in pain from kidney stones. Patient brought with him a stone he passed for analysis. Hubby walks in, sees one of the regular drug seekers, takes a look at the sample determines it’s a pebble guy picked up in the parking lot.”
7. Drunk Girl Prepares For Her Seizure
“Get called for an unconscious intox’s at a bar. Get her out to the ambulance, she shouts ‘I’M HAVING A SEIZURE’ and starts waving her arms around. I tell her ‘people who have seizures generally don’t announce it first.’ Her response? ‘You’re being very judgmental, I was getting ready in case I had a seizure.’
……gotta stretch, I guess.”
8. Good Guy Car Accident Victim Runs A Con
“I was an intern in a busy trauma ED when a guy walks up the ambulance bay and screams he needs to be seen immediately. They take him back and he starts telling everyone he was in a car accident last night going ‘100+ mph’ on the interstate but did not go to the hospital because he was worried about his friend, the driver. But now he’s losing feeling in his legs and has severe back pain and needs to be seen.
So of course the story is super fishy but we put him on a backboard/collar and get some xrays of chest and pelvis (our protocol for any severe trauma). The radiologist who is stationed in the ED flags me and asks when out patient got a CT scan. He showed me his pelvis x ray and his bladder is super bright: it’s filled with the iodine contrast agent they inject in your veins when you get a CT which is then excreted by the kidneys over the next few hours.
So we confront our patient about why he didn’t tell us about being seen at another hospital and getting a CT. He launches into a rambling explanation about concussions and amnesia. He has, of course, also exhibited several other drug seeking behaviors in his short time in the ED. He decides to leave AMA but not before asking the nurse directions to the nearest hospital, presumably to try the same trick.”
9. Home Nurse Gets Robbed
“My wife’s a district nurse, she drives to peoples homes changing dressings, giving medications etc etc. Her job has her dealing with many people such as gang members and people on home detention, but the worst in her opinion, the people you never trust even a little bit are the methadone patients, according to her a lot of them will try anything to get a little bit more.
She had one not long ago that was being extremely talkative, almost like he didn’t want her to leave the house. Then he started showing her every little lump and bump, wanting her to make sure they weren’t infections or anything. Although he wasn’t making her uncomfortable, she did think it was strange for him as he was normally very quiet and wanted the nurses gone asap.
When she got back to her car the back window had been smashed in but all that was missing was her sharps container and the lockbox the drugs were kept in. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on so she walks back to the house, looks in the front window and sees the methadone dude and another guy sitting on the couch trying to open her lockbox and emptying the sharps container on the floor.
She called the police at that point and despite knowing that some of the needles now on the floor were from an HIV+ patient she had earlier in the day she sat in the car until the PD arrived because you never ever get between a junkie and a fix.”
10. Man Fakes Migraine To Get Out Of Paying For His Meal
Gentleman called 911 from a restaurant claiming he had a migraine and was unable to see properly. He was literally 2 blocks from a hospital.
I’ve had migraines, I’m sympathetic. On the way to the call I was planning my treatment plan so he would be more comfortable during the wait in the emerg.
He was waiting outside, in full sunlight, waving at us. Thanked us politely for coming ‘to his rescue’. Sat in the well lit ambulance, chatting up a storm, making inappropriate jokes, and laughing. Stating the whole time he has 10/10 pain from a migraine, and that only Percocet works to reduce the pain. He has them frequently, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s run out of his prescribed medication, and his doctor is on vacation.
The chef from the restaurant he called from came out and asked for his information. Our patient was ‘unable to pay his bill, due to the pain.’ He conveniently had no ID he could leave with the restaurant, and only had his debit card with him. He promised to come back, once he was feeling well enough to tap his PIN into the machine, but right now he couldn’t. The chef knew 100% the guy was full of shit, but couldn’t do anything.
As someone who has had a vomiting, shaking, vision effecting, migraine in the past, he did nothing to convince he was in actual discomfort. I actually would greatly prefer if he had said, ‘I ate a meal I can’t afford, and I’m addicted to pain killers, can you please take me to the ER.’ Honesty would have gotten him better treatment from everyone involved.”
11. Screams For Pain Meds When Not Having A Seizure
“This JUST happened last week, strangely enough. I’ve been a nurse for 4 years now, and this is probably the worst I’ve seen it.
