Saturday, October 18, 2008


(*67 = Verizon's way to block your cell phone number) It is another week on call and I can not help venting on the crazy calls that come in. When you call the office it immediately states that if there is an emergency to call 911 and then goes on to state that prescriptions will not be refilled after hours and only after prompting that there is a problem with surgery or an urgent medical condition will the call be passed on to us. The answering service sends the message to us to call via a text message. The patients usually tell the service something other than why they are really calling. It doesn't matter though, the service does not want any liability so they patch everything through. We call them back *67 which lets us call the patient without the patient having our home number or when we can we connect through the service who can record the call. Again for legal reasons. So, here are some of the urgent medical conditions that have resulted in calls this week between midnight and 6 am. "I have a MRI next tuesday and wanted to see if it could be rescheduled?., "I can't sleep.", 19 calls from people who all claim to have just had surgery and run out of their pain medications. (I have copies of the last month's surgery lists), "My breath is really bad and I was hoping that you could call in some antibiotics.", "I need some Viagra". "What time is my appointment next week?" Oh, wait here come another one.


SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...

P.S. You said, "we can we connect through the service who can record the call. Again for legal reasons."

That bothers me.

I know physicians have to protect themselves from lawsuits. I am just sorry it is that way.

I hate to think of my doctors looking at me as someone who might potentially sue them. That is such a sad thing.

Au contraire...I actually feel protective of some of them and don't want harm to come to them in anyway from any source.

It's just a weird feeling to know you are going in to see your trusted doc and your pouring your heart out sharing your concerns, fears or trusting them with your most private things and feel like you are bonding somewhat...and all they are thinking about is preventing lawsuits.

I understand why... it just takes away from the dr/pt relationship.

I loathe what wrongful lawsuits have done to the medical profession.

Off track... but one night there was an elderly woman stranded at the ER after being seen. At the time there was a nursing home 2 blocks away. I don't know why for the life of me they didn't have staff to pick her up. She didn't have money for a taxi. (It seems most stranded patients never have money for taxis)I was a cold winter night and she had been in the waiting room for a couple of hours. Staff didn't suggest anything either.

Anyway...I gave her a ride back when I got off work.

I mentioned it to the ER supervisor the next time I was on and she adamantly said I should NEVER give any patient a ride anywhere when I leave work! (I had once before and a lot further.) She said if I had an accident or anything happened that brought harm to the patient...i could be sued and so could the hospital.

So I never did it again...but boy did I feel guilty when I knew I could've helped someone.

I hate how litigious our society has become. Everything is over regulated and compassionate people have to second guess their actions instead of diving in to help.

SeaSpray said...

I'm sorry those things happen to you and the other docs. I guess it goes with the territory... but it's too bad when they could've waited until office hours.

One of my docs called me with his cell and his number showed on my caller ID. I just missed his call by the time I got to the phone and I wrestled with whether or not I should call him right back on his cell (I really wanted to)because after all...he had just called. But I decided against it because I didn't know where he was and I didn't want to overstep my bounds.

I never abused calling a doctor's service and fortunately rarely had to for myself or the boys. If I was important. I have never called during sleeping hours.

I did work with a nurse who for some reason did not empathize with docs who were woken up in the middle of the night (ED and private) and she would say, "No body told them to become doctors!" Maybe she had a bad experience.

*Kevin MD has a post up about work-hour restrictions in surgery and I am curious (if you feel so inclined to give an opinion) what you think of the new rules - reduced weekly training hours and if you agree with the writer's opinions.?

I just can't imagine doing the important/challenging work you have to do and being sleep deprived too. I give you all a lot of credit for that and I think surgeons must be the robodocs of the profession. :)

* I deleted my 1st comment because it was 3 times the length of this one. Your post stirred up some experiences I had. :)