People have always relied on herbal teas, essential oils, and other home remedies to make their headaches and colds go away quicker. But with the spread of the internet, many think they can attack even their bigger health problems. Why pay a doctor if you can just google your symptoms and watch a YouTube video for a diagnosis?

Well, because dumb practices can harm you more than they can help. To illustrate this point, let's take a look at a Reddit thread where medical professionals describe the worst attempts of self-treatment they've ever seen. We're talking about individuals who use "sonic emitters" for cancer and pour bleach into their genitals. Continue scrolling to check out their stories.

#1

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I had a patient come to the ER complaining of severe pain and swelling "all down there." On physical examination we noted a really remarkable amount of swelling, and both the internal and external tissues were extremely red and irritated. She was so swollen she couldn't even pee until we put a catheter in. The physician did a pelvic exam and found blisters on her cervix.

We asked when the symptoms started. She said, "Well it was itching tonight. I thought I had a yeast infection, so I poured a cup of bleach up in there to kill it. But then after a while it kind of started to hurt." Yeah, I bet it did.

**tl;dr** - Do not pour bleach into your vagina.

auraseer , Clay Banks Report

General practitioner, medical researcher, and founder of PrimeHealth Clinical Research, Iris Gorfinkel, M.D., told Bored Panda that there's a limit to what we can know about ourselves without any help from others.

"People are generally good at recognizing when they're cold. They put on a coat. When they're too hot, they take it off," Gorfinkel said. "They know when they need to urinate and when they need to defecate. For the most part, we're pretty good at understanding when we're thirsty."

But if we go beyond these things, our judgment starts to deteriorate quite fast. "People are not as good at recognizing when they're genuinely hungry, when they're tired, and when they're stressed," the doctor said.

This brings us to what's actually hard for people to recognize and treat. "Discomfort, pain, putting off pleasure, deciphering complex emotions (especially the negative ones). These are extremely hard for people to do and to do well."

#2

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition 911 dispatch here. Heard the story second hand, but kid had a crazy high fever and wouldn't stop crying. paramedics get on scene... and mom is squeezing a lemon while rubbing it all over the baby's forehead because it's "supposed to keep the fever down". Mom was completely at a loss as to why the baby wouldn't stop crying either. it couldn't possibly be the lemon juice you've essentially been squeezing into it's eyes for the last 20 minutes. no siree.

jhoudiey , Mikhail Nilov Report

#3

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I worked at an OB/GYN clinic for 7 years. One day a girl called and said she had a broken shot glass up her vagina. Upon asking how it got there, she said she was using it as birth control. Thankfully it worked because no one that stupid should have children.

bjewer , Crissy Jarvis Report

Despite the chances of unnecessary anxiety and finding incorrect, or even potentially harmful information, Americans frequently use the internet to find medical diagnoses.

According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of adult internet users in the United States said they looked online for health information in the previous year.

53% of online diagnosers talked with a medical professional about what they found online, and 46% did not.

#4

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition As an Emt- Basic student I responded to a man who called 911 complaining of a insect crawling up his ear. Upon arrival we ask what ear the bug crawled into, he says his right ear, but keeps complaining about burning coming from his left ear. We noticed his wife standing next to him holding a bottle of insect spray, upon further questioning we come to find out she sprayed insecticide into his left ear thinking it would "flush" the insect out of his right ear. I had to explain to her that our ear canals are separated by our brain.

anon , Ben Paulos Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Evidently some people’s ears aren’t separated by the presence of a brain.

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#5

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Paramedic here. Got called to a house about 11:30 one night for a "girl with finger nail polish in her eyes". Got there and the scene is a s**t show, people screaming and throwing things around. We immediately notice the mother holding down a younger girl and about to pour something in her eyes.

Nail. Polish. Remover.

idot08bojangles , pure julia Report

Jami M. Cox
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Shouldn't people who choose to reproduce attempt to learn how not to harm their young? Like, crack a book, ask Google, take a first aid class?

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"Many of these things [we Google], we're born knowing how to do," Gorfinkel said. "But life strips away permission to be at peace with yourself."