Young adult comes in with seizure-like activity. We’re a neuroscience floor, so we get these a lot. Complains of severe abdominal pain related to her seizures, apparently. They run multiple CTs and MRIs that come back clean. We put her on a 24 hour VEEG machine (video EEG for those who don’t know). She reportedly has 100s of seizures throughout the night, with full body convulsions, drooling, upper extremity contractions, and will not respond to verbal stimuli. Post ictal, she’s not lethargic, just confused. Doesn’t know her own name, the place that she’s in, or what time it is, but the rest of her neuro assessment is benign. No bladder incontinence during, had perfect control of all limbs.
She screams for pain meds when she’s not having seizures, but is for some reason refusing everything they offer her. Tylenol – nope. Percocet – makes her feel weird. Lidoderm patch for her abdomen – it gives her sores in her mouth. I guarantee if a doctor offered Opiates, she would have been all over that.
After 24 hours of being her, $1000s worth of tests being run all coming up negative, the doctors had no choice but to send her home. She become agitated and seizing again, while the doctor is basically explaining that she’s faking it. He says, ‘I’ll wait.’ She immediately stops.
Security had to escort he out, with me in tow, because I was too paranoid that she would throw herself on the floor before leaving and demand to be readmitted. They recommended an outpatient psych consult for her, which made her even angrier. Lord knows, maybe the seizures felt real to her, but she didn’t need a special kind of help.”
12. A Colossal Waste Of Everyone’s Time
“EMT here. The one that sticks out is the most textbook example of drug seeking behavior.
Get called out to a residence at 2 am (because of course, it’s always 2 am). Guy says he’s having 10/10 finger pain and gingerly holding his hand in the air. Says there was no trauma, just started suddenly and it’s unbearable.
So we load him up, take him the 25 minutes the the hospital. Entire time he’s holding his hand in the air. But we had a full conversation, talked about Football, never once did he complain about pain.
We wheel him into the ER and literally the second we walk through the door, this guy starts in pain. Says he can’t sit still the pain is unbearable, he has to stand up, screaming at the nurse to help. Then he turned to the nurse and said:
‘I had this same issue at a different hospital 2 weeks ago. They couldn’t tell what was wrong. They gave me morphine but that didn’t work so then they gave me dilaudid. That worked. So maybe you should just start with dilaudid tonight.’ And then he went back to moaning in pain.
Nurse and I just looked at each other, we put him in a bed and I drove the 35 minutes back to station. Highly doubt he was given any pain less that night, was just a colossal waste of everyone’s time.”
13. People Really Act Out
“I am an X-ray tech. All the time in the ED you will have patients that come in seeking things. These patients will have a bunch of X-rays ordered. So when you first start the exams they will be in all sorts of pain. They cannot position any body part. Fighting and begging you to not do it. Then after about 15 minutes, when they notice you’re going to do your job. They stop the charade and get through the stack of images ordered on them. It’s quite incredible really.
The other thing that blows my mind is when people want the worst possible outcome of their disease. Like you can feel the craving for sympathy emanating from them. With phrases ‘Ohhh that’s really bad isn’t it’ or ‘Oh man is that the worse you’ve seen?’ Not said with dread, but barely hidden excitement.”
14. Some Of The Most Obvious Fakes
“I have so many of these!!
–Male patient, 18 years old, rolled in unconscious. Mom says he’s been like that for the past four hours. Go to check his lungs when I hear something interesting. I place the stethoscope near his mouth and hear him breathe in normally, but then breathe out by saying ‘breath’. No joke.
–Male patient, 21 years old, admitted with inability to speak for last two hours and respiratory distress. Lungs clear, but we hook him up to oxygen for a few minutes. After he’s taken off, his father comes running and drags me over, saying his sons tongue refuses to go back in after receiving the oxygen. I look at the kid and he’s seriously just lying there with his tongue poking out like a child. I tell them to push it back in. A few hours later the dad tells me the boy is convulsing. I go to see without making my presence known and he’s lying there just fine. The moment I ask the mom how he’s doing, he starts ‘convulsing’. Think of an odd version of the worm, but on his back.
–Female patient, 16 years old, admitted with complaints of recurrent seizures and frothing from the mouth. I look at her and she is literally blowing spit bubbles. I check her reflexes, everything is intact. The moment I turn away to check on another patient, she suddenly becomes ‘rigid’ and the spitting intensifies.
