Monday, November 1, 2010

No Need to Apologize

Patients sometimes to need to cancel elective surgery. When they do, I don’t feel they need to apologize.

There are many reasons to cancel an elective surgery. All are valid to the patient. Not all would be to everyone else, but that does not matter (in my humble opinion).

So whey you call me or my office to cancel a scheduled elective surgery, do not feel you have to offer an apology. By all means, do call though. If you don’t I will worry about you, e

“My Office’s Cancellation Policy” for an elective surgery is simple: You have the right to cancel at any time prior to being actually put under anesthesia. My office doesn’t not charge a cancellation fee.

More seriously, it is nice from the business side if you let me/my office know at least a week in advance, sooner if any special garments or implants need to be ordered. First, this way the office doesn’t loose money on the returns of goods that can’t be used for another patient.

Second, it allows my office the opportunity to schedule another patient in your canceled OR time slot. If no other patient in my practice wishes to fill the time slot, the surgery center may have another surgeon who can use the time.

So there is really no need to apologize. You may wish to give me a reason, but there is no need.

Over the years I have been given many reasons (fear, couldn’t get the time off from work, money didn’t come through or had to be re-allocated, family member died or had emergency surgery).

Please, let me know. If I show up the day of surgery and you don’t (even after I just talked to you two days ago), then I may assume the worse. Several years ago this scenario played out. When I finally reached someone at my patient’s home I was told she had totaled her vehicle the evening before the surgery date. She ended up being okay, a few minor injuries that kept her in her hometown hospital for a couple of days. She didn’t (nor should she) think to call me. But I now worry when people don’t show up.

It is okay to cancel elective surgery, but please have the courtesy to call with as much notice as possible.

1 comment:

Jill of All Trades, MD said...

You are the kindest surgeon I *know*!