Impatient Patient

 building facade in Philadelphia 

“Doc, she says that time isn’t going to work for her. She wants today, 10:30 only.”

I looked at the clock. It was 9:30 and I was already running thirty minutes behind.

“I don’t have anything else to offer. We are double booked as it is because of the other doctor being out on vacation. I don’t know what else to do to accommodate her. We are doing our best.”

“She’s yelling at me.” My front desk person looked on the verge of tears.

“I’m sorry. She is welcome to come whenever she likes but she will have to wait until we can see her. Or she can come at 1:30 and we will see her then.”

I can’t really call the patient at 10:30 and tell them not to bother coming in so she can be seen in that slot. 

“She says she will just go somewhere else.”

I sighed. 

10:30 rolled around and the physical that was scheduled at that slot didn’t bother to show. Neither did the work in that was also scheduled at that time.

Two days later I saw the belligerent patient for her head cold. She didn’t go elsewhere. She was very nice during the visit.

I don’t know what was going on their lives, what extenuating circumstances were involved, but this is what was going on in mine.


73 thoughts on “Impatient Patient

  1. I hate when patients are mean to my very nice staff. You can bet that if you or I were really sick then we would take any appt at any time. If a patient isn’t willing to take the only time available then they aren’t really that sick. Btw – You are an exception in that you even tried to get her in urgently. The docs in my town just say, “Go to Urgent Care” which isn’t ideal. Keep up the good fight.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Victo,

    Hold on to that steely resolve and don’t let those few with an unwitting mind spoil your day, however difficult that might be. My thoughts go out to you in the hope it’ll help turn a frown upside down ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Take care and thoroughly enjoy your evening when you get there.


    DN – 15/09/2015

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes indeed they are! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

        I recall someone once remarked that most people live only for the weekends. Well, in my humble opinion, I do believe it is time for everyone to live like it’s the weekend every night! And to enjoy the sweet taste and flavour of them all no matter how they may be served ๐Ÿ˜€

        Take care Victo. Keep a smile on your dial and your never-ending dreams alive ๐Ÿ™‚


        DN – 16/09/2015

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Doctors Run | April's Perspective

  4. Because we are an instant gratification society that is selfish and full of assholes. It’s a shame that you tried everything in your power and it wasn’t good enough for a damn head cold. Sheesh! Urgent care is just as bad here, often waiting just as long to be seen in a doctor’s office. Frustrating all around!
    You and your staff are wonderful people and I hate that people are so rude and ungrateful when you do your best. You’d be my doc if lived closer!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ya done good Victo. It is one thing to try to accommodate a patient but when it comes down to setting others aside – that’s not fair. I’ve done similar things when one customer makes unrealistic demands that can only be met by giving poor service to another or other customers.

    Realistically Victo you have spent literally more than a decade and a significant portion of a million of dollars getting the knowledge and skills that make you a great doctor. Then there are the facilities, the equipment, the staff, the operating expenses – like insurance, licences, upgrading costs, training for yourself and staff, accounting, IT, record keeping, etc . All of this has to line up in order for the patient to be able to benefit from your help Victo. The only way this huge collection of resources can possibly be brought to bear on the patients’ complaints, is if the costs , not only financial and personal but social as well, are spread over a large patient base. When one patient demands that they be given priority, just tell them that if they wish to hire you as their exclusive personal physician with a minimum 5 year contract and all the expenses that incurs, you will be more than happy to consider their offer. Until such time they are required to share you fairly with others who have like concerns.

    I used to do that to unruly customers – when they pay $100 for a shipment because it shares resources with 40 others, they can hardly expect to be able to demand beyond the stated service contract. I used to point out to them that if they wanted exclusive, it would be $4,000 per shipment as opposed to $100. Believe it or not, I once had a customer agree when I told him it would cost him $5,500 to have only his shipment on the truck. Surprised the heck out of me – but after checking it out and realizing it was real, we brought in another driver and truck and did it – the whole run dedicate to one customer (who only used maybe 5% of the capacity). I thought my employer was going to kiss me,. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. think about the humongous resources it took to train you – the universities, the doctors and professors, the hospitals, the equipment, the huge history of medicine that preceded you and from which you learned. If you added that all up it would involve millions of people (through history) and hundreds of billions of dollars (mind you , again, shared with other trainees, but still necessary for your training). The social cost alone of all that is huge (think about the publicly funded CDC, government funded research over the decades, grants for research, drug company research funded through prescription costs by all users, etc)

        To make this all work, we (the patients) have to be thankful that you dedicated your adult life to gaining the knowledge and training necessary to be able to help us and as, you say, we have to share your time and attention fairly.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I imagine there’s no end to scheduling issues at your office. People calling last minute with only their situation front and center. I feel for you. It’s tough because when people are sick they may not be thinking clearly and are cranky. Once again, thank you for being a doctor. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. People…! I had a different experience though. It happened yesterday in my dentist office. After waiting for an hour, I went to the desk and said, “I haven been waiting for an hour, I just wonder how much longer …” The woman raised her voice, “This is Monday, we are Always busy on Monday!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is no excuse for yelling or being rude to anyone, especially those who are trying to help you.
    I don’t go to the doctor often, but I have had times when I’ve been sick or needed to get something checked out and I have substance abuse /mental health clients scheduled, so I’ve asked for appointment times that did not conflict with my clients appointments. I wasn’t rude or demanding about it, but I wonder if the doctor’s support staff thought “it must not be that important if she can’t take the opening I have today”. In spite of what I encourage others to do, I have trouble taking sick time when I have appointments scheduled, unless I have a fever. That’s why I’ve built up almost 400 hours of sick time I can’t cash in or give away. …. Still, there’s no excuse for being mean and yelling if you can’t get worked in, especially for a head cold. Drink plenty of fluids and take cold medicine. Oh, and rest – that’s the one I need to work on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Explaining situations like that, rather than yelling, makes all the difference. Often we can do things over the phone worse comes to worse. I think staff stops trying to help when they get yelled at. What they should really do is ask why it is so important and go from there…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So much respect for doctors. SO much.

    By the way, youโ€™ve been chosen as one of todayโ€™s nine blogs in Thatโ€™s So Jacobโ€™s Ninth Month Blog Challenge (! I challenge you to find nine blogs you find interesting and give them a comment to brighten their dayโ€ฆwell, eight other blogs and mine ๐Ÿ™‚ Copy this message in your comment and enjoy your new blog friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for giving us a peak into your chaotic life. Of course this person would be nice to you. It says a lot about a person who treats the front-line workers badly. While it is true that everyone has the occasional bad day and may take out their frustration and / or anxiety on the person in front on them, in this case it sounds more like someone who is used to bullying and intimidation to get their way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. People who yell or shout to make a point when they can talk I consider among the worst people you can meet. My attitude is simple in that I do my thing, let them “noise out” and when they give me B.S. I tell them to learn some manners and I walk out.

    Fuck them for disturbing the relative peace and quiet I need in my head. In the meantime I stay polite. Sometimes all you can do is to stay polite and have patience (if still present).

    Recently someone in my family went too far. I called it quits on this person and if this person has not learnt, my door is closed until I receive an apology. People without manners, no.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am sorry that in trying to do your very best, there are these challenges. But, I think, this blog is helping patients understand and be more understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at doctors’ offices.


    Liked by 1 person

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