* * Anonymous Doc: Yes, I See Your Badge

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yes, I See Your Badge

A woman approaches me at the nurse's station.

"Hi.  Are you the doctor dealing with my mother?"

"What's your mother's name?"

"You should know her name."

"I will if she's my patient.  Can you tell me who she is?"

"Look, do you see my badge?  I'm chief of [a department] at [other nearby hospital].  So don't think you're going to get away with anything."

"I'm not trying to get away with anything.  Who's your mother?"

"Jane Smith."

"Yes, she is my patient.  She's been my patient since Tuesday.  We've been trying to reach you."

"Well, I've been busy!  See my badge?  I'm a very busy person.  I don't just have time to talk at your convenience."

"I'm glad to meet you now."

"Give me a break.  I want to know what the plan is for my mother."

"The plan is to continue with the IV antibiotics, and plan for discharge once she becomes afebrile."

"So I could come back for her on Monday?"

"You know as well I do that depends on how she does over the weekend."

"I can't change my schedule last-minute.  I'm very busy."

"Yes, you said that."

"So we'll plan for discharge on Monday.  Give me your cell phone number and I'll call you Sunday night to confirm."

"Why don't I just call you once we know more about the plan for discharge."

"No.  Give me your cell phone number.  Look at my badge-- I'm very important."

"I can't give out my personal number.  It's against hospital policy."

"It is not."

"Maybe not at your hospital, but I'm not giving out my personal number to patient families.  I'm sorry.  You can call the nurse's station and they can page me if you need something."

"I'm not dealing with nurses."

"I'm sorry.  I have other patients I need to see.  If there's anything else you need, you can leave a note at the nurse's station.  It was nice to meet you."


  1. Ugh, that's about as unpleasant as interpersonal interactions get, in my opinion. Outright hostility is preferable to being treated as simply a utility or a means to an end.

  2. She sounds like a joy to work for... Thank your lucky stars you're not working at her hospital.

  3. I bet she never takes that badge off, even at home.

  4. some people just need to be high fived. in the face. with a chair