About two years ago I switched doctors on the advice of several people. The physician I was seeing kept ascribing my various aches and pains to the extra pounds I carried and seemed profoundly disinterested in any other cause for my pain. I loved the new doctor. She took me seriously and immediately sent me to various specialists looking for a cause beyond Fatty Boombaism. Sure enough I is one sick puppy, and now am at last getting it under control.
I like that doctor very much, but the practice in which she works is one of the most hideous places in Nashville. Judging from the location of the office and the signs posted on the wall and the clientele in the waiting room, this practice is one which caters almost exclusively to the lower middle class. Signs scream to the newcomers about Workman’s Comp and Doctor’s Excuses. The reception desk is helmed by workers who ignore patients in favour of conversations about guys who don’t call and annoying other patients who just left. Private details about a person’s medical history, issue of concern, insurance and payment arrangement are dealt with at full volume–often yelled across the waiting room.
“Hey, Your Credit Card didn’t Go Through!!!” Even with the name on the credit card, on the computer screen and the sign in sheet, patients are referred to as “Hey!”
It’s a hideous place with a reputation so bad that every other doctor’s office I spoke to last week (three others) remarked on it. Two of the other offices even said as much as to admit that this practice has a reputation in my area of being ‘hateful’.
I’ve thought about this alot. I know that when it comes to doctors, money can get you a good place in line for a liver. It can get you more comprehensive testing, better medicine for chronic ailments and more prompt patient care.
But it shouldn’t cost any extra to be treated kindly and with respect. It shouldn’t cost extra to have someone speak to you as though you are a human being and not just an annoyance to get past before Beer O’Clock. Frankly, I’m scared about where healthcare is headed in this country. I’m scared mostly because I’m afraid I won’t be able to fire a doctor who doesn’t work for me. I’m scared that I’ll be stuck forever in Hateful Medical Practice, Inc.