View Full Version : Oh, no, I don't want to keep anyone waiting!
08-08-2001, 12:05 AM
Had a doctor's appt. today at 3:15. I made the appointment months ago, when I was necessarily unemployed, without thinking that on 8/7 I might be working, and consequently want an appt. closer to the beginning or end of the workday. (Or maybe I did think that at the time, and was simply unable to get an appt. for a better time. Can't remember.)
Anyway, I got permission from the department head, then told my cow-orker and supervisor (two people) that I wanted to leave no later than 2:45, to allow sufficient travel time. Today at 2:30, I started making noises about wanting to finish before 2:45, but also wanting to leave no later than that.
"Ah, you can be a little late. It's not like school."
"No, I don't want to be late. That wouldn't be fair to the people with appts. after me; I'd hold them up."
I bust and kick it over to the clinic, find a parking space, and trot in at 3:14. They take my co-payment, and I sit for what I think will be half a tick.
A very elderly, and apparently stroke-ravaged woman, is wheeled in by her caretaker. "Hm," I think. "I hope she's just here for a blood test, or something the RNs can do, because my appt. is supposed to start now." She's ushered in, and I open my book, still thinking I won't have time to read a full paragraph.
Fifteen minutes later, I'm still there. I go up to the window. How I hate to ask anything of the superintelligent receptionist (who once insisted that my co-payment and amount covered by insurance were each other's opposite), but she's the one with this knowledge, not the genuinely intelligent RNs.
"Did I have the wrong time? I thought my appt. was for 3:15."
[Superintelligent receptionist looks for clock, finally locates the one on phone]"It's 3:29."
"No, I know what time it is; I just thought my appt. was for 15 minutes ago."
"Your appt. is 3:15."
"Right. So why am I still waiting?"
"We're running late."
"You know, I gave up two hours of work for this."
"Do you want to reschedule?"
"No, then I'd have to miss work again."
I settle down again and finish another segment of American Empire. (I cannot wait until I've finished this and can discuss it!) At 3:00, I'm finally ushered into the exam room. My blood pressure (which was surprisingly normal) and pulse are taken, then the MD comes in. He confirms what I'd thought, but wasn't going to ask: the apparent stroke victim had been late for her appointment, and she wasn't the first latecomer that day. Next time, he says, I should call an hour or so before my appt. to find out if things are running late.
So I waited 45 minutes to have my blood pressure and pulse taken, to be asked if I'm taking my pills regularly (yes) and if I'm going easy on caffeine (truthfully, no), and to schedule another appt. All this at the cost of two hours' pay and a $10 co-payment (another hour's pay).
Now, I know this happens in doctors' offices all the time. I'm also aware that it may take two hours to get this woman out of bed, and that only once a week, and also that it may be imperative to get her seen and released immediately simply because it's dangerous for her to be away from home for too long. I simply find it ironic that I'd been concerned for the convenience of others, then found myself inconvenienced in the manner I'd busted my ass to avoid.
08-08-2001, 12:26 AM
You're upset about a 45 minute wait past your scheduled appt. time to see the doctor to the point you're worried aout your blood pressure? How long have you been going to doctors? 1/2 hour to hour waits are often par for the course, especially when some patients need extra time.
Yes, it's often an inconvenient PITA but I'm puzzled as to why the occasional inefficiencies of modern assembly line medicine are so aggravating to you. It's part of the nature of seeking well and sick people. Delays happen. Get over it.
08-08-2001, 12:29 AM
Try going in without medical insurance.
Receptionist: "Good afternoon sir, (all smiles) could you please sign in and list your insurance carrier then have a seat, and the doctor will be right with you"
Uninsured self: Umm, I don't have insurance at the moment. (My comment seems to echo through the halls of the office.)
Receptionist: "You don't have insurance? (all heads turn to me)Your examination is quite expensive."
Uninsured self: Uh...ya. Well I'll pay $cash$.(or I guess I could JUST LIVE WITH THE FOOD POISONING FOR A BIT!!)
Receptionist: "Well, the doctor is quite busy, it may be a while."
Uninsured self: "Well, I did make an appointment for 2:00 p.m."
