File This One Under Crazy

, , , , | Legal | July 27, 2018

(The office I work in only has three employees for one lawyer: the legal assistant, the medical records worker, and me, the receptionist. It is a busy day, with a constant flow of clients and the phone constantly ringing. The medical records worker comes up to my desk after a lengthy phone call.)

Medical Records: “I just had a nasty call from a previous client’s daughter. She’s on the way up here for a letter from her mother’s closed file, even though I told her there’s no way we can get it right now.”

Me: “What did she say?”

Medical Records: “She told me that she’s still coming from [City 30 minutes away], and that we had better d*** well get it, even though it’s a closed case from 2012 and we filed it away already. I tried to tell her we won’t have it today, but that we may have it tomorrow, and she hung up on me.”

Me: “Well, [Legal Assistant] would know where that is, but she’s with clients all day. I’ll just tell [Client’s Daughter] that we can’t get those files.”

(Thirty minutes later, the client’s daughter shows up as I’m in the middle of a call with another client, loudly interrupting me.)

Client’s Daughter: “I called earlier about my mom’s letter. I need it now!

Me: “One moment, please.” *puts the caller on hold* “Yes, you were told over the phone that there’s no way we can get that letter for you right now. Our legal assistant is the only one who knows where those files are, and she’s currently with clients.”

Client’s Daughter: *looks around our now empty waiting lobby* “I don’t see anyone here. I need that letter now. My mom almost died, and she needs this letter to help her get healthcare. They told me I need to have that letter by tomorrow or she’s not getting it.”

(I can already tell she’s lying, because we talk commonly with doctors and healthcare agents. They never give an ultimatum like that — not without calling us first.)

Me: “I am truly sorry to hear that. And still, we cannot get that letter yet, because the legal assistant is with clients and is unable to retrieve that file. She will need a few days to find it and make copies of the letter. Which one is it that you need?”

(The daughter names off a letter that we wouldn’t even have.)

Me: “You could have saved yourself a trip. We wouldn’t have that one, anyway.”

Client’s Daughter:What?! I just drove 30 miles to get up here, and you couldn’t have told me that over the phone?”

Me: “Do you mean when you hung up on us?”

Client’s Daughter: “Whatever! While I’m here, I want my mother’s files. We’re going to take the case to someone else.”

Me: “We would still have to find the file, which is in storage at a location away from here. We would have to do this on a day we don’t have clients, since we are currently busy with clients–” *motions pointedly to my phone* “–and can’t take the time to drive to that location to get it. The best I can do is take a message to give the legal assistant. Or, you can wait an hour to see her. It’s 3:30 now, and we close at 5:00, so you’d have only 30 minutes to convince her to drive there and get it for you. Or, you can wait for us to get it for you and call you to pick it up at a later day.”

Client’s Daughter: “I’m not leaving without my mother’s file. You need to get it now.”

Me: “No, I don’t. I don’t know where it’s located. I’m not leaving my station because you were too impatient to let us get it for you and call for you to pick it up.”

Client’s Daughter: “My mother almost died last week, and you’re going to go get that file right now! She’s outside in my car, in the boiling heat, with my child and husband! They cannot wait a d*** hour for someone else to go get it!”

Medical Records: *messages me over our network* “Tell her to wait one f****** moment. I will go outside to see if it’s still here on premises or out in the storage room, or if we’ve moved it offsite.”

Me: *to client’s daughter* “[Medical Records] has kindly offered to go out to our supremely hot storage room to see if it’s out there, since your dying mother can’t sit outside in this unbearable heat. It can take her a while, so I would suggest you bring her inside.”

Client’s Daughter: “She’s fine outside. Besides, my husband is in a wheelchair, and it would take too much work to get him inside of here.”

Me: “We have a ramp you can use to bring him inside.”

(The client’s daughter ignores me and instead takes a call, so I resume my conversation with my previous client. As I’m talking, I can overhear the client’s daughter telling whoever is on the phone, “Yeah, they told me they were tired of fighting with me about it, so they’re getting the file right now.” I make a point to message the medical records worker and legal assistant. Almost fifty minutes later, the medical records worker returns with the file. She takes it to the legal assistant, who finished with her clients a few minutes ago. The legal assistant comes out shortly after.)

Legal Assistant: “We need to make a copy of your driver’s license. Here are your mother’s files. You were told over the phone that we do not have the time, and you still decided to disrupt our work period for something that was clearly not that important. Nothing in your mother’s file is going to help you to get insurance. You were told that. You still decided to keep your dying mother waiting in the hot, blazing car while you sat up here for this. I wish your mother the best in her endeavors, but you are not welcome up here for any reason. Do not return. Do not call. We don’t care to have anything to do with you any further, and no longer have a reason to. There is the door. Leave.”

Client’s Daughter: *to me* “It didn’t take that long to find her file.”

Me: “If your mother was really sick and near death, then she’d have died by now, waiting outside for an hour for you. Goodbye.”

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