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Are all doctors like this?!

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by so cal girl, Sep 16, 2008.

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  1. so cal girl
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    by so cal girl » Sep 16, 2008
    I have only consistently gone to the doctor in Southern California, so I don''t know if it is just like this here, or everywhere in the world.

    Do any of you feel like getting in to see a doctor is some long and drawn out process? It seems like it takes forever to get an appointment. Once you get there, they are never on time. And half the time, once I get taken to the exam room, I''m still left waiting for another 20 minutes.

    I have spent the last couple of days trying to have an appointment with my OBGYN. First of all, it takes 3 months to get an appointment. So I had to call in June to get my appointment for yesterday. And as I''m ON MY WAY to the appointment, which was starting in 10 minutes, they call me to cancel. Oh, the doctor went to the hospital for a delivery earlier in the day and has decided not to come back to the office. Excuse me?! If she has appointments scheduled, shouldn''t she plan on coming back?
    So, I''m furious, but after I calm down a bit, I reschedule for an appointment in their other office the next town over for today at 10:30. I leave at 10:00 to drive all the way down there. I''m there at 10:30, and they probably take me to the exam room at about 10:50. 11:30 rolls around and I''m still sitting in the exam room by myself waiting for the doctor. I''ve been there for an entire hour and not seen her. I have read every single pamphlet in the room and I am starting to get incredibly annoyed. I walk out and tell them I''m leaving. They ask me if I''d like to reschedule, and I tell them no thank you, I will not be coming here anymore. The receptionist seemed apologetic, but how can they continue to run their office this way and still have so many patients?

    Sorry for the really long rant, but I''m wondering if people everywhere experince this sort of treatment at the doctor, or if I am just picking the wring doctors!
     
  2. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Sep 16, 2008
    I''m in socal.

    First, HMO and PPO patients seem to be treated differently with PPO patients getting in faster when it comes to appointments.

    Secondly, yes, waits can be long no matter what your insurance is. I''ve found pretty much a great way around this. Make the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch. Hardly any wait, and usually I am out of there so fast my head spins.
     
  3. JulieN
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    by JulieN » Sep 16, 2008
    Yes, all doctors (primary care) are like that. They will keep you in the waiting room while they are at lunch or at the gym, while they have presumably gone "to the hospital."

    I've worked for doctors. This lie doesn't work on me. Just tell me he's having lunch with a drug rep on the pharma company's dime at a very nice restaurant!

    If you don't want to wait 3 months (hell, I once had an infection...can't wait three months!) for an OB/GYN, try to find someone less "popular..." Someone quite new out of school, less established patient base, and maybe a man. I like my OB/GYN, especially since he could see me very soon.
     
  4. MichelleCarmen
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    by MichelleCarmen » Sep 16, 2008
    You''re picking the wrong doctors.

    Two of the clinics I go to NEVER have waits and the drs. are on time. The first always books his appointments with a gap between them so that if one appointment runs longer, the next person isn''t left to wait. The other is my kids'' dentist and he''s insanely prompt. This is crazy, but he has *10* employees just to handle the work FOR HIM, three running the front desk and the rest in back helping keeping the chairs and tools clean, so there is never a delay in having fresh supplies to work on my kids. I have to mention that both charge HIGH amounts! Silly as this sounds, both are "upscale" facilities.

    For general dr. appointments (like if my kid catches a cold or needs a physical) I go to a regular clinic and that place takes FOREVER. Usually, the wait time is over 45 min after the appointment time and then we sit there for 20 minutes trying to hack into the computer terminal in the examination room.

    If I want prompt service, I pick certain places and often times will go to those places even if my insurance doesn''t cover them just so I can get in and out fast.
     
  5. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Sep 16, 2008
    btw, 10:30 appointments are nasty. Doc''s offices usually open at 9. You have an hour and half''s worth of appointments before you, and it gets backed up. This seems pretty normal to me. For example, the first appointment after lunch at my OB is 2pm. I am out of there by 2:30 at the latest. If I book at 3:30, I don''t get called into a room until about 4:15, with the doc coming in around 5 pm and I am out by 5:15.

    I have noticed at my ped''s office (who does not take HMO patients), there is never a long wait. Not sure if it''s because he''s an awesome doc, or if it''s because he''s dealing with kids or if it''s because there are no HMO patients. *shrug*
     
  6. Independent Gal
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  7. Diva0413
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    by Diva0413 » Sep 16, 2008
    Unfortunately I''ve had the same experience. Whether it be my primary physician or OB/GYN, it''s the same process. What gets me is that every time I''m sitting in the waiting room and I hear my name, I get excited like it''s time to see the doctor. Then they bring you into the room, and you''re all alone but all it is... Is your very own private waiting room.