–Male patient, 30 years old, unconscious and completely unresponsive for six hours. This guy was totally dedicated to his act. I initially approached it as a stroke, but when the blood pressure, ECG, reflexes, pupils, etc all are normal….I start checking pain sensation. He slowly began to open his eyes and groan as I asked him to tell me his name, but the moment his Achilles’ tendon was pressed, he suddenly sat up, stated his name, and declared himself cured.
–Female patient, 17 years old, complained of respiratory distress and convulsions. Everything’s normal on admission, and she’s conscious but refuses to eat. Parents are worried out of their minds, and every few minutes she has a ‘fit’ where she would just basically shake from side to side. She let slip to a nurse that she didn’t want to go to school that week, so she was faking an illness. Since she was refusing to eat, the attending wrote up an order for a nasogastric tube (which was inserted and then removed by her in a matter of minutes), and we prescribed her sugar pills because her parents wouldn’t let us transfer her to psychiatry or discharge her. She finally left after four days.”
15. Three Hilarious Paramedic Faker Stories
“Paramedic here – I have three stories that come to mind.
Story #1 – We get called to a local Waffle House for a seizure. We walk in to find a man lying on the floor, not moving, but breathing. We start talking to the waitress, asking what had happened. While talking to her, we occasionally look down at the patient, and find him with one eye barely cracked open, watching us; when he sees us looking at him, he closes his eye. This happens a few times. Then the cops show up and find out what’s going on. One of the officers asks the waitress, ‘Did he (patient) eat here?’
‘Yes, he did.’
‘How much is his bill?’
At this point, the officers roll the patient over and find his wallet; the guy has a $20 bill in it. One of the officers takes out the $20, gives it to the waitress, and tells her, ‘keep the change.’ You could see the anger in the patient’s face when he realizes he’s not getting out of paying his bill. He ended up faking a seizure on the way to the hospital (I’m not about to explain how I know it was fake, because I’m not going to give anyone ANY info on how to fake a seizure).
Story #2 – We get called to a fall in the women’s bathroom at Wal-Mart. We walk in, and the manager is FREAKING OUT. We go into the bathroom to find a white female face up on the floor – I’m guessing she weighs at least 350 lbs; there were two friends of hers standing in there with her. I ask her what happened; she says she slipped on a puddle and fell, hurting her back. I look all over the bathroom floor; there’s NO water on the floor. I ask the manager AND the patient’s friends – ‘Do you see water on the floor?’ They all said, ‘No.’ I then tell the patient, ‘There’s no water on the floor, ma’am.’ She says, ‘I’m lying on top of it.’ We’re going to have to roll her to her side in order to get a backboard under her and pick her up; I explain that to her. As we roll her to her side, I check her back for any obvious injuries; I then check her clothing AND the floor she was lying on – nothing was wet. I have the manager (who was grinning from ear to ear at this point) and the patient’s friends look – ‘Do you see water on the floor? Are her clothes wet?’ They all said, ‘No.’ We then roll the patient onto the board, pick her up, and place her on a stretcher.
At this point, I tell the patient, ‘I’m going to be writing up paperwork for this call and your treatment. Part of what is going to be written up is the fact that you said you slipped on a wet floor, and that no water was found either on the floor or soaked into your clothing. This is standard; I have to write up what I’m told in addition to what I see. What you need to understand is this – if you happen to decide to take Wal-Mart to court, they can request a copy of my run report, and it’s going to show what you said and what I found. They can also summon me to testify, and if they do, I’m going to tell them what you told me and what I saw, the manager saw, and what your friends saw. That being said, do you want to keep dragging this out and go to the hospital, or do you want to just get up from my stretcher and be done with it?’
She chose to get up and leave.
Story #3 – We get called to a 13 year old having a first-time seizure. We get on scene, and the entire family is freaking out, except for the father. I walk into the room where the kid was – OBVIOUS FAKER. I turn to dad and have him go outside into the hallway, I tell him the boy is faking, and I ask if anything unusual happened today. The father tells me he found marijuana in the kid’s room, and he was getting on to him about it when the kid started ‘seizing.’ I reassured the father that his son was NOT seizing, and he asked if we could take him to the hospital ‘just to be safe.’ I said no problem. We pick the kid up and put him on the stretcher, and as we head outside to the ambulance, he exhibits more behavior that shows he’s faking.
