As readers may recall, I was frustrated some weeks back by an endless wait in a doctor’s office. Eventually I gave up and rescheduled after an hour-long wait.
Quick update: I returned to said doctor, had a "suspicious" growth removed from my arm and went home.
Now, fast forward to yesterday. My wife dials my office in a panic. The doctor’s office called her, saying the biopsy results had just come in and they needed to speak with me immediately. Despite her pleading, they refused to tell my wife anything. She asked that I call the doctor and call her back ASAP. Which I did.
I asked for the doctor and was put on hold. For the next three minutes, I listened as an audio recording told me ALL about skin cancer and the chances of survival being vastly improved via early detection, etc. The longer I waited, and the more I heard, the more convinced I became that, yes indeed, I had cancer. To say the three minutes felt like three hours would be an understatement. My heart was literally in my throat.
Finally, a nurse picked up the phone and said, "Hi Steve. The doctor just wanted you to know the biopsy showed the mass was only a wart. Have a good day."
I was stunned. Happy and relieved to be sure, but stunned. Then, "stunned" turned to resentment and resentment, in turn, escalated to anger. Doctors’ lack of customer service (not to mention good-old bedside manner) never ceases to amaze me.
I guess patient confidentiality rules prevented them from sharing the information with my wife. But, the audio recordings were downright scary and the interminable wait was just plain irresponsible and inhumane. Again I ask the rhetorical question: would this sort of behavior be tolerated in any other field?
Based upon personal experiences, I’d now rate the average doctor right alongside lawyers at the bottom of the "most admired professions" list.