Doctors Have Homes?!

, , , | Healthy | February 20, 2019

(I am a resident on long call, staying after all of the other residents leave at 5:00 pm and admitting patients until the night team takes over. Near 8:00 pm, I get a call from the emergency department to admit a patient who was brought from her primary care provider’s office. Her condition is not that serious and she is generally pleasant, except for one thing:)

Patient: “[Attending Doctor] promised me that he would meet me right when I arrived!”

Me: “Oh? When did you speak with him?”

Patient: “When I was in the clinic.”

(Note that that was six or seven hours ago.)

Me: “Oh, well, the ambulance company never tells us a time of arrival, and it sounds like yours was pretty delayed. And the ED doesn’t tell every attending doctor when they admit a patient. [Attending Doctor] likely isn’t at the hospital anymore, but I’m sure he would have been here if he had known what time you were coming.”

Patient: “But he promised that he would be here waiting for me when I arrived!”

(She brought it up over and over again, making sure to interject it after each question she answered. I was a little taken aback by how fixated she was on this, especially considering how calm she was about her actual medical condition, and also by the fact that she assumed doctors don’t have lives and spend all of their copious free time at the hospital instead of with, I don’t know, their families? It turns out [Attending Doctor] was at a meeting and he drove back to the hospital to see the patient when it was done. I’m sure the patient was still upset that he did not use his psychic powers to know the exact time she arrived so he could be at the emergency department doors to greet her.)

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