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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trying to Reach the Doctor


A two-month old at the Sunset Marquis was vomiting. I care for infants, but vomiting in someone so young is tricky. It would be a cop-out to send the parents to an urgent care clinic because its doctor would be a G.P. like me – and, by the law of averages, less competent. Emergency room doctors have more skill, but inflicting an ER experience on this guest was overkill. Fortunately, I have a pediatrician colleague.

I phoned his office. A message urged me to call 911 if I had an emergency but otherwise to leave a message. I dialed his cell phone but reached voicemail. It was 10 a.m. on a weekday, so he was in the office. I phoned the office again and hit “zero” to connect me with the answering service who agreed to page him.

After ten minutes, he phoned and agreed to speak to the guest. I contacted the guest half an hour later. No one had called.

I phoned the office and encountered the same rigmarole. Eventually, the pediatrician explained that the guest had been on the phone, so he had left a message. He agreed to call again.

Everything worked out, and the guest was happy.

Twenty thousand Los Angeles hotel guests can dial my cell phone at any time, and I always answer in person. Sometimes this is inconvenient, but, like most doctors, I have a great job and earn a generous income, so this is a small price to pay. I don’t understand why I have so much trouble getting doctors to answer the phone.  

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