Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Don’t Take Medical Advice from Just Any Nurse

“In the morning, take a piece of Scotch tape and place it directly over the anus. Then peel it up and stick another piece of tape over that one. Take that to your pediatrician’s office when you take your son in.”

Those were the words of the after-hours nurse we called when our son could not sleep due to severe itching. I allayed my son’s fears by demonstrating on my own arm that yanking Scotch tape off doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as pulling off a Band-Aid. Then I dutifully did what the nurse directed and sealed the sample in a zippered sandwich bag.

I felt a bit like MacGuyver. Or maybe George Clooney’s character on “ER.” He was in Peds, after all, and was known to improvise with what he had on hand.

We told the doctor that we had collected and brought in a sample, per the nurse’s orders, and he said, “Yeah, that doesn’t really do anything. There are lots of things like that going around the Internet.”

After we left, bewildered at our boy’s second positive test for strep at the opposite end from where most people get it, I thought maybe the doctor hadn’t understood. We had gleaned that advice from the after-hours nurse we reached through his clinic’s main number. We didn’t subject our son to the first cockamamie medical advice we found on an online forum. In fact, we didn’t research it at all until after talking to the nurse, because she had been our source of terms to search.

Surely their paid professional nurses don’t dispense advice based on their own half-baked Web research. If so, then someone needs to know it and put a stop to it. Here I go, dialing the clinic’s number.

What’s the weirdest medical advice you’ve received from someone who ostensibly could be trusted to dispense it?

6 Responses to Don’t Take Medical Advice from Just Any Nurse

  1. The nurse was suggesting a common technique for collecting pinworm eggs. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pinworm/DS00687. Yes, I found it on the internet. At the Mayon Clinic. I would be more critical of the physican who did not immediately suspect pinworms as a cause of severe, uh, private place itching.

    Permalink
  2. Pops – He definitely mentioned pinworms as a possibility when we first got there. I suppose his dismissal of the homemade microscope slide could be a personal instead of professional opinion. As I’m sure Benjamin will attest, the doctor’s own sample collection was thorough enough for strep screening and any other possible causes. I liked that he did that himself instead of assigning it to someone else.

    Permalink
  3. (Pre-warning, this is a little bit gross) I once had a trusted doctor tell me that I could try tying a piece of thread around the base of a skin tag if I didn’t want to have it removed surgically. He said that it was done commonly in the old days. I didn’t think the thing merited surgery and I tried the thread mostly out of curiosity, never thinking it would work but was dumbfounded a couple of weeks later when it came off in the shower.
    Hope Ben feels much better by now.

    Permalink
  4. One Wink, I have a friend who did exactly that and had the same results!

    Permalink
  5. The worse I have ever had was when Wes was almost 2 and having night terrors. The doctor told us — yes the doctor told us turn the shower real cold and throw him there. She said something like (it has been awhile since he was two) he was being more stubborn than having problems and it will not only wake him up but teach him a lesson. Oh was this a bad thing to do – we placed him in the cold shower, feeling so guilty, and he got so much more upset. We quickly pulled him out – decided the doc was a quack and found someone much better.

    Permalink
  6. Rob – Wow. If that doctor had a manager to report to, you would have had to unload on them (verbally, of course). Come to think of it, there must be some authority where one can report suspected medical quackery.

    Permalink

Comments are closed.