Saturday, August 02, 2003

Following in the footsteps of Rangel and DB I want to put in my own two cents in about this guy who sued his doctor for being late. It's difficult to debate this without getting into a "my time/your time/our time" discussion as between Spicoli and Mr. Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. My time problems are doubled, both by the office and in the OR.
THE OFFICE Postop visits for me can last anywhere from five minutes for uncomplicated hernias and gallbladders to sometimes thirty minutes for a postitive breast biopsy. New patients can also last about 30 minutes for me, longer if I need to prepare their operative consents, H&P, ect... My office staff does a good job about letting my patients know when they will have to wait. This has gotten better since I am no longer on call during my office day. I apologize to the patient if I am late and explain that our appointment won't be rushed. The other side of that is that we have a striict 30 minute no-show policy. This cuts down on the moning patient's tardiness slowing down the rest of the day.
THE OPERATING ROOM This is where most of the delays occur, and the place where I have the least control. I tell my patients that the starting time is only an estimate and that an emergency can push everything back. Cases ahead may run slow, turnover time may be long, and if it is an afternoon case the number of rooms run decreases when the day shift goes home. The hospitals in which I operate do not do a good job of explaining this to the patient. Sometimes the patients do not show up for their pre-operative testing. Because OR time is a limited and time-dependant resource we cancel those patients no questions asked. We just can't wait for them to have their preop workup the day of surgery, because that would make other patients have to wait.
Overall I think this is a very bad decision.

They're even coming after the vets.
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