The Twitter hashtag PatientsAreNotFaking is trending with people sharing their stories of not being believed after a U.S. health-care worker made a viral video mocking certain patients.
On Tuesday, Twitter user “D Rose” tweeted a TikTok video of her in medical scrubs dancing to the fake cough of a patient, who is also played by her. The caption read: “We know when y’all are faking.”
Rose, who declined to use her full name or identify where she worked, told CTVNews.ca that she’s worked in the health-care field for five years. In subsequent tweets, she said she’s “worked in mental health, alcohol and drug rehabilitation.”
But her recent video, which has garnered 14.5 million views, has brought in waves of criticism accusing her of mocking patients with real medical concerns.
“I never thought in a million years, that people would see the exaggerated dance moves and think that is something I actually do,” Rose said, explaining for every 10 positive comments, there’ve been a negative one.
But in the wake of the video, hundreds of people have flooded Twitter with the hashtag PatientsAreNotFaking, with tales of disbelieving doctors, nurses, paramedics.
We know when y’all are faking ���� pic.twitter.com/uBV9LjXN3W— D Rose (@DamnDRoseTweets) November 19, 2019
I am both a health care provider AND a patient. I see both sides of the spectrum and have had my share of problems w/ providers.
I also know myself. I know how much I love my job. I know how much I care for the people I come across. And I know the positive difference I make.
Humor has always been what made me stand out to the people I work with and the patients I help.
They come to me at what may be their worst times in their life, and my first reaction is to always figure out how I can make them smile
That was the intent of my video.
For example, one person tweeted about his son waking up in pain, with a fever and covered in sweat. “They sent me home without scans, said it was gastro (intestinal). I readmitted the next day. (it was a) lodged kidney stone, needed a stent and lithotripsy to remove.”
Another user described how it was nearly a decade before she was correctly diagnosed with fibromyalgia because her doctor initially failed to understand her dizzy spells. One woman tweeted about how she was falsely labelled a hypochondriac after a car crash. And then only after 15 years in pain, was she correctly diagnosed with “permanent and progressive spinal cord injury.”
And then another woman recalled being told to calm down after being in and out of emergency rooms. “Turns out, it’s extremely hard to relax when you’re having your first attack from Multiple Sclerosis,” she said.
Even a surgeon chimed in, Dr. Eugene Gu tweeted that doctors are “human beings who make mistakes and can dismiss the concerns of patients out of ego or pride because we think we know better than you do for your own bodies. It’s wrong.”
But Rose told CTVNews.ca she was only mocking people clearly faking their symptoms, so she feels people’s anger is misplaced.
“From what I see, the majority of people that do not like my video have had some sort of bad encounter with a health-care provider,” she wrote. “So my video reminded them of a time that they were not given the care that they deserve.”
I was told multiple times over the course of several weeks in & out of the emergency room that I was having panic attacks & needed to calm down/relax.
Turns out, it’s extremely hard to relax when you’re having your first attack from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).#PatientsAreNotFaking
I was rear ended while stopped at a red light and spent the next 15 years in pain and diagnosed with fibromyalgia and called a hypochondriac. I have a permanent and progressive spinal cord injury. #PatientsAreNotFaking— Shannon Caffeine (@shannoncaffeine) November 23, 2019
ADVOCATE SAYS VIDEO MOCKS REAL PATIENTS
But, by phone, CEO and founder of The Centre of Patient Protection Kathleen Finlay told CTVNews.ca that doctors not believing patients “happens far too often.”
“It’s hard to believe this in 2019 but patients are still mocked and blamed by the major players in our health-care system. Whether it’s doctors, nurses, physiotherapists or pharmacists,” she said.
“I receive messages from families all the time who are treated with unbelievable disrespect,” Finlay said, adding that these two factors combined “can and do have enormous consequences.”
These could be misdiagnoses, needless emotional distress, failure to provide appropriate treatment and even death.
A few years ago an ER doctor told me that a patient writhing in pain was just here for drug seeking behavior. But his heart rate was elevated and his blood pressure was low. Can’t fake that. Got a CT scan, found a perforated bowel, and rushed him to surgery. #PatientsAreNotFaking— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 23, 2019
People deserve to know the truth. Doctors aren’t saints or morally superior people. We’re human beings who make mistakes and can dismiss the concerns of patients out of ego or pride because we think we know better than you do for your own bodies. It’s wrong. #PatientsAreNotFaking— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 22, 2019
Many, including Finlay, have called for repercussions for Rose.
Rose said there will always be patients who fake illnesses but that "from the moment I began nursing school, we were taught that pain and symptoms are subjective and that we are required to treat them regardless of what we may or may not think."
To patients who aren't taken seriously in real life, she told CTVNews.ca "I am sorry that you are not receiving the care that you deserve. Be sure to always be your biggest supporter and advocate. If one person is not treating you correctly, demand another and don't stop until you feel satisfied in the care you recieved."
And she also defended herself in a series of tweets saying, “The FACT is my video had nothing to do with race, mocking panic attacks, or anything else I’ve been accused of.”
“I also know myself. I know how much I love my job. I know how much I care for the people I come across. And I know the positive difference I make,” she wrote. “(Patients) come to me at what may be their worst times in their life, And my first reaction is to always figure out how I can make them smile.”
Rose said she’s received death threats, calls for her to lose her job, as well as racist and sexist attacks.
But in a tweet, she refused to take down her video, writing: “I absolutely will not be bullied into apologizing or deleting a video because some people disagree with me.”
More on this story from CTVNews.ca