I’m no doctor. Therefore, I clearly have no clue what goes into a physician’s day to day in the life of a family clinic. I don’t know what issues come up and I don’t know what stresses a doctor has to deal with on a regular basis. Because of this, take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. Also, to any doctors out there, feel free to put me in my place when all is said and done.

I don’t visit the doctor often. As someone who is as close to 40 as I am, I’m sure I should be seeing a doctor annually at the very least. But, honestly, I never see a doctor unless I’m coerced into getting an illness checked out at the local urgent care office. So it’s been a while since I’ve personally had an actual scheduled appointment. Meaning that the following rant is based on the adjacent experience that I recently had.

While accompanying someone to their doctor’s appointment, I grew increasingly frustrated on their behalf while we sat in the waiting room. The appointment was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Of course, we arrived roughly 20 minutes ahead of time because, if I remember anything about scheduled appointments with a doctor’s office, they like you to arrive early. You know, in case of additional paperwork and what not.

Time passed. 3:00 came and went. So did 3:30. It wasn’t until 3:45 that this person was finally called back to an examination room.

I was left to wonder something that I know I’ve wondered in the past: Why is it that a patient is expected to arrive 15-20 minutes early for an appointment and just be okay with the doctor being “behind schedule” and forced to wait 45 minutes past the scheduled appointment time? Yet if the patient arrives 15 minutes late to the appointment, it’s canceled and the patient is forced to reschedule and still pay for the canceled appointment?

Like I said at the start of this thing, I get that things come up and I’m sure for someone as busy as a doctor, things can pile on pretty quickly. But, I have to say, when it comes to the mentality we have of doctors being allowed to push back appointments but patients being punished for it, it gives off the impression that my time isn’t as valuable as yours. Which, of course, when it comes to money, my time isn’t as valuable as a doctor’s because I definitely don’t make that kind of money. But if I’m able to respect the doctor’s time, shouldn’t they have the decency of respecting mine?

How far off base am I? I feel like this could be one of those divisive things that could spark some healthy debate. So go at it in the comments. But if you’re going to tell me I’m wrong to feel the way I do, tell me why I’m wrong. I’d really like to know.

In the meantime… I’ll be here waiting…

Feature Photo by kelvin balingit on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. I’ve worked at a handful of doctors’ offices and currently work for the health department where we hold clinics. Sure, in some instances, doctors could be running behind because they are slow and don’t have good time management skills, but often times it isn’t so much the physician’s fault. It comes down to whoever is/was in charge of setting the schedule. If a time slot is scheduled for 15 minutes, but the patient comes in for blood work, consultation, as well as a physical, there’s no way the doc can get that all done in 15 minutes. And of course the later in the day, the more likely the doc will be behind schedule if he/she has dealt with multiple long-running appointments.

    I do agree that patients should not be penalized for missing appointments. I too have not gone to a primary care doc and seek out urgent care when needed, so I’m not sure if charging for a no-show is the norm, but that wasn’t a thing when I worked at a PCP office.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this! I’m not sure if charging is the norm either. I know there’s been places I’ve gone before that let me know if I’m late or cancel after a certain deadline, I’d still be charged. I think I ran into that warning with the oral surgeon when I had my wisdom teeth removed.

      Liked by 1 person

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