I hope you had a good weekend.
Mine isn't over yet but I wanted to tell you this brief story.
You know that I am all about customer service. I am all about never losing a patient.
Knowing this is impossible but if it is my power I would do my best to make everyone happy.
I rarely get calls on the weekend. If I do I absolutely have no problems going in to see a patient.
I feel like it is not the patients fault if something goes wrong on the weekend so I make myself very available.
My home and cell numbers are on the recording when no one is at the office.
So last night I was having a BBQ at a friends house. All the kids were playing and so were the adults. I put my phone and my wallet and keys down when I walked in.
As I was leaving I saw that I missed a call. We were all in a tizzy while trying to get the kids out of this person's house. We got in the car and the car ride is much like getting out of the house...mayhem. When I got home about 12 minutes later I listened to the voice mail.
It is a patient of mine. He had a couple of fillings done a couple months back. It started hurting about 5 days ago. But at dinner it started to really kill.
Then he asked if could please call him back I really in a lot of pain? I think he called at about 7pm.
After I heard the voicemail it was bath time and brushing of teeth, which I am in charge of.
I then got everyone ready for bed and started reading a book to them. In the middle of this my father called me and told me he got a similar voice mail from the same patient. He said he tried to call him back and the patient didn't answer his cell.
I told him I was reading to the kids but I would try to reach him as soon as I am done. At nine o'clock I tried to reach him.
He was not home. He didn't answer his cell phone and for my last ditch effort I called his wife's cell.
Turns out in the one hour we did not call him back he picked up the yellow pages and found a 24 hour dentist. And when I was able to reach the wife he was already at the dentist's office (which was about one mile from my house).
Okay somethings are going through my head.
Is he ticked off at me?
You call someone on Sunday night and is one hour too long to wait to get a return call.
The pain started 5 days ago. When did he realize it was escalating?
I know I am justifying my lackadaisical attitude about calling him back.
So then the wife tells me he is going to get a root canal and the other dentist was going to do it right then.
Now I am a little disappointed in myself.
I tell the wife that maybe the dentist could just give him a carpule of long lasting anesthetic and we could see him in the morning.
She said, "No, we will just have it done."
Then I continue with, "I don't think he is going to finish it tonight (a lower molar)." I guess I was trying to give her some outs. I guess I was trying to see if she would say, "after this episode, when could we get back to see you."
I tell her I am sorry for not getting back to them sooner. I offer anything I can. I tell her I could talk to the dentist if she wants.
She said, "No, it is what it is."
Damn, now I really pissed at myself.
So I wait 'til about 10:45. I call again. They are at the pharmacy and he is feeling a lot better.
He says the dentist instructed him that he was going to have to return the next day to have the root canal finished.
So if I am an emergency dentist, is it my job to get someone out of pain, op is it to get patients?
I guess this is me deflecting anger at someone else.
If I ever see some one's patient I always give them an out. I say, "we can numb you up until you can get back there." Or I will say, "I can get you out of pain with a partial root canal then you and your dentist can work it out." Or if the patient broke a tooth...."I can put this temporary crown on your tooth until you can get back to your dentist."
So like the wife said, "it is what it is."
Well, if this were the case, why couldn't I sleep last night?
Was it because I was mad at myself, the patient, or the other dentist?
Was I upset that the patient would have rather seen this dentist than me?
I mean he called me first sure, but he had plenty of outs to break it off with this other guy.
And he didn't.
It is not about the money, it is not about losing a stupid root canal, it is all the other stuff.
I probably should have been there for this guy and I wasn't.
I sure as heck talk a big game but I guess this time I play a good game.
Have a good Monday,
Mine is sucking,