I like my doctor. She listens well, doesn’t talk down to me, and is no nonsense. If something isn’t worth doing anything about, she’ll say so. If something needs doing, she does it. But I’m dumping her and looking for a new primary care physician, because nobody answers the phone at her office.
A couple of years ago her office shifted to a system where you call and leave a message, then they call you back to schedule a visit. Sometimes you call at 8:30 in the morning and they don’t call you back until midafternoon. I can’t imagine how this actually saves them time and money, since it means they often end up playing phone tag. All I know is that it’s extremely patient unfriendly, so I’ve been thinking for a while about leaving.
Then came this past Monday, when they didn’t even call me back. Still haven’t. And this is no minor issue. I needed to come in for treatment for asthma. Asthma usually gets you treated quickly, because lack of oxygen can lead to some pretty serious outcomes. As the emergency room physician at San Francisco General told me back in 1990, “Of course you almost died; you couldn’t breathe!” So, no return call Monday, no treatment, and so I ended up in the emergency room that evening, struggling to breathe.
Dr. Jody Rhames, of Adrian, Michigan, is a fine physician. But she runs a very patient unfriendly business, and she’s no damn use to me if I’m struggling to breathe and her staff doesn’t call me back.