A family asks to talk to a doctor. I'm just a consultant on the patient, but I'm there, so I'm the one they get.
"Doc, we're frustrated because he's been here a week and still hasn't seen physical therapy."
"I do see that the order was put in five days ago. I can put in a call to physical therapy and see why they haven't come yet, but I'm not sure what else I can do about that."
"That's not an answer."
"No, it's not, but let me give them a call and see if I can get them to come sooner than they might otherwise."
"It's been a week."
"Is there actually physical therapy, or is it just a lie you tell people, so we stop asking about it?"
"There is actually physical therapy. I've met some of the physical therapists. They are actual people."
"Hard to believe that."
"I understand that you're frustrated."
"When we asked the nurse, she said she'd never seen physical therapy come see a patient."
"I have to imagine she was joking."
"She didn't seem like she was joking."
"Then maybe someone misunderstood. I don't know why physical therapy hasn't come yet. I assume they're very busy. But I don't know. I will call them."
"You'd better do more than call them."
"I will talk to the physical therapy director."
"While you're at it, can you talk to the director of nursing and get us a new nurse?"
"I don't know that I can get you a new nurse. If you're having a problem with your nurse, you can ask to speak to the nurse manager."
"More people to speak to? This is ridiculous. I want to speak to another doctor."
"I can have another doctor speak to you. I'm not the primary doctor for your father, but I am familiar with his case. That's why they had me talk to you. I know you're frustrated. You have a right to be frustrated. Do you have any medical questions?"
"Yes. Why does he need physical therapy when he's walking fine?"
"I thought you were upset he wasn't getting physical therapy."
"No, I'm upset that we were told we're entitled to physical therapy, and we're not getting it. This is a different question, about why he would need physical therapy."
"Perhaps he doesn't, and that's why physical therapy hasn't come."
"If we're entitled to physical therapy, we want physical therapy. If it's part of the package, we definitely want it."
"There's not a package. Your father is supposed to get the treatment he needs."
"We also need some more of those toothbrushes that were in his room."
"You can ask the nurse for toothbrushes."
"We don't like the nurse."
"I don't have any toothbrushes."
"When is physical therapy coming?"
"I'm going to have you talk to a different doctor."