Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monkey in the middle

Frequently, when I have an appointment with a specialist, I get a call the day or three before, reminding me that I have an appointment and confirming that I'll be making it. Often, specialists are at the clinic one day a week and appointments are hard to come by. If someone cancels, they can use that spot for an emergency or bump someone up.

So please tell me why Tel Hashomer and Beilinson hospitals (and I*'m sure many other hospitals in Israel, but I know first-hand about these two) doesn't have something similar for their various in-hospital clinics and departments?

I've been burned TWICE now because of this damn doctors' strike. The first time was at Tel Hashomer, I was scheduled for a surgery and after schlepping by buses and getting to the day surgery department by 7 a.m. (and fasting since 8 p.m. the night before), I was told my surgery had been canceled because of the strike.

I never received a call from the hospital telling me it had been canceled and arranging a reschedule. I never got a call from my doctor telling me the surgery was canceled (I had left the hospital 4 days earlier AMA due to appointments I HAD to keep, I was still sick and he knew this. Plus he'd been treating me for year already and I have his cell phone number,, but anyway, I digress). And the nurse at the clinic was unhelpful, she simply told me to call the doctor and go home and wait.

That was when I switched to Beilinson. It's a bit more convenient to get to, plus I heard their ENT clinic was MUCH better than Tel Hashomer's. So I showed up in their ER, was admitted and after telling them for 2 days that no, I didn't want to go back to Tel Hashomer, I spent an additional 4 days in the hospital. IV antibiotics, etc... whatever, that's not the point of my post.

What IS the point of this post is, upon being discharged, I was given an appointment for a follow-up visit, for today, June 26. The paper said show up between 9 and 11.

Since it's first come, first served, I figured I'd get there by 8:30.. which I did.

Only to be told by the receptionist that there was a strike and all appointments were canceled. She seemed shocked that I didn't know about it. She asked me "Don't you read the papers? Don't you watch the news or listen to the radio?"

I didn't have the energy to answer... but it would have been... no, no and no.

I don't own a TV and wouldn't watch Israeli TV anyway.. they talk a mile a minute (on both TV and the radio) and frankly, I can't keep up. And as far as newspapers go, when I look through the paper and try to read an article, I'm lucky if I understand about 1/3 of what I'm reading, which generally isn't enough for me to get the gist of the article. And since that frustrates me, I don't go out of my way to read newspapers.

I suppose because of all that, it's entirely my fault I showed up. It's also entirely my fault I didn't have a sign next to my computer, reminding me that I should call on Thursday to confirm my appointment is still on.

But you know, even if I had known about the strike, I still would need to call to reschedule the appointment.

So why can't THEY call ME to let me know my appointment's been canceled and to give me a new one??

(I did get a new appointment... for SEPTEMBER 4)

Doesn't the clinic have ANY responsibility towards their patients at all??

Is there ANYTHING Yossi Public can do to motivate the two sides to resolve this damn strike? We can't boycott the hospitals and doctors. Can I stop paying taxes? Will that get someone's attention without landing me in jail?