What is it about Dr’s offices – especially those in large well funded institutions- that has there be a dirth of customer service? If I pulled half the crap with my clients that the hospitals pulls on me – I wouldn’t have any clients!
Case in point- Before the holidays I went into meet with a GI specialist to get more information about the whole feeding tube proceedure. For some reason a perfectly lovely well mannered nurse came in to take my vitals before meeting with him, and after about 10 minutes of the weight, blood pressure etc. she asked me why I was there. Really? You don’t know? Isn’t there a log or a script for the Feeding tube GI lecture appointment? I was abit taken back. I said, “Didn’t they tell you?” And as she looked at me funny all I could think was if I did this to one of my clients I’d be fired. Now, this was a small thing, and apparently there was no record of why in the hell an ALS patient was there to speak to the resident feeding tube guru…but why is the burden on me, the patient, to tell you your business? MIND YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!
I recall when I first began having appointments at this same institution being referred to by the front desk staff in neurology as “Blue Cross/ Blue Shield”. I didn’t have a name I had a carrier. I thought it was interesting how my identity became synonymous with a product my company had purchased, rather than anything to do with me. I went on a mission to win over those frontdesk gals, with my graciousness and fabulous shoe collection…they quickly became my favorite part of my appointments and I ended up with my proper name. But it took something to breakthrough the monotonous wall of their routine.
Today I was alerted to an article in which a friend of mine, David deBronkhart, who happens to be the co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, was quoted as saying,” What part of ‘Give us our damn data’ do you not understand?” in regards to the problem many have faced when needing to get THEIR OWN RECORDS from the hospital who THEY ARE PAYING TO CARE FOR THEM. In many cases, some laid out in this article by Elizabeth Cohen, a CNN Senior medical Corrrespondent, entitled: Patients Demand:’Give Us Our Damned Data’; NOT HAVING THEIR MEDICAL RECORDS IN HAND HAS CAUSE HARM TO THE PATIENT. What about the oath of first do no harm?
I personally have about 100 more instances of insult to injury added to my journey of testing and diagnosis, I mean I could go on and on for days …and I am 1 person. I have had the wrong test done- am MRA was done when an MRI was perscribed. I have had Blood tests lost repeatedly. I have had no less than a dozen physicians perscribe anti-depressants to me because I was visibly upset over my symptoms and the lack of a diagnosis…but not one of them recommended I see a therapist/counselor or psychiatrist for support. I actually think it was their inability to just be with my upset that made them want to throw a pill at the issue. There is a vast difference between being upset and being depressed my friends! I even had a surgeon tell me that if he were in my shoes and he was suddenly unable to do what he had trained much of his life to do, he would be depressed. Which may have been the best agrument I had heard up to that point but as a student of the brain I was crystal clear about my state of mind. I share this because I believe it was a cop out to throw a pill at a few tears and I think it happens far too often in our culture especially to women. That’s not customer service – that’s just lazy medicine.