Thursday, November 4, 2010
Over the past 20 years, there have been very few times I have asked patients to reschedule. Even though I tell patients they have nothing to apologize for when they then to cancel, I always apologize. This is especially true when it comes to asking them to reschedule surgery.
Yes, I know you have asked for time of work. Yes, I know you have arranged for someone to help care for you, for your children, etc. Yes, I realize you may have airline tickets to come into town to stay with family here while recovering.
Yes, I keep all that in mind, so if I ask you to reschedule it truly will be a handful of good reasons:
I am sick or need surgery myself. I had to ask a patient to reschedule her breast reduction early in my solo career. I had an acute herniated disc (C6-C7) which left me with numbness in my left index and long fingers and loss of triceps function, not to mention the pain. I had to explain to her that it was not safe for me to do her surgery until after my own. [She did reschedule.]
A family member is sick or dying. I had to ask a patient last May to reschedule after my mother had her stroke during her CABA. After we made the decision to AND (allow natural death), we did not know how long it would be. I did not want to be in surgery when it happened. I thought it was reasonable. [She never rescheduled.]
I have a funeral to attend. I have not canceled or rescheduled a surgery for this (yet), but have rescheduled a few office visits. As I and my friends get older, I can see this happening more frequently in the future. I will try to be considerate of both my friend/family and my patients.
Usually, when I ask a patient to reschedule it will be a last minute thing. I regret this, but as you can see from the reasons I allow myself to make this request it will always be last minute. Some things are tough to plan.
Believe me when I say I am sorry to have to ask you to reschedule. I truly mean it.