Friday, June 27, 2008

Nasty letter

Hi all,
Thank you all for the out pouring of e-mails and comments. I appreciate you all.
We go back to the OB-GYN on Monday, and as you might have guessed, it has been a tough week.
Trying to contemplate life and work at the same time is pretty hard.

But I got a blog this week from the ghost writer.
I told him or her that this was his or her best one yet.
The blog is transparent. The dentist puts himself out there. He or she is telling us about something really crappy that happened.
That is what this blog was suppose to be about...being real.
None of this, "things are always going to perfect if you only do this stuff."
So I hope you like it.

Who has received this letter? OK, not this exact letter but one that attacks you at so many levels that comes out of nowhere from a patients you can’t even mentally picture.

I should let you read it first. Just tell me I’m not the only dentist who has had “this” ex-patient.

Dear Dr. Ghost,

I do not wish to remain an active patient at your practice for many reasons. I have been meaning to write you about this matter for about a year now. First of all, I was not pleased that you could not take time to return my phone calls. I called your receptionist and asked her on several occasions if you could please call me when you had time. My husband who is also in the medical profession must make time to call patients back. I am sure this applies to dentists as well. Your avoidance in the matter concerning my incisor crown or veneer made me question your ability to provide a quality result, especially for an important occasion which was my wedding. As a result I went to a practice that specialized in cosmetic dentistry. I would have appreciated you being more honest about your limits and assisting me in finding someone who could make a perfect match. Instead you left me in the cold and coming back for an appointment where I thought I was going to have my crown or veneer put on my incisor, but was told that it was my last molar that I was there for.

The crown you did place on my molar was another issue. It was completely amorphous and did not match the other teeth well. I am relieved that you did not work on my incisor after all. I should have been leery because I had heard you speak of letting a “friend” make your crown, veneers, etc. You should consider your professionalism at your practice and avoid too much office gossip and flirtations with the clients.

It is because of these reasons I will not be returning and am sad that you could not be honest with your client. Your office staff is wonderful and I will miss them. I have found a great practice and a dentist that is honest. Please consider calling your clients if they have a question. It can cause you a good client.

Take care,


Ok, where do I start?
I wrote her a long letter, which remains in her chart. I chose not to send it and it will lay dormant until it’s time to shred it
She may be right about some of my conversations during treatment. My task is to do dentistry while the patient’s mind is somewhere other than at my office getting drilled, injected, incised, or hurt. It’s more fun to talk about what Simon Cowell said the previous evening on American Idol, the merits of owning a Prius, or which was the best Star Wars film of the six.
I have never flirted with any of my patients.

I return 100% of my patient’s calls. Not only that but also all RCTs and extractions will get a call that evening. Long appointments that may involve the electrosurge will get a ring from Dr. Ghost. She’s way off again.

She hadn’t been to see me since April of 2007. I received this June 11th of this year. I would love to have given her a nice smile again. What dentist shies away from that opportunity?

My records show we did tooth #31 for her and two small composites. I believe #9 have an ugly large MIFL. Restoring it was elective. It is challenging to “match” a single central whether you are a “cosmetic” dentist or not.

My wife was upset that I wasn’t that upset about the “flirtation with clients” statement.
I could easily brush that one aside. The ones that got me were the attacks on my honesty and on my capacity to deliver quality dentistry.

In my letter, which never went out, I explained that I had, as patients, several ex-employees, their spouses, hygienists from other offices and their spouses, as well as a few dentists. Now, somehow, they must have figured out something about my capabilities, integrity, and professionalism to choose me, Dr. Ghost, over the estimated 800 plus other general dentists in central Florida.

I suppose I put this letter out there for those of us out there who have gotten a letter that resembled this one. You aren’t alone.

It’s sad that it takes away the thrill of all those who do appreciate what you do for them. Like the lady who the very next week made a beautiful painting for me and matted it. Or, the guy who told me I was the best dentist he’d had since moving to Orlando in 1993.

They’ll let you know all throughout the week, months, years, and then you’ll get something like this once every two years and you wonder if it’s possible you are the same person that all those countless satisfied and happy patients have been telling you that you are.

I told you it was good. Misery loves company.
I can't say I have ever got one of these letters but I think a couple of patients here or there have thought it (I know, hard to believe).
I loved the flirting thing.
I especially liked when she got mad at him for talking during the procedure.
At our office if you don't like gossip or talk not about teeth then you are in the wrong place.
I try to talk but it always is not around the patient it is with the patient. I think Ghost writer is right about making it not about the procedure.
Now my father would disagree. He has come from a different era. Very professional, all the time.

Have a great weekend,
Think of my family on Monday morning,
If you get a blog things might be going our way.
If you don't, you will probably understand.
Thanks again,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Been on vacation then took Morgan to college, so just heard about the baby. Our prayers are with you, John. Mary


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