When Patients Have No Patience

| Right | February 26, 2016

(I’m a graduate student in a university research lab in the same building as a hospital. There is no patient care in my area, but occasionally we get calls from people trying to reach the hospital staff. The lab phone rings.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Lab]. [My Name] speaking!”

(A confused, elderly man is on the line.)

Man: “You need to get someone down here right now! Those d*** men moved the clicker so I can’t get anyone to help me!”

Me: “Sir, I think you have the wrong number. This is a research lab.”

Man: “Well, I just can’t seem to find anyone. Do you people even care about your patients?”

Me: “Sir, where are you? Maybe I can get a hold of someone; I’m at [University] medical centre.”

Man: “Yes! The medical centre people! Send them quick! I’ve been waiting for hours.”

Me: “Sir, where are you? I can’t call if I don’t know where you are.”

Man: “I’ve been waiting for hours! If you people at [Hospital at other side of city] operate like this all the time, I won’t be coming back here ever again!”

Me: “Sir… I’m not there but… what is your name?”

Man: “507!”

Me: “Well, sir, I’ll see what I can do… but I suggest you keep trying to reach someone.”

(I call the hospital, explain the situation and, while giggling to herself, the receptionist forwards me to the nurses’ station. I explain to the nurse what happened…)

Me: “…and so I’m fairly certain there’s someone in room 507 who needs your help.”

Nurse: “Thank you for letting me know; we’ll go take a look.”

Me: “Sure thing, ma’am and, uh… best of luck. He didn’t sound very happy.”

Nurse: *deep sigh* “They never are.”

(Dear Mom: THIS is one of many reasons why I went for a PhD, not an MD.)

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