Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Worse Doctor's Office than the Ones I Visit

Crazy is as crazy does.

My pseudoaunt had an appointment with her pulmonary specialist this morning. I called at about 1:30 to find out how things had gone. She didn't answer her phone. I thought it was a bit odd, as she doesn't typically go anywhere after doctor appointments because the appointments themselves make her tired. I called again twenty minutes later, and there was still no answer.

I mentioned this to Stephanie, the mother in the house where I was staying. She's pseudoaunt's sister-in-law. She called Jared to come help his sister watch their younger siblings, then drove over to pseudoaunt's house. When she got to pseuduoaunt's house, she found pseudoaunt on her bed, sobbing hysterically to the point that she was having difficulty breathing. She had taken an oxygen tank from the closet and was using it to to aid her breathing .Stephanie  dialed 911. Pseudoaunt was trying to tell her not to call 911, but couldn't really talk. Stephanie then called pseudouncle's place of work, identified herself, and said that pseudouncle's wife was having a medical emergency. The receptionist said that he was busy with a patient and could not be disturbed, and offered to take a message. Stephanie then asked to speak with pseudoaunt's primary care physicial/pulmonary specialist, who works in the same practice. The receptionist said that he, too, was, busy. Stephannie reiterated that this was a major medical emergency.  The receptionist, according to Stephanie, was very flippant with her , and answered something to the effect of  "For all you know, the patient the doctor is with right now is having a major medical emergency. Give me a number, and I'll have one of them return you call as soon as it is convenient."

At the point the paramedics arrived.  Stephanie didn't realized Jilllian had already called 911. They loaded Jillian into the ambulance and started an IV.  While they were still at pseudoaunt's house, a paramedic called pseudouncle's office.  It seemed that the receptionist didn't really believe it was a paramedic and tried to give him a reason why he could not speak to either of the two doctors, but a certified nurse's assistant walked past, overheard the paramedic's voice, and picked up another phone and punched into that line.She interrupted the receptionist to find out what was the problem. She immediately yelled for both doctors, who left their patients, punched into the line, and got the information that pseudoaunt was being transported to the local hospital for some sort of respiratory distress. Two doctors remained at the office, while pseudouncle and pseudoaunt's doctor ran to the hospital, which is faster than driving in times when parking spaces aren't guaranteed. One of the paramedics was the pseudos' next-door-neightbor, so Stephanie felt comfortable letting him accompany pseudoaunt to the hospital. Stephanie drove there.

Once the ER staff got pseudoaunt's breathing stabilized, they were able to slowly sort out what went wrong. They had to do it slowly because just discussing it seemed to upset pseudoaunt.

Roughly two years ago, pseudoaunt was locked in the radioloogy wing of the pulmonary office. The wing deadbolts with a key, and there's not a way to open the doors from the inside. The employees had forgotten about her and had gone to lunch. The receptionist was the employee who had actually deadbolted the doors. The person who deadbolts the wing is not supposed to do so without thorughly checking to ensure that no one is still in the room. Additionally, a telephone land line is to be hooked up in the wing at all times because cell phone reception is not possible in the room, and someone had failed to bring in the land line phone. Another employee had been responsible for the care of pseudoaunt when she was undergoing whatever radiological procedure she has having. That employee lost her job, not so much because of closing psuedoaunt into the building for the ninety minutes or so that she was there, as accidents do happen, but because her response was casual and not appropriately apologetic.  The employee who was terminated was a close friend of the present receptionist.

The receptionist had to work with Scott to some degree when he was a resident, but he didn't have all that much authority as a resident, so as long as she didn't outrightly defy him, he let it go. He told Stephanie that he did  say to her in June after she rolled her eyes when he asked her to get a particular patient's file that things were going to change in July when he was no longer a resident. she commented, 'Resident -- fellow, there's really not much difference as far as I'm concerned."

Scott said he told her she was free to  her own perceptions, but there would be repercussions if she
continued to be disrespectful once he was promoted to his fellowship. She responded with, "Whatever." Scott told the senior member of the practice. The senior member offered to speak with her. Scott said that wouls be great, but he really didn't care as long as he was backed up if she opposed him and refused to take direction from him. The senior member said that Scott would have the same power to fire her that any other doctor employed there did.

This morning Jillian arrived about fifteen minutes early for her appointment. Her doctor -- the senior partner --  had pictures from a recent trip to Fiji that he wanted her to see. He had her sit in a chair behind the counter to look at them. He went to see his next patient, and the receptionist returned to the area.  When she saw Jillian seated behind the counter, she sort of went ballistic. "Just because your husband is a fellow now doesn't give you the run of the place."

Another patient who had seen her doctor seat her behind the counter tried to explain, but the receptionist wanted to hear none of that lady's explanation. Jillian stood and said, 'I'll wait in my husband's office for my appointment."

The receptionist blocked the hallway and said, 'You're not going past this point." Jillian looked around, saw no one who could help, and left.  The receptionist put away Jillian's file. The morning was busy, and no one noticed that Jillian had not been seen by a doctor.

