A woman on TikTok claimed that a doctor berated her, made her cry, then called her from a blocked number after she gave him a negative Yelp review.
According to TikTok user @fumptruck, she went to a specialist to resolve a nasal issue that resulted from drug use during her younger years (she noted in a later video that she now considers herself an “ex-addict” because “it’s been years, and I’m fine now”).
Upon meeting the surgeon, she said she was immediately regarded with hostility.
“When he walked in, he looked at my chart, and he was like, ‘Oh, another drug addict. I’ve seen three of you today,’” she recalled him saying. “Then, I started to say, ‘It’s nice to know you have experience with this, at least’—but he cut me off, and he said, ‘It’s not nice. I feel like a garbage man.’”
“This guy just called me … garbage, like, literally to my face,” she continued.
This led to an aggressive back-and-forth between the surgeon and the TikToker, she said. Eventually, the TikToker said she had to leave, as the surgeon met her over an hour later than their scheduled meeting time.
“He got mad at me. … He said, ‘You should have blocked out your whole day for me,’” she recalled him saying. “What?”
Upon arriving at home, the TikToker said she began crying as a result of their experience. Then, at 9pm, she said she received a call from a blocked number.
“It was him. It was the … doctor,” she said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, I just wanted to see how you are because you were crying in the appointment.’” The TikToker said she suspected that this call was not as a result of her behavior during the appointment but because of the fact that she left a negative Yelp review upon leaving.
“I hung up the phone, because that is so freaky and inappropriate,” she said. She later added, “You have this number, so you can deal with medical stuff, not so that you can just, like, harass me because I left you a bad review on Yelp.”
Both addicts and ex-addicts alike have reported lower qualities of medical care as a result of their history of addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website and later TikToks from @fumptruck note that those who disclose an addiction to their medical provider can receive worse care than those who don’t and that the language used to discuss those with, or with a history of, substance issues can have a profound impact on the medical care they receive.
In several follow-up videos, the TikToker stated that she is filing a complaint against the doctor. She also stated that she read several reviews of the surgeon in which visitors cited similar issues.
“Some of his reviews are honestly terrifying,” she claimed.
@fumptruck Replying to @Lilncosmum #baddoctor #medical #storytime ♬ original sound – Garage Gremlin
As for why she did not confront him in the moment, she explained in a separate follow-up video that there was a significant power dynamic at play in the moment that complicated her ability to speak out.
“There was a power dynamic in that room that I was on the short end of. I am a patient; he’s a doctor, and I need help desperately,” she said. “This thing with my nose. It’s not cosmetic. It is functional. My nose could literally collapse if I don’t get this taken care of. I’m having trouble breathing on a daily basis. I am desperate. And I went to this person because I was told that he was the only surgeon within, like, a five county radius that can actually deal with the very specific problem going on in my nose. I needed him. I needed his help.”
“It is already really difficult for me to get help with this, because I used to be a drug addict, and people hate drug addicts,” she added later in the video. “This guy literally said to me that nobody wants to deal with us. If someone had spoken to me like that under any other circumstances, they would have had a serious problem, believe me.”
@fumptruck Replying to @jeanbean272 #addiction #baddoctor #medical ♬ original sound – Garage Gremlin
In the comments section, users shared similar issues receiving medical treatment thanks to a history, or the possibility, of substance abuse issues.
“I almost died of an allergic reaction because my allergy was ignored at urgent care and they thought I was withdrawing in the hospital,” recounted a user. “Wouldn’t even look at the script my father was trying to hand him. accusing me of substance seeking because of my past. took my blood and wouldn’t go over the labs because he only took blood to see if I had drugs in my system. plot twist, I didn’t.”
“My mum is almost 70, had a fractured spine,” shared another. “Went to hospital in an ambulance and the dr said ugh, if I give you painkillers will you go home.”
“I had bronchitis once and was a smoker at the time. The doctor harassed, belittled and shamed me for smoking. And then didn’t give me the proper meds,” stated a third. “I was the sickest I’ve ever been. 103 temp. He didn’t care. I cried the whole way home.”
Update 9:08am CT, Feb. 12: In a TikTok DM exchange with the Daily Dot, the TikToker explained their reasons for posting the video.
“I just want to clarify that I share stories like this with the hope that people will better understand the plight of people suffering from substance use disorder even after they’ve gotten sober, and how hard it can be to reach for help in a world that sees you as a ‘problem’ rather than a person,” she wrote. “I’m not looking for justice or vengeance or anything like that, but visibility for people who are so often not listened to.”
She then made suggestions about how treatment for people currently with, or who have recovered from, addiction can be improved.
“Without a complete overhaul of the medical system, there is no correcting the power imbalance between doctor and patient,” she explained. “Many doctors suffer from what people call ‘compassion fatigue,’ where they’ve been in the field for so long and/or experienced so much stress that they now struggle to empathize with their patients and fail to treat them with the proper respect and understanding. There is no excuse for the way this doctor spoke to me, and this is far from the first time I’ve faced a medical professional who, for whatever reason, makes their practice an inhospitable place for patients to safely ask questions, tell their stories, and be transparent without fear of judgment.”
“Doctors should be practicing trauma-informed care, and appointments should be a collaborative process, meaning that medical professionals ought to be listening to their patients when they express concerns and fears and considering these things when moving forward with treatment,” she continued. “If people in the medical and mental health fields don’t have the emotional wherewithal to practice compassion, active listening and respect for patients even when they are struggling personally, they should not be in these fields.”