Doctors Reveal The Biggest Cases Of ‘Faking It’ They’ve Ever Seen

Nobody likes to be sick! However, there are some people out there who find themselves in the awkward position of faking an illness.

One curious person took to Reddit to find out from healthcare professionals what some of the strangest stories of people faking illnesses were, by asking, "Doctors of Reddit, what's the biggest case of 'faking it' you've ever seen?"

And boy, did people have some strange and baffling stories to share, the most interesting and funniest of which have been gathered below!

Healing Them With Just A Few Words!

Unsplash | Macau Photo Agency

"I'm an ICU and ER nurse. We get a lot of malingering in the ER. One day, one of our frequent fliers came in and started faking a seizure in triage. Now obviously I know this lady and she's fake-seized a million times before. But this time it's in the lobby in front of about 30 people, who have no way of knowing that it's fake.

"She's lolling around on the floor making a damn fool of herself and folks look horrified. I walked up to her and said calmly:

"'[What] are you doing?'

"To which this genius responds, 'I'M SEIZING!'

"I told her to stop seizing. So she did." — CursesandMutterings

I would have loved to have seen the faces on all of the people in the waiting room who must have thought that this person was a miracle worker!

Constant "Migraines"

Unsplash | Adrian Swancar

"When I was a kid I learned I could fake sick and get out of school. So 1-2 days a week [I] would get a 'migraine' and hold my head and complain and I would get to go home.

"Eventually my parents took me to a neurologist who said 'maybe you just don't let him eat chocolate and sugar?' I admitted to faking and was grounded for a long long time." — macaronismoothie

I think that everyone must have had at least one instance of being caught out pulling a sicky from school as a kid! But this is something else!

Jumping Jacks For Drugs

Unsplash | Halacious

"30y/o woman came to the ED with such 'excruciating belly pain', 'paralyzed', 'oh god it hurts when you press there', 'MUST HAVE OXYCODONE NOW'. ED doc said if she can get out of the ED bed and do 20 jumping jacks, we can give her the Oxy. She did 20 jumping jacks, then got kicked out of the ED." — confusedbarney

Someone also suggested that this doctor should start working as a personal trainer on the side. However, I'm assuming that they would exclusively have to have clients who are hooked on drugs.

Are They Really Unconscious?

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

"My mom was an emergency room nurse. Years ago they brought a prisoner from the local pen in who seemed to be unconscious. The guards were suspicious that he was faking it. They checked his vitals and everything seemed to be ok. The attending doctor tried poking him in the foot with something pointy, nothing. Then [they] took a rubber hose and inserted it in the back of his throat as if they were intubating him. That did the trick he sat up very quickly coughing and gagging." — tomcod

One other person added some other techniques, writing, "Just take their hand, hold it over their face, and drop their hand. If they're truly unconscious (or drunk, or very out of it etc) they'll smack themselves in the face. If they are conscious, they will always do something to lessen the hit, like make their hand land to the side, or they turn their hand and hit somewhere they think it won't hurt."

Fake Seizures 2: Electric Boogaloo!

Unsplash | Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

"Not a doctor but a nurse Once had a patient having a 'seizure.' The other ER nurse and I knew she was faking it. He said as much. She suddenly 'stopped' seizing (miraculously), looked straight at him and yelled 'shut up fat boy.'

"He and I laughed so hard." — bionicfeetgrl

Imagine being that weak-willed that such a small slight manages to break your ploy.

Keeping A Thermos Specifically For "Sick Days"

Unsplash | Kamil Szumotalski

"When I was a kid, I would plan my 'sick' days waaay ahead of time. Had an old thermos that I would pour leftover milk, meat, whatever. Leave it on the windowsill in my bedroom just letting it fester for a month. (Of course the thermos was closed so no smells escaped). I set an alarm for the middle of the night, dumped the contents of the thermos on my rug and ran in to tell my dad I was throwing up and 'so sick.'

"However.. this thermos monstrosity filled the entire condo up with horrible smells and both me and my dad ended up puking into the tub at the same time every time we tried to clean up the rug.. he had to take the day off work too. Needless to say, I never pulled that again." — catsbluepajamas

Faking Whooping Cough!


"My mom's an ER nurse and she said once some crazy lady came in and complained [that] she had the whooping cough. And whenever she coughed she followed it with a loud 'woooOOOP!'" — mnfundude70

I mean, you've got to kind of admire her reach. If I was that nurse I would have been having her do it again and again until she realized how stupid she looked.