According to her, in order to combat this, we have to start with the education system. "People are exceptionally bad at living with emotions that we're told are negative. Guilt, anger, a sense of being humiliated and embarrassed. We (especially women) are repeatedly told these are bad emotions to have when in fact, they're critical to true well-being." Having a firm inner base, everything else, including our relationships with illnesses and doctors, is much easier to handle.

"If I'm not able to label those emotions [and] understand their origins, then I am unable to act on them. That's a serious problem. [And] where does it lead? Into a helpless space. The backbone of anxiety. Helplessness is the very bedfellow of depression. To get out of that space, the basic labeling of difficult emotions and how to manage them should, in fact, be taught in schools."

"I hope the mathematicians out there forgive me. But all that trigonometry, cosine, and tangent... I mean, yes, they have their place but what's universally important in our lives are relationships," the doctor continued.

"We should [know more] about relationships, people, the stages of love, and what it represents. These things really need to be taught [in schools]."

#6

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I'm a triage RN. Had a patient call concerning back pain. I was going about my normal assessment and asked if he had taken anything for the pain, to which he replies "Cobra Venom".

Turns out, he had read about Cobroxin, a topical treatment for pain made from cobra venom, and decided it would be more effective to simply let a cobra bite him. I have no idea how he got hold of a cobra.

nursejacqueline , Anil Sharma Report

#7

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Late to the party... Guy comes into the clinic with a boil the size of golf ball on his face. He begins to explain that he had a painful zit, and tried to lance it with a needle and when that failed, he stepped it up to a "micro drill" which he sanitized by wiping on his jeans. The nurse stopped him mid story and asked "So you took a drill to your own FACE, and want to know why it's sore and swollen?"

I was the patient.

3AYATS , Marcus Urbenz Report

#8

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Had a frequent flyer patient who had psoriasis so bad that he literally had huge scales all over his legs. One day he gets admitted and the scales are gone. He tells me he took a brillo pad (steel wool) and scraped them all off. Surprisingly it works with no adverse effects and he's still scale free a year later.

illogicalreality , David Hilowitz Report

Oftentimes, it's not only the internet that we trust too much. "Multivitamins together with minerals are taken by huge numbers of people. It is a tremendously big business that promises a lot of things, including mood boosts, healthy bones and teeth, proper muscle function, and this and that, but let's take a look at the truth. Do they do anything?"

The doctor said that these products don't live up to their promises. "The US National Institute of Health has poured two and a half billion dollars into studying them, only to learn that they do not make people live longer, they do not slow cognitive decline, they do not reduce the chance of heart disease, cancer or diabetes ... Now omega three fatty acids, that's still up for questioning. A gram a day may be helpful for lowering blood pressure."

Gorfinkel also doesn't think that probiotics belong to primetime. "The gut is literally made up of trillions of bacteria, funguses, and viruses that live there," and taking some of them in a form of a pill won't magically fix their entire environment.

"There is no existing test that tells us exactly what a healthy gut microbiome is. Nor is there a test that reliably determines which microbes are missing ... and to make matters worse, the studies done on probiotics have repeatedly shown that what's advertised on the label does not even accurately predict what is in the capsule."

But with that being said, Gorfinkel is still waiting for upcoming research on the subject, which is being done as we speak.

#9

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition We are a needle exchange/harm reduction station at at the clinic I work at. We have IV drug users come in pretty frequently to get their abscesses cleaned out and dressed properly. So one patient comes in wanting to get her abscess cleaned out like many other patients before her. We take her back to a procedure room and get everything ready to start. She has an ace bandage covering up this spot on her arm so of course we are thinking it's fine because that's better than just letting it be open to the air. She proceeds take off said bandage and exposes not only HUGE abscess but a FOUR INCH LENGTH OF VEIN sticking out of her arm that is rotting away and drying up. We are like, "uh what's going on here?" and she says she took it out of her abscess and left it out because it made injecting heroin easier. So basically she ran her own IV with a vein she cut out of her abscess. We then called the ambulance.

tl;dr- Woman came in with abscess, turned out she cut her whole vein out to make an IV for easier heroin injection.

enGAND , Pavel Danilyuk Report

#10

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I worked overnights in a midwestern ER and I have seen 2 men try to treat their erectile dysfunction on their own.

