A Doctor's Tale

Posted by Herb7734 1 month, 2 weeks ago to Culture
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Yesterday, I went to a doctor. After being on time to the minute, even though my 5' tall 110 lb wife had to push me into the office in a wheelchair on to the 2nd floor (elevator) and down a long hall. We had to wait an hour before he saw me.
The doc is a 30-ish guy with an athletic build who I was only too happy to unload on. Never one to be shy when I'm annoyed I told him that he should be ashamed. After all, at 85 years of age, I have a lot less time available to me to waste than he does.. This led a usually taciturn medico to explain some things to me. He wasn't an independent doctor, rather he was a part of a conglomeration of 11 doctors of the same specialty. As such, he had to comply to the rules set down by the group one of which was that he could not instruct the nurses or the office help as an individual, but only as a part of the conglomeration. In this case, the help failed to inform him that he was running over one hour late, and worse yet failed to inform the patient(s) (me). Because of the "Me Too" movement any interchange between a male doctor and the female staff could be construed as sexual harassment, it was forbidden and could only be put forth at staff meetings. Having been a small business owner myself, I know I could never tolerate working under such conditions. I don't know if he was telling me a tale in order to cool me down, or the naked truth.In the past, based on other conversations, I found him to be generally conservative, and honest with a penchant for thoroughly explaining .what was wrong, what was being done, and why. Characteristics that I found irrisistable in a doctor of this decade. I'd like to get some input from the Gulch, especially the docs out there. Watcha think Doc Zarkoff and
others? All typos are my fault due to my awful typing skills and lack of desire to improve them.


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  • Posted by freedomforall 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I had such an appointment wait about 20 years ago. After about an hour I asked when the doctor would see me. They said it would be another 30 minutes or more. I told them to make another appointment for me because I had other business I couldn't miss. Before going to the 2nd appointment I called ahead and asked about the schedule and I was told I would be seen promptly. Again I waited for 30 minutes and asked about the schedule. I was told it would be another 30 minutes or more. An hour later I saw the doctor and complained about having to wait twice. My time with the doctor was about 5 minutes. When the bill arrived I wrote the doctor with an invoice for my time that exceeded his bill significantly. He called me to express his displeasure. I informed him that I couldn't run a business as he did and expect to be paid, and that neither should he. Neither his bill nor my invoice were paid. I found a doctor that could stick to a schedule. I always ask before I go to any doctor about scheduling. If they don't have respect for my time, I have no respect for theirs.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Thank goodness my regular all-purpose doc is always prompt, never more than 5 minutes or so. Since insurance pays the bill, I rarely see it. But your solution was a an excellent idea,.thanks.
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  • Posted by $ exceller 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I think all of us had one or two experience like you had.

    I had to wait for my doctor of a long time once for one hour. The regular wait time for him is between 20 to 30 min. One hour was too long. I asked the nurse what was going on and she replied that he was "still with a patient".

    I did not wait longer. He expects people to show up on time bc/ his "time is valuable". So was mine. I made sure the nurse understood that when I left. She rescheduled the apptm and next time I was seen right away.

    He did not apologize but said that he is unable to control how long time a patient will take.

