As I gathered up my stuff before exiting the examining room I saw this sign above the table. I apologize for the fuzziness.
What a good reminder for impatient patients, eh? Stop for a moment to consider why the doctor might be keeping you waiting. Some day, that person who needs extra time could be you. True dat.
And yet . . .
The doctor and admin staff might not know in advance which patients require management of a potentially life-threatening issue: The chest pain that walked through the door this morning might be heartburn or a heart attack in process.
But they do know which patients routinely require extra assistance: the elderly, the disabled, and the folks who just usually do. They also know which patients have a newly diagnosed terminal condition — or even merely a serious condition — and who might, therefore, be reasonably expected to need counselling time.
This is another both-can-be-true situation. Patients should be, well, patient. And doctors should respect their patients’ time by not over-scheduling. By making some appointments longer, because they need to be, and by building some slack into their day to handle the unexpected.
Is that unfair, asking doctors to forego revenue by scheduling less than they can do if all goes well? Maybe. Maybe just as unfair as asking me and every other paid-by-the-hour worker to consistently wait for a doctor.