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Mike Oppenheim

In his regular column "The Life of a Hotel Doctor", Mike Oppenheim shares remarkable stories around visiting hotel guests as a doctor. When he began as a hotel doctor during the 1980s, only luxury hotels had a “house doctor,” usually a local practitioner who did it as a sideline. Nowadays, in a large city even the lowliest motel receives blandishments from a dozen individuals plus several agencies that send moonlighting doctors if they can find one. “Hotel” doctors often acquire hotels by dropping by to extol their virtues to front desk personnel, perhaps with the promise of a tip.

Articles by Mike Oppenheim (112)

Extremely Easy Housecalls - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

A guest at an upscale hotel wanted my services at 3 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. I had no plans till dinner. Freeway traffic would be no problem. It was a perfect time for a housecall. What a great job....The desk clerk added that the guest hadn't arrived yet. He would check ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor: When Everything Works Out

A call arrived as I was eating dinner at the home of friends. A gentleman at the Biltmore needed a doctor. The meal was ending, so I took my leave.Driving the twelve miles downtown, I parked and opened the trunk to retrieve my black bag. It wasn't there. Dismayed, I realized ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Preparing to Leave Town

I warn Virginia Mastey. When Frenchmen, tourists or residents, want a housecall in Los Angeles they call her, and she calls me. I have no idea how she built this business; it's only a sideline, and she charges less than the going rate. The visits are easy, so I don't mind, but ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Whether You Want Me Or Not

If you want a housecall in Los Angeles, you're likely to get me even if you don't ask for me.I don't have a web site, but searching the internet turns up several agencies and a few individuals that promise to send you a doctor at a moment's notice. Many rely on me.They also ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Eighty Gouty Patients

That sounded like gout, one of my favorite diseases. The diagnosis is easy, and I can quickly make it better. What's not to like?I carry a treatment for gout, but once I hand it over, I have to remember to restock my bag. So I went to my drug closet, made up another bottle of ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - A Difficult Hotel

The J.W. Marriott's doctor is not a friend, so I don't turn down its calls which arrive now and then. Driving downtown, I had no worries about the patient, a toddler with a cough, but recalled that visiting the J.W. Marriott was often a frustrating experience. Sure enough, the ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - It Never Hurts to Ask

"Downy is thirty miles away," I explained. "The distance is not a problem, but I don't want to go during the rush hour. Will she wait till nine?"The dispatcher checked and obtained approval. The next hurdle was confirming the address. It was 9640 Bell Avenue."Is that B - e - ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - I Just Got Back From Mexico....

One third of visitors to poor countries from rich countries get sick. Experts warn tourists to avoid uncooked food, street vendors, and tap water. By obeying, they lower the risk of getting sick to... one third. No one knows how to prevent traveler's diarrhea. Poor sanitation ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - No Housecalls Today

A guest dropped an ice bucket on her toe. Pain was excruciating, and blood poured out. Holding the toe under the tap didn't help.Over the phone, I explained that running water won't stop bleeding. She should apply pressure over the wound and add ice to dull the pain. When I ...