One man used caulk in his urethra and then it dried and cracked like pencil lead and only the 1/4 inch at the tip came out, he had another 3 inches or so all broken into pieces that required surgery to get out.

The other man used a clipped off piece of coat-hanger to try to keep himself erect during sex and that also had to be surgically removed.

Dudes is weird. Ask for Viagra.

ladyrainicorns , ephidryn Report

Monday
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't even have a penis and I felt these stories....

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#11

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Animal Attendant for a vet clinic here.

A client came in and had rubber banded their 2 dogs ball sacks as a way of neutering them. VERY VERY VERY BAD. They got the idea from how sheep and goats can be neutered, but there is a HUGE difference between the junk of a sheep and a chihuahua. Both of the dogs had a severe infection and the tissue was completely dead. The treatment for this cost wayyyy more than the neuters would've been.

DO NOT DO THIS EVER EVER.

Dumbled , Andres Siimon Report

#12

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition An 8 year old tripped on the cord of a deep fryer, spilling hot grease on his shoulder and arm. His grandma slathered him in butter to "cool him off" and "draw the heat out". When my medic partner and I entered the house and started assessing the boy, I was saddened and hungry at the same time. The poor kid smelled absolutely delicious. No cannibal.

chrisdrd , Sorin Gheorghita Report

#13

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Med student. A guy came in to the emergency department with two combs and a toothbrush in his butt. He had stuck the toothbrush up there for pleasure, but lost it. He tried to fish it out with a comb, but lost that, and tried again with a second comb, and lost that as well.

The kicker: he was there because he had gotten in a car crash. He wasn't there to get the stuff out of his butt. He volunteered the information after we asked if there was anything else we needed to know.

cowperspie , Apothecary 87 Report

Inga Paškevičiūtė
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Doctors: Is there anything else we need to know? Guy: Yeah. So I have two combs and a toothbrush stuck in my butt...You know...I fell on it. After the car crash.

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#14

Paramedic here:

Responded to a nursing home for diabetic patient, unresponsive.

The nurse didn't keep up with the insulin and gave a tad bit too much, decreasing the pt's blood sugar. Ok, this is fixable. I walk in to see another nurse pouring Splenda down this lady's mouth.

She has snoring restorations and the Splenda is just being inhaled into her lungs. It also isn't doing s**t for this poor lady because it isn't f*****g sugar.

After give this lady some D50 (IV sugar water) she came to, but felt like she couldn't get enough air.

She ended up being treated for a few days for pneumonia.

I swear, some people get their medical licenses from the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.

Love you.


EDIT: I had a few Redditors ask me if the nurse was a Registered Nurse (RN) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). This lady was an LPN. License to Practice Nursing I think. I don't know. That's my correction. And I still love you all.

CMFW Report

Buren
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Incompetent medical personnel are effing terrifying

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#15

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I saw this patient last year. He had a long history of abdominal pain that was quite non-specific, and his previous workups were negative. He was convinced that he had intestinal parasites that caused the pain (which as an aside, he believed that he got them after an "encounter" with a woman he met on the internet).

So despite having seen several physicians and gastroenterologists, and numerous investigations including gastroscopy and colonoscopy, no diagnostic source for the pain was found. But he was undeterred from believing it was intestinal parasites.

So he develops a plan in which he orders surgical instruments and local anesthetic online. Watches YouTube to figure out how to perform a laparotomy (to get into his abdomen). And so after his preparations, he performs a self-surgery using a video camera to watch himself, and manages to get into his abdominal cavity. He had trouble completing his self-surgery and called an ambulance.

CardiacSnuffBox , Piron Guillaume Report

TotallyNOTaFox
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would check him for psychological illnesses, I don't know the name but there is one that makes people feel insects crawling under their skin

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#16

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I had a patient treating her lung cancer with a "sonic emitter". Her argument was that sound waves can shatter glass, so lung cancer wouldn't stand a chance.

MidwayIceland , Online Marketing Report

Monday
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wonder how she figured the sound waves would only "shatter" the cancer and not also her lungs?

