Would you say anything?

  1. I'm kind of in a quandry about this, the other day I was in the post office and the guy in front of me had a large bad looking growth on his neck. I figure there was no way he couldn't not know about it but it was on the back of his neck, but then I started to wonder if I should say something to him about getting it looked at. I ended up deciding to mind my own business and not say anything. But anyone else ever encountered this? Did you say anything? A nurse friend of mine told me she saw a lady sitting in front of her in a movie theater with a mole that looked like skin cancer and just leaned over and said "I'm a nurse you need to get your mole checked" The woman spit out her popcorn and changed her seat. I mean it seems right to say something but it also seems wrong, like invading privacy.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Jan 23
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    About Ambersmom, BSN, RN, EMT-P

    Joined: Oct '17; Posts: 167; Likes: 314

    38 Comments

  3. by   Triddin
    Nope. Not my job to make medical diagnoses. Also giving medical advice implies you are taking responsibility for the person you give advice too. If the growth was large, I'm sure he was aware of it, and for all you I now, he has already seen a professional.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Agree with previous poster. I have enough liability through my practice that I don't need to go looking for more from complete strangers.
  5. by   KelRN215
    No. I try not to talk to strangers at all.
  6. by   Wuzzie
    I once was in the grocery store and walked by a mother with an approximately 6 month old in the cart. Sickest looking kid I've seen outside of the hospital. And then I heard the distinctive whoop of pertussis and watched that poor baby turn all shades of purple and gasp for air. I just could not keep on walking so I identified myself as a PICU nurse and that I suspected her child had whooping cough and needed to be seen immediately. She got all kinds of huffy and called me some really vile names. The kid arrested in the check out line.
  7. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Ambersmom
    I'm kind of in a quandry about this, the other day I was in the post office and the guy in front of me had a large bad looking growth on his neck. I figure there was no way he couldn't not know about it but it was on the back of his neck, but then I started to wonder if I should say something to him about getting it looked at. I ended up deciding to mind my own business and not say anything. But anyone else ever encountered this? Did you say anything? A nurse friend of mine told me she saw a lady sitting in front of her in a movie theater with a mole that looked like skin cancer and just leaned over and said "I'm a nurse you need to get your mole checked" The woman spit out her popcorn and changed her seat. I mean it seems right to say something but it also seems wrong, like invading privacy.
    If I were 100% sure of what I was talking about, I might say something. "Excuse me, Sir. There's a knife sticking out of the back of your head and you should seek medical attention immediately."
    If it's more of a, "Hey, you might be dying, but I'm not sure. Maybe check with someone else?" No. I wouldn't say that.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    Mr. MMJ has had a slow growing lipoma on his neck for 40+ years. He is not bothered by it in the least (it's a little smaller than a golf ball now). At least weekly someone tells him he has cancer or asks him if he knows he has this growth on his neck. He feels neglected if a week goes by without a "diagnosis".
  9. by   Munch
    I am definitely all about minding my own business. I can't be concerned about every stranger and every possible ailment they *might* be suffering from walking around this earth. Definitely an invasion of privacy to me anyway. Even if someone asked me what something might be I would just tell them I'm not qualified to diagnose and if they are concerned to go seek medical attention.
  10. by   SaltySarcasticSally
    No, no, no. I feel like as nurses we have some kind of radar anyways, even in street clothes. I swear every time I'm waiting in line somewhere I hear someone's life story or health problems. I don't even identify myself as a nurse.

    Something already compels strangers to tell me personal issues, I'm not inviting more of that in!
  11. by   brownbook
    I'd say something. A patient I had for a different issue told me he was an art teacher. He did nude modeling and a student told him to have a mole on his back checked. It was a melanoma caught early.

    I might be embarrassed, the person might be embarrassed, but a life might be saved.
  12. by   Archerlpvn
    Btw everyone... telling someone that something seems abnormal and that it should be evaluated if it hasn't already, is hardly "diagnosing".. not saying I would involve myself in that way with a stranger but it isn't diagnosing.
  13. by   annabanana2
    I wouldn't mention anything to a stranger unless I was pretty sure they were going to die more or less immediately. Friend or family member I have a lower bar for minding my own business so I might speak up sooner. But generally I try to mind my own business unless I'm directly asked about it.
    Last edit by annabanana2 on Jan 22 : Reason: hit enter too soon
  14. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from Wuzzie
    I once was in the grocery store and walked by a mother with an approximately 6 month old in the cart. Sickest looking kid I've seen outside of the hospital. And then I heard the distinctive whoop of pertussis and watched that poor baby turn all shades of purple and gasp for air. I just could not keep on walking so I identified myself as a PICU nurse and that I suspected her child had whooping cough and needed to be seen immediately. She got all kinds of huffy and called me some really vile names. The kid arrested in the check out line.
    Oh, crap. You weren't looking for that kind of vindication.
    Last edit by TriciaJ on Jan 22 : Reason: missed word

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