Industry Update
Opinion Article 2 June 2020

Things Hotel Guests Ask That I Can’t - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

By Mike Oppenheim, MD

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"A shot to put her out."


More than once I'm called when a guest suffers a tragic loss such as the death of a child or spouse. Distressed to witness the misery, family members want me to put her to sleep. This works in the movies, but in real life tranquilizers can't do more than make someone drowsy. Only a general anesthesia produces sleep. No one except celebrity doctors uses it on a housecall, and you probably know what happened when Michael Jackson's doctor tried it.

"A note to change my flight"

Now and then guests call after recovering from an illness and realizing that it's expensive to replace a cancelled ticket. They offer to pay my fee if I'll come and write a note, but I don't like claiming that a patient is sick if he isn't. My tactic is to fax a note that tells the truth: "Mr. Jones states that he was ill and unable to travel." No one has yet complained, so it might work.

"A placebo!"

No guest asks for a placebo. What they say is "You absolutely have to give something to make me better!"

In most areas of life, it's important to tell people what you want, but it's risky in a medical situation. Doctors want to do the right thing, but they also want you to be happy with the encounter. Don't tempt them.

Mike Oppenheim

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