The 51 Funniest Things That Ever Happened at The Doctor’s Office

Hilarious true stories, jokes, transcripts, and more from real doctors, nurses, and fellow patients around the country. Warning: side effects include laughing your butt off.

may 2015 travis stork clown shoesRobert Trachtenberg for Reader's DIgest

“Here,” says the nurse, handing the patient a urine specimen container. “The bathroom’s over there.” A few minutes later, the patient comes out of the bathroom.

“Thanks,” he says, returning the empty container. “But there was a toilet in there, so I didn’t need this after all.”   —Travis Stork, MD, Nashville, Tennessee 

Overheard in the Doctor’s Office

As I leaned in to check her eyes, my older patient got a little frisky. “You remind me of my third husband,” she said coyly.

“Third husband?” I asked. “How many have you had?”

“Two.” —Leon Pendracky, OD, Avella, Pennsylvania

My patient announced she had good news … and bad. “The medicine for my earache worked,” she said. “What’s the bad news?” I asked.

“It tasted awful.”

Since she was feeling better, I didn’t have the heart to tell her they’re called eardrops for a reason. —Murray Grossan, MD, founder of the Grossan Institute, Los Angeles

Patient: Doctor, I slipped in the grocery store and really hurt myself.

Me: Where did you get hurt?

Patient: Aisle six. —John Munshower, DO, Media, Pennsylvania

I gave my patient the results of her sleep study: “It looks like you stopped breathing in your sleep over 65 times per hour.”

Her response: “Did I start back?” —Michael Breus, PhD, Scottsdale, Arizona

During surgery, my fellow resident bumped heads with the surgeon.

“Ah, Dr. Jones, a meeting of the minds,” he said, laughing it off.

The surgeon mumbled, “Yes. And I felt so alone.” —Sid Schwab, MD, Everett, Washington

Scene: The operating room. I’m reviewing the surgical checklist with the nurses.

Me: We have the surgical equipment, the heart-lung machine, antibiotics, and the replacement heart valve on hand.

Patient: You wait until now to figure this stuff out?   Marc Gillinov, MD, The Cleveland Clinic

I prescribed an inhaler for a patient’s cat allergy. He came back a week later saying he was none the better. Turns out, he was spraying the inhaler on the cat. —Source:

barr-quotePeter Arkle for Reader's Digest

4 Medical Excuses For Missing Work (People Actually Thought Might Fly)

“My child stuck a mint up my nose, and I had to go to the emergency room to have it removed.”

“I got sick from reading too much.”

Employee got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn’t get out.

“My dog wasn’t feeling well, so I tasted his food, and then I got sick.”


Take Two Jokes And Call Me in the Morning!

• A doctor tells his wife, “You’re a terrible cook, you spend too much money, and you’re a lousy lover!”

Two weeks later, he comes home to find her making out with his partner.

“What’s going on here?!” he demands.

“Just getting a second opinion,” she replies.

—Submitted by Deborah Axelrod, MD, New York University Perlmutter Cancer Center

“Did you hear what happened to Mel?” one friend said to another. “He was seeing his doctor for six months because of chest pains and shortness of breath. Last week, he dropped dead from cancer.”

“That’s terrible,” says the other friend. “Well, I told him a hundred times to go see my doctor.”

“Is he any good?”

“Good? He’s the best! If he treats you for heart problems … you’ll die of heart problems.”   Submitted by Steven Lamm, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center

Mr. Harper sued a hospital, saying that after his wife had surgery there, she lost all interest in sex.

A hospital spokesperson replied, “Mrs. Harper was admitted for cataract surgery. All we did was correct her eyesight.”   Submitted by Amar Safdar, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center

martin-quotePeter Arkle for Reader's Digest

Medical Transcription Errors
To paraphrase Mark Twain: Be careful of medical transcripts; you may die of a misprint.

Social history reveals this one-year-old patient does not smoke or drink and is presently unemployed.

On the second day, the knee was better, and on the third day, it disappeared.

Discharge status: alive but without permission.

Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.

She is numb from her toes down.

ripley-quotePeter Arkle for Reader's Digest

Overheard at the Nurses’ Station

A gentleman calls our office with questions about an upcoming test he is scheduled for, and we talk at length about the procedure.

