Author
Author Bio

Mike Oppenheim

MD

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 (132)

Calling Paramedics - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

If you want reach a hospital as fast as possible, get in your car and drive.Paramedics are slower. They're essential if a problem might be life-threatening or requires special handling such as a hip fracture. They sometimes transport even if their expertise isn't required, but ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - A Miracle

The sales manager of the Hyatt Regency was preparing to address a convention of tourist agencies when her head turned to the right and stuck.I had no idea what to do. Her head seemed immovable. She was in perfect health. Hysterical conversion was a possibility, but I was too ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - A Serious Liability

After shaving, a guest at the Ramada in Beverly Hills reached for a hairbrush and struck his nose on a clothes hook with enough force to bring tears to his eyes and blood to his nose. He noticed that the hook had been installed at nose level -- clearly a poor design decision ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - A Contagious Disease

I cared for flight attendant suffering a cough, high fever, runny nose, and sore throat. It seemed like the usual upper respiratory infection until I saw the spotty rash over her body. She had measles.Does that ring a bell?... Measles may be the world's most contagious disease. ...

A Guest Whose Finger Caught Fire

Security officers had cleared the room. Near the entrance, a crowd of clerks, patrons, and the night manager parted to allow my passage. Although not a master at handling drunks, I understood the soothing effect of an old man with a grey beard and carrying a doctor's bag.Patting ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Paying the Hotel Doctor's Fee

It's less than the going rate, but no one considers it cheap.When guests phone, I focus on their problems. Half the time, all they need is advice. Once they've decided that I should come, I mention the fee. About ten percent of callers reconsider, but almost no one does so directly. ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Hotel Doctor to the Stars

Now and then an agent expresses interest in my memoirs.You don't think I have memoirs?... I've been hotel doctoring since the 1980s, and I had literary ambitions long before.My proposal has been making the rounds for decades, and agents often respond. Our conversation always ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Canceling a Housecall

The phone woke me at 11 p.m. A guest at the Doubletree wanted a doctor to examine his son's ear.I had dressed and was preparing to leave when the phone rang again."I'm really sorry," said the guest. "The hotel called another doctor, and he's on his way, so we have to cancel." ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Why I Hate Appointments

I love seeing two patients at the same time, but I prefer going immediately. Things happen if I wait....Sure enough, at one-thirty another hotel called, so I hurried into Hollywood, pretended I wasn't in a hurry when I cared for the guest, hurried back to my car, and drove ten ...

The Life of a Hotel Doctor - You Don't Need a Better Medicine

"My doctor gave me amoxicillin a week ago, and my sinuses are still blocked. I need a stronger antibiotic," said a guest.For perhaps the thousandth time, I responded: "You have a virus. Viruses can last a week, and antibiotics have no effect."If a medicine isn't working the ...