Yesterday, my Aunt had a doctor’s appointment at 4:00, and we made sure to arrive at the right time for this visit. The first thing we noticed was how crowded the office was, and my Aunt asked the receptionist if it was usually this busy, and she said yes. My Aunt then asked if there was going to be a delay, and the receptionist said that the doctor was about an hour behind.
I appreciated the honesty from the receptionist; she could have just said, “He’s a few minutes behind schedule.” That still doesn’t make it right or any less annoying, but an hour wait is doable.
Well 5:00 came and went, as did 5:30, and 6:00. Finally, at 6:05, my Aunt was called into one of the treatment rooms.
Now I understand that delays are common in other situations, like waiting for the cable guy, or a repairman, or an airline to take-off. But at the same time, those professions/industries are also generally ridiculed by the public for their poor customer service.
But I think a doctor should be held to a higher standard, and that there is no excuse for falling that far behind in your schedule. I understand that emergencies may crop up, but that did not appear to be the case yesterday.
I really can’t say what the problem was, but it seems like the situation could be easily fixed. If, as the receptionist told us, the office is like this every Monday, then something should be done to change that. Schedule fewer appointments, or make more realistic appointment times.
I also felt bad for the office staff. The women working in the office were quite nice, but it appeared as if they had to stay until the final patient was finished. We didn’t get out of the office until 7:00, even though the posted office hours are 8:00-5:00.
So my Aunt was there for a total of three hours, of which 15 minutes was spent with the doctor.
Now the doctor seems to be a nice guy, and the treatment he provided to my Aunt seemed to be effective, but I think there is more to being a doctor than just medical skill.
The following is from a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath:
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
And in this case, a sincere “Sorry I made you wait” from the doctor to my Aunt could have made yesterday’s experience so much better.
Like I said earlier, the solution to many problems is often pretty simple.