Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Its an emergency!

My boss and I are always discussing why clients finally decide something is an emergency after it has been going on for awhile. A guy calls, and makes an appointment for his dog who is having trouble walking. At his appointment time, he rushes the dog through the door carrying him (it is a large breed) and the receptionist takes this as a sign of an emergency and grabs the dog and rushes it back to treatment. The dog is in fact down and seems unable to stand, but vital signs are all normal. My boss goes out to talk to the owner.

"How long has he been unable to walk!?"

"About 2 months."

[pause]

"Oh."

"Well we need to run some bloodwork, do a few survey radiographs, and we should sedate him because he is pretty painful."

"Oh okay, sure. Hey, I just put money on my credit card so you won't be able to run it until tomorrow."

Hold the phone.

"We will need payment at the time of services unfortunately. Do you have any previous records so we can see what other vets have done?"

He hands a piece of paper to the receptionist with the phone number of the last vet on it, and it is a bill! Turns out he owes them several thousand dollars.

I just don't understand people. Do you think we can't see through your little game?

And why now? Once in the ER, a woman brought in a little dog for an ear infection at 4 am. An ear infection. It had been going on for, wait for it..... four months!!!!! And suddenly one morning at 4 am, it became an emergency. So she paid probably double the cost of what she had paid if she had brought her dog to its regular clinic, during normal hours.

The last few days have been filled with cases that are really depleting my reserves. I can only help people so long as they want to be helped. I cannot fix things in one day that have been going on for months. I cannot - nor can the internet - give people a veterinary education in 10 minutes. Some days I really wish I had chosen a different career. This is one of them.