Monday, August 13, 2012

Tales from Residency: Doctor's appointment

On an inpatient rotation during residency, I had a doctor's appointment at 2PM, which I told the attending about well in advance. She scheduled a family meeting at 1:30, which was fine, but I told her I couldn't make it.

Attending: "Well, you could be there for the beginning."

Me: "You want me to be there for the first ten minutes?"

Attending: "Fifteen minutes. It should take you only fifteen minutes to get to the doctor."

Me: "No, it takes me twenty minutes."

Attending: "It should only take fifteen minutes."

Me: "It takes me twenty."

Attending: "Well, you should come to the beginning of the meeting. For your own sake, to learn how to deal with a difficult patient."

Me: "I could come. But it will probably start late. It probably won't even start till 1:45."

Attending: "Why do you say that?"

Me: "Because every meeting here starts late."

Attending: "No. What meeting started late?"

Me: "Well, the radiology conference this morning started ten minutes late."

Attending: "No, it didn't." And how does she know this? "Because I was 15 minutes late to the meeting and they were already on the second patient, so it must have started on time."

Nice. I was actually THERE when the meeting started late, but she was insisting it started on time based on how far along it was when she arrived late. (She was, in fact, ALWAYS at least 10-15 mins late. I was forced to run a few meetings on patients I barely knew because she was late.)

Then she started telling me how the clock in the room is fast so maybe that's why I think the meetings are starting late, even though I have a watch.

Long story short, I didn't end up going to the family meeting. When I got back from my appointment, the attending was just getting out of the family meeting, which apparently didn't start until 2PM (half an hour late).

I didn't even say "I told you so".


  1. Being late is a particular peeve of mine. In my book it is not fashionable to be late for any appointment. Ever. I understand your frustration.

    1. I hate being late. And it was ridiculous that I had to argue over five minutes.

  2. Hahaha last week we had a conference at 6:45am and one of our attendings came at 6:55. He sat down, saw that the clock pointed at 6:55 so then he gets up when the meeting already started, he grabs the clock and changes it to 6:45 am. At the end of the conference the resident asks if anyone has a question, the attending raised his hand and said that he is always on time and that the government clocks are always ahead of time so just for the record he wanted to let everyone know that he is never late.

  3. whoa -- what the hell was up with that attending? She couldn't spare you for five minutes? Why the big debate? Good for you for standing your ground.

    1. That attending was probably the only attending in all of residency that I didn't get along with. It's the same one from that previous story about how she got upset that I didn't do something she asked me to do, when I was certain she never asked me.