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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Hotel Doctor's Contract

People ask about my contract with hotels. There is none. Concierges, operators, and bellmen call because they know me. They have my cell number, and I encourage them to give it to guests.

Guests sometimes praise me, but their praise goes to concierges et al. If they decide to complain, usually because I won't give them something they want, they go to the general manager, often galvanizing him into one of several upsetting actions.

If he consults the hotel lawyer, he always hears that he must never, never help sick guests because guests who sue the doctor will also sue the hotel that recommended him. At any given time, about ten percent of hotels are in this my-lips-are-sealed mode, but it’s a changing ten percent because it never lasts. Guests persist; most employees want to help, and most competing hotels have doctors, so it’s bad public relations. 

Referring the complainer to a competitor is a major upset. Anxious to make a good impression on his first call from Doctor Oppenheim’s hotel, he may relax his standards.  

Some managers make up a list, instructing staff to hand it to guests but to never recommend an individual. They believe (incorrectly) this will eliminate their liability. The employee who makes up the list confines her research to the internet and adds doctors she knows in no particular order. As a result, it includes doctors who don’t make housecalls and walk-in clinics with limited hours. Fortunately once the list is made the hotel forgets about it. As years pass, even the doctors who make housecalls drift away, but I remain. I’m patient.

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