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Friday, October 8, 2010

Priorities, Please

Because I'm the Chief of Staff at my hospital I sometimes get calls on my days off.  That's usually not a good thing, as most of the time it means that there's a problem of some sort.  Yesterday I received one of those calls.

Wednesday I received a call from a client with a bearded dragon.  Apparently it had a swollen, white eye and she was wanting to know what to do.  I was concerned that there was an infection or injury and asked if she could bring it in.  She had some things to do, but said that she would be there in 30 minutes.  Two hours later we closed and I hadn't seen or heard from her.

Then yesterday she brought him in to be seen by one of my associates since it was my day off.  The doctor determined that it was a shedding problem and began to moisturize the eyes, working on getting the improperly shed skin off.  While the beardie was in the clinic a serious emergency came in.  A client's cat had been attacked by a dog and there was a deep wound fully into the abdomen where the bladder was visible.  So my associate rushed the cat into emergency surgery to try and save its life.

Here's where it gets crazy.  The owner of the bearded dragon came by the clinic even though she hadn't been called.  She insisted on talking to the doctor, but she was in the middle of the surgery at the time.  The client was told about the emergency surgery and that the doctor could talk to her later.  The client began to get upset and wouldn't be satisfied with this explanation.  She actually wanted to go into the back and talk to the doctor about her lizard while the doctor was in the middle of a life-or-death surgery!  The client didn't care what the doctor was doing, she wanted to speak to her RIGHT AWAY!

Ummm...priorities, please?  That was a very selfish client.  Yes,  I know that she was worried about her lizard, but he wasn't critical.  Emergencies happen and need to be given priority, which my associate rightly did.  The client also wasn't satisfied with what the doctor told her was the problem since I had mentioned an injury or infection on the phone.  Keep in mind that I'm always careful with my wording and I had told her that it sounded like an injury or infection and didn't sound like a shedding problem.  Based on that she felt that I had told her that it definitely was an infection, and so wasn't accepting what the other doctor (who actually EXAMINED the pet) told her.

So I got a call about all of this.  And I supported whatever my associate saw and decided, and agreed that the client would have to wait until  the cat was stabilized.  The client was being unreasonable and if we end up losing her over this I won't be upset.

Thankfully, most clients are understanding in situations like this, and we rarely have problems in these circumstances.