Patient: I’m sorry to have so many questions.

Me: Oh, that’s no problem. You can always call and ask for clarification when you need it.

Patient: Thank you very much, Clara Fication! You’ve been very helpful.   Source:

After discussing a patient, the doctor ended his conversation by telling me, “I love you.” Following an awkward pause, he said, “I’m sorry, you were telling me what to do, so it made me think I was speaking with my wife.”   Source: Scrubs magazine

I was working in a long-term-care facility, and there was a celebration for one of the residents. It was her 100th birthday. She was quite somnolent as the party began, so I asked her, “Do you know how old you are today?”

“No, how old am I?”

“You’re 100 years old.”

“Well, no wonder I’m so tired.”   Source:

Scene: I answer a patient’s phone call …

Me: Dermatology, how may I help you?

Patient: Hi, I just had an autopsy. I’d like to know my results.   Source:

Call it … carma! A car belonging to a pregnant patient was broken into. The only thing that was stolen was a wine bottle in a brown paper bag. It turns out, that’s where she was keeping her urine sample, which she’d brought in to be tested.    Janet Grow, Overland Park, Kansas

I asked a young mother in our neonatal unit why she thought we had so many expectant mothers from her small town. She said, “Well, we don’t have cable.”   Source: Scrubs magazine

The doctor explained to his patient that she suffered from cervicitis, or inflammation of the cervix. Concerned, she demanded that he test her husband for it too.

The doctor assured her, “I’m positive your husband does not have cervicitis.”

She shot back, “How do you know? You haven’t examined him yet.”   Roianne Lope, Pine Hill, New Jersey

rudner-quotePeter Arkle for Reader's Digest

Trials and Fibrillations

• Lawyer: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

Doctor: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.Lawyer: And Mr. Eddington was dead at the time?

• Lawyer: Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?

Doctor: No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.

• Lawyer: Now, Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?   Source:

From The Other Side of The Stethoscope: True Patient Stories

I was coming to just as my doctor was finishing my colonoscopy. Feeling some pressure “back there,” I reached down and patted the doctor on the head.

“It’s OK, Yehudi,” I said. “Just go back to sleep.”

Yehudi is the name of my dog.   Sherry Moore, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

When I went to the ER to have a painful ingrown toenail removed, I was a complete basket case—sobbing, gagging, petrified … the works. But my doctor knew how to calm me down.

“Don’t worry about a thing,” he assured me. “I just looked up how to perform this operation on YouTube.”    Chelsea Bender, Hamburg, Pennsylvania

The day after I had surgery on my leg, a nurse came into my hospital room with a box in her hand. “Are you ready for this?”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Fleet enema. Didn’t your doctor tell you about it?”


She rechecked the orders. “Whoa!” she bellowed. “That didn’t say Fleet enema. It said feet elevated!”   Julia Fussell, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Patient: I’m worried about this birthmark.

Doctor: Birthmark, you say? How long have you had it?   Source:

My husband’s new “unbreakable” titanium eyeglasses broke. When he brought the many pieces back to the optometrist to have the glasses replaced, the assistant asked what had happened.

“They fell under the lawn mower,” he explained.

“Oh,” she said, nodding. “Were you wearing them at the time?”   Susan Strong, South Glastonbury, Connecticut

birbiglia-quotePeter Arkle for Reader's Digest

Medicine in the News

Actual stories ripped from the headlines:

“Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison”   Source:

“Elderly woman breaks hip at Niagara hospital, told by staff to call ambulance”   Source: the Toronto Star

“Breathing oxygen linked to staying alive”   Source: Masoc County News (Texas)

“Troopers: Trucker pulling his own tooth caused accident that congested I-20/59”   Source:

Test Your Medical Vocabulary

Patients reported that they suffered from these ailments. Can you decipher what they meant and come up with the correct malady?

1) “Immaculate degeneration”

2) “Liza Minnelli”

3) “Smiling mighty Jesus”

4) “Fireballs of the universe”

Answers: 1) Macular degeneration; 2) Salmonella; 3) Spinal meningitis; 4) Fibroids of the uterus

Sources:;; reader Evelyn Rosemore, Plano, Texas; Scrubs magazine

Illustrations by Peter Arkle

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