Yes, doctors are people, too. They experience the same emotions as the rest of us, including the occasional desire to poke fun. But that’s a desire they must suppress in the clinical setting. And like the rest of us, they sometimes let words or sentences slip out that shouldn’t. Sometimes office staff makes mistakes that come back to bite the physician in the ass.
How would you feel if you experienced one of the following epic communication fails? Some are made up, some actually happened – I’ll let you figure out which are which:
♦ Upon reviewing your test results, your doctor asks if you’ve given any thought to funeral pre-arrangements.
♦ After reviewing your lab work and explaining all the things that are currently wrong with you, and all the things you’ll now need to give up (like food), the doctor says, “Oops. How did these get in your chart?! – these are Mrs. Jones’ results!”
♦ For men: The burly 6’3” male physician’s assistant enters the exam room donning latex gloves and whistling “Moon River.”
♦ For women: Your family doctor has finally convinced you to undergo a Pap smear, which you’ve been putting off for years because you refuse to go to an OB/GYN (too embarrassed to sit around with all those young pregnant woman). Just as you get properly positioned on the table (“move down a little more, please, now just a little more …”), the doctor turns to his nurse and says, “I haven’t done this in awhile. Which way does the speculum go?”
♦ You’ve put off that colonoscopy long enough and have finally decided to undergo the test. You’ve done the cleansing prep, arrived at the medical facility, and are now dressed in one of those gorgeous, breezy johnnies. The nurse enters the room and says, “I apologize. We have to re-schedule. Dr. X finally managed to get a tee time at the country club.”
♦ You’ve just explained to your family doctor that you have no available cash to join a health club. You’re lucky if you can keep the mortgage and utilities paid. The doctor replies, “Maybe you could hire a personal trainer?”
♦ Upon arriving at the pediatrician’s office for your child’s regular exam, you find a handwritten note taped to the door indicating that the offices have moved, and giving the new location across town. By the time you drive there, you are, of course, seriously late for the appointment. You apologize to the receptionist, indicating that you hadn’t received the notice that the office was moving, and are told that one was never sent out. WTF? What if the child were sick?
Are you ready to chat with your doctor at your next visit? Got any communication failures you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below.
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom