The Life of a Hotel Doctor - Why I Hate Appointments
By Mike Oppenheim, MD
"We have two guests with a cough and sore throat, but they're at a conference. They'd like you to come at three." This news arrived at nine a.m..
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 miles to Santa Monica for the appointment.
"No one asked for a doctor," said the person who answered the door. Shown the names, he recognized them but added that they were at a meeting. He phoned and reported that they had lost track of time but would hurry back. Their conference was at a university five miles away. Their transportation was by city bus.
I didn't want to wait, but I have an exalted view of the medical profession. Many doctors share it, but others feel that if someone treats them badly (the government, insurance companies), their humanitarian obligations vanish, and they're free to become jerks (google "concierge doctor").
This housecall came from a travel insurer, so (unlike calls directly from hotels) I get paid if patients flake out. Leaving would be no material sacrifice, but how would I feel if I refused to care for them?.... After weighing my options and taking no pleasure, I drove to the university, picked them up, drove back to the hotel, and performed my exam.