Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Difficult Patients

Sometimes, you just can't please everyone. And I had to deal with a yelling patient today.
It was an unusual Tuesday, but perhaps being the first day back after a long weekend, things got busier than most. I had to work in a patient over lunchtime. And another urgent request because she was pregnant and her diabetes was uncontrolled.
To top that up, I had a patient come 20 mins later (which really meant he was 35 mins since patients are asked to come in 15 mins early for our medical staff to reconciliate their medications and get the labs started). Clinic policy is that 15 mins or later we may ask for them to reschedule- something I try not to do but today was an exception. There was no way I was going to be able to catch up, and to make other patients who came timely wait because this person came late, didn't seem fair. So I suggested he reschedules with me at a future date, or see my nurse practitioner today, or wait until there was a cancellation on my schedule.
I was then told by the receptionist that this patient got mad. Really mad; was hollering and yelling and ripped up his papers before he stomped out. A few hours later when I had some downtime, I called to check up on him and to try to appease him.
Big mistake. I got an earful, from how I was "playing God", and how he was "only 10 minutes late" (really 35) and how he was offended that he was asked to see the nurse practitioner because they don't "know anything" (untrue- midlevel providers are highly trained and are able to work autonomously without physician supervision). He used some choice language and made numerous accusations. And when I asked how we could help work things out, he said he wasn't coming back.
It was unfortunate this happened. And my staff and I were as courteous as we could be. And knowing how busy the day was and how urgent some of the other patients were, there wasn't anything I would have done differently. That being said, it doesn't make the day any less unpleasant and needless to say, this one interaction spoilt the rest of my day.
I suppose such is life; there are some you can help, and there are some you can't.
C'est la vie.


Blogger iml said...

You are lucky, over here in the red dot, the nurses and doctors get blasted daily over trivials. The attitude here is, to get prompt attention, one has to be loud and rude!

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