Noon, Not Too Soon, Part 2

| Great Neck, NY, USA | Right | October 27, 2011

(I call patients the day before their appointment to remind them.)

Me: “Hello, [patient], I am calling to remind you of your appointment with [doctor] tomorrow at noon.”

Patient: “Okay, what time is my appointment?”

Me: “Noon.”

Patient: “But what time is my appointment?”

Me: “Noon.”

Patient: “What time is noon?”

Me: “Um, it’s at twelve o’clock…in the afternoon.”

Patient: “Oh, great. Thanks! I’ll be in.”


Health Care(less), Part 2

| Seattle, WA, USA | Right | June 18, 2011

(A patient comes in for a follow-up. I check their insurance card for charges.)

Me: “It seems that you have a $25 charge. You can pay that in cash, check, or credit card.”

Patient: “I don’t have charges anymore.”

Me: “Oh, did you get a new insurance company?”

Patient: “No, I just don’t have charges anymore.”

Me: “Do you have a new card that reflects that change? If not, I’m required to collect your charge. Then, if it turns out you don’t have one, we will refund it to you.”

Patient: “No, I don’t have a new card. But President Obama says I don’t have to pay.”

Me: “The president told you that you don’t have to pay?”

Patient: “Yeah. He says that Americans get healthcare for free now.”

Me: “Oh, I understand now. However, I think you’ve misunderstood. The Healthcare Bill doesn’t eliminate charges except for preventative, and doesn’t make healthcare free. It just restructures some health insurance policy and such. And it hasn’t gone into effect yet. So, you still have a charge.”

(She reluctantly pays her charge.)

Patient: “Expect to hear from President Obama about this. And don’t expect any sympathy either when he gives you the chair.”


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The Mother Of All Sicknesses

| Mesa, AZ, USA | Right | November 12, 2010

Customer: “I need to get an appointment for my son right away!”

Me: “Okay, has he seen the doctor before?”

Customer: “No. He had an appointment but he missed it.”

(I get the patient’s name and check him in the computer. He missed a consult appointment on 8/10 and didn’t call to cancel. He simply didn’t show up. It is now 9/27.)

Me: “Okay, our next available appointment is October 22nd.”

Customer: “That’s not soon enough! Don’t you have anything sooner?”

Me: “That’s our next available routine appointment. If you want to have his primary care physician call and speak with our doctor, we may be able to move it up, but right now I can’t put him in our emergency slots.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “It’s our policy not to give out emergency slots to patients who have previously no-showed appointments.”

Customer: “What if it’s an emergency?”

Me: “Given that his original appointment that you missed was six weeks ago, I find that unlikely.”

Customer: “He’s got hormones in his brain!”

*long awkward silence*

Me: “He’s a teenage boy, right?”

Customer: “It’s an emergency!”


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If The Zits Don’t Kill You, The Angst Will

| | Right | October 6, 2009

Me: Hello this is [doctor’s office], how may I help you?”

Caller: “Help! I’ve sprouted a nipple on my forehead!”

(From the caller’s voice, I could tell that it was a female teenager.)

Me: “Excuse me? If this is a prank, I can report you–”

Caller: “No, this is not a prank! This morning I got up, and there was this huge, red lump on my forehead…and now I’ve poked it and this milk is coming out!”

Me: “Hon, that’s a pimple, not a nipple.”

Caller: “Oh…” *gasps* “Is it deadly?”

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Pint-Sized Purification

| | Right | June 17, 2009

Caller: “Hi, do you have any doctors that prescribe detox drugs?”

Me: “No, we don’t provide that service.”

Caller: “How do you know? You have lots of doctors. How do you know?!”

Me: “We don’t specialize in addiction treatment. Our doctors aren’t that type of practitioner.”

Caller: “Why?! What if I need them to be?”

Me: “Well, then you would have to call another office.”

Caller: “What kind of doctor’s don’t prescribe detox meds?!”

Me: “Pediatricians…”

Caller: “Oh!” *hangs up phone*

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