Industry Update
Opinion Article21 March 2019

Trusting the Guest to Take Care of Things - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

By Mike Oppenheim, MD

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A guest at the Crowne Plaza was feeling under the weather.

The guest spoke poor English but, through the bellman, asked if I took his insurance: April Assistance. I did, adding that, unless he wanted to pay me directly, he must call April and ask for a doctor. Then April calls me.

After giving April's 800 number to the bellman who passed it on to the guest, I hung up and immediately regretted it. I should have asked for the guest's insurance I.D. and then sent him to his room. Then I should have phoned April to tell them a client wanted a housecall. They would have phoned him and then approved. I've done this in the past; when I'm lazy and trust the guest to take care of things, I often never hear back.

I called an hour later, but the bellman didn't remember the guest's name.

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.

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