Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I Don't Get This

Can someone help me with this? I mean, really; I just don't get it.

Patient calls and schedules an appointment.

(No, no; that, I get.)

Then they call back and say,
I have to talk to the doctor.
Er, you have an appointment tomorrow.
Yes, but I have to talk to the doctor first.
Why, in the name of the great and powerful FSM, do you have to talk to the doctor today if you have an appointment tomorrow?

If you're having crushing chest pain or something like that and that's why you think you're coming in (not having bothered to tell my Wonderful Staffer who asked you, "Are you having a particular problem?" anything other than, "It's personal,") then it will serve you right to wake up dead from the massive heart attack you're trying to ignore. It doesn't work that way. God made 911 for a reason, you know.

Granted, there are occasions where family members will call ahead to let me know things like, "his leg has really been bothering him for three months instead of the three weeks he's going to tell you about." But the whole point of making the appointment was to, um, TALK TO THE DOCTOR!!

If I'm going to see you tomorrow, there is absolutely no way you need to talk to me today. Think about it: what the hell are you going to say to me on the phone that you couldn't be saying to me tomorrow, in private, face-to-face, when I have a prayer of a chance of actually doing something about it; ie, something other than saying, "Why don't you make an appointment so we can talk about this in the office?"

In the words of the lovely and talented CrankyProf: Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?


At Thu May 07, 07:16:00 AM, Blogger Clinton said...

I guess you'll find out tomorrow what the patient so badly wanted to talk about today.

At Thu May 07, 07:25:00 AM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

I thought only my patients did that.

Second only to the patient who has the answering service ring you at 8 pm because you called her with results at 2 pom and she wasn't there.

Or the patient who emails you asking you to call her.

Or the patient who has her assistant call you with her symptoms asking for a prescription.

Oh look, you got me started....

At Thu May 07, 08:30:00 AM, Anonymous Craig said...

Hello!!! The patient is trying to get it for free on the phone and will cancel the appointment right after you hang up.

At Thu May 07, 02:32:00 PM, Blogger Hilary said...

Maybe the patient isn't sure if it should wait until tomorrow and wants you to tell them what to watch for or if they should just head to the ER. Most people, I would think, don't like talking to receptionists about what exactly the health concern is.

At Thu May 07, 03:15:00 PM, Anonymous Celeste said...

I have never heard of this, and I've certainly never done it. I thought that's what the appointment was FOR?

Maybe your patients just really enjoy you, Dino, and can't get enough.

At Thu May 07, 05:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your patient is one of my students, and has one of my feet jammed in his ass.

BOTH of us can't wait for you to remove it tomorrow!

At Fri May 08, 06:10:00 AM, Blogger ER's Mom said...

Or worse, when your nurse is busy running you, keeping the PATIENTS WITH APPOINTMENTS moving is the patient who calls and will only speak to her.


At Fri May 08, 07:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your patients aren't.

That's all.


Kensington MD

At Fri May 08, 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Ed said...

Well I can imagine wanting to know if my complaint describes something which'll need a fasting blood test or some other action I should take between "now" and the appointment, but it's a stretch, I admit.

At Fri May 08, 11:46:00 PM, Anonymous James Wilk, M.D. said...

They are trying to get free advice instead of coming in. People who would never steal from the grocery store think it's perfectly okay to steal the doctor's only means of putting hamburger helper on the table.

At Sat May 09, 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Nurse K said...

I had one the other day who said that her "insurance didn't start until tomorrow", so she had to obviously be seen in the ER today for her neck pain x 2 months. She wanted to know what was wrong BEFORE she went to the doctors' office.

At Sat May 16, 05:52:00 PM, Blogger Grumpy, M.D. said...

I always assume they are trying to get free advice over the phone, so they can cancel the next day's appointment and spend the co-pay on cigarrettes.


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