Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | June 2, 2009

Appointment Catch-22

Patient is discharged from the hospital and told by the specialist to make a follow-up appointment in 10 days.

Patient calls the specialist’s office for an appointment…

and is told that the first available one isn’t until August.

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot; over.

Note: The patient is telling me this story two weeks after the hospitalization, presenting for “blood work.” What blood work? I ask. Did the doctor give her a slip or requisition or any indication of what blood work he wanted? No. I peruse the discharge summary I have been sent and sure enough, there at the bottom it says, “Comprehensive metabolic profile [actually it just says CMP, but I’m smart enough to know what it means] and magnesium level in two weeks.”

“Why does he want a magnesium level?” the patient asks me.

I look through every other piece of paper I received detailing all the minutiae but none of the substance of her hospital stay and cannot for the life of me figure out why he wants a magnesium level. I resort to my standard answer for questions about other doctors:

“I don’t answer any questions that begin with ‘why’.”

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