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#17

Here is one that my friend who was a EMT told me.

He and his partner got called out for a impailment injury to a child's eye while running with a pencil. The mother removed the pencil before they arrived. The mother was riding in the back. That's when the paramedic said to the mother. "Next time something gets impailed, don't remove it. It's dangerous!" Without skipping a beat the mom goes "oops, I didn't know that." Then she proceeds to quickly and calmly shove the pencil back in. Apparently it was an eventful evening. Edit: corrected the ducking autocorrect on my icrap.

regal1989 Report

alwaysMispelled
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That cannot be true. No way. I refuse to believe this is true. Nope nope nope.

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#18

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition GP here.
The most outrageous thing I've heard was from a boy who was something like 20-22 years old. Very poor, illiterate family. The boy had a bad case of tonsilitis and refused to take any meds because all he needed to do was "bite the sun". Basically at noon he had to look up to the sun, open his mouth as wide as possible and "bite" the sun several times so it would "burn" his tonsils and cure him over the course of a couple weeks. When that wouldn't work, plan B was to do the same at night but only under a full moon.

**TL;DR:** Bite the sun and cure you tonsilitis.

Valproic_acid , Amy Chandra Report

Monday
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

and he totally believes it works because his immune system cleared up the tonsillitis over the course of a couple of weeks I bet. This is why basic education needs to be free and the resources to get to said basic education should be available.

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#19

Had an old farmer come in to the ED one day with a severely infected wound on his head. Turned out he had a growth developing on his head for the past few weeks (which turned out to be a tumour). He had been treating it with RoundUp (a potent weed killer) because "that s**t kills everything"...

Dangerous-Dugong Report

#20

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Probably will be buried at the bottom but here it is. I responded to a 9-1-1 call for a man bleeding. Supposedly the guy had a angiogram (catheter stuck in the artery near your groin to look at the blood vessels near your heart for blockages) earlier that day and was released with the explicit instructions to not mess with the bulky dressing. The old coot decides to "adjust" it, causing it to open, pouring blood out his artery. What does the guy do? He puts duct tape all around his groin. Not just a few pieces, no, all attached to his junk and up and down the leg. It was a noble attempt but did not do much to control the arterial pulsations.

ParaChizzy , Lucas Dudek Report

#21

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition My patient was instilling honey in his eyes to "treat his cataracts and glaucoma" ... wat. Yes he came in for conjunctivitis cause bacteria were having a party on his corneas.

OMGCSME , Benyamin Bohlouli Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He’s lucky it was just conjunctivitis. I never realised people were so weirdly cavalier with their eyeballs.

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#22

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition The parents of one kid canceled the surgery to repair his ACL because people had prayed for him at their church the Sunday beforehand and he had apparently been miraculously cured.

They called and scheduled surgery later in the week.

asymptomatic , Joseph Pearson Report

Tamra
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm not religious, but it's odd that these people apparently can't make the assumption that an all powerful god capable of healing would also be smart enough to give humans the ability to practice legitimate medical science to, you know, actually heal someone.

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#23

I know a doctor. She told me a story (EDIT: that she heard from another doctor) about how this guy came into the ER, an absolute nervous wreck. He was brushing his teeth for the first time a couple years (he was homeless and couldn't afford toothbrushes or toothpaste) when he found a maggot in his mouth. This happened frequently over a course of 3 days, and he self-diagnosed himself with oral myiasis.

Now this guy was bats**t afraid of bugs, so he tried to get 'em out via the quickest way possible - ipecac.

He didn't really think that one through, and ended up vomiting shiploads of maggots before he called 911.

The doc sympathized with him - I'd freak out too, if I barfed up fifty maggots. S**t's scary.

The255thAlternate Report

#24

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I used to work in a lab in a hospital in a rural town. I got a stool sample from the ER that was basically a blood clot the size of a golf ball. Sometimes the ER gets mixed up and sends me the wrong specimen, like some kind of body fluid and labeled it as urine, for example. I called the patient's nurse and asked what the deal was with the patient and if it was really stool they sent up. The nurse I talked to said the patient thought he'd eaten bad pork and to prevent food poisoning, drank a concoction of bleach, rubbing alcohol, vodka, ibuprofen and some Tums.

