Where the raindrops as they're falling tell a story...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are doctors perpetually late?

We decided to have our Congenital Anomaly Scanning done in All About Women in SM Cebu. Because we thought it's convenient, heck the clinic is in the mall, what's more convenient than that? We thought wrong.

At 22 weeks, my initial worry has peaked. I'm not sure if I'm just naturally paranoid, but being a mother of a kid with congenital heart defect, I wanted all bases covered while the Dumpling is still in the womb. I wanted a Congenital Anomaly Scanning. I wanted to do all that I can to prevent any congenital defects while I still can and at the earliest time possible.

My OB-GYNE is currently on vacation, and I forgot to ask for a request before she left. We went first to Cebu Doctor's University Hospital Women's Center. They'll do the CAS at P1600 but we have to have the doctor's request. I didn't have that. I called AAW in SM, and they'll do the scanning without the doctor's request but at P2500. I didn't mind, I wanted it done no matter.

At 22 weeks, the doctor said the baby is still too bony to be doing complete anomaly scanning. She told us to go back 2 weeks after. She volunteered to give us an initial ultrasound report, but none of the details of the anomaly scan as this will be done when the baby is 24 weeks of gestational age. Appointments are set and clarified. Yesterday, we went back there 30 minutes before the appointed time. We were told that the doc will be arriving at 3:30 PM because she's still attending a meeting. We decided to wait since we're already there. We used our time shopping for stuff we don't need yet but might.

We went back to the clinic at 3:00. At 4:00, still no doctor. At 4:30, we asked if we can have a refund because my back is hurting from their uncomfortable chairs, and what a waste of time it was. The staff said they can't because payments are non-refundable. The staff explained that they're looking for a reliever doctor to cover the rest of the patients, but it should be Dra. Abu who should do the CAS. We didn't have a choice, we had to wait for her. Somebody suggested to contact Dra. Abu and let her know the situation in the clinic. Somebody answered they won't because Dra. Abu already said she'd be in by 3:30. We asked the staff if Dra. Abu knows what time she'll actually be in, they didn't know for sure because she's still in a meeting. I gather from the discussion around that that meeting was for a social event the next day, it wasn't some case of life and death. My opinion wasn't asked, but I told the staff anyway that they should just have cancelled the patients when they came in and not let us wait for four hours. I told them that this is my second pregnancy and I've never waited for a doctor this long; and how inconvenient this has become. At 5:00, we decided to go. They can't pay us back, and they can't pay the time we wasted from waiting, why wait some more?

Before heading out the door, my husband got up and gave them his calling card telling the staff to let the doctor call him because he's demanding a refund. The staff realized that my husband was a lawyer and easily regretted for saying the payment was non-refundable.

When we were in the car, a text from AAW came saying that we'd be refunded of the 50% that we paid. Reply: That is unacceptable. Another text saying that they'll deduct the initial scan that Dra. Abu did. Reply: Still unacceptable. We didn't ask for that ultrasound, it was your boss' idea, we wanted a CAS. If you're not paying us the full amount, you'd be forced to spend more than the P2500 we paid if this goes any further. Another text saying that Doc said it's OK to refund the whole amount. Reply: Please have the amount ready, my messenger will pick it up tomorrow.

We didn't ask that they pay us for the hassle and for the time we lost from waiting. All we wanted is for them to be professional enough to let us know what to expect. And we wanted our money back because technically, there was no services done anyway. We didn't want that initial ultrasound, it was only 2 weeks after my ultrasound, why would I want another one right after? If my husband was not a lawyer, would they be willing to negotiate with us and actually refund us of the money we spent for non-service? I doubt that.

This is not a bad rap for doctors. I know doctors had to attend to hospital patients and I understand why they're almost always late in clinic duties. But I also personally know  these doctors to be considerate on other people's time. My OB-GYNE is the only doctor I know who's never been late on an appointment. Xofia's pedia always makes it a point to explain why she's late in coming in the clinic. Xofia's pedia-cardio always arrives earlier than us on appointed times. If she's late, she'd call us and let us know. These doctors give us their phone numbers which we use very discreetly and only when absolutely needed. We have high regard for these doctors who didn't think that their privacy are gems that should be protected by not giving patients their cellphone numbers. In return, we don't call them on unholy hours, we wait unless it's an emergency. For somebody as paranoid as me, I had to really work on my worries at 12 midnight when my daughter has spiking fever and not call the doctor.

PS: The receipt they gave us has no TIN in it. It wasn't an official receipt, for sure. There was no BIR notice of some kind pasted in the clinic. We're actually thinking of reporting them to BIR. Heck, we're paying exact amount of taxes here, let everybody share the burden in fattening up this country's corrupt government official.


ayin August 28, 2011 at 11:43 AM  

you go girl! i couldn't agree with you more. these people should know "service" in their positions actually mean something and they ought to stand up to it. Fight, gyud!

Nan September 10, 2011 at 5:19 AM  

I work in the medical field and am appalled by the way most doctors deliberately keep patients waiting while they talk over with the staff what they will be doing on the weekend or what they saw on TV last night. I quit working for one doctor because she would ask us to make her first appointment at 8 am and thats what time she would leave her house for her 45 min commute to work. I got tired of apologizing to the patients and lying about why she was always late. Medical concern is not what it once was.

Nan from <a href="http://manualpastamachine.com>Manual Pasta Machine</a>.


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