Normally I try to write proactive articles about things that may have happened in the past, but had not happened prior to the writing of my article, hoping to prevent something from occurring. This article is completely reactive to something that happened to my wife and I. My wife had a benign tumor removed from her parotid gland, on the right side of her neck. After a long time in recovery, I was able to bring her home. She did pretty well during the night, other than having to sleep in my recliner.
We had to go to the West End for the doctor to be able to remove the drain and change the dressing. Our appointment was at 9:50 a.m. The waiting room was full. We checked in and sat down. We would soon learn that her doctor had gotten behind, to the tune of about one hour and 15 minutes. After a long wait, 24 hours post-surgery, for my wife, we saw the doctor. It took him five to 10 minutes to remove the drain and change the dressing. We then checked out and left.
I will share my concern. How many times have we experienced a doctor who had to leave the office and go to the emergency room for a patient experiencing a medical situation that requires immediate attention? The result is that everyone had to reschedule his/her appointment. Something else that you may have experienced is being at the doctor’s office when a more serious patient comes in and you get bumped back. In this case, I learned that the patients who have just had surgery get no priority in the order that they are seen. My thought is that all surgery patients, especially those 24-48 hours after surgery, should be seen as close to their appointment time as possible, similar to those who are bumped back for the emergent patient.
My wife did make it through the experience OK. I decided to share this with someone before we left. The problem here was that it needed to be shared with the office manager, not the receptionist who checks you out. I truly felt like my words were not heard. My mother was a nurse and I was a paramedic, so I am usually pretty forgiving, where hospitals, doctors and nurses are concerned. I did not blame the doctor or the staff for the delay, but I did believe that this was a system problem. I did not even broach the point that, if a patient needs to see a doctor that soon after surgery, then why not admit them for 23 hours and do all that needs to be done before discharge. I completely understand that this is not the medical system that we live under, but I do believe that this issue needs to be addressed.