Tuesday, July 31, 2007

waiting room

I've been looking for a new doctor and I noticed a doctor's office in my neighborhood that looked like a possibility. I showed up for my first appointment on Monday at 10:45 AM. I was about 5 minutes late. And then I waited until 12:20 PM before the doctor saw me, an hour and a half.

When I finally saw the doctor he apologized for the wait and then told me that they were a doctor short that day and had served four different people with emergencies that morning. He asked me why I was there and I told him I was looking for a new primary care physician and he joked that the office probably hadn't made a very good first impression.

I admit to having grown impatient in the waiting room, especially when I had to run outside to put more money in the parking meter, but when he explained the reason for the wait I was actually pleased. Although it was an inconvenience to me that morning, the policy of giving priority to walk in patients with acute needs will certainly help me in the future when I'm the one with the emergency. I'd much rather wait for an appointment when I'm well, then not be able to see a doctor when I'm sick. And for future appointments I can easily call ahead and see if there's a wait. It's a great example of how cooperation, flexibility, and self-sacrifice among a group can improve conditions for all.

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