Inside the ambulance, I tell the kid that I know he’s faking and ask him to stop, but he keeps on. The hospital we take him to doesn’t have board-certified Emergency Department physicians; they use General Practice and Internal Medicine physicians (a LOT of smaller hospitals do this). I bring the kid in and give a patient report to the internal medicine doc and the RN, and I say the kid is ‘faking his seizure activity.’ The doctor had a problem with that – ‘You can’t possibly tell that he’s faking.’ I assure him that, yes, the kid is faking. I explain the situation that led up to him faking, and that I could prove it. The doctor says, ‘I’d like to see that.’
The RN knows EXACTLY what’s going on and what I wanted to do; he’s all for it! So I say to the kid, ‘Bob (I don’t remember his name), we need a urine sample from you, and we need you to wake up to do it. If you don’t wake up, we’re going to shove a tube into your penis, run it all the way into your bladder, and take a urine sample from you. Please, just wake up and give us a sample.’
Nothing from the kid.
‘Okay, Bob, if you don’t wake up in 10 seconds, we’re going to start prepping you to get the tube shoved into your penis. Ten, nine, eight, FIVEFOURTHREETWOONE!’
His eyes opened wide as saucers before he realized we caught him. He then closed his eyes, started blinking, looked around the room, and said, ‘What happened?’ The RN was laughing, and the doc was a little pissed.”
16. School Nurse Doesn’t Stand For Nonsense
“My mother was the school nurse when I was in high school, but she’s been a nurse my whole life. She’s told me a few good stories (obviously without names). But I was lucky enough to overhear one of the students trying to fake an illness to get out of class. The kid, we’ll call him Derrick, was a skud. White trash, moody, and destructive. Not my favorite classmate. But I was laying there when I heard him come in and start his routine of attention seeking. (mom used to let me skip seminary and nap on the empty beds).So my mom runs through all the basics, temp, blood pressure, etc. Well Derrick finally just cuts to the chase, obviously frustrated with the procedure, ‘Look Mrs. S, something is seriously wrong here and I’m not faking it this time!’ He screeched, defenses already 10 feet high.
‘OK Derrick, what’s the problem this time?’ She asked.
‘Well, earlier this morning, I started feeling sick, so I went to the bathroom to throw up. After I was done I looked at the toilet…(dramatic pause) and there where over a dozen whole baby carrots…(another pause, this one I think was for any gasps that might be coming) AND I DON’T EVEN EAT CARROTS!’ He nearly shouted.
Well, after about a 10 second pause and what I’m guessing was the hardest straight face my mother ever had to keep. She said, still fighting back laughter, ‘Well, Derrick your body is producing carrots at an alarming rate. Weird that it only seems to happen during gym, though. Here is a Gatorade and a hall pass to get back to class, see you tomorrow, Derrick.’
He left, stunned to be written off so easily and we had a good ol’ laugh.
‘And I don’t even eat carrots!’ has become a family favorite catchphrase.”
17. Limps On The Wrong Leg
“Student nurse, but this happened when I was at the gym.
Guy next to me fell off the elliptical, somehow got his foot trapped between the foot pedals and went sideways. The surprisingly inept PTs (Personal trainers are usually well trained in first aid) were freaking out and this guy is really hamming it up. Talks of calling an ambulance are thrown about. I offer to step in.
‘AHHHHHH MY ANKLE’ He’s on the floor grabbing his leg. I kneel next to him.
‘Hey bro,’ I greet him. He’s so surprised that I’m there (came up from behind) that he forgets to groan. ‘How much does it hurt on a scale of 1-10?’
‘Erm… 8,’ he says. I look at his ankle. There’s a scratch on it the size of a penny and superficial, hardly any blood. Little red around the scratch, ankle not swollen. I ask him if he can point and flex his foot and rotate his ankle, which he can do with zero difficulty, not even a grimace. I figure he’s probably hamming it up cuz it’s embarrassing falling off a machine in front of everyone, so I get him an ice pack (mostly for show tbh), tell him he’ll be fine, and tell the PTs not to call an ambulance. His sister comes to pick him up in her car and he limps out on the wrong leg.”