SaintAndi , Kelly Sikkema Report

TotallyNOTaFox
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You can't get food poisoning of you're dead, right?

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#25

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Patient comes in to the ED with an abscess. Tells us he knew he had an infection and so ate a pound and a half of raw steak to get the antibiotics that were given to the cow.

ifergbot , Eiliv Aceron Report

Leoninus Fate
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

didn't help the cow much, I mean it was dead right? please tell me it was dead.

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#26

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Had a Marine stick a Q-tip up his d**k dipped in hand sanitizer cause he thought he got the clap in Thailand. That's not what Navy medical does guy.

PiratePenguin , Greg Rosenke Report

Leoninus Fate
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm just burning at the thought of hand sanitizer inside there >_<

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#27

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I'm a nursing student and one of my patients had an earache so he decided to hold his daughter's bobby pin to a candle for roughly 5 minutes and then shoved it in the ear that hurt. He is now deaf in that ear and was on fall precautions since he couldn't walk straight. As a bonus, I was able to listen to every episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that was on that day wherever I was on the floor because the TV was on the loudest volume possible.

little_runaway , wikimedia.commons Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What…what did he think that would do? A bobby pin alone would’ve been a bad idea, but a red-hot one?

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#28

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition Dentist reporting in:

I had a guy who had tried to pry his own tooth out with a screwdriver. It did not go well.

mdp300 , Steve Johnson Report

CalicoKitty
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A screwdriver? Guy didn't have a pair of pliers? (For legal and medical reasons do not plier out your teeth either. Thank)

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#29

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I am an EMT who works in the ER. We once had a patient who spilled hot grease all over his arms after a small fryer accident. This happened to take place at the patient's In-laws who happened to be Chinese. Apparently there is an old wives tale in china that says to treat burns with a layer of toothpaste and rock salt. Not wanting to offend his In-laws he goes along with this do it yourself treatment. I think I spent about three hours that evening picking rock salt out of 2nd degree burns and then cleaning out all of the, now dried, toothpaste.

jojo5504 , Ron Lach Report

Leoninus Fate
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

it's not just Chinese, but there is an "old wives tale" that you can treat first-degree burns with a layer of toothpaste since toothpaste will keep the heat inside and help, but it will do nothing for 2nd degree, and rock salt is because its usually used with toothpaste or used instead of toothpaste, and he must have thought all of it together was the Real deal

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#30

Medical Professionals Share The Dumbest Ways They've Seen People Self-Treat A Medical Condition I have a buddy that is a medic in the United States Navy. One time when he was on leave and in town, us and all of our mutual friends were hanging out, shooting the s**t before a night of typical drunken shenanigans was surely to begin. He then proceeds to tell me multiple stories to which I could not believe. I have forgotten pretty much all of then, except for one...

He proceeded to tell me how a young (late teens early 20's) woman came in complaining of severe stomach pain. He was expecting to diagnose her with menstrual cramps or something else rudimentary and gave her basic pain meds etc. She came back less than a week later, complaining that the pain had only increased. He decided to send her for an X-ray to get it checked out and he could not believe what the results showed.

It **appeared** like roots of some sort were twisting and turning inside her abdomen, and proceeding to wrap around her spine.

Apparently, as a form of do-it-yourself birth control, this young lady had followed her mothers instructions and cut the end off a potato and stuck it all the way up in her vagina. Well, in a damp, moist environment, it began to thrive, as well as partially rot. I cannot even imagine what her gyno must have said, but this story had me in a cold-sweat, near dry-heaving. Easily tops one of the most disturbing stories I've ever heard.

Edit: Emphasis on **appeared**. He did not say it WAS wrapped around her spine, just that's what it LOOKED like it was about to do.

KrazyKanadian96 , Polina Tankilevitch Report

Amanda Rose
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He was expecting to diagnose her with menstrual cramps or something else rudimentary and gave her basic pain meds etc. - Well, there's the first part of the problem. Any wonder why women get fed up with the state of healthcare towards us?

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