As soon as she got home, Jillian called Scott's cell number. Scott had apparently left his cell phone on a back counter. The receptionist answered with, "Dr. XXX's phone. He's not available right now. How may I help you?"

Jillian asked to speak to Scott.. The receptionist responded that he was busy with patients. Jillian hung up. She sat on her bed with her dog on the bed with her. She began to cry, and then started having trouble breathing. She dialed 911 for assistance, then went for her portable oxygen tank. At this point Stephanie arrived. Jillian couldn't talk well enough to tell Stephanie that she'd already called 911. The dispatcher eventually figured but it was the same emergency for which they had just received a call.

Pseudouncle and pseudoaunt's doctor arrived at the ER just  before the ambulance did. After less than an hour, her breathing and all vitals were stable. Her OBGYN came as well. He said that she was very quick-thinking to grab the portable oxygen tank so. She's breathing for the baby, too, so a consistent oxygen supply is critical.

Once the whole matter was sorted out, Scott asked the senior partner, "May  I fire Norma now?'

The senior partner, Jillian's doctor, said, "Of course we're going to fire her ass."

Scott said, 'No. I don't think you understand.  I  personally want to be the one to fire her."

"Go for it," Jillian's doctor told him. Jillian's dad was there by that time. He took Jillian home once her OBGYN released her. Pseudouncle said he'd be home as soon as he took care of a bit of business at the office. He walked briskly in the direction of the office, and through the door.

No patients remained in the office.. Scott asked another doctor to step into the empty reception area with him to act as a witness, although cameras with sound catch everything that's said or done were in that part of the office. "Mrs. Cervantes, I need to speak with you in the reception area,"  Scott called to Norma.

"I'm taking a break. I can talk to you in about ten minutes," she answered.

The other doctor called out, "Mrs. Cervantes, we need to see you now !"

At the sound of the other doctor's voice, she quickly got up. " I was just kidding. I was on my way in here," she attempted to ease her way through the situation once she realized another doctor was involved. She walked into the reception area. She started to sit down.

"Don't get comfortable," pseudouncle told her. "You're fired, effective immediately.  I'll ask the others to gather boxes so that you can collect your belongings. You'll need to be out of here in ten minutes starting right now.  " That would be 3:14 exactly."

"You can't fire me, you little prick. You're not even a real doctor here," Norma replied.

The other doctor took a few steps down the hall, then returned. He held up pseudouncle's medical doctorate diploma and license to practice medicine. "As far as you're concerned, lady, he's a real doctor, and you no longer work here."

Your final paycheck will be delivered by courier by 6:00 today," the other doctor told Norma.

Norma sniffled as she slowly put her belongings into boxes other employees had gathered from a supply room.  'I'll need your key," Scott told her.

"You'll get the key when I get around to giving it to you and not a moment sooner," she huffed at pseudouncle. A nurse picked up her keys off the counter, removed the office key, handed it to Scott, and put the other keys back on the counter.

"We're done to five minutes. Move it along. Let us know if you need help, because you're leaving with whatever you can carry at 3:14."

""You'll be  hearing from my lawyer," Norma huffed as she carried her first box out.

"What a coincidence," pseudouncle answered. "You'll be hearing from my wife's lawyer, too." That may or may not be the truth.

As Norma returned to collect her second box, the other doctor picked up the third and final box, carried it out the door, and set it down next to Norma's white Lexus.  "She'll have a tough time finding another job that will pay for these wheels," the other doctor commented as she sped away.

Pseudoaunt is home and fine.  She does have to put up with having her dad babysit her for a few days. Scott has been given tomorrow off to stay home with her.The OBGYN is confident the baby underwent no distress, mainly because Jillian grabbed the supplementary oxygen so quickly.

Jillian was really shaken up by the incident, but at least Norma is gone and cannot give her additional grief at the office.


  1. Sweet,sweet coincidence.

    For six plus months my daughter has been suffering under a rude,lazy ,incompetent,belittling immediate supervisor in a job she loves,is well (better than the bitch!) qualified for and perfectly suited to.My daughter is well liked in the job and well appreciated by both senior management and those she is responsible for.

    It is very difficult to fire someone here in Australia as historically unions have heavily influenced the industrial legislation. My daughter received good support from her HR department including several paid sessions with a psychologist to reinforce her confidence and coping strategies. But it seemed that her supervisor,s behaviours continued unaltered and R was still making up for her incompetence and putting up with her rudeness. Last week an example of this in a major meeting was remarked on and she was praised for handling it well and not furthering conflict.

    She called me last night. "Ding Dong the witch is dead! Retrenched and escorted off the premises in twenty minutes".

    It is not Schadenfreude .Some people just DESERVE bad things to happen to them, and it is such a rare occurrence to see them get their comeuppance.

    All the best to Jillian.We have a new grandchild on the way. The hopes and fears a mingled as daughter-in -law had an ectopic pregnancy resulting in loss of tube a few months back,but all is well on U/S thus far. Hopefully joys to come both sides of the Pacific!

  2. Norma is an idiot. She deserved to be fired. What a bitch. May she next be greeted by the repo man.

  3. Good grief! What a sad, petty control freak. I see more firings in her future.