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    Adopting An Apologetic Attitude

    | Boise, ID, USA | Family & Kids, Health & Body

    Me: “Thank you for calling [clinic], this is [my name]. How can I help you this evening?”

    Caller: “Hi, I just needed to speak with a nurse about my son; he’s been coughing really badly this week.”

    Me: “Sure thing!”

    (I get her son’s details, and pull up her son’s account in the computer.)

    Me: “Alright, I will have the nurse give you a call back in the next 20 minutes. Is this the best number to reach you back at?”

    (I read her the primary number on the account.)

    Caller: “That is his biological parents’ phone number, but I’ve adopted him and have primary custody. Can you call me back at [this number] tonight?”

    Me: “Of course! Alright the nurse will call you shortly.”

    Caller: “Actually, can you remove that number and put mine as the primary contact number, please?”

    Me: “Unfortunately, I cannot do that for you this evening. I do not have access to any of the legal paperwork you would have on file, and I would be uncomfortable changing the information on the account at this time. But I will have the nurse call your number tonight. You can call back in the morning during regular office hours and speak with my supervisor to get that done.”

    (The caller immediately flies into a rage.)

    Caller: “I can’t believe this! I should be the primary contact for the child that I have full custody of! This is absurd! Why can’t you just replace the d*** number?”

    Me: “I’m very sorry. It has to do with the privacy laws surrounding your protected personal and health information, as well as the legalities of custody agreements. I wish there was more I could do, but I am just a receptionist. I have very limited access to your records, and have no way to verify who you are. But for tonight I can definitely have the nurse call you at your own number about your son.”

    Caller: “Whatever. Fine.”

    (The caller hangs up, but calls back again about five minutes later.)

    Caller: “Hey this is [name] again. I’m really sorry about being so short with you earlier. I realized that you were just protecting yourself, as well as my son and his information. You guys do a great job, and we really like coming to your clinic. So, I apologize. I’m just very stressed out with my son being so sick.”

    Me: “Wow, thank you for your apology! But I totally understand where you are coming from.”

    Caller: “It’s just been a rough few days. But thank you for your help, and being so kind while I yelled at you. Keep up the good work!”