My mother is almost 79 years old. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in February 2005, and had a radical mastectomy and lymph node removal in April 2005. She was determined to be in remission by the end of 2005.
Today, I took my mother in for her annual mammogram. I took the day off from work to be with her for the results. Now, I'm not sure if this is a standard across the U.S., but according to my mother's Oncologist, and every hospital she's had a mammogram at since in Omaha, the radiologist will normally give you the results of your annual mammogram immediately if your cancer diagnosis was within 5 years. This February marks four (4) years for my mom.
So I take her in, we wait in the waiting room approximately 45 minutes, she has the test, and we wait some more. Five minutes later, the nurse (who was very nice and not a part of the bad service) emerges, and states that the hospital's policy has changed, and they will notify her within 24 hours. Meaning, my mother gets to have another sleepless night wondering if she has cancer again. My mom and I just stare silently at her for a moment, she begins to get very nervous, and then the truth comes out. She actually said that they "encourage" women to get Mammograms on any day BUT Wednesday, since Dr. Useless works Wednesdays. "If it was our regular Radiologist, she'd be out here talking to you right now. But Dr. Useless told me he was too busy to read yours now. He said he'll have time to read it in about an hour."
I should mention that it was five minutes to noon. The cynic in me was screaming that this asshat felt his turkey sandwich was more important than letting my mother know if she had cancer or not.
At this point, I ask why Dr. Useless can't take five minutes to read the report. She shrugged and kept apologizing. I totally understood that it was this particular doctor who was the problem, not the hospital's new "policy."
So, I tell her in a firm but not abusive tone that this situation was unacceptable. I let her know that my mother has been very nervous and had a few sleepless nights with the threat of cancer hanging over her again, and that this "doctor" obviously didn't care. Furthermore, Dr. Useless and the hospital's administrators would be hearing from me later about it. I also reiterated that I understood it wasn't her fault. She nodded a million times and scurried back to Radiology. My mother dejectedly went to get dressed. While I was waiting, the same nurse came running out, and told me she just emailed her "boss," and that my mother's report would be read within the hour and we would get a call before the day was over. She took my mother's home phone and cell. She continued to apologize, and I continued to tell her it wasn't her fault, and I thanked her for her diligence.
I'm a realist. Hospitals are busy places. Old people get sick. I get it. But this guy went above and beyond to make life harder for someone who lives in fear of having to go through another cancer diagnosis. Nurses get a lot of shit, but it said a lot to me that this nurse came clean with us, and basically came out and said what an asshat Dr. Useless was, and he should be avoided. Not to mention the fact that he works there only one day a week.
Happily, my mother received a call within 90 minutes, and her tests were clear. I looked up Dr. Useless's information, and I'll be sure to tell everyone I know to avoid this jerk like the plague.