Thursday, July 14, 2016

Failures in Communication, Part 3

After a forty minute drive, I arrived at 4020 Los Feliz Blvd. No one answered my knock. Thinking the patient might have stepped out, I took a walk around the neighborhood and knocked again and also phoned to no avail. I returned home in a good mood. It was an insurance call, so I’d be paid.

Another call arrived at 5 p.m. I dislike driving during the rush hour, but the patient lived near Beverly Hills only five miles distant. The address was 821 Coldwater Canyon Drive, but I discovered that Coldwater Canyon addresses begin with 900. I continued north, assuming the numbers would drop when Beverly Hills became Los Angeles, but they kept getting higher.

Coldwater Canyon is a not-so-secret alternative to the freeway into the San Fernando Valley, so it’s bumper-to-bumper during the rush hour. Finally, I gave up, pulled into a side street, and phoned the patient. It’s not 821, he said, but 1821. The dispatcher had told me wrong or perhaps I had heard wrong.

That evening an insurer called to ask me to return to the Los Feliz patient. Insurers usually refuse to authorize a second visit to a no-show, but I was happy to go. The dispatcher repeated the address: 1420. Whoops. Whose mistake was that?....

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