Doctors

31 January 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is my experience with a particular Doctor some 20 years ago when living in the GTA. Our Family Doctor for 10 years whom delivered our youngest daughter had a very busy practice. He was not only a good Doctor and popular but he was a Business person with an interest in making money. He was an investor in the stock market but also belonged to some select investors groups which would buy properties for resale in both the domestic and international markets. He frequently took business calls during patient appointments. Between personal phone calls and over bookings,  he was constantly very late for his appointments, thus the problem. He would book your appointment  for 1:00 pm but would not see you for 2-4 hours. While waiting in his office I have witnessed mothers with newborns run out of milk and have to leave and rebook their appointment. I’ve seen irate husbands come 3-4 times to check if their wife was finished yet and the same for people bringing elders to the Doctor’s office. Never did I or my family members go to his office without being there for at least 2-4 hours. The waiting room was always full and at times some people had to stand or sit on the floor in the hallway. One day I decided to poll the people waiting to determine when their appointments were scheduled for. I found that in most cases people were booked 3 at every 15 minutes. My common sense told me that it was impossible to see 12 patients per hour. That is definately overbooking. In my Business being late for an appointment would mean Bankruptcy or lost of Professionalism at the very least. I felt sorry for some of the Moms and the elderly, so I took it upon myself to talk to the receptionist. Her response was : That is the way it is in the medical field, too many patients and not enough Doctors. When I finally met the Doctor for my appointment, I brought the issue to his attention and he gave me a speech about that is the way it is and could not do anything about it. As nice as he was, you could not argue with him or challenge him. He was always right and he knew everything because he was a Doctor.

Time and time again we waited endlessly for our appointments. Basically when you went to his office, you had to plan to be there for 4 hours and brought a lunch in case. Well I got more and more agitated with these 1/2 day appointments. We preferred not changing Doctor after having a long history with him. Then one day I thought I am going to appeal to his Business sense. I mailed him an invoice for my 4 hours of  lost work time. He called me one evening at app. 7:30 pm. He says; ” Gerry what kind of a joke is this invoice”. I said no joke. You are costing me money. You make an appointment, I show up on time then you make me wait. I could be billing my time out rather than sitting reading out dated books/magazines. I asked him: ” What Business are you in?”  He said : ” The Medical Care field of course”. I replied; ” No you are not. You are in the Business of making money. No one overbooks like you do and expect to give quality care to all their patients. Besides you take personal phone calls about your investments while we are waiting. I can’t afford that much time to see you. It is unprofessional”. Well he gave me a piece of his mind in words I cannot repeat.  I told him that every time I have to wait more than an hour to see him, I would send him another invoice. If  he did not pay I would have a Lawyer call him or I would bring him to small claims court just to get a note put of his credit bureau. Now he was really mad.

The next visit to his office was by my wife and daughter. That night she tells me she was in and out of the Doctor’s office within a half  hour. I thought maybe we were in for some positive changes. On my next visit to the Doctor’s office, I get called in ahead of some people that had been there for some time. We deal with my medical issue with no mention of our telephone conversation and I am out of the office within 1/2 hour total. The short version is we never talked about that infamous call and from then on my family and I never waited more than 1 hour tops ever again. We did feel bad we were seen ahead of other people but it suited our needs at the time.

To be fair, I have to admit to having tried similar approaches with utility companies and two Hospitals however the results were not as positive.