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  • Doctors Of The Caribbean

    | England, UK | Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Theme Of The Month, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work at a General Practitioner’s Surgery, and I am taking phone calls from patients.)

    Me: “How may I help you?”

    Customer: “Hi, can I book a appointment to see one of the doctors this morning?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but there is no available appointments with the doctors today. We offer a triage service; if the triage nurse believes so, they can get you a appointment today, is this okay?”

    (The customer says something, but I cant make it out.)

    Me: “I’m sorry but the line seems to be terrible today; can you repeat what you just said?”

    Customer: “Oh, sorry, that’s because I’m on a boat in the Caribbean.”

    (I’m slightly confused at this point, thinking I misheard her.)

    Me: “Can I just check that you said you were in the Caribbean?”

    Customer: “Yes, I’m on a cruise, but I’m not feeling well, so I want to see [doctor's name] today. Can I have an appointment to see him in the next few hours?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but I cant offer you a appointment with the doctor today, due to all routine appointments being taken, and the fact you will not turn up to the appointment here, as you are hundreds of miles away out of the country.”

    Customer: “But I’m not feeling well! I am a registered patient at your surgery, and I want to see the doctor right now!”

    Me: “As I just said, I cant offer you a appointment that you have no way of turning up to.”

    Customer: “THEN MAKE HIM COME TO ME!”

    Me: “The doctors do try their best to help all patients as needed, but I am afraid asking them to fly over to you in the Caribbean at such short notice is not a feasible option. I suggest you seek the help of the medical facility on board the ship.”

    Customer: “Oh… I didn’t think of that. But when I get back, I’m going to come to the surgery and file a complaint.”

    Of Waiting And Berating

    | Gardena, CA, USA | Health & Body

    (I am visiting my doctor’s office. There is some extensive road work going on in the surrounding area, so several people have arrived late, including me. The office is extremely busy and crowded, and the receptionist is looking very harassed.)

    Receptionist: “Unfortunately you arrived more than 15 minutes late for your appointment. The doctor won’t be able to see you now. However, if you’re willing to wait, we can fit you in at the next available window, or you can reschedule.”

    Me: “Okay. I’ll wait.”

    (I take a seat and begin to read. Meanwhile, another lady goes up to the receptionist.)

    Receptionist: “Unfortunately you arrived outside of the 15 minute window we allow for your appointment, so the doctor won’t be able to see you now. If you’re willing to wait, we can fit you in at the next available slot, or we can reschedule you.”

    Customer: “That’s ridiculous! I was only two minutes past the 15 minute window! I shouldn’t have to reschedule just because of two minutes!”

    Me: “Then maybe you shouldn’t have been 17 minutes late.”

    (The customer glares at me, but continues to rant at the receptionist.)

    Customer: “Why should I have to arrive on time anyway? You doctors don’t understand what it’s like for us, always having to wait! We always have to wait for you doctors; it should go both ways! You should wait for us! With as much as I’m paying, you should wait for us!”

    Me: “Look, lady, I was late for my appointment, too. That was my fault, and I accepted it like an adult. In case you hadn’t noticed, this clinic is very full today and the doctor is too busy to wait for you to decide to show up! Now you can either sit down and wait like the rest of us, or reschedule and leave!”

    (The customer goes and sits down. She continues to rant about how unfair this is, and how much more important her time is than the rest of ours. After about 10 minutes, she stands up again.)

    Customer: “I can’t wait this ridiculous amount of time!”

    (She reschedules with the receptionist. The best part? They found an open slot for my appointment only 15 minutes later!)

    When The Pill Popper Pops

    | FL, USA | Health & Body

    (My father is a physician. I am waiting to take him to lunch when a patient comes stomping out of his exam room with him.)

    Patient: “All I’m saying is, I need a prescription for Vicodin!”

    My Father: “Ma’am, I’m not writing you a prescription for that. Your condition is in no way severe enough for narcotic pain medication. I can prescribe you some Ibuprofen if you’d like something to help with inflammation.”

    Patient: “F*** you! I said I needed Vicodin! My wrist really hurts, and other doctors have given it to me without all this s***!”

    My Father: “I’m sorry your wrist hurts, but nothing shows up to suggest there is anything serious going on. If those other doctors will write you the prescription, you’re welcome to go to them for a second opinion.”

    (It has become obvious that she is not getting what she wants, so she settles instead for cursing and yelling at my father as much as she can on her way out. She verbally abuses the nurse at the front desk, and then turns to deliver the best parting shot she can come up with.)

    Patient: “You’re pathetic! Get a real f****** job!”

    The Waiting Blame Game

    | NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body

    (It is a particularly busy day; the doctor is backed up nearly an hour. I am informing a patient who is checking in.)

    Patient: “AN HOUR?!? Are you kidding me? He expects me to wait an hour?”

    Me: “Yes, sir. I do apologize for the wait, but—”

    Patient: “I just need my test results. Give me a copy!”

    Me: “I can do that. Give me just a moment to make a copy.”

    (I take the report to the copier. A 94-year-old woman is checking out with my coworker.)

    Me: “Here you go, sir, your results.”

    (The patient reads through the results.)

    Patient: “Well, what does this word mean?”

    (He reads off a long medical term. Despite the fact that I know the meaning of the word, I am not allowed to explain his results to him due to HIPAA regulations.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I’m unable to explain the results to you. This is why you have your appointment to speak with the doctor.”

    Patient: “But you’re a nurse! You have to explain this to me! I didn’t eat any god-d*** lunch before this appointment, and if I don’t get a sandwich soon I’ll—”

    (The 94-year-old patient pipes up.)

    94-Year-Old Patient: “Excuse me, sir, but you are the rudest man I’ve ever known! Talking to a young girl like that! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. If you want your test results, you’d better wait. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 94 years on this earth, it’s that you should make the most of the time you have. If you have to spend that time in a doctor’s office waiting, well then, S*** HAPPENS!”

    (The man slinks away from the desk, sits in a chair, and mopes. He does, in fact, have to wait for an hour. He doesn’t say a word to any of us for the rest of his visit!)

    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!”

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