    Forgive my craziness, but I can''t help but think there''s a camera in there somewhere and they''re sitting in an office laughing at the patient''s antics while waiting.
     
  8. Lady_Disdain
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    by Lady_Disdain » Sep 16, 2008
    Ob-gyn are the worse. Even a well organized doctor''s schedule can be thrown way off because of an unplanned birth or sudden complication. The kinder side of me is interpreting "he won''t be back" as "the birth will take way to long for the doctor to see patients today".

    I echo the advice to always get the first appointment of the day and take a good book along.
     
  9. Independent Gal
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    by Independent Gal » Sep 16, 2008
    My recent fiasco at the midwife involved me sitting in the exam room for 45 minutes. Without an apology. I had a meeting, and eneded up being late for that, plus only had 5 mins to talk to her. I mean, how rude is that?!!?

    Can anyone else think of another profession where it is considered appropriate to leave someone sitting there (in this case, naked mind you) for 45 minutes without so much as an apology? Would you hire a lawyer who did that?

    Keeping someone waiting, as any anthropologist will tell you, is a very clear show of power in many cultures. It''s a symbolic way of saying "You need me so much that I can take my darn sweet time and you''ll just sit there."

    It''s just plain rude. There is no excuse for it. At least, not for it happening so consistently.

    Also, what is with the wait times? It''s much worse than any socialized medicine I''ve experienced.

    This country''s medical and insurance system desperately needs some surgery. [​IMG] I guess it works great if you''re really rich. But.
     
  10. icekid
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    by icekid » Sep 16, 2008
    I know ripping on physicians is the latest trend on pricescope, but by and large, your docs are NOT playing into some ridiculous power struggle by being late and they''re not busy eating lunch with some sketchy drug reps when they are late to your appointment. Many times, despite their best intentions, doctors get behind. Just one "oh by the way.. did I mention I''ve been having chest pain?" after an already 20 minute visit can ruin the day''s schedule. I''ve worked with many family and medicine and peds docs who work THROUGH lunch, and work their butt off on top of it. It''s an incredibly demanding job, and they''re just trying to make a living like everyone else...

    With your ob/gyn, well I''d say having an Ob stuck at the hospital delivering is par for the course. People want to KNOW that they''ll be delivered by Dr. Always there, but when that happens then Dr. Always there is obviously going to have to miss some office appointments. It''s unfortunate, it sucks for everyone, but what is the alternative?

    That said, I understand the frustration of starting at the wall for an hour and waiting. It''s not fun. And certainly as apology should be a pretty standard addition on one of THOSE days. I''ve been lucky lately; my last primary appointment and gyn appointment were maybe about 30 min each in the door and out (both mid-afternoon too)!
     
  11. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Sep 16, 2008
    I agree icekid. Yes, sometimes healthcare here can stink. But I bet it stinks in other parts of the world too. My DH says if you need something like knee surgery in Oz, you''ll be waiting a long time - unless you have private health insurance in which case, sure, money buys nice health care.

    I see people strolling in all the time to my OB 15-30 minutes late for an appointment. Perhaps the OB should be better at scheduling, but healthcare is still a business - the insurance companies put a lot of pressure on doc''s offices. They''re there to make money, and oh yeah, fix ya too. It''s too bad because what do we have, if not our health?

    And I especially agree when it comes to the OB. As I sit there on my nekkid a$$ stuck to liner paper for an extra 30 minutes, I think, well...hopefully someone is getting her needs taken care of, and I''ll make sure he takes the time to take care of me too.
     
  12. qtiekiki
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    by qtiekiki » Sep 16, 2008
    I am also in SoCal. Ditto with scheduling for the first appt when the office is opened or right after lunch. I always try go to my OB-Gyn at 9am when I was pregnant. I am in and out of there in 15 - 30 min. The wait gets crazy even at 9:30am. But once I am in the exam room, I never had to wait more than 10 min. I think it''s a little ridiculous to have the patient wait over 20 min in an exam room. I mean why put them in the room if the dr won''t be ready for such a long time; that just doesn''t make sense to me.
     
  13. neatfreak
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    by neatfreak » Sep 16, 2008
    No, not all dr''s are like that. Mine isn''t. The only time I''ve had to wait awhile is when I had an appointment at the hospital (which is where he sees patients when he is on call) and he was running 1/2 an hour late because he got called out for a birth.

    I agree with the first appt. of the day or after lunch though, it''s almost foolproof. But really, take your business elsewhere if you aren''t happy! They are providing a service, which you are paying for, and if you don''t like the product take your $ elsewhere.

