Needless Hassles Regularly Imposed By The Medical Community

I became frustrated while filling out the forms in preparation for the appointment with the nutritionist. The packet in which it arrived (and the lady on the phone) emphasized it is important that it is completed in full before the appointment.

The whole exercise seemed futile. Ninety percent of the questions (concerning desired weight loss, physical activity, etc) were not applicable to our situation. It was a waste of time. Pointless paperwork may be something I need to add to my list of regularly encountered irritants within the medical community.

With the exception of insurance and billing issues (another post all its own), here is my list of regular annoyances:

1) Medical offices that require me to wait for a return call to schedule an appointment are vexing. Unless it is within a few minutes of the initial call, I find it nearly impossible to be on call for the return phone call.

During the day, I am anywhere but near the phone. Rather, I’m feeding Charlie, attending other appointments, changing diapers, bathing Charlie, driving, visiting someone, or otherwise going about our lives. The ringing phone is a starting gun for a sprint that includes juggling a baby and leaping over toys to answer it. Sometimes (such as diaper changes, baths, or feedings), we can’t be interrupted. On these occasions, a game of phone tag ensues. I once read in an etiquette book (and tend to follow) that the phone exists for my convenience not the caller’s. If I must be contacted, I prefer email.

2) Medical offices that call prior to an appointment with automated reminder messages are a pet peeve of mine. Charlie has nine medical professionals she sees regularly. In addition, her dad and I have appointments from time to time. At least once a day, my phone rings with what I call “phone spam”. More often than not, these recorded messages arrive at inopportune times. They wake up Charlie, interrupt what we were doing, or act as false alarms if we are waiting for an important call. I am an adult. I know how to use a schedule. I will gladly pay for any appointments we miss. Eliminating the nuisance will be well worth the cost.

3) I am irritated by health professionals, that require a physician’s prescription or referral, whom utilize a model that differs from the medical model. It is cumbersome to coordinate the services a physician feels will be beneficial from a provider that chooses to do things differently then recommended by the doctor. Whether a family centered, a solution focused, or a medical model is used, the same outcomes are desired. If a health profession is auxiliary to physician care, it is easiest if they work together and not independent of one another. For simplicity’s sake, they should use the medical model. I am not impressed to hear “That may be what the doctor recommends but we do things differently. It’s because doctors use the medical model while we use…”

4) It is trying when a medical office that serves pediatric patients does not have appropriate equipment. On several occasions, we have had to improvise with adult equipment. For example,  we had to visit an ER (in a hospital with a pediatric unit and NICU) that was not prepared to serve babies. After MacGyvering our way through intake and obtaining questionable vitals with ill sized equipment, I was stunned when I was asked if I had a bottle to use to orally administer contrast.

5) I am frustrated if the office aspect of a medical service is not well organized. For example, there is one particular medical office that my husband (the nicest guy in the world) and I detest having to deal with. We actually bicker over which of us should have to call the office or deal with the office staff. Unfortunately, our favorite (and an amazing) doctor is one of many at this practice.

When we call, we are usually put on hold for about five minutes (my phone times these things). After the wait, the person we speak to will have someone else call back (even if it is merely for scheduling an appointment). The time between the initial call and the return call varies from fifteen minutes to six hours. Sometimes, the person calling back is not the right person and the process starts over. On occasion, I have had a nurse dispense medical advice with out having looked at Charlie’s chart. I am usually tipped off when Charlie is referred to as “he”. It is really kind of crap shoot as to what turmoil will ensue when we call the office. We double check everything that is involved with that office. One thing is certain, that place keeps us on our toes.

There it is. My list. These things needlessly complicate our lives on a regular basis. What is on your list?


Photo credit: Monica DeMariano


About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

2 responses to “Needless Hassles Regularly Imposed By The Medical Community

  • spiteorflight

    I’m actually sitting in the waiting room to see my MFM specialist now, and their rule is to be here 15 minutes before your appointment with your paperwork already filled out. It drives me crazy, because isn’t the extra 15 minutes supposed to be for … paperwork? And they’re always running behind schedule so if I get here early, I usually sit and wait at least 30 minutes before I’m seen. My hematologist office also asks us to be there 15-20 minutes early, and I am routinely left in an exam room all alone for over an hour every time I’m there (after driving 90 minutes to get there!)


    • woodra01

      I agree. I don’t mind rigid policies when they serve a purpose. When they become pointless (such as the fifteen minutes when paper work is already completed) they need to be revised. Congrats on expecting! 🙂


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