Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Request for Advice

Okay, I am outraged. For real this time. I have been trying to get an appointment with my orthopedist doctor guy since October and today I was WRONGED. Wronged, I tell you. Here's the situation. And I want to know what I should do here too, so pay attention.
Mid-August: Went to orthopedist upon referral from regular doctor. Had chronic shoulder/neck pain.
Late August: Began 4-8 weeks of physical therapy for shoulder. Was supposed to return to orthoguy for follow up visit Sept. 9th.
Early September: Physical therapist says I have only had 2 weeks of my 4-8 weeks and advised I change ortho appointment to later date for best results.
Same day: Call orthopedist guy. Wait on hold for unprecedented amount of hold time, then connect to voice mail because they closed. Left message on voice mail to cancel appointment, requested a call back to reschedule. Even suggested they just leave any old appointment on my machine and I'd be there.
Next two months: Never hear from orthopedist again, continue PT. Attempt 3 separate times to call ortho-guy only to meet excessive wait times. At one point, I did two loads of laundry while on hold. Eventually began pushing buttons to get any extension and spoke expressively to business manager about their practices and she promised to get a message to them to call me back in the morning. Nothing.
November: Released from physical therapy. Therapist empathizes with my frustrations of not being able to reach psycho-ortho-doctor and say she will send an email detailing the treatment she feels that I need next and asking them to call me to set up appointment. Nothing.
Today: Had a doctor's appointment in the same building, so I just stopped by. I thought maybe if I placed myself in front of their little window, I'd get somewhere. I relayed all of the information above to the receptionist. She picked up a phone and called someone named Vonda to "deal" with me. I then had to talk on the phone to Vonda while leaning in the little window with everyone in the waiting room hanging on my every word. Vonda said, "You had to hold for over 30 minutes?" I said, "Yes." Vonda said, "I find that hard to believe since we have 13 lines." Aahhh! [offended Miss Piggy noise] I was appalled! Who is this Vonda and what right does she have to question my hold times?! And I couldn't say anything too ugly or foolish because all these people were staring at me, the Freak Who Had to Talk on the Window Phone with Vonda. Then, THEN!! she goes, "I see here that you were a no show for your Sept. 9th appointment, so why are you just now getting around to calling?" Flames...on the sides of my face...heaving breaths...flames... [10 points if you can name that movie reference]
WHAT THE @!#*& WAS THIS WOMAN'S BEEF WITH ME???? This...this....VONDA? A no show? I had left them a message because their STOOPID hold time cut off and sent me there! I take pride in never being a no show because it's rude! Do they not accept messages? Do they tell people that? I was livid with her, so I hung up the phone and told the receptionist that Vonda was being rude to me, could she please just make me an appointment. But now I don't want the appointment! I don't want to go back there again! So I have to find another doctor.
But I'm not done with that one. What can I do? They don't have the right to treat patients that way. People who are in pain. It's just mean! What's the Better Business Bureau for medical facilities? Or is it the same? Should I write a letter? And get their parents to sign it? What would YOU do? I'll accept both realistic and creative answers. I'm flummoxed. And angry.


Eddie said...

I would go in there again and refuse to talk to anyone on a phone. I would say that you have had no results speaking with Vonda and that you'd like to speak to a boss or higher-up. List everything you've done to try to contact them. Then tell them that they have lost your business and that you will be letting your friends know how you were treated so that the word will spread. Then find a different doctor.

Ugh, this story sound so much like my stupid Dr. Kurtin eye doctor story. Down with Dr. Kurtin in Plano!

Meredith said...

I'm not sure there is a better business bureau for doctors, but I do know that doctors have to be accredited (or something like that) by the state. Certainly you could log a complaint with them this agency. And I do agree with the previous comment, you need to go back to the office (as much as I would hate to do that myself) and let them know how bad their service has been. Let them know that you will be spreading the word.

Bubba said...

Well, there are lots of things you could do. You could sneak into the office one night and spray paint, "You Suck" on the wall.

Or you could write down everything that went wrong in a letter, use bullet points so the idiots can easily read your points. Then take it to the office and read it aloud to the receptionist so everyone in the waiting room can hear. Tell everyone that you have found a new doctor and give them his/her phone number. If they say they find it hard to believe that you had to hold for 30 minutes, ask if everyone there thinks the patients are lying, like if you see the doctor and tell him your neck hurts will he believe me, because I told you something that happened and you don't believe me.

Then say you want to tell the doctor in person how his office is treating you because it is a reflection on him. Refuse to leave until you see the doctor. Wait by his car if you have to. Give him your letter after you read it to him.

Call the news and get there bad business reporter on the scene. Bad pub on TV is really bad pub.

Unfortunately, all this could happen and you know what? People don't care. These days people care about themselves only, and nothing else. Whatever you do they will write you off as a freak and get on with their lives. It is tough to face, but people are shit, what can I say.

veach st. glines said...

or...you could just get over it. Never go back there. Find another doctor (and meet the new one and his office staff without allowing your previous hellish experience to influence your behavior). Forget about the past.

Stress (of which this office and it's unprofessionalism is causing you much) can not be a good thing for you.

Walk away and consider it a lession learned.

--But, then, you could continue to rant and holler and it might get you somewhere. In my experience, it will get you two things: more stress and no vindication.

Katie said...

