Is a doctor’s time worth more than yours?

Why is it that doctors think their time is worth more than…well, anybody else? No, it’s not something they say or that most of them will likely admit, but—to use an old cliché, the proof is in the pudding.

And yes, I’ve recently returned from spending several hours in an office where BJ had gone for some pretty serious nerve-damage testing. The good news is that her nerves are functioning fine…the bad news is that the doctors didn’t have any answers for what ails her: so, back to square one.

But why is it that you can set an appointment with a doctor but not get in to see them until an hour—or longer—later? If it were the thing of occasionally happening, that’d be one thing. Instead, it is the common occurrence. I don’t think any of us would begrudge a doctor being late because of an emergency. I mean, I know if ‘I’ needed a doctor for an emergency, I’d like him to forego an appointment or two to come save my life.

But I want it to be an emergency and not just because the secretarial staff has overbooked his schedule/calendar. My own personal belief (all opinion with no facts to back it up) is that this is the case. But most doctors are in charge, or at least somewhat in charge and should do something about it. They should inform their secretarial staff that it is just impossible to see a patient every 5 minutes.

So it ends up, you have to take time off from your work—or you’re already missing time because you’re sick—and what should only take one hour, ends up taking four. I don’t think doctors even consider the fact that the people/patients coming to see them are missing out on work and thus not only will they be paying the doctor outrageous hourly rates, but they’re missing out on work and thus losing money they could be earning.

And the Urgent Care centers that have popped up all over the place were once good ideas but are now often little better than a doctor’s office. When Brittany was sick several weeks ago, we spent four hours waiting in an Urgent Care.

On top of all that, they often can’t see you when you’re sick, but you must get sick and then make an appointment to see them a few days later. Generally, when I’m sick, I want to see the doctor immediately so that I can begin the healing process. I kid you not that recently when Brittany got sick, we called to get a doctor to get her in—they couldn’t see her for three days. 3 DAYS! That’s why we went to Urgent Care.

And then waited four hours.

But ultimately, I think a four hour wait is better than a three day wait, especially to one who is sick.


Filed under Columns

2 responses to “Is a doctor’s time worth more than yours?

  1. A few years ago, a lawyer billed a doctor several hundred dollars for waiting two hours in the office. Dr. didn’t pay. Lawyer took him to small claims court and won. The judge’s comment as he handed down his decision? “Wish I’d done that!”

  2. Peggy Johnson

    I’ve had the same experience……….time and again. I hate sitting an hour in an exam room waiting for the doctor to make his appearance. Recently I saw a man and woman in a waiting room. She was in a wheel chair. They had been waiting over two hours, going on three. Now that’s insane.

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