About To Make A (Dis)Appointment

, , , , | Healthy | October 24, 2017

(My multi-specialty medical office has an audiologist who does hearing tests for patients. I assist the ENT [Ear/Nose/Throat] doctors so I handle calls from his patients, since he doesn’t have his own assistant. One of our phone operators calls me at the nurses’ station with an audiology patient on the other line.)

Operator: “Dr. [Audiologist]’s 4:00 says she’s going to be ten minutes late. Is that okay?”

(We allow a 15-minute window to show up for appointments, and a check of the schedule reveals she’s the last patient of the day.)

Me: “Yes, that’s fine, as long as it’s no more than 15 minutes.”

(The operator relays the message and I go about my day. Later, I realize it’s 4:45 and the patient isn’t showing up as checked in on the schedule. I’m about to call up to the front desk to see if they’ve forgotten to check her in when the receptionist calls me.)

Receptionist: “Hi… did you tell Dr. [Audiologist]’s 4:00 that we’d ‘just work her in’ when she got here? Because she just got here.” *I can practically hear the air quotes*

Me: “I most certainly did not. I said no more than 15 minutes late. She needs to reschedule.”

Receptionist: “Yeah… that’s what I thought. Okay. I’m gonna go talk to [Audiologist]. Bet he’ll say the same thing.”

(He did. When the receptionist politely relayed to the patient that he was unable to stay 45 minutes late to accommodate her, she threw a hissy fit and ranted at our poor receptionist for several minutes before storming out in a snit. Her best line, as the receptionist later conveyed, was that she’d told our phone operator she was “on 50” and he should have known how far away she was. Highway 50 runs from West Sacramento to Maryland…)

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