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: “…”

Blood Still Flowing Where It Counts

| Sacramento, CA, USA | Uncategorized

(I am taking vitals on an elderly patient, preparing him to see the doctor. His wife is in the exam room with us. I’ve just taken his blood pressure, which comes out unusually low.)

Me: “[Patient], your blood pressure is rather low.”

Patient: “Well… you just need to get sexier, then!”

(His poor wife was mortified, but I thought it was hilarious!)