18. The Other End Of The Spectrum
“Had an elderly man who was in his early 70s (long term smoker) who came in with shortness of breath, trouble breathing, and a little bit of a cough and occasional production of blood tinged sputum. <— that last one is a bad sign
He also complained of a little bit of back pain he’d been having that started about a month ago after he was helping his son move. When asked to rate his pain he said 2/10 (‘not too bad’).
He has no other history, always had good blood pressure, no cholesterol issues, no diabetes… has a little bit of anxiety/depression, unmedicated.
So we check him out. Reduced breath sounds all across, more so on the left lower side. Tenderness to palpation in the lower back, he jumped when we touched it, said it was about a 3/10 when we touched it.
Check vitals, his blood pressure is 180/85 (this happens with severe pain), he has no fever, and his heart rate is in the 120s (also happens with pain).
Get scans and labs. He has three broken vertebrae, probably pathological (caused by cancer) a pleural effusion (it was malignant, as in, caused by cancer), and a few masses in his left lung. Guy had stage 4 lung cancer that spread to his back, caused his back to break, and he said he had 2-3/10 back pain.
Either he was set on fire in his childhood and then beaten with 2x4s filled with nails then rolled in broken glass… or he was faking not having pain. This is someone who we would describe as a ‘minimizer’.
Not the typical story you expected, I guess.
He got his surgery, and the next day wanted to leave the hospital cuz he had to do some paperwork and pay his bills, didn’t take any of the pain meds offered to him, except at night to help him sleep.
I hope he’s still alive, was a really nice guy.”
19. Domestic Drama At A Crash Scene
“Firefighter/first responder here, I once had a call for a ‘vehicle that struck a power pole’ at 2 am on a major street. We arrive on scene to find a telephone pole snapped in half and a car that had crossed 8 lanes of traffic to hit this pole straight on. We found the “patient” lying on the ground next to her car, laying on her back with arms crossed across her chest clutching her phone. Right next to her were her shoes laid perfectly next to each other by her feet. As I approached her I could see her squint one eye trying to see what I was doing. I know she was faking by all of this and called an officer over to ‘help hold C-spine’ I called her name with no response so next step was painful stimulus, grinding your knuckles into the sternum is an acceptable way to check, the second I said ‘I’m going to give her a sternum rub’ she was awake. Right when we finished packaging her for the ambulance I noticed a man talking to the police obviously drunk. That’s when I noticed she smelled of alcohol too, turns out the woman called 911 to report her own accident and the husband told the police they were drunk, got in a fight, and she decided to leave even when he told her not too, it was a fake suicide attempt to make him feel bad so he pressed charges for grand theft auto and totaling the car.”
20. Avoiding Football Practice
“Medical student here.
Like a month ago at the ER, a mother came with her 10yo son who claimed to have a monstruous knee pain and that he couldn’t move. So when we came to his room he was lying down (important for continuity)
X-ray was normal, knee was normal, not red, no swelling.
Each time we would touch his knee or try to move his leg or his thigh he would scream like we were torturing him, and his scream seemed genuine.
But with every test being normal and no explanation to this atypic pain we were confused and thinking he’s faking it.
So we asked him to try to move his leg on his own and he would barely move it and scream, then we asked him if he felt pain when standing up he said yes, we asked him to get up and surprise : he got up by bending his knee, fastly but we saw it, he was trying to simulate but he didn’t fully succeed.
I mean it was so obvious, he amlost made a 90 angle with his knee and as soon he touched the ground and got up he started to scream etc.
All of that was just the little boy simulating to avoid going to his football training.”
21. Threat Of Large Needle Cures Unconscious Patient
“When I was a junior medical student without much experience on the wards, a homeless patient came in who was ‘unconscious’. Except, she wasn’t. I mean, obviously wasn’t.
The doctor would hold up her limp arm, position her hand over her head and let go. If she was truly unconscious, her hand would hit her in the face. Somehow, every time he let go of her hand, it would swerve at the last minute and miss her face.
In an effort to rouse her, the doctor loudly asked me to go and get ‘the biggest needle you can find’. When I returned, he asked me if I’d ever taken blood before. I replied that I had not. He said that as Miss X was unconscious, this would be an excellent opportunity for me to have some one-on-one teaching on the subject. He also said that this would ordinarily be extremely painful for someone with such a large needle being used.
Unfortunately, she ‘woke up’ at that point, so I didn’t get to learn how to take blood.”