Firing Patients 2

Firing Patients 2

On a few occasions I have been fired by patients. It was either something I said that was taken out of context, or simply a lack of compatibility. One can never please everyone, especially in a business that has so many shades of grey; not withstanding the myriad personality types a doctor has to make an effort to bond with. It actually takes a longer time period to learn the art of successful interpersonal interaction and good bedside manner than is does to learn anything rote about disease from a book.

The ultimate form of being fired is the lawsuit, of which I have had five in thirty years. The only vindication I had for these unpleasantries was that I never went to court, never lost a case, and never had to pay a dime for restitution. Annual malpractice insurance fees however are another story altogether.

On the contrary, I have only had to fire two or three patients because they were simply so obnoxious, I doubt that even their own children or their pets could put up with them. One of them made a regular habit of using four letter words any time he dealt with the front office staff. Women, it seems, do not like to be called a bitch or a cunt when they are only trying to do secretarial work.

I did however have two unique experiences.

One occurred when a patient made an appointment for a first visit only to tell me that he was really there to interview me first to see if he liked me. They don’t have an insurance charge code for that one.

The other occurred when a patient came in for a first visit and told me he was there because both of his prior Cardiologists had died, so he needed a new one. I told him that was bad luck and had to let him go. In politely suggesting that he find someone else, I gave him my closest competitor’s office number.

Unfortunately, the jinx didn’t work out too well, as the patient died shortly thereafter, but the other doctor is still alive. That’s my luck.

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