Friday, August 14, 2015

A Medicolegal Housecall

Stepping out of the shower, a Doubletree guest stumbled and nicked his leg. He had paid little attention, but now, two days later, the wound had grown painful.

That sounded like a good visit until he delivered the bad news: the hotel would pay my fee.

I label these “medicolegal” visits and I don’t collect. When a hotel offers to pay, it’s usually because the guest is making a fuss, and management has already agreed to other expenses such as comping the bill.

I don’t want to be part of the problem, and it’s a chance to remind upper management of my value. During the usual visit I never see a general manager. Most are only vaguely aware of my existence, and a few are surprised to learn that the hotel can call a doctor.

The guest’s shallow, one-inch, laceration was healing normally. I doubt he would have called if he had had to pay.

I shook hands with the general manager and assured him that there was no significant problem. I added that, as the hotel’s doctor, I was always available, and he should feel free to consult me under these circumstances. I waved off his offer to pay. He expressed gratitude.

Don’t assume that this guarantees a hotel’s loyalty. It’s been years since Loews in Hollywood and the Adventure hotel called. My last visits to both were medicolegal freebies.

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