Industry Update
Opinion Article23 February 2021

Listomania - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

By Mike Oppenheim, MD

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Oppenheim

I once made sixty to eighty visits per year to the Crowne Plaza at the airport. Then they dropped to about five.

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During a recent visit I noticed a printed handout on a bedside table, a long list of clinics and doctors which the reader was invited to peruse. Given a list, guests tend to call the first number first and then work down. My name was sixth.

When consulted, hotel lawyers always forbid staff from recommending a doctor. Should a guest ask, they insist that an employee silently hand over a list, the longer the better. In this way, when the guest sues the doctor, he or she won't sue the hotel. Lawyers admit that this doesn't work, but they can't help themselves.

Told to make up a list, employees take the easy route by consulting the internet where they find clinics, local practices, and entrepreneurial physicians who charge spectacular fees. They won't find me except on my blog, so it's a crapshoot where on the list I'll end up.

Having produced the list, management forgets about it. Lists always contains doctors and clinics that don't make housecalls. As time passes, some numbers no longer work; for the rest, guests who want to speak to a doctor end up speaking to an answering service or receptionist.

It might take years for calls to return to normal, but I am patient.

Mike Oppenheim

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