Faking Seizures 3: Keep On Seizin'

Unsplash | Jonnica Hill

"My brother was an EMT for two years [...] People will try to use the ambulance as a means for transportation from Fulton to Oswego (because the hospital is in Oswego), by faking seizures.

"Sometimes when the head EMT guy was feeling fun and knew that the person was faking, he'd say something like 'man it's weird that he's having seizures but not peeing himself.' Apparently the person would kind of snap out of it for a second, weigh up the repercussions, then either pee themselves or stop faking." — -Stammers-

You can just imagine that person running the situation through their head and weighing up how desperately they need this free ride.

Drawing On Wounds

Unsplash | Charles Deluvio

"Dermatologist here. Patient was convinced she had a melanoma and needed a biopsy and would need to be on workers comp. I told her it looked like ink from a marker. She demanded a biopsy. I wiped the area off with an alcohol swab and showed her the ink and that there was no spot on her skin anymore. She stormed out threatening to sue." — Richter915

This person went on to say that they were just glad that they were able to cure the person of their illness so easily!

The Wrong Sorts Of Kidney Stones

Unsplash | Lisa Zoe

"ER nurse. Bringing a patient back to a room who said he had kidney stones. I had him stop at the bathroom and get a urine sample. Dude comes out with with the specimen cup that literally has a piece of concrete in it. Looked him in the eye expecting some sort of joke. He. Was. Serious. I threw it away and walked his dumbass back to the waiting room to contemplate his stupidity." — _Stamos

Unless this guy has been eating the sidewalk, then I think that most people would have picked up on this lie!

Abusing The Call Bell

Unsplash | Vladimir Fedotov

"There was a geriatric patient taking advantage of the call bell, because she was an attention seeker. She always needed really basic things to get done for her because she thought the place was a hotel (it was a rehabilitation ward, and we should try to motivate patients to do as much for themselves as possible).

"She would ring the bell for reasons like 'please lift the blanket up for me' or 'please pass me my phone' or 'please feed me' and claimed that her hands didn't work. I caught her several times lifting herself off the bed with her hands, grabbing her phone when it rang, you get the gist.

"After days of saying no and that she needs to start doing things for herself, she grew more and more frustrated. Eventually she snapped, grabbed me by my collar, shook me agressively and yelled 'what don't you understand about the fact that my hands don't work?!?!'" — Beasti-benz

Saying They're Allergic To Needles

Unsplash | Hyttalo Souza

"Nursing student here (2000+ hours of practice). Pediatric patients are my favourite fakers. Once I was giving the kids in the ward Mantoux shots (a test to see if you’re TBC positive) and a 5yo male kept telling me I couldn’t give him that shot because he was allergic to needles. He started fake-coughing when approached and said he couldn’t breath.

"I just said that it was a pity he couldn’t get the shot because I gave free tattoos to the kids who got it (you’re supposed to draw a circle or a square to mark the area since the results on the skin are available only 72h after the injection but I always draw little doodles with skin safe pen on kids). He said that maybe we should try to see if he was still allergic because he wasn’t so sure, and stopped fake-coughing." — ginnymoons

This is perhaps the most wholesome one on the list! It is amazing how fickle children can be at times!

Holiday Sickness

Unsplash | Sai Kiran Anagani

"No doctor but a funny story from work a couple years ago. Guy calls in sick for around 8 days, says on the phone he is really sick. Comes back to work the next week, tanned as f*ck. This dude hands a medical slip to the manager written in Spanish, on the slip there is an official seal from some random Cuban clinic.

"Guy walks over to [me] with a grin on his face saying 'Yeah I'm probably fired.'

"He was fired." — [Deleted]

Judging from the fact that he was smiling, I doubt this guy really cared. Hopefully he had one hell of a holiday at least!

The Old Baby Turtle Ploy!

Unsplash | Ricardo Braham

"I work in occupational health (I’m an athletic trainer, not a doctor though). I once had a guy come in complaining of back pain. He hobbled into my office walking one inch at a time and groaning in pain. I knew he was faking it when I hardly touched 10 different areas on his back and he howled in pain. I looked out the window to my office and saw about a dozen baby turtles crossing, I called out for him to come look. He jumped off the massage table and sprinted over in awe of the baby turtles. I told him to get back to work." — MadLove1348

Ah, yet another guy caught out by the classic baby turtle trick! If only I had a penny for every time I'd seen someone fall for that one!

