The MRI Is Not A Time Machine

, , , | Healthy | January 28, 2020

(I work in an outpatient radiology facility. We have normal operating hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the exception of MRI, which is open until 9:00 pm due to demand. On the day this story takes place, we have been having terrible winter weather with lots of snow and wind. Many sections of the freeway have been closed, but not all. I answer a call from a patient scheduled for one of our evening appointments.)

Patient: “I have an appointment tonight at 5:30, but I was wondering if I could come in earlier?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but our schedule is completely full. I don’t have any earlier spots I could move you to.”

Patient: “But I have another appointment tonight and I’m afraid I won’t be out in time.”

Me: “I can move your appointment to another day if you need.”

Patient: “No, I really need to get this done today. Are you sure you don’t have anywhere you could put me?”

Me: “No, I don’t, I’m afraid. There is someone scheduled right before you and our appointments are back to back.”

Patient: *hems and haws in an irritated way* “Well, what if I come in earlier anyway?”

Me: “You can, but it would just be that much longer you have to wait for your scan.”

Patient: “Why? What’s your logic?”

Me: *thinking, seriously?* “Because the person ahead of you will still be in the machine and it won’t be ready for you yet.”

Patient: *hems and haws some more* “Well, can’t you just switch me with them?”

Me: *knowing the person ahead of him is coming from over an hour away on terrible roads, but of course, I can’t say that* “No, sir, I can’t do that. Again, I can change your appointment to another day if this evening won’t work.”

Patient: *hems and haws even more* “No, I’ll just see you tonight.”

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