Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rudest patient ever

This was one of the rudest patients I ever had. I saw her at clinic few years ago:

I was in the room for about five minutes, maybe less, when the patient's cell phone rang. Have I mentioned that I HATE it when a patient's cell phone rings? OK, I guess I don't expect them to turn it off while in the office (I don't), but it's really amazing how many people get called multiple times at like 10:30 in the morning. And then I really get angry if they answer it.

This lady answered her phone. And not only that, she started having a conversation with the person on the other line! Right with me sitting there! She didn't even tell the person that she couldn't talk long because she was with a doctor.

She seemed to be giving the other person instructions on how to take care of another person. I could hear the person on the other line and every time I thought the call was almost over, the other person would say, "Oh, and one more thing..."

Finally, I had enough. I said, "I'll be back." Then I pretty much stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind me (not totally intentionally... it just closed faster than I intended, but I was definitely pissed).

I was tempted to simply go see the next patient and really make that woman wait after how disrespectful she was of my time, but I decided to just do a quick dictation and go back into the room.

Except when I went back to the room... the patient was gone.

I thought at first that she went to the bathroom, but she didn't. We had the nurses look for her and nobody could find her.

I have no idea what happened. Maybe she realized I was pissed and realized that there was nothing we could do to help her chronic lower back pain anyway, so she decided to leave. Although it seems like a lot of trouble to drive all the way over to the doctor just to leave before they can even talk to you. Or maybe there was an emergency at home. It followed her pattern of rudeness that she didn't even let anyone even know she was leaving.


  1. I can't tell you the number of times I've walked up to the driver's window on a traffic stop, and the driver is on a cell phone, completely ignoring me. You'd think that big black and white cop car with the whirling lights on top would bring them back to reality, but more often than not I actually have to tell them to hang up so we can get on with business. They're happy to let me just stand there until they're done.

    1. Not only rude, but stupid. Doesn't that type of behavior open people up for dangerous situations since the Officer isn't always able to see the driver's (and passengers) hands as they approach the vehicle? Shouldn't everyone in the vehicle get off their phones? Sure sounds like the thing to do, but I guess common sense is the minority! I can't wait until every state adopts a "hand's free" law. Truly, how difficult is it for a driver to utilize the hand's free option if they MUST take a call?

      Random questions, friend's daughter (16) was recently in an accident (she was hit from behind while stopped @ a light). She was non-responsive at the scene & trasported to the hospital. It was six hours before her family was contacted. She had on a medical alert tag (listed medication allergies and emergency contact info) as well as two ICE #'s in her phone so the information was there. What is the protocol? Whose responsibility is it to contact family? What type of info is helpful for a patient to have on a medical tag (any medical person could answer this)?

      Just wondering! Thanks to all who can provide feedback.

  2. Who cares that she sneaked out! Just be happy that she left.

  3. It happens. If my phone rings during one of my many medical appointments I look who it is and than decide if I just "decline" the call or answer it and say, "I am with my doctor, if it's an emergency I am sure he/she wouldn't mind, but if not, than can I call you when I am done?" Only once has it been an emergency and I simply in tears looked at my doctor and said, "Could you go see your next patient and come back?" He did, I took the call and he returned to me sobbing. I have had doctor's take calls during my appointment, called out to take a call during my appointment and make a call during my appointment. I have heard things like, "Yes, PF Changs for dinner is fine I will see you there! Tell your sister that she left her phone on her bed, let me finish with this patient, and I will call you back and my favorite, goodnight baby, I will see you when you wake up in the morning. I love you very much too (and then gives her a kiss)!" There's only been one time that it was inappropriate. The doctor stepped out of the room to take a 30 minute call regarding her ill father and I just sat and waited for her to return; actually I fell sound asleep. She came back after 30 minutes and said, "Well your time is up and I have a patient waiting, what time would be good for you next week? My jaw dropped! I figured it had to have been BAD and since we had only been talking for ten minutes (our appointment started 15 minutes late because she was on the phone); and it's a 55 minute appointment, I wouldn't be charged and we would pick up the following week. When I got into the car I looked at the billing statement and she planned to bill my insurance company $225 for the session? I called her and billing and they said that despite the fact I only had a ten minute session, it was still a session and therefore, they would be billing my insurance. I filled a claim with the Insurance Commissioner in my state and they made several calls as well and after eight years it was finally taken care of, in my favor.