Has No Hang Ups About Hanging Up

| Hungary | Employees, Lazy/Unhelpful

(It’s Thursday and I’m calling to ask whether my doctor, whom I visit three times a year, is in the next day. I never needed to get an appointment before; I just show up. According to the schedule posted online she is on duty on Friday, but since it is summer, she might be on holiday. The schedule also seems to be old, so I want to make sure.)

Assistant: “[Hospital Department], [Assistant] here.”

Me: “Good morning, I’m [My Name] and I’m calling to ask if [Doctor] is in tomorrow.”

Assistant: *in an unfriendly, resentful tone* “Morning. No, she won’t be here. Goodbye.”

(She quickly hangs up before I can say another word. I really hate to speak on the phone anyway so my boyfriend calls the hospital back to ask again.)

Boyfriend: “Good morning, I would like to ask when [Doctor] will be in next week.”

Assistant: “Morning. On Tuesday. ” *hangs up again immediately*

(Someone really did not want to do their job that day! But maybe if we make a third call, we will finally know the exact hours…)

Our Great DiscrimiNation, Part 4

| USA | Bigotry, Employees

(I am a medical lab scientist. I have a coworker, also a medical lab scientist, who is Brazilian by birth, but speaks perfect English. She has a slight, gorgeous Brazilian accent, but is entirely understandable. She also has a very roll-with-the-punches, sweet-hearted personality. A nurse calls my coworker’s lab bench phone. Because her hands are full/covered in bodily fluids, she hits speaker phone, so I can also hear the conversation.)

Coworker: “Lab. This is [Coworker].”

Nurse: “Ugh. Can I talk to someone who speaks English?”

Coworker: “I speak English. What can I do for you?”

Nurse: “No. Not someone who kind of speaks English. Someone who actually does.”

Coworker: “I actually speak English.”

Nurse: *enunciating like she’s speaking to an idiot* “No. When you were a baby, running around in a diaper, what language were your parents speaking to you?”

Coworker: *being honest* “Portuguese. But I speak English as well.”

Nurse: “Get me to someone whose parents were speaking English.”

(My coworker peels off her gloves in frustration, puts the phone on hold and turns to me.)

Coworker: “Can I transfer this to you?”

Me: “Sure. Transfer it to my bench.” *answering phone* “Lab, this is [My Name].”

Nurse: “Where did you grow up?”

Me: “Seattle, mostly.”

Nurse: “Thank the skies! Okay, I have a question about the urinalysis for [Patient]—”

Me: “Okay, I’m going to stop you right there to let you know that I can answer general questions about that, as I am certified in urinalysis. However, if you have any questions about that patient’s urine specifically, you’re going to have to talk to [Coworker] as she has analyzed all the urine today. I’m doing blood counts today. So, it might be better for her to answer your questions.”

Nurse: “No. I need to talk to an American about this. I need to know [proceeds to ask a question very specific to that patient’s urine].”

Me: *such that the nurse can hear me* “Hey, [Coworker].” *I repeat the question, and then directly relay the answer as she says it*

(After hanging up the phone.)

Coworker: “Well, that was different.”

Me: “No. That was offensive.”

Related:
Our Great DiscrimiNation, Part 3
Our Great DiscrimiNation, Part 2
Our Great DiscrimiNation

A Miscarriage Of Service

| Johannesburg, South Africa | Employees, Health & Body, Time

(I fall pregnant in my early 30s. My husband and I are quite excited because it’s our first child. However, about halfway through the pregnancy, they pick up major issues and we have to make the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy. My OBGYN only schedules surgeries every Friday, so I am booked in for my surgery on the same day he will be doing births as well. I arrive at the hospital on the day at six am, which is the time I was told to be there. My mum is with me and my husband is going to meet us there. After being shown to my room, I get a visit from the anaesthetist, who is extremely sympathetic and understanding of how difficult the whole situation is for me. Then I speak to the nurses.)

Nurse: “Because you were scheduled so late, your surgery will be the last one of the day, at four pm.”

(I can barely hold back the tears.)

Anaesthetist: “I’ll speak to the doctor and see what we can do.”

(The following conversation happens in my room once the doctor comes in:)

Anaesthetist: “Doctor, they’ve said that Mrs [My Name] is only scheduled for this afternoon?”

Doctor: “Yes, her surgery was scheduled after all the other mums to be, so it’s only fair.”

(None of us in the room could believe what we we’re hearing him say.)

Anaesthetist: “Well, Doctor, I think under these special circumstances, I’m sure you can change the schedule around a bit. Considering what Mrs. [My Name] is here to do, I don’t think it’s right to keep her here for the entire day before she can get it done.”

Doctor: “Oh, well… I don’t know. Let me first go and check on all my mums to be and see how they’re doing first and then I’ll decide.”

Anaesthetist: “I’ve already checked on all of them and they’re all doing just fine. Please, look at her, she’s already upset as it is, understandably. It’s not right to prolong this any more for this poor woman. Please just change the scheduling.”

(Through my tears, I can see the doctor stammering, unable to think of any more excuses.)

Doctor: “Fine! Nurse, get this patient ready for surgery, then!”

(The surgery went fine in the end. I was scheduled for a follow up visit to the same doctor about six weeks after, but I never went. I refused to see somebody who was so absolutely heartless and cruel. I still have no idea what I ever did to this doctor, but I hope no other expectant mum ever goes through what I did with him.)

Shrugged It Off

| USA | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive

(I recently crashed a go-cart and went to the E.R. because my shoulder was really hurting. They took x-rays and said there was nothing wrong and I should just take it easy. It continued to hurt so my parents bought a sling for my arm and took me back about a week later:)

Nurse: *to my parents after looking at new x-rays* “Well, it is broken and I don’t know how they missed that. Which place did you take her?”

Mom: “Here”

Nurse: *goes pale* “Well, um, I’ll be right back.”

(She leaves the room for a little bit then comes back.)

Nurse: “Well, I can see how they missed it.”

(My mom thought it was hilarious. The nurse probably thought they’d get in big trouble.)

Don’t Have The Head For Such Things

| OR, USA | Employees, Family & Kids, Health & Body

(I am in my sophomore year in college and am in the hospital for uncontrollable nausea and vomiting. I had been sick for three days before getting into the hospital, and have now been in this bed for three more. Regular anti-nausea drugs do nothing, so I am on a low level anti-seizure meds, sleep nearly all of the day, and have not had a proper meal for nearly a week. My dad cannot take time off work, but lives twenty minutes from the hospital and is the one making decisions and talking to the doctors. After yet another test, the doctor comes in to tell me the results.)

Doctor: “So, good news! Your brain MRI came back clean!”

Me: *nearly in tears and only half awake* “So, you STILL don’t know what’s wrong?”

Doctor: “No, this is good! It means you don’t have a brain tumor or something like that!”

Me: “Okay, sure… But what now?”

(The doctor then launches into a long speech about possible treatments and tests, during which I drift off twice.)

Doctor: “So, that’s what we’ll do, all right?”

Me: “Um…. Okay. But, could you please call my dad and go over all of that with him?”

Doctor: *extremely condescending* “All right, I guess I can do that… But you’re an adult now and you’re going to have to start handling things WITHOUT your parents!”

(She didn’t call my dad for three more hours and never could tell me what was wrong.)