Oooh- I would be LIVID!!! (ona sidenote- the previous poster obviously is unaware of your history of effective letter-writing!) I think you should most definitely send letters to many people. The paper, the news, the doctor himself (look him up in the phone book and send it to his house!), and anyone else who may have any bit of interest. That is just wrong wrong wrong of the office. You should've told Vonda where to shove it! hmmmph.

wanda said...

That's terrible! Since the patients in the waiting room were listening to your conversation with Vonda (what kind of name is that anyway?), you should have taken a poll to see if any of them had experienced the same problems....or just you. I think writing one of your famous letters AND calling the local TV stations would be a starting place. Don't let them get away with this treatment. Vonda should be fired!

Dex said...

Now, while I do empathize with you, I do want to point out a couple things:

1) Not Vonda's fault. Remember that.

2) Why did you wait around for them to call you back? Especially since you never knew if the original appointment was cancelled properly (wasn't). It's possible your "leave any old appointment" got translated as "keep the original appointment." I'm not saying that's what did happen, I'm just saying that's what could have happened.

2a) Why didn't you explain your side with Vonda? Hanging up on her proved her right.

3) Did you get charged for the no-show? No? Then move on. Like mentioned above, the stress just isn't worth it, and will only ruin your day.

4) what shouuld you do? Cancel that appointment, and find another doctor. When you cancel the appointment, mention that their lack of customer service is why.

I really, really don't think this is worth a letter writing campaign. It's like being upset that the neighbor doesn't have flowers in her flower bed....


Eddie said...

I disagree with some of the things in the previous post. Vonda was rude. Ginny told her what happened and Vonda basically said she didn't believe her. The customer is always right.

Dex said...

We're forgetting that Ginny shot the messenger. We also don't know what Ginny's tone of voice was with the receptionist or with Vonda initially. After umpteen years on hold and having to go in person, I'm pretty sure it wasn't pleasant and sunny. Someone didn't get Ginny's first message cancelling the original appointment. Do we know that was Vonda? Was Vonda personally responsible for never calling Ginny back? I think not.

But again, I'll say I empathize. Never getting a callback is ridiculous, and you should NOT give that doctor your business. Should Vonda be fired? No, I don't think so.

The customer is (most) always right, but customer with attitude does not get free pass to spew venom with impunity.

Eddie said...

Of course Vonda was probably not the one to get the original message. But the fact remains that, after Ginny told her the situation and what had happened, she said that it couldn't have happened that way. It is her job to make things right, not to question Ginny's integrity.

You better change your mind about Vonda, or no soup for you when you get home! ;)

katielady said...

I would never set foot in there again and spread the word about this doctor. Especially with your regular doctor who referred you to this jack-ass. It is, after all, a business, and if they are going to treat people that way, then you shouldn't have to give them your business. It will only cause additional stress, which I'm SURE is great for your chronic shoulder/neck pain. I'll bet you carry your stress in your shoulders like me! Anyway, Joel is right, I'm sure they really don't give a rat's ass and won't no matter how great a letter you write or how big a stink you make about it. It was an unfortunate stream of events, but it has happened to me before, and you just have to move on and find another doctor. There are a million out there, why should you worry with this stupid guy? Have your regular doctor 'refer' you to a different orthopedist, get your records from the quack orthopedist (which your regular doctor can and should do) so that you don't have to start from square one and do physical therapy again, and go from there.

Yes, you were WRONGED, in a serious way, but I doubt anything you would say would make a dent. People are only out for themselves these days.

Katie said...

If Ginny doesn't do anything about this, then the doctor's staff is going to continue treating people this way. As a tax office employee (feel free to check out my latest posts on my blog concerning dealing with the public), I know very well that the customer must be treated with the utmost respect. The people standing in line to pay their taxes this week murmur rude and downright mean comments to us when we go to the bathroom because we are not there to take their money (oooh- now you've got me fired up again!). As an employee of the office, we are not allowed to give our personal opinion to them, but they are allowed to tell us what they think. SO, why is it unfair for Ginny to get upset about this rude and mean customer service that she is receiving? It is the staff's rudeness and inconsideration that has her upset and she has a right to be mad at Vonda. Vonda should know to treat angry patients with care, not with a nah-nanny-boo-boo 'tude.

Bubba said...

Katiebonk, not my wife,

It is not wrong for Ginny to be upset, but our point is no one cares. If they treated everyone this way, then they would have no patients. If they treated everyone this way and the patients kept coming back, then the patients get what they deserve. I would be very mad, but I'm telling you, they don't care. Ginny could ask them if they would look beyond themselves and see her point of view.

Also, I never trust a company machine, another lesson to be learned. Always call back the next day until you talk to a human, or someone posing as a human.

I can massage your neck if you like though with Katielady's - wife, roller ball from Bed Bath and Beyond.

Anonymous said...

The movie was clue...

and I would have probably gone on a rampage in that office - spectators be damned.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm a day late for your request for advice, but I have to add mine anyway. Before I became a stay-at-home mom I was an office manager at an orthopaedic office and cardiologist office. And every now and then people would mess up ~ cancelled appointments recorded as a noshow, phone calls that were meant to be returned weren't. But when a mistake was made it was our job to kiss some patient butt. That's what the doctors pay their front office for. Doctors are completely oblivious to anything that goes on outside of the examining room. I doubt your doc knows how his staff is treating his patients, much less who is staff is. So ~ you need to continue going to this doctor but DO write him a detailed letter and CC his office manager. They should then treat you like a queen and send Vonda to a Costumer Service seminar. Good luck!