How I Handled a Bad Medical Appointment: My Patient Experience
I was scheduled to have a fibroid removed at 8 am. I diligently arrived 20 minutes early, allowing time for parking, navigating, and COVID screening (There were only two people in line ahead of me because it was still early. When I left a couple of hours later, the line went down the block).
The front desk was deserted. I stood there for 5 minutes before someone showed up. I filled out my paperwork. I was put in the exam room and I waited… And waited… 35 minutes later, the medical assistant came in to apologize. They had “an issue with the equipment.” It wasn’t here and was being hand carried by my doctor from the hospital. She would be here in 15.
Waiting...For The Doctor
I waited an entire hour before my doctor came in to meet me and another 15 before the procedure was actually under way. I had every right to be upset. From a patient’s perspective, this situation was anxiety inducing. It was disrespectful of my time. Worse, I could have lost confidence during that wait, certainly after learning that they weren’t prepared.
If I hadn’t worked in healthcare for so long, there’s a good chance that I’d have walked out, scared and certain that all of this = incompetence. If I didn’t know the moving parts that make up an outpatient procedural office, all I would have is my fear and frustration. I wouldn’t be wrong in expecting MUCH better. Multiple balls were dropped.
From a patient’s perspective, this situation was anxiety inducing. It was disrespectful of my time. Worse, I could have lost confidence during that wait, certainly after learning that they weren’t prepared.
But demanding it in that moment would have been counterproductive. My doctor was experienced and skilled. The MA was professional and warm. When they learned my background and that I was well versed in the equipment challenges in procedural clinics, they were relieved that I would accept their apology not because I had no choice but to relent, but because I understood their predicaments.
Waiting...For The Right Time to Speak Up
There’s something to be said about putting patients at ease. There is also something to be said about putting healthcare providers at ease. None of us function at our best when we’re anxious. In this situation, all of us should be at our best. I wanted to be confident and calm. I definitely wanted the doctor who is cutting into my uterus to be confident and calm. As satisfied as I was with the actual procedure, I WILL be submitting feedback about the poorly executed process leading up to it.