Try To Keep Pace With The Questions

| NSW, Australia | Health & Body, Technology

(I work as a receptionist for a radiology practice, and we need to go through a list of safety questions before a patient can go in for their scan. An old woman and her daughter/carer walk in.)

Daughter: “Hello, my mother has an appointment today.”

Me: “No problem. First I need to go through a list of implants or devices she may have in her body, and I just need a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to whether she has them.”

Daughter: “No, no, no! My mother doesn’t have anything! She’s just as God made her!”

Me: “Ma’am, this is protocol. It’s important to ask each question…”

Daughter: “Don’t bother; the answer is “no” to everything.”

Me: “Okayyy…” *notes this down on form*

Patient: “Well, I do have a pacemaker. Will that be a problem?”

(She was about to get an MRI. That could kill a patient!)

‘X’ Marks The Stupid

, | NY, USA | Extra Stupid

(I work as part of the front desk staff at a medical office. In order to treat patients they must first sign consent forms, which can vary based on what procedure one is getting. Our standard forms have all the options and we mark where the patient must sign/initial with a red “X” to make it very clear, as well as informing the patient to sign anywhere they see these red “X”s.)

Patient: “Do I have to sign all of these?”

Me: “No, only where there’s a red ‘X.’”

Patient: “So all of these?”

Me: “No, there are only two red ‘X’s there. That’s where you sign.”

Patient: “So I don’t have to sign all of the other ones?”

Me: “No… Only where it’s indicated.”

(After returning the forms to me, I saw that she signed everywhere EXCEPT where I had told her to. I had to ask her to step back up the desk and then physically pointed out each place to sign.)

Has No Patience To Be A Patient

| Australia | Crazy Requests, Health & Body

(It is a very slow day so the doctor is hanging out at the reception desk. The receptionist is new. There is a phone call.)

Caller: “Does your clinic prescribe [common drug of addiction]?”

Receptionist: “Hang on; I’ll check.” *to Doctor* “Do we prescribe [common drug of addiction]?”

Doctor: “Not to new patients.”

Receptionist: *to Caller*  “Not to new patients.”

Caller: “Oh, okay. I’m having no luck today!” *click*

No X-Ray For Ex-Clients

| USA | Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Money

(I volunteer at a free clinic. We get a disturbing number of people who get angry and entitled. The clinic basically will provide whatever medical services that are both needed, and the clinic has the resources to provide. An x-ray machine was donated a few years back, and we used to have an x-ray tech that volunteered to run it. However, recently, our x-ray tech needed to quit volunteering because of her own professional, personal, and family obligations. We have to tell the patients that had x-ray appointments that we cannot do them. However, seeing our plight, a hospital system in the area has agreed to do the x-rays with a voucher from our clinic at an extremely reduced rate.)

Receptionist: “Hi, this is [Receptionist] at [Clinic.] We have you down for x-rays on [date]. Unfortunately our volunteer x-ray tech is no longer able to volunteer with us, and we’re going to need to cancel that appointment. However, [Hospital System] has agreed to do the x-ray for [price].”

Client: “I’d have to pay it?”

Receptionist: “I’m afraid so. But that is a very generous agreement on their part and it would be done at serious cost to them.”

Client: “I shouldn’t have to pay. So, I’ll just reschedule with you guys.”

Receptionist: “I’m sorry?”

Client: “What time can you guys do it instead?”

Receptionist: “I suppose I didn’t make myself clear. We are currently unable to do x-rays at all. We do not know when we will be able to do them again.”

Client: “Well, the doctor says I need this done, so you need to do them.”

Receptionist: “Again, we cannot. We do not currently have an x-ray tech on our volunteer rosters. We cannot operate the machine without an x-ray tech, as that would be a compromise of care that we are not willing to do for the purposes of cheap care.”

Client: “So what am I supposed to do?”

Receptionist: “Again, [hospital system] has agreed to pick up our x-ray imaging with a voucher system. I understand that you have a very limited income, but their offer is more than generous and we do appreciate what they’re doing.”

Client: “Well, I think you should pay.”

Receptionist: “We do not have the funds to pay for every person’s x-rays at cost. It’s not in our budget. However, if you honestly cannot pay, perhaps I can speak with our ‘Patient Access Professionals’ and see if they can work something out. But it really isn’t in our budget.” *the cost of this person’s x-ray is in the realm of $10*

Client: “You said I’d get free care. Give it to me. You owe me this.”

Receptionist: “We are a volunteer organization, and we exist because we believe that it is inhumane for people to not receive medical care. However, I do not owe you anything. I said that I would speak with PAP and see what they can do. However, we cannot afford to pay for the x-rays of each and every patient in this clinic. It is not in our budget, and we don’t have much discretionary spending in the budget. But I have spoken to people today who I am much more likely to go to bat for with getting their x-rays paid for. Heck, there have been people today that I’ve considered opening my own personal wallet for who have had more expensive procedures than you. But I am quickly losing compassion for you.”

Respect Goes Both Ways

| Austin, TX, USA | Crazy Requests, Time

Patient: “I have an appointment with Dr. [Name].”

Me: “All right…”

(The patient has missed over half her appointment, so I know the doctor won’t see her, but I go ask anyway.)

Me: “Unfortunately, Dr. [Name] won’t be able to see you since you were over twenty minutes late for a forty minute appointment. We’ll have to reschedule.”

Patient: “I don’t want to see Dr. [Name], then. I want to see a different doctor that will respect his patient’s time.”

Me: “…”

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