Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fill in the Blank

Dear Doctor ___________ (just fill in your name if the shoe fits):

This may come as a surprise to you, but I'm a busy woman. When I'm at a hospital, nursing home, or a patient's home, and I make a call to you, I am not doing so for my health. I am doing so for the health and comfort of your patient. The least that I think you could do, out of courtesy, even curiosity, is return the call.

When doing so, please try to be patient with me. I promise I'm not wasting your time, I'm clarifying orders. If I had prescriptive powers, believe me, I wouldn't be calling you. I'd be writing the orders without your input and you'd be superfluous.

Last night, I threw in the towel after I'd waited two and a half hours for you to return any one of the four pages I made to your number. I called my hospice doctor instead, who by the way, answered on the fourth ring. That's what I call service.

On Monday night I called you, but your service said you were unavailable until Tuesday at 3:30 PM and I should call back then. Again, I called my hospice doctor who answered on the second ring and gave me some orders I could write. When I called you Tuesday at 3:30 PM on the spot, your receptionist tried to give me orders. I'm sorry to tell you, I can't take orders from a receptionist. Since you're an MD, you should know she can't give orders-it's against the law. When I told her this, she hung up on me! I want to let you know about this, but hell, you probably already do. She is one of your staff members and from what I know of private practice, behavior at the bottom of the pecking order is a reflection of what goes on at the top. When I had my boss called her back, she was as nice as could be and explained you're out of town until next week Tuesday. In that case, you can't be my patient's doctor until then-no matter what orders your receptionist gives me. What really burns my arse though is that in between the time I called her and then my boss did, she called my patient's home and tried to bully his wife out of selecting our hospice services. Now really, is that behavior necessary? We weren't trying to get rid of you, in fact, we were trying to include you in our plan of care. If it were up to me, I'd tell the patient's family this-just so they could know how unscrupulous you really are. To my mind, there is only one reason to behave that way, and it's all about the green.

Finally, just a note to my personal doctor. For God's sake, would you fix your phone lines already? They've been on the fritz for a few days now. Don't make me drive all the way over there just to book an appointment now-I'm way too cranky.


Just A Nurse


Brenda said...

Are you going to send it to him? I am going to guess this was not the first time this happened with this particular MD. Hope things get turned around for the better. I think I missed reading one of your posts so need to back track here.

Lisa L said...

HATE that....ugh. HATE docs who are assholes on the phone, HATE it when you have to wake them up in the middle of the noc for an order or to inform them of a death and they screech at you..even worse when the doc's spouse answers the phone and screeches at you.Ever had that happen? It ain't pretty. Especially at 2am. You sound like you have a great hospice doc on board...the receptionist you dealt with sounds like a nasty piece of work.

Renie Burghardt said...

Maybe you should send a copy of that letter to your local TV station, as well as to him, Rudee. If you are the one who wrote that letter, that is. It's really terrible that you have to get all that run around from him. Good thing that your hospice doctor is so available when needed.

Rudee said...

Brenda-this was 2 different doctors. I'd love to let him know his receptionist hung up on me, but I have to believe that he knows that she has an attitude.

Lisa- I HATE that too. Yes, I've had them do that to me in the middle of the night. But if you don't call them, they ream you out at the first opportunity. Don't they?

Renie- I wrote it, but I'm just venting here. They know what they're like.

Kathleen said...

Rudee--how dreadful to be treated that way when you're doing one the most important jobs in the world. I admire your integrity and your patient advocacy. The world needs more of you (and less bad docs).

Thank you and ALL of you wonderful nurses who care for our loved ones and deserve so much better from from the likes of that doc.

Glad you could vent...and I agree, this deserves to be published. How about a letter to JAMA or NEJM.

Winifred said...

I have to say this is terrible behaviour. I'm not sure about how your healthcare system works but here if it was that bad a complaint could be sent to the Heath Trust who employs the doctor. How can a doctor just take off?

Djinn said...

That's awful! Our health-care system seems really broken, sometimes. I'm glad there are still people out there like you, who actually see people as more than a chart with a credit card attached.

I hope you can manage to be unavailable for a few days, yourself - you sound like you could use a day or two to not be anybody.