    Which was not an excuse b/c he controlled time with patients, never going beyond 30 min each.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      They seem incapable of telling the patient that they will be delayed and ask if they could remake the appointment. That's office staff training, which is sadly lacking in most doctor's offices.
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  • Posted by JohnRandALL 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Yes, get the first appointment in the morning, or the first appointment in the afternoon. If you have the last appointment of the day, the doctor will likely be behind. Sadly, most doctors now are employed, like me, and the organization dictates their schedule. There is no way to allow more time for the patient. I realize waiting at the doctors's office to be seen is one of the major frustrations for patients. i also have found that if the patient is happy with their doctor, they are willing to wait longer, but their is a limit. 30 minutes is usually tolerable, but an hour is too long.
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  • Posted by JohnRandALL 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I have been a family physician for 39 years. I now work in a family medicine practice in a small rural hospital, and I am an employee of a large health care system. I am given only 20 minutes to see a patient, and it takes me almost 10 minutes just to document the visit in the computer, so that leaves only 10 minutes with the patient. Patients in rural areas tend to be older and sicker. There is no way i can really do a good job of addressing all of their issues in only 10 minutes. I do the best I can, but still find myself routinely 30 - 60 minutes behind. This is the other side of the story.
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    • Posted by libertylad 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      So get an early appointment before the doctor falls farther behind?
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      • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
        In the case of elderly patients (possibly others) getting an appointment is rarely within the power of the patient. In some cases when it comes to certain specialists it might take months to get an appointment and if one does, one will usually not quibble about the time.
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        • Posted by libertylad 1 month, 2 weeks ago
          Someone I know, 73, often gets either first or last appointments upon request to avoid long(er) waits. It works in his case. I'm sorry to hear it's not practical for you, too.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      I don't know the solution. But, that's not my job. I am not only a patient, but a customer. Can you imagine a retail store in which the customer must wait an hour before seeing a sales person.? It does happen in Russia and in other People's Republics which only goes to prove that an essential part of being a doctor is being left out of their training. You as well as your partners are running a business. It is a business with greater consequences than retail establishments, but a business nonetheless.You might also notice that those who seem to wait the longest are the elderly. Or perhaps it's just that they complain the loudest since their aches and pains are the greatest as a group.Perhaps some Mr. Very Bright should organize a movement for the elderly . Not me. I'm going on toward 86 and have been through all of my protested and complaints and battles. I'm just cooling it by doing only those things which interest me and waiting for the boatman to beckon me to board.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    I wouldn't evaluate the reasons they're not serving you well. I'd just go someplace else. There's no need to figure out the reasons why they're messed up or explain the problem to them unless you're their business process consultant.

    It's hard to find good providers because they often think the insurance company is the customer. Sometimes I can explain that I have money and want "Concierge" service, really just the same level of service I expect from a good plumber or electrician. I actually don't know many good providers. If someone in my family gets a serious illness I'll probably travel to Rochester for the Mayo Clinic. I hope I don't have such a need any time soon.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      The trouble with this guy is that in all other aspects he's a really good doc. Rather than simply prescribing more meds, he tends to show me what I can do to treat myself, and what he tells me, works. !In this particular area, his specialty isn't much available except in offices with multiple docs and I suspect similar problems.It boils down to doctors needing education in business practices.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month, 1 week ago
        ".It boils down to doctors needing education in business practices."
        You are shooting par if he's good in all other aspects. I think it's hard for providers because insurance companies and gov't rules on insurance are sold as way so doctors can focus on medicine instead of business and sick patients don't have to think about paying in the middle of an illness. But it doesn't work well. There's no substitute for buyers and sellers being aware what they're paying/charging.
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  • Posted by Abaco 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    The guy who rebuilt my knee did a fantastic job. Very competent...extremely so. Saw him the other day and he's retiring soon. I view it as an end of an era.

    Sorry about the bullsh*t Herb.

    This reminds me...I saw Bloomberg's campaign ad on tv this morning and the only topic in it was health care and how he's going to get you your health care. I bristle at this beyond words! I work in health care, albeit as an engineer. I can't stomach this implication that Big Brother Medical is the answer, as though it's the only answer for all you dupes out there. It's clearly a fallacy...
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      He's advocating for the problem rather than the solution.I haven't looked into his tenure as mayor of NYC, so I couldn't say if his health plan was more successful, but I don't see how it could be. Just another B.S. political ad.
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  • Posted by $ Dobrien 1 month, 2 weeks ago
    1st off I hope you are getting better and the doc was able to help.
    Next you are a lucky old codger, to have a hot slim BW to push you around. lol.
    I am reminded though of a humourous story that you have heard. About the brave young US marine who was severely wounded in battle. He was unconscious and airlifted to safety. His legs were lost from an IUD assembled and planted by a Soleimani’s trained terrorist in Iraq. After surgery he awakened to the see the nurse who was caring for him. The nurse informed him that “he won’t be able to feel anything below the waist” To which he responded “well , can I feel your ……?
    Both the Dr.s group board and the soldier went overboard in the opposite direction as far as the discourse between the sexes is concerned. The nurse could have said to the soldier “catch me if you can” if she was offended, problem solved.
    What if the group Just hired qualified people and demanded they adhere to their Hippocratic oath including Primum non nocere. To patients and others.
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    • Posted by 1 month, 2 weeks ago
      Rationality such as your suggestion is, for the most part, gone away in the current era.Utterly insane solutions to every day problems are being accepted as the norm. Just like abaco in the post above it makes me want to slap them silly because .....they are.
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