Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

  • receive the eCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz. is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

You are reading 1 of 2 free-access articles allowed for 30 days

When the truth hurts: Lies, damn lies, and patient consultations

By Mindo - 16th Jul 2021 | 114 views

vector illustration of doctor checking businessman mouth

Along with lawyers, the police, and judges, doctors must be one of the most lied-to professions. As you know, some patients may happily tell you whatever it is they think you want to hear, perhaps to avoid some kind of embarrassment related to their personal habits or a treatment they would rather not have. A number of these ‘little white lies’ were shared on a Reddit thread that attracted in excess of 40,000 comments and was titled ‘Doctors of Reddit: What is the weirdest thing a patient wouldn’t admit?’

One self-identified doctor wrote: “I admitted a guy for chest pain. As part of the work-up, I did a urine drug screen, which came back positive for cocaine.

“After the rest of his cardiac work-up was negative, I said to him, ‘good news, you didn’t have a heart attack. It’s likely that your chest pain was caused by cocaine.’

“His answer: ‘I didn’t use cocaine. See, I was at a party and people had some lines of cocaine out on a table. As I was walking by, an oscillating fan blew the cocaine into my face, which is why my urine was positive’.”

And there’s this one from a doctor recalling an incident in his training years: “They reviewed a guy who presented in septic shock, with a poor response to initial antibiotics, and no immediate growth on blood cultures. Turned out he had developed a diabetic foot ulcer, which he’d been having his pet dog lick nightly because he believed dog saliva had curative properties. Eventually, it was figured out he had a rip-roaring C.canimorsus infection when the cultures turned positive about three or four days into the admission.”

Another doctor-contributor wrote about a time when a patient with severe obesity “just refused to admit they ate anything but one small salad a day”. According to the writer, “It just comes down to math.” And finally, from an emergency medicine specialist: “Had a 20-ish guy in the ED come in with excruciating chest pain and looked very uncomfortable. Denied any kind of trauma. Turned out he had a fractured sternum. When I told him we figured out why he was having pain he said, ‘Oh yeah! I forgot I overdosed yesterday and my friend gave me CPR’.” Feel free to drop me a line at if you would like to share any similar experiences, all fully anonymised, of course.

Leave a Reply

Latest Issue
The Medical Independent 9th May 2022

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read