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Woman Shames ‘Cold’ Doctor SIL For Lack Of Compassion After Young Niece Fractures Her Arm

Young girl with cast on arm
Rebecca Nelson/Getty Images

Having nieces and nephews is like being a parent but only having to experience the good parts.

You know… you get to have all the fun but don’t have to deal with the strict discipline, and when you’re exhausted, you can give them back to your siblings.

Whatever the case, though, you love them unconditionally, and it’s tough when you have to see them in pain or unhappy for any reason.

So it’s no wonder that a woman on Reddit was upset after her niece fractured her arm.

She also, however, shamed her sister-in-law, who is a surgeon, for not reacting compassionately to her own daughter’s injury, so she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor UnlikelyPea4329 asked:

“AITA for yelling at my sister in law for ignoring my niece’s health complaints?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (29/F[emale]) am the proud aunt of two amazing kids, Chloe (7 y/o) and Harry (8 y/o).”

“I get along really well with the both of them and their parents.”

“(My sister Amber (37/F[emale]) and her wife Kate (38/F[emale])) ask me to babysit them sometimes.”

“We have a special bond.”

“The other day, the kids Amber and I went out to the park.”

“Kate wasn’t there because she is a general surgeon, and her work-life balance is nonexistent at this point.”

“Kids were playing together in this playground area and Amber and I else were sitting together having a chat.”

“We heard a scream and rushed to the kids.”

“It turns out Chloe fell and was crying, holding her arm.”

“We both freaked out.”

“Together, Amber and I took Chloe to the hospital where Kate works.”

“They took an x-ray of Chloe’s arm and everything.”

“After Amber trying multiple times and finally reaching Kate, she came down to the ER.”

“She took a look at the X-ray, talked to the ER doctor, and without letting even the slightest bit of emotion or compassion toward her crying daughter and wife, said it was just a small fracture, that it didn’t extend to the joint and would be okay in a few weeks’ time with just casting.”

“The only compassionate thing she did was holding Amber when they got Chloe’s little arm into a cast.”

“I got really mad at Kate and said she was downplaying her daughter’s broken arm and acting as if nothing was wrong!”

“She simply said kids get injuries like this a lot, and there was nothing extraordinary going on here.”

“I may be TA here because I called her an ice-cold insensitive mother.”

“Amber got so mad she practically kicked me out of the ER and said she’d go back home with Kate and the kids herself.”

“She said I’d better apologize to Kate before coming over to their house again.”

“So was I TA for expecting a more human reaction?”

“Should I apologize?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was the a**hole.


“to paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, your feelings do you credit, but you were out of line.”

“One thing you didn’t say about Kate was that she was a robot.”

“Meaning that you didn’t complain that Kate was never emotional or never expressed love or affection to her kids.”

“You did say she was busy as hell, but no other complaints about her parenting.”

“Well. She’s a surgeon. At work.”

“Surgeons… at times, have to have guard up, and/or be eminently practical.”

“Person has medical condition x, here’s how we treat it.”

“Plus she’s at work, she’s mentally reviewing a procedure she’s going to be doing later in the day, or mentally reviewing a procedure she’s already done, or half a dozen other things that they’re juggling at a time.”

“That she made time to come down during her work to see her daughter is a pretty big deal.”

“From her perspective, her daughter was barely hurt, in the sense there would be no permanent damage, no long-term therapies needed, no surgery.”

“Cast and done.”

“This is not to say she was the perfect mom, but she is a surgeon in work mode.”

“HEr daughter was otherwise fine.”

“And who is to say what Kate was like after work when she had a moment to disengage from work mode and be a mother again.”

“get off your high horse and apologize.” – SoImaRedditUserNow

“YTA She is a general surgeon, they do not fall apart at life’s trifles.”

“She did not respond the way YOU wanted her to respond.”

“You don’t know what was happening with her or how she felt.”

“No one would want to have a surgeon that falls apart easily.”

“You made assumptions based on your narrow vision.”

“How dare you question her feelings towards her daughter.”

“Have your own kids and be as judgmental of your partner as you like.”

“You were out of line, and your sister was right.” – SliceEquivalent825

“YTA – definitely!”

“How dare you judge a mother & demand she displays levels of emotion that you deem appropriate.”

“She’s a medical professional, and, whatever she will be feeling inside, she is trained to react in a coolly professional manner which is helpful for patients: you don’t want your doctor freaking out about your injury.”

“You’re judging her, and you had no right to do that.”

“I’m not surprised your sister is pissed about you overstepping on her wife.” – cynical_old_mare


“Are you serious right now?”

“Are you actually mad that your SIL didn’t freak out about a broken arm?”

“Your SIL acted the same as if it was another patient, she acted calm and professional.” – RaineMist

“YTA, she’s a surgeon.”

“They’re professional about their poker face for a reason.”

“What good does it do to freak out her kid and her wife over an injury that is actually fairly common?”

“I’m not saying it’s no big deal, but causing a scene and getting emotional wouldn’t have done anything…other than make you feel better apparently.”

“She was probably relieved that it wasn’t worse.”

“As parents, it’s best not to freak out over injury.”

“Cause it just scares the kids, and it makes it worse for them.”

“Your niece was already in pain.”

“She didn’t need to see her mom crying and scared.” – specialkk77

“YTA doctors have to keep it together.”

“Even if they are a mess inside.”

“Even if you wanted to address it, there is a time and place, and this wasn’t it.”

“Their relationship and her relationship is none of your business tho.” – WebAcceptable7932

“I am going with YTA.”

“The mother remained calm for her daughter (super important) and was there for her.”

“What did you want from her?”

“When my niece got knocked out by a soccer ball, my sister walked out on the field calmly and attended her.”

“She got some flack for not panicking and rushing out.”

“She, however, was calming herself so she could be a good support for her daughter and handle anything that needed to be handled.”

“Not everything you see outwardly shows what the person is thinking and experiencing emotionally.”

“Her acting emotional, or babying her, or whatever, would not have been helpful.”

“The calmer she was the calmer the daughter would be.” – Catbunny

“YTA just for your subject line, your SIL didn’t ignore anything.”

“She is a health professional who behaved professionally.”

“You do NOT get to call her ‘an ice cold insensitive mother.'”

“You are absolutely the AH for that!”

“I broke my arms several times as a kid.”

“Unless you’ve got bone sticking through the skin, it’s really not a big deal.” – RightLocal1356


“I understand you think your sister didn’t react ‘big enough,’ but honestly, she is a medical professional.”

“Yes it sucks her daughter was hurt but she more than anyone would know how serious the injury was.”

“Also, sounds like you caught her while she was actively at work.”

“It can be hard to turn off doctor mode.”

“You’re super rude for being disrespectful to her like that.” – Aelwein


“Surgeons, doctors, nurses and such are taught to remain calm under emergencies like these.”

“She’s not ‘insensitive,’ she has to act professionally, and as she saw that it’s a minor fracture, it’s not something that requires very difficult procedures, and it will heal eventually.”

“Kate likely knows how to handle these types of situations, knows the procedures, so didn’t get panicked when this happened.”

“She’s not indifferent to it.” – everexisting


“Not exactly sure what reaction you feel was warranted here, but who are you to judge people like that, much less declare it in public – actually Kate’s workplace.”

“General Surgeons are not going to break down over a fractured arm in the hospital.”

“She probably was just finished fixing a heart or removing a tumor.”

“Give your head and shake and apologize and say you were upset and said something very stupid because that’s what you did.” – MaxHowe

Hopefully, her fellow Redditors helped the OP realize her comments were a little out of line so she could make amends and continue to have a solid relationship with her niece and nephew.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.