    Another thing is that if you are just looking for basic things, try making your OB a nurse practictioner. They have wonderful training, usually great dispositions (they love helping people as a major generalization, they got into it for that instead of the $), and they often have much longer timeframes for appointments meaning you don''t get rushed.
     
  14. bee*
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    by bee* » Sep 16, 2008
    I''m always kept waiting-it drives me insane! The last time I was there, I could hear her having her tea-break with the nurses and they were having a great laugh, while I was sat there bored stupid! I was so tempted to leave only she''s my nextdoor neighbour.
     
  15. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Sep 16, 2008
    Totally agree. I LOVED my NP for yearly paps. No matter what time of the day I made my appointment, I was out in 45 minutes. Plus she was so kind and totally informed me as to what she was doing every step of the way...even though I knew the drill, it was a distraction to her her talk. Too bad I know I have to go to an OB.
     
  16. joflier
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    by joflier » Sep 16, 2008
    At the clinic I work at, are primary care docs are pretty good with getting everyone in right on time. We have an urgent care as well, but that can have a wait, but since its a walk in, thats just a given at certain times. Sounds like you might want a different doc, if he/she just decides not to come back for the day!
     
  17. Elmorton
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    by Elmorton » Sep 16, 2008
    My mom''s OBGYN once left her in the room for 3 hours - yupp, in the gown and everything. Of course, I think I would have thrown on my clothes again and gone out there to check what was going on after ohhh 30 mins, but Mom was exhausted and she just fell asleep on the table. Finally, someone came in to check on her and said she could wait 45 mins more for the doc to come back from delivery OR she could have a nurse practitioner OR reschedule. My mom said "Are you kidding? You should have sent in the nurse practitioner hours ago!" She''s since changed OBGYNs.

    I''ve gone to nurse practitioners for everything since I grew too old for my pediatrician, and I love them. I''ve never waited more than 30 mins (and I usually go in afternoons, so I expect a little bit of a wait) and I feel like the care is much, much better. I also usually go to a general practitioner for my OBGYN stuff - I was so thrown off the one time I went to an actual OB and had to wait for babies and sit the the waiting room filled with pregnant women.
     
  18. Miranda
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    by Miranda » Sep 16, 2008
    I''m in so cal, too, and have had similar experiences. Some offices are worse than others. I second finding an office with a great NP is you have no major issues going on. It can really help free up a busy office. Also, as others have said, take the first thing in the morning or first thing after lunch slot.

    I do think a wait at an OBGYN office is expected, though, of course, an apology or explanation would go a long way. And the extent depends on the provider. Just try and think of it this way. If you were the one with a baby coming out of your hee haw RIGHT NOW you wouldn''t want a doc that said, "I''ll be right over when I''m done with this pap." [​IMG]
     
  19. so cal girl
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    by so cal girl » Sep 16, 2008
    I guess what is adding to my frustration with this appointment is that I was there to talk about TTC. My husband wants me to talk to a doctor before we make a decision on when will start TTC. So I have been anxiously awaiting this appointment for a couple of months. Just to have it not happen. In addition, this is not the first time this doctor has rescheduled on me. For my last annual visit, which I scheduled three months in advance, the office called me the week before to tell me that the doctor was going on vacation that week. She was going on vacation and they only knew about it 5 days in advance? Why would you schedule a last-minute vacation if you knew you had appointments scheduled?

    I agree with what people say about seeing a nurse practitioner. I have seen one in the past, and that may be the way to go in the future, but i''m not sure it would work for this type of appointment.

    I understand that with OBGYNs, there is always the possibility of getting pulled away for a delivery, but this story is just an example of what I have encountered at all types of doctor''s offices (GP, dermatologist, or otherwise). I would think that after so many years in the field, doctors should have a general idea of how long a certain type appointment should take. I also feel that if you are going to the doctor, and are more than 10-15 minutes late for your appointment, you should reschedule. I think that late patients only contributes to the problem.

    Scheduling the first appointment in the morning is a great idea in theory, but not always possible. Being on the west coast, I am usually in telecons with the east coast by the time the doctor''s office opens. Work-wise, my schedule mostly allows for late afternoon appointments. But if things keep going this way, I''ll adjust my work schedule jsut to avoid future stress.
     
  20. somethingshiny
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    by somethingshiny » Sep 16, 2008
    I love the midwest!!

    I never wait more than 10 minutes in the waiting room or more than 5 in an exam room. In fact, I''m usually jumping up on the table trying to cover my butt when I hear them knocking at the door!

