Thursday, July 12, 2012

How is that HELPFUL?

So, for the millionth time, my kid was sick & I needed to talk to a nurse. I felt like he was getting worse, and it was really freaking me out. So I called the office of our pediatrician, only to get the message: "Hello, you have reached (name of dr's office). We are closed for lunch. We will re-open at 1:30. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911." 

And honestly? I thought I was going to have a fucking heart attack. Because, um, hello? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TO HELP ME WHEN MY KID IS SICK. That's why yr a doctor's office & not, say, a pet store. I'm pretty sure the Hippocratic Oath doesn't mention "I'm happy to help unless I'm eating, in which case please just hang on a sec, okay?" And I'm not insane, I knew it wasn't an emergency to call 911 about, but I was honestly freaked out & really needed to talk with a medical professional to know what to do to help my kid. I'd already been there the day before *with* my sick kid; an appointment that was at 9:40, to which I arrived at 9:35 (to be sure I got any check in & payment done before our appointment time), only to be seen by the doctor at 10:07 (that's 27 full minutes after appointment time, in case you thought you misread that). I had been patient & understanding with that, but now my child was getting much sicker & was in real distress, and I needed help. NOW. Not when yr fucking lunch is over!

I will mention this often when I get mad, but I feel it bears repeating. I'm not an unreasonable person. I know that things come up & changes happen, especially in a medical setting. I get that! If I'm feeling upset & then find out that something happened, I will feel badly that I got upset & hope for the best outcome to that situation. I'm nice, goddammit! But seriously, this is RIDICULOUS. Are you really telling me that the ENTIRE OFFICE has lunch at the EXACT SAME TIME? You can't, I don't know, stagger lunches? Maybe have 2 doctors, 2 nurses, & 2 office staff lunch at 11:30, and then the other 2 doctors, 2 nurses, & 2 office staff lunch at 12:30? And this could rotate, so everyone doesn't always have to eat first or second? Is that really too much to ask? Even running at half staff would be better than "Nope, sorry, our lunchtime is way more important than your sick child." 

And no, I'm not a doctor or a nurse, nor have I ever worked in a medical office. But I HAVE worked many, many office jobs, in which people did take lunches. And you know what? I always managed to take my lunch at a different time than other people working on the same project, so that if something came up, the questioner wasn't left high & dry. And I wasn't saving anyone's life, for shit's sake! When I was a receptionist, I had to wait for someone to come cover the front desk until I went to eat (or go to the bathroom, for that matter), and yet an entire DOCTOR'S OFFICE is allowed to just shut down? HOW IS THAT OKAY?

No, I don't hate doctors. I have a lot of respect for the difficult training they go through, the knowledge they possess, and their ability to keep everyone healthy. I mean that! But it really irks me that somehow the idea that doctors have the ability to save lives has become translated to mean they have a more important life than anyone else. As a stay-at-home-mom, I don't get days off. 24/7, I'm Mom. But if my kid gets sick on Saturday at 1:22 pm, I'm out of luck, because the doctors get their weekend off. And again, obviously dr's deserve to have personal lives too, by no means do I think they should be forced to work round the clock all year long; but seriously, you can't shuffle shifts so that one weekend a month a particular doctor is in the office all weekend & then gets Monday & Tuesday off or something? Is that really that complicated a request?

I guess my point is this: being there to help those who become sick isn't something that can or should be done as a 9-5 job. And if that was yr goal, well, maybe you should think again about why you became a doctor in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. How about this? Each nurse takes a turn at the phones during lunch hour. I am sure they are not inundated with calls at this time, so one nurse should be able to handle it. You can't tell me that a nurse cannot handle having lunch an hour later 1x a week.

    We are now with a pediatrician who doesn't even have weekend hours, as if our kids never get sick on the weekends. My kids always get sick on Friday night at about 8 p.m. So it's either Children's ER or urgent care.

    There should always be a professional available at a pediatrician's office. These are our kids, for goodness sake!

    Okay, off my soapbox.