Just poor bedside manner?

Recently, my mother went to her doctor to renew a prescription, a process which she thought would take a few minutes

Recently, my mother went to her doctor to renew a prescription, a process which she thought would take a few minutes.

She was told that the doctor could not renew the prescription without seeing her even though she has taken the same medication for cholesterol management for more than 20 years.  Certainly, it makes sense to me that anyone on a medication should have to schedule regular opportunities for the doctor to track progress and ensure that the use of it continues to be in the best interests of the patient.

Since she lived 45 minutes from the doctor’s office, I knew we’d have to leave early, but she was packed up 90 minutes ahead of time, anxious to get on the road.

“Why the hurry?”  I asked.

“There’s a sign in the office that says if you are more than 10 minutes late, your appointment will be cancelled, so I want to be sure I’m there in time. Let’s go.”

Having visited a few doctors in my life, and unable to count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I got in on time, I thought the concept of the office sign was interesting, obviously intended to keep things running on schedule. While I could appreciate that personally, it is even more important to the elderly for whom long waits are difficult on a lot of levels.

We arrived at the office 30 minutes ahead of time, and, sure enough, there was a large sign in the office window exactly as my mother had described it. Since my father was with us at the time, we left her at the office to run a few errands as he, too, had a medical appointment 90 minutes after her appointment.

We returned in about 45 minutes and I went into the office to meet with her. She was sitting in the same chair and said she hadn’t gotten in yet, but it should be any minute now because it was 15 minutes after her appointment time. I told her I’d wait outside with my dad, as he was too weak to walk into the office and I didn’t want to leave him alone in the vehicle too long.

To make a long story short, she came out much later, a full hour and a quarter after her appointment time, and she left without seeing the doctor because we had to get to my father’s appointment. She was very flustered and upset because she could not get her prescription without an appointment and to come back another time would require another two-hour road trip.

As she sat in the vehicle, bordering on tears, I asked her if she wanted me to go in and speak to the nurse and/or doctor, but she didn’t want me to because we needed to get going and, in her words, “they’ll do whatever they want anyway and it’ll be worse if we complain.”

I’m sure there was a good reason for such a delay in the doctor’s office, but to leave an 87-year-old patient sitting for almost two hours, with no explanation or consideration of the fact that her appointment really might take just a few minutes, seemed acutely unfair to me. And her fear that saying something might cause her even more difficulties in the future reminded me of the rationale used by children to avoid confronting bullies.

I thought again of the sign at the front that the patient must be no more than 10 minutes late or the appointment was cancelled. How nice to wield such power without accountability to your own responsibilities to be on time or to at least provide some compassionate explanation for keeping an elderly patient waiting for an extraordinarily long time.

Is that just bad bedside manner or might bullying be just as big a problem for the elderly as it is for the young?

 

Graham Hookey writes about education, parenting and eldercare (ghookey@yahoo.com).

 

Just Posted

Ridge chamber announces finalists for best-in-business awards

Winners will be announced at annual gala in February.

Four ‘neglected’ dogs surrendered to SPCA by Maple Ridge backyard breeder

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

Wires down along 112th Avenue in Maple Ridge

There are 244 customers without power in the area

Ridge RCMP arrest man who tried to escape on skateboard

Dustin William Randall Evans, 30, was wanted on outstanding warrants.

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

Haney junior boys win Carney basketball tourney

Maple Ridge team beats Abbotsford Christian 53-49 in the final

Sawatsky undefeated in post-season play

Dominant effort in Haney Masters Curling

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

National cold case hunters take on search for missing man last seen in B.C.

Kristofer Couture’s car was found at Chilliwack trailhead in January but there’s been no sign since

Metro Vancouver mayors green light regional business license for ride-hailing

Surrey mayor only member to vote against inter-municipality business license

Most Read