Weak In The Knees

, , , , , | Healthy | June 14, 2018

(I have gone to my general practitioner to get a referral to a specialist for endometriosis. My regular GP is a middle-aged, Singaporean man, but I don’t mind having male doctors for female issues.)

Me: “I’m seeing [Specialist] for endometriosis, and I need a referral.”

GP: “You realise that you’ll have to have surgery to know for sure?”

Me: “Yes, I have a family history.”

GP: “Okay, I just have to make sure that you have a reason to go. Do you have painful periods?”

Me: “Yes, definitely.”

GP: “So, it hurts in your abdomen region? Is it cramping, or other pain?”

Me: “Actually, my knees hurt.”

GP: “Come again?”

Me: “I get pain from my knees up during my period. But it’s worst in my knees.”

GP: “Really?” *chuckles* “All right, just give me a minute to write that referral.”

(I honestly hadn’t realised how weird it was, before that. I did end up having endometriosis — it turned out the knee pain was nerve damage from that.)

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An Ambulatory Emergency

, , , | Healthy | June 12, 2018

(I’m working at the window as a tech in the ER. It’s three am, but pretty busy, and the wait times are very long because we only staff half a dozen nurses and only one doctor at this time. A very impatient woman with a headache comes up to the window several times demanding to know how much longer it will be. Being an ER and not an urgent clinic, we see patients based on how likely they are to die in the waiting room, and we have seen her twice in the last week for her headache, so she has to get in line behind ambulances with broken bones and heart attacks.)

Patient: “How much longer is it going to be?!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting many ambulances with critical patients in tonight, so it’s going to be a while before you can be seen. We cannot give out exact wait times, as we never know what kind of emergencies we will receive in the interim.”

Patient: “Well, if I go outside and call an ambulance, will it get me seen sooner?”

Me: “Well, no… the charge nurse would have you sent right back here to the triage area. Then we would be calling the police. Calling an ambulance from outside an ER for a medical emergency is against the law and they could arrest you.”

(She walked away from the window in a huff and waited another hour to be seen for the headache she should have seen a primary doctor for after her first visit a week ago. Our doctor gave her no more pain medicine, just a referral identical to two others she had gotten in our ER.)

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Looking For An Opening

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 10, 2018

(I work for a doctor’s office that will work some Saturdays. However, on the Saturdays that we are open, only one doctor, the dermatologist, is there. The phones go straight to the answering service because we do not have the majority of the front office working. I am working phones this day. A patient calls in on February 4th.)

Patient: “Was [Doctor] working on January 23rd?”

Me: *after checking schedule* “Yes, ma’am, he was here that Saturday.”

Patient: “I tried to call and didn’t get an answer.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, our phones are never open on Saturdays.”

Patient: “Why didn’t someone call to tell me he was open?!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Patient: “There was a threat of snow!” *which didn’t happen* “No one called me and we—” *her and her two daughters* “—missed our appointments!”

Me: “We have a system in place where we call the patients if the office is closing due to inclement weather, but we remained open.”


Me: “Because we remained open, ma’am. Would you like to reschedule your appointments?”

Patient: “What are you going to do about this?”

Me: “I can reschedule your appointments, but there is not much else I can do.”

Patient: “You aren’t going to tell the doctor? Don’t you think he would want to know?”

(This eventually had to be transferred to my manager, who informed her the doctor was quite aware he remained open and even though “HALF OF ATLANTA” was apparently closed, the other half was not.)

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A Bad Case Of Extreme Entitlement

, , , , , | Healthy | June 9, 2018

(I need a trip to the doctor, and the one I am seeing is brand new to me, so I don’t know much about the office. When my husband and I walk in, we are approached by a woman in a wheelchair.)

Patient #1: “If you’re here to see the doctor, there’s a four-hour wait.”

Me: “Seriously?”

Patient #1: “Yeah. It’s really bad. They’ve started using a new system today and they’re having all sorts of trouble with it.”

(A younger woman comes out to take the patient away.)

Husband: “Excuse me, but is it true that if you have an appointment, they’re running four hours behind?”

Young Woman: “Oh, no. That’s just the walk-in clinic. Appointments are running as close to on time as they can get.”

Me: “Thanks.”

(My husband and I go inside and approach the counter.)

Nurse #1: “Hello there. Are you here for the clinic?”

Me: “No, I’ve got an appointment with [Doctor] at three.”

Nurse #1: “All right, then. Let me get some information from you and we’ll get you going.”

(I give her all the pertinent information. She puts it all in, and then her computer beeps and she gives a deep sigh.)

Nurse #1: “I’m sorry. I need to restart the computer, and I’ll have to get your info again. It’s this new system we got. Today is our first day using it and it’s been nothing but trouble.”

Me: “No problem. I understand computers acting up.”

Nurse #1: “Thanks for your understanding.”

(Next to me is another patient trying to get in to see a doctor via the walk-in clinic.)

Patient #2: “What do you mean there’s a four-hour wait? I’m sick. I could die. Why can’t you get me in sooner?”

Nurse #2: “I’m sorry, ma’am. But we’re running behind because of the trouble with our new system. If you don’t want to wait, I can get you an appointment tomorrow morning with your doctor.”

Patient #2: “I don’t have time for that. I’m here now and you will see me now.”

Nurse #2: “I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re going to have to wait.”

Nurse #1: “Okay, [My Name]. Let’s go over that information one more time.” *gives info* “Okay, it took it this time. Here you go. You should be called back shortly.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Patient #2: “Why is she getting in before me? She’s fat. Fat people are always sick. They should have to wait.”

Nurse #2: “She has an appointment with one of our doctors.”

Patient #2: “Then give me her appointment.”

Nurse #2: “We’re not going to do that. Either sit down or take the appointment I’m offering you.”

([Patient #2] continued screaming that “fat people are too sick to see a doctor,” and “I’m more important than everyone here.” She was removed from the office and banned from the clinic.)

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Unable To Appoint Them

, , , , | Healthy | June 8, 2018

(I am a switchboard operator for a large hospital network with multiple campuses, over 100 specialty clinics, as well as primary care and pediatric offices in several different towns.)

Me: “Health Care Switchboard; how may I direct your call?”

Caller: “Yes, I would like directions to my appointment tomorrow.”

Me: “Certainly, sir, which doctor are you going to see?”

Caller: “I don’t know. Can’t you just tell me how to get there?”

Me: “Well, we have many different locations, so I would need to know which office you are going to in order to give you directions. If you don’t know, I could transfer you to the registration department and they can look up your appointments for you.”

Caller: “NO, I don’t want you to transfer me! I don’t understand why you can’t just give me directions!”

Me: “Well, sir, you haven’t given me enough information. Do you remember anything else about the appointment? Was it to see a specialist about a specific problem? Or maybe for radiology? Or some type of procedure?”

Caller: “I don’t know. Just tell me how to get there!”

Me: “If you don’t know anything about the appointment, I would need to transfer you to registration and they would be happy to help you look it up. We do not have access to your medical records at the switchboard.”

Caller: “No. I already told you not to transfer me! God!”

Me: “Well, sir, I would really like to help you, but I just don’t have enough information. Do you remember anything else about this appointment that you could tell me?”

Caller: “I don’t understand why you won’t help me. This is ridiculous. Now I will miss my appointment and it will be your fault!” *hangs up on me*

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