The Difference Between Calling the Vet and Calling the People Doctor
Thoughts from a frustrating day.
If you call the vet, he will return your call quite promptly - always assuming that he didn't answer the phone in the first place himself.
If you call the people doctor, you will speak to the secretary, who will speak to the nurse, who will speak to the doctor, who will relay a message back to the nurse, who will relay a message back to the secretary, who will eventually call you back. Wet, lather, and repeat for each successive communication and additional information needed.
If you call the vet, he assumes that your description of the symptoms you are seeing is valid.
If you call the people doctor, the doctor apparently assumes, as relayed down the many person communication grapevine, that of course you have no clue what you are talking about, even if you are describing a chronic, recurring, and charted problem you've had a history of for decades.
If you call the vet, he realizes that you know your horse best, as you spend the most time with your horse, and he listens to you.
If you call the people doctor, he doesn't believe a thing you say about your body until he has examined it himself.
If you call the vet, he knows that he isn't God.
If you call the people doctor, he can sometimes be a bit confused on that distinction.
If you call the vet, he will come out to your farm many miles for a farm fee of $50.
If you call the people doctor, he will insist that you drive many further miles into the city to his clinic for an exam fee of $155.
If you call the vet, he will bring his portable pharmacy with him and dispense whatever is needed.
If you call the people doctor, after you finish going to the office for the exam, you will get to go stand in line at Walmart with a minimum requirement of 3 screaming kids nearby and then have your prescription misfilled when you get up to the desk. Is $4 worth this?
If you call the vet, his fee for the entire trip, exam, and meds will be far less, and he will take payments if needed.
If you call the people doctor, be ready to whip out the charge card, if not take out a loan.
If you call the vet, your total paperwork for most appointments consists of a bill from him and a check from you.
The difference is, if a human patient's hair hurt because he does not bother to read and takes three times of the prescribed dosage, he can probably sue his doctor for millions and win (how dare the doctor did not anticipate that anyone might take three times of the prescribed dose), or lose but get millions anyway from settlement. So the doctor has to buy that million dollar insurance to cover his butt. Now that million dollar insurance does not come cheap. What to do? spend 10 minutes with each patient and charge him $150, then you get to make $900 a hour. If you are really good at avoiding conversation with any patient and see 12 patients in a hour (5 minutes/patient), you get to earn $1800 a hour. That math just gets better and better.
Horses cannot do that.
OK. I'm being cynical but hey there is truth in that huh?
VERY true!! But only of the "American people doctor"... especially when it comes to pricing!
In Europe you spend way more on vet bills than you do on doctor bills, even if you're in the doctor's office every other week and your horse is never sick ...
I've often said I'd rather be treated by a team of vets and students at the UC Davis vet med teaching hospital than at a people hospital. That was especially true when I had Kaiser as my HMO. Wish I could just tell the vets I'm bringing in a 41-year-old chestnut mare with some arthritis and chronic back pain, and let them fix me up, er, I mean fix the old mare up with, some Legend and Adequan.
I went through this same thought process when my mother was ill. I could not get anyone to listen, return a phone call or even give a whit about my dear, darling aged mother.
My dear, darling aged horse got sick and Doc was here on-the-spot in the middle of the night. Explained everything, gave medications, gave me his cell phone number, told me to call if I was even just WORRIED about anything.
I wished he could take care of my mother. Or that I could find someone half as good for her. I never did.
Actually, if you call the people Dr., more than likely you will be answered by an automated answering machine that gives you 56 options that are spoken quite rapidly and none that you can remember so you have to press option 57 to repeat the above options. After 5-15 minutes you MIGHT get a real person on the line and then are told (not really asked ) "Would you please hold?"
Also consider when you initially dial the phone number for the Dr's office you will ALWAYS get a busy signal if you call on a Monday or Friday and for the first 3 hrs that the office opens, and it will take you several hrs of hitting REDIAL before the busy signal finally stops. Keep in mind that many Dr's still take Thurday's off for the afternoon golf game.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
You call the vet, say, "Hi, I'm new in town, I was wondering if I could schedule time for a new patient consult/exam for my horse/dog/mouse?" and the vet says, "Welcome to town! When are you free?"