A Common Lie!

Unsplash | Josh Calabrese

"Opthalmology technician. People pretend to be blind all the time. Go to check their eye pressure with the tonopen (a device you poke them DIRECTLY into the eye with) and they go, 'WHAT THE F**K IS THAT THING!?'." — jmikk85

Why would anyone pretend to be blind anyway? I'm assuming it is an insurance scam sort of deal?

Lies From The Janitor!

Unsplash | Verne Ho

"I had a patient who worked in a hospital (janitor) so he knew enough to fake a bit. He was seeking pain meds, complaining of chest pain, wanting morphine. He was worked up for everything cardiac and was fine. Then he tried to claim GI discomfort when he was being discharged. Cleared again for everything. Faked chest pain again. Cleared again. Now he's my patient. I'm a new face. He's telling me he’s having abdominal pain. I call the doctor, knowing this [guy's] history. He says he'll be up to see him soon. This patient wants a ginger ale (some stomach ache). I decide to go to lunch.

"My coworker comes into the lunch room, disgusted. This guy had taken a dump in a basin and then dumped the ginger ale over it and tried to tell her he'd had fecal vomiting. He obviously needed dilaudid right now for the pain. I walked into his room and sure enough, a pile of s**t in a puddle of ginger ale." — Elizabitch4848

I've never heard the phrase "fecal vomiting" before, and quite frankly I wish I never had.

Not Necessarily Narcoleptic!

Unsplash | Hernan Sanchez

"Worked as a firefighter for a while. Funnier one was a teen who faked narcolepsy/falling unconscious (though I forget precisely why). During our interview of her she 'falls unconscious' just out of no-where. People attempt to wake her. Obviously she [doesn't] respond to anything.

"Paramedic on scene leans in and whispers in her ear. She wakes up instantly and she says [everything's] fine and [she's] probably just sleepy and we all move on. Talking to the medic later he says he told her that if she actually had narcolepsy or would lose [consciousness] without control [he'] report it to the DMV and she'd never be able to get her drivers license (which is true). Problem solved instantly." — NorthWestOutdoorsman

Faking Blindness

Vanessa Bumbeers | Unsplash

"Had a patient when I was an intern feigning blindness. She would constantly be playing on her smartphone, only furiously trying to hide it when someone from the care team came into her room. The best was when my attending one day strolled past her room and threw his hand up in a highly exaggerated ‘hello’ wave. She started to throw her arm up [too] but caught herself half way through, then threw her hand back into her lap and pretended to be ‘staring’ off into nothing." — SinisterlyDexterous

I mean, this person just seems like the worst actor on the planet! Imagine waving at someone while you were pretending to be blind! That's day one stuff!

Curing Most Teenagers

Unsplash | Sammie Vasquez

"Whenever we had kids (usually teenagers) playing up their symptoms to extend their hospital stay, we would order them into a healthy lifestyle. Lights out at 9, no screen time for two hours before bed time, healthy diet chock full of fruits and vegetables, screen time limits, minimum number of laps around the unit per day to get in their exercise.... they got better so much faster with our healthy lifestyle tips!" — nellyann

Pfft, are people just supposed to be healthy? What kind of half-price treatment is that?!

Making Out That Their Eyes Are Worse Than They Are...

Janko Ferlič | Unsplash

"My cousin got glasses. Her 7 year old little sister also wanted glasses because she thought it was so cool to wear them. So she started telling her teachers she couldn't read what was on the chalkboard. And she'd squint at home, and go incredibly close to the tv to watch things [...] Her parents got worried and took her to the doctor.

"She read everything wrong on the vision test. Everyone seemed convinced that she needed glasses. But the doctor was a little concerned because the tests indicated she needed really thick glasses [...] They all realized she was faking it.

"So the doctor told her parents in front of her that she'd need some pretty intense eye surgery so she'd be able to see without glasses. They even wheeled in a machine to make it convincing to say they could do the surgery right then and there. She freaked out, confessed to faking it all and started to cry. She got grounded for a while." — sensitiveinfomax

If you have a story about being caught out faking an illness, then be sure to share it in the comments if you feel up to it!