Waiting for the doctor’s office to call you back.

As I have gotten older I’ve had to go to the doctor’s office on many occasions and usually those visits included a lab technician taking some of my blood to be tested. After giving the blood sample I would go and see the doctor. Somewhere during my visit with the doctor I would ask the doctor about the results of my blood test. Each and every time the doctor will tell me that as soon as he got the results someone would call me at home, within a few days.

Well here’s the problem with that, on more than one occasion I didn’t get the call from the doctor’s office. The callback is usually made by a member of the nursing staff. I was told that a nurse from the office would call me with the results. There have been several times when within that few days I do get a call from the doctor’s about my test results. But on the last several occasions I have not got a phone call. The days go by and I anxiously await the phone call from the doctor’s office. During my wait I become somewhat paranoid about what the results will be. Most the time I think that they have not called me back because there’s something bad in the results. At some point in time I decide to call the doctor’s office and ask if somebody will call me back with the results. Usually the phone is answered by a clerk who has no idea about my test results. The clerk tells me that the doctor or somebody will call me back. Most recently I had to call the doctor’s office twice to remind them that I’d like to know about my lab results. Each time the clerk answering the phone said that she would tell somebody at the nursing staff about the call back. The last time this happened it took over a week for somebody to call me back. When I mentioned the fact that it took so long for me to get that call, the nurse that I was speaking with told me that the nurse that usually calls back with the lab results was on vacation. There was no remorse or apology from that nurse. I think the way that she saw it was that it’s not her fault that the nurse went on vacation and because I complained to the office she had to do that nurse’s job.

The way I look at it; the doctor, the nurse and the clerk do not understand or appreciate how important that phone call is. The doctor usually cannot be bothered to call somebody back with lab results and so is delegated to someone else. That someone else, usually the nursing staff, will tell you that they are very busy with patients and they do not have the time to make the callback. I think they look at it as a job below their station and at some lab technician should call you back. The call is about the lab results, nothing more and nothing less. No medical advice or medicine prescription is developed on the callback of the lab results. Therefore, anyone can callback that information.

If the patient wants some other advice then they should make an effort to make the call to a doctor or nurse who will take the time from their busy scheduled to talk to you. I think after several years in the medical field the doctors, nurses and staff become somewhat numb to the feelings of the patient.

Have you ever noticed that when you check into the doctor’s office for your appointment one of the first people you see is the person that handles the way you pay for the doctor’s services? In my time it used to happen after the visit with the doctor. Now it is one of the first people that you see.

Even with that process I do not understand or appreciate the fact that someone at the doctor’s office does not call me back with my lab results in just a few days like the doctor said they would. It is like once you are out of sight you are out of mind, except for the people who collect the money for the visit.

In today’s blog I am asking the medical professionals and their management staff to appreciate the patience need to receive their lab results as promised by the doctor. I would think they can even have a computer program that can make that call. I’m asking the doctors and the nurses to remember back when they had to visit a doctor and wait for lab results. It is just the nature of the human being to expect the worst news about their health after visiting the lab and giving their blood. The patient is not seeing the doctor because everything is feeling good; they went because something was wrong. And the fact that the doctor order some lab tests and that that test would determine his advice is huge.

Due to the shortage of doctors and nurses is hard enough to find someone to help you. But I do not believe that those doctors, nurses and medical staff personnel should become insensitive to the patient’s needs. In my case there is no issue about payment for services. So why can’t I get my results on a timely basis as stated by the doctor. If the nurse believes that such a duty is below her or his station then give it to somebody else, even a computer program would be a better result.

I did not want to complain to the doctor’s office because I feel that someone there will retaliate against me. I know I felt that way when the nurse who was supposed to call me came back from vacation and did call me about separate lab result. When I mentioned the fact that she or somebody there dropped the ball and did not call me back about my last lab test, she became defensive and evasive. This only made me question what will happen in the future I need her to call me again.



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