You call the people doctor and say, "Hi, I'm new in town, I was wondering if I could schedule a time for a new patient exam/visit?" and the doctor says, "Oh, we're not accepting any new patients." (As if "new patient" were a dirty word!) Then, if you beg and plead and cry, if you're reaaaally lucky they might give you the name of a walk-in clinic 1-2 hours away, where you can spend twice as much for half the service (because really, how good can the service be when they have none of your records and only 10 minutes to talk to you?).
I'm in Canada, and while I don't have to pay for health care for myself, we are short on doctors and mine has moved out of town. If I REALLY need something, I know the emergency room could be a 6 to 12 hour wait. Including refilling prescriptions. If all the doctors are away on holidays, you might need to travel to another city. Unless you can find a walk-in clinic, where you are still waiting several hours. I'm SOOOO glad the vet's office isn't like that (although the vet travels from 45min away!).
Yeah, I could understand being a lot stricter on narcotics or such. But a basic antibiotic prescription? And by the way, I've been a medical transcriptionist for years and have typed on my share of idiots. I know they're out there. I also know that like an MT, people in a doc's office develop a "radar" after much exposure for who is probably legit and who is probably either clueless or dealing.
I have a history of recurrent ear infections throughout life. Extensively documented. Have seen the doc many times. Doc has called in Rx many other times without appointment. I have been a patient in this clinic since 1976. I have been a patient of this doc since 1995. That's known as established. So this morning, with bad ear infection flared up, hardly able to sleep last night, pain flaring down the whole side of my head through the canal, absolutely classic symptoms and no non-matching symptoms, I called in to give a "got another one; I need the usual" message.
Doc was on vacation. So I got referred to on-call doc and spent HOURS going through phone tag back and forth. Note that on-call doc was in the same clinic and did have access to my chart. This happens often, folks. I know what I'm talking about. All I wanted was my usual antibiotic. I wasn't asking for narcotics, and my history is right there for them to see that this happens regularly. Nope, I got delays, more questions (which I'd already answered), delays, more questions, listing symptoms I did have, listing symptoms I didn't have, and then they said I needed to be seen to make sure it was an ear infection, because apparently, in spite of my dozens of times having them, they weren't sure I knew one. $155 clinic fee, or of course I could go to urgent care.
I went to a discount clinic instead. As an MT, I'm normally quite picky on choosing my medical practitioners, but I figured that any idiot with an ear scope could diagnose this in 2 seconds. Found a discount clinic run by a good NP who listened to me, believed me (without chart) when I said this happened often and I knew the signs, and on exam, the ear looked so bad that she spontaneously offered me pain meds herself, when all I'd asked for was an antibiotic. And then she asked which antibiotic I usually got for these and took my word for it.
And then I went to Walmart pharmacy. Sigh.
I understand being cautious. I understand weeding out the nutjobs and drug seekers. I do not understand refusing a simple antibiotic prescription that it is DOCUMENTED has been given many times routinely on a call-in for this DOCUMENTED recurrent problem.
It drives me nuts to call my primary care doctors office and immediately put into the voice mail/hold system where I'm told that my phone call is very important and will be answered shortly. If my call was important someone would actually answer the damn phone. If you call my office, a human answers it by the third ring at worst. I think in four years the only time a phone call has ever gone into voice mail was the other week while we were dealing with the repercussions of a dog mauling my technician.
I am so blessed to have both a great veterinarian (who listens to me) and a BF who is a doctor (who listens to me)
Me: Chey has a fever and I'm concerned.
Vet: I'll be there in 30 min
Me: Dude, my chest is killing me.
Dr. BF: Let's do an EKG honey.
Yep, I am doubly blessed.
If you think U.S. human care is bad now, wait'll ObamaCare kicks in and there's a government bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor!
Incidentally, a scheduled visit with my primary care physician costs about $65, and the wait is 30 - 45 minutes, much less if you schedule first thing in the morning or right after lunch. For unscheduled visits, he can usually get you in the same day unless you call later in the afternoon. Even then, if it's really bad, but not needing the ER, he'll work you in after hours. Often he'll just phone in a prescription for routine ills.
Obviously, his waiting list for new patients is a mile long!
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”