How I Spent Today Waiting and Waiting at Brigham & Women’s and Dana Farber

Here I am sitting in  the preop testing area at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with a client.  When we first got here, my client was told she had no appointment and would have to be squeezed in.  Of course, I had made the appointment so I had all the  information.  It took a few minutes to get it settled.  A little excitement when the fire alarm went off and we all had trudge out.  We waited for the fire department and then were sent back in.  This put us back an hour.   I thought 2.5 hours would be enough to get to the oncology appointment.  Oh my ,silly me.

My client had a physical recently, had most of the tests and an EKG but still doesn’t count.  Have to go through the process as dictated by the institution.  I am with an  older women using a walker who needs a biopsy to rule out cancer.  It is cumbersome and annoying that one institution does not accept the information from another institution.  I worry the insurance won’t pay for this second round.

After Preop testing we rushed over to our appointment at Dana Farber.  How foolish of us!  We have been sitting in the room for 1.5 hours.  I have been out to ask people what is going on.  I just don’t understand why doctors allow this to happen.  We could have stopped for lunch, stretched and my client’s anxiety would not have been through the roof.  I have run out of jokes!   I guess I just don’t know why they put us in a room.  These rooms are so boring.  Where is the TV? DVD?  Can I order room service?  It is so disrespectful not to even come and let us know what is happening.  When I was in practice, if I was running late, I always gave my waiting patients real time updates.  There is nothing worse then not having information as to what is going on.

I just went out again and asked when we could expect the surgeon.  The person I spoke with said “please just wait in the room the doctor will be in. ”  Really?  Can I wait in the hall?  I feel as frustrated as I do when waiting to get information at the airport on a flight  delay.  It is a hopeless endeavor.

I understand doctors get behind and I hope it is because they are taking their time to interact with patients.  I am not sure that is it.  What I don’t understand is the lack of communication with patients or the attempt to communicate the amount of time before the doctor will enter the room. Thanks to JACHO, the rooms are dull and sterile with no magazines allowed to be stored.

The doctor finally comes in and says “Oh I got behind.”  That was all, no apology.  What can one do especially when without this appointment the biopsy cannot take place.  Oh well, we did our time and headed for home, five hours later, hungry and tired!