Uninsured self: *crawls over to the plastic "kiddy chair" and curls up in shame*
I guess I still have the benefit of not having to complain about HMOs. :)
08-08-2001, 08:10 AM
Don't feel too bad. I have gotten to the point where I wait until the time I have my appointment, and then I call the doctor's office to see how far behind they are. They tell me to come in (half an hour, forty five minutes, an hour, what ever.) I wait until then, and then I leave the office. It takes me twenty minutes to get to the doc' office. I go in, tell the receptionist thta I am there, and go to the waiting room. There are usually a couple of people ahead of me, so after about fifteen or twenty minutes I get called into one of the examination rooms. There I wait another five minutes for the doc to come in. If he weren't the only doctor in town who knows his ass from a hole in the ground (he does it by taste, I think,) I'd go somewhere else.
Stupid doctor story:
I wanted to show my three year old daughter how a kite flies. We go out onto the street in front of the house, and I take a couple of running steps backwards to get the thing up in the air. I trip over my feet, and fall with my right arm underneath my ass. I get up, and my arm hurts like a son of a bitch up by the elbow. I figure it is sprained, and my wife wraps it with an elastic bandage. Later in the evening, she goes to take the bandage off and put some kind of cream on it to help the sprain. I nearly puke from pain, and she figures the arm must be broken or at least fractured. We go to the doctor around the corner from the house (walking.) We tell him the story, and he examines my arm - paying special attention to the wrist. Finally he tells me that it seems to just be a sprain, and gives me some kind of sport cream to put on it that should help the sprain heal. But my arm hurts just below the ELBOW. He tells me again - Your wrist is just fine. Spread some of this cream on your arm and have your wife wrap it with the elastic bandage again; she did a fine job on the bandage you had on when you came in. Well, Duh. My wife was a doctor's assistant for something twelve like years before we got married and started having kids. But still, it is not my wrist that is the problem. It is just below the elbow that it hurts. Yes, Yes. Your wrist is fine. Go on home and if it still hurts in a couple of days, come back. Fine. We leave, and on the way home the wife decides that I am not a wuss who would nearly puke from a strain, so she drags me off to the hospital. We tell the doctor on duty the story about falling on the arm, and he looks things over. He thinks about it for a while and decides to call in the radiologist to make x-rays. Hey, this is in a small town and it is late in the evening and the radiologist is off duty and at home. If he calls someone in to extra duty without cause, he will catch copper plated hell but he decides to take the risk. Radiologist comes in, does the x-rays. My arm is BROKEN just below the elbow joint. The doc in the hospital puts a cast on it, and puts me on sick leave for a couple of weeks. I can't drive, and it is hard as hell to solder ( I am a radio technician) with a broken right arm when you are right handed.
Your wrist is fine indeed!
Oh, and if you go into a doctor's office here (Germany) without insurance, they roll out the red carpet. The only ones who can get out of having health insurance are those who earn huge gobs of money. Since the docs can bill these folks directly (and prescribe the expensive name brand stuff,) they just love uninsured patients.
08-08-2001, 08:21 AM
Oddly enough, I have the opposite experience at my doctors office.
I've been going to docs since I was about 12 for back issues, and when I got refered to a surgeon, I figured "shit, this will be good for about an hour or more wait". I drive an hour to get there, and arrive 20 minutes early (I'm a chronic early person) and check in.
The waiting room is full and I'm thinking "Great" as I open up the Stephen King book I brought. (A nice thick one.)
About 2 minutes into my read, the receptionist calls me up (I'm thinking to ask an insurance question). Nope- they're ready for me! So I figure, well- they'll make me strip and sit in his exam room for an hour, then. Nope! About 3 minutes later he walks in and I have my stuff done. I commented about the wait time and he said that despite being one of the busiest orthopedic practices in Syracuse, they strive to avoid waits for their patients, many of which are post-op.
Well spank my ass and call me Charlie. I've been going there for years and have never waited. Since I drive an hour, they make a point to get me right in for whatever I'm having done (CT scan, MRI) because they figure I'm sore from driving.
Now THAT'S service- and from one of the best back surgeons in the country.
What I don't get about offices that "run late" is this: How long would it take them to pick up the phone and call the afternoon patients to tell them the doc is running late? I mean, I should call ahead to see how far behind they're running? Please. After experiencing an office that runs correctly, I no longer take this "running behind all the time" line of bull from a doc. (The exception being an OB/GYN who might get called away for a birth)
08-08-2001, 08:31 AM
Rilchiam - one of the best ways to avoid this in the future is to get the earliest appointment available. Not only are you not suffering from other patients' tardiness, you get everyone when they are "ready to go" and not just watching the clock and praying for 5:00 (hell, I do it. Why wouldn't a doctor?). If it's not possible to do this in the future, I suggest taking a good book or magazine. Take the Weekly World News. Maybe they'll want to get you out fast!
08-08-2001, 10:09 AM
You have just picked up on my most hated part of the medical industry.
I asked a receptionist why keeping me waiting fro an hour or so was acceptable.
"Well, you see we triple schedule in case someone doesn't show up."
Oh no you didn't just say that you brain dead whore. In what profession is this acceptable time management? I understand that emergencies come up. Babies happen, broken bones happen, heart attacks happen, etc. I do not understand why anyone, in any so called profession would think it fair, right or reasonable to habitually over book!
When an airline overbooks the victims get huge prizes. When movie theatres overbook you get free tickets. Doctors overbook and not only do you still have to pay, but you get the privledge of missing the rest of your day too.
And people wonder why alternative medicine has a following.
08-08-2001, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by Rez
Rilchiam - one of the best ways to avoid this in the future is to get the earliest appointment available.
You'd think so, wouldn't you? I specifically set up an appointment first thing one morning. It was still 30 minutes before I got to go wait in the examining room for another 15 minutes.
The practice we use now has a sign that says "Please tell us if you've waited 20 minutes past your scheduled appointment time" It doesn't mean squat. Even stopping in just to get a BP check - which I was instructed to do - can take a half an hour. I think I need a new doctor...
08-08-2001, 11:44 AM
Call ahead to the office before leaving. Let them know you are not just confirming your appointment, but that you need to know if they are running on time. Some will lie to you anyway, but often enough I get correct information and adjust my schedule accordingly.
08-08-2001, 11:51 AM
My (rural) doc's practice is so small that you don't even have to phone for an appointment. You just turn up during surgery hours. It's in the same village as my place of work, and surgery hours are 8.30-10.30 and 5.30-6.30 (IIRC). If I need to see the doctor, I can just go early before work, or go at the end of the day. If there's something going around, the surgery can be quite busy, which is when the system has its drawbacks.
Because the practice is in a village more than 3 miles from the nearest dispensing chemist, it's a dispensing practice, so I can get prescriptions there and then.
08-08-2001, 02:26 PM
Here in Canada, home of free healthcare (which we all pay for with our huge taxes), patients waiting is just not a concern. I remember going to doctors when I was younger and having an appointment time actually mean something. My latest bout of chronic waiting room syndrome was when I had to go to my doctor to get my anxiety medication refilled. I sat and waited in the waiting room for over an hour after my appointment time on the verge of a panic attack, because going to doctors is one of the things that makes me anxious. That hour took about 4 lifetimes for me to wait through; the doctor took about 90 seconds to refill my prescription.
The kicker to this story - the rulers of the healthcare system are trying to get everyone to get a family doctor and not use walk-in clinics so much. There are so few doctors left in Calgary that it's almost impossible to get a family practitioner (very few take new patients now), and if you do have an appointment, you wait just as long (or longer) than you would have waited at a walk-in clinic. What a screwy-louie system.
08-08-2001, 09:16 PM
I understand the frustration. The only thing that annoys me more is trying to get the frigging appointment in the first place.
Receptionist: Hello, doctor's office.
Me: I need to schedule an appointment.
R: Oh...I see...what seems to be the problem?
Me: I'm bleeding from every orifice and my kidneys fell out.
R: Oh, that's a shame...how is three weeks from Monday?
Me: Well, I happen to be sick right now, and I would really, really like to see the doctor.
R: You see, the doctor is very busy.
Me: I understand that. However, I am really in a lot of pain here and I think I should see someone immediately.
R: Yes...yes...how about four weeks from Friday?
Me: See, that's later than the original appointment you offered...
R: If only you had called last Thursday. We had a cancellation that day.
Me: That's great, but I wasn't sick then. I am sick now.
R: Right...and what was the problem again?
And so on. I wonder...if I were to make all my appointments in person, and offered the receptionist a twenty, would she get me in sooner? You know, like in an expensive restaurant?
Anyway, thanks for the reminder that I've been meaning to look into getting a new doctor :)
08-08-2001, 10:20 PM
I think the only time I've waited under half an hour to see a doctor was when I was in Scotland. Even when I had apendicitis and could barely walk and was throwing up every 3 feet they made me wait about 45 minutes in the ER. My grandfather almost died on the ER floor once (literally) after waiting so long... they finally took him.
Originally posted by Zette
I've been going to docs since I was about 12 for back issues...
You go to the Doctor's to read old magazines!!!
Sorry, that's the way I read it the first time. I do, sympathize, however. Waiting in a hospital/clinic is purgatory even when you're not in pain.
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