    And, 90% of the time, the dr will get us in THAT day, the other 10% we have an appt the next day.
     
  21. Kaleigh
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    by Kaleigh » Sep 16, 2008
    Sounds like my OB/GYN. I go, I wait an hour, read all the magazines I can. Pee in a cup. Wait in the examining room for another half hour. Or like you, get the call just before you are heading to the office, the doc is out on call.

    Since I am done having babies, I just need the GYN part, and need to find a new pratice. That last time I went, I waited for 2 hours, and haven''t been back since. I really need to get on this, so this thread, is a good reminder.

    No not all docs are like this. My other Docs are not like this, just the OB GYN''s in my experience......
     
  22. joflier
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    by joflier » Sep 16, 2008
    Ain''t that the truth! lol!
     
  23. Haven
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    by Haven » Sep 16, 2008
    I''m in the Midwest, too, but this is NOT my experience!

    I have left an OBGYN and a dentist because they canceled and rescheduled appointments so often. They were both in downtown Chicago (and I mean DOWNTOWN) so that may be why they were so busy, but it certainly isn''t an excuse.

    I always try to get the first appointment of the day, and some doctors have actually seen me before they technically open (I always pull the "I''m a teacher, my first class starts at 7:45 so the earlier in and out the better card).

    I''m also irritated that so many doctors are only open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. I have to take serious time off of work during the school year to go to my regular appointments, it is such an inconvenience. And I always have to schedule substitutes for much longer than I expect in case I''m stuck waiting for hours upon hours.

    My new dentist is in the suburbs and he''s FABULOUS. Gorgeous waiting room, bottled water and juice, never have to wait. Perhaps big cities are much worse for experience with doctors . . .
     
  24. Brynn
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    by Brynn » Sep 16, 2008
    Try a Nurse Practitioner! I''ve been to three (two in a Midwestern big city and one in a medium sized city) and they''ve all been able to get into. The first one wasn''t great (kind of um, judgmental), but the last two have been!

    They can do basically whatever your general practitioner can do (write prescriptions, do your yearly exam, etc)

    Good luck!!!
     
  25. LAJennifer
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    by LAJennifer » Sep 17, 2008
    That''s what I do.
     
  26. cara
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    by cara » Sep 17, 2008
    Nurse practitioners are great... until you ask something outside their scope of practice. Then you need to see a doc, which might mean you need to come back for another appt. I schedule with NPs if its something straightforward and standard, like the annual pap, but if I know I have a more complicated issue or even a more complicated question, I ask to see a doc. At least for my insurance setup, you have the right at any time to see a doctor so its important to ask to see one even if you normally schedule with an NP. But NPs are great for quicker, no hassle appts and I found they tend to be very thorough at giving advice within what they are trained for.

    For basic TTC consultation, maybe an NP would be good. But if you have any more unusual questions, like on a medication you take or something, a doc would be a better bet.

    My husband is a doctor, still in training so he does clinic appts with a supervising physician in a hospital setting, and these people vary widely in their ability to run clinic on time. They might be good doctors providing good care, but that doesn't mean that they are great managers in terms of getting clinic to go efficiently. And sometimes the system is set up such that it is basically impossible to run on time, ie. scheduling appts unrealistically.

    Obviously one should have a somewhat different standard for a private practice, and if this one isn't cutting it vote with your feet and go elsewhere. And with an OB, baby interruptions are the norm so it seems like the rescheduling/front office people can make a huge difference in your experience. If they are proactive and on their game, less hassle for you. Good luck finding a new doctor.
     
  27. dani13
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    by dani13 » Sep 17, 2008
    Cara,

    In all do respect- (I am a Nurse Practitioner) if a patient "ASKS us something having to do with procedures/topics outside of our scopes of practice" ,etc., we are ABSOLUTELY STILL QUALIFIED to give sound medical advice. I have had plenty of patients consult with me regarding issues that are not necessarily within my scope of practice...However I still have the appropriate knowledge, training, and understanding on how to guide them in taking their next step. In office settings, NP's can successfully carry out about 85% of an MD's duties, and at the same level. We may not be trained to perform surgeries, etc., but our training is extremely intensive and difficult, and we are absolutely competent practitioners. I know that whether you choose to see one is your own decision to make. I also understand that everyone has the right to their own opinions, but every NP (and every dr., for that matter,) is a different level practitioner, so remember to keep that in mind before making such a general statement about our profession as a whole.
     
  28. lover in athens
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    by lover in athens » Sep 17, 2008

    julie, i found your post to be a little offensive. i''m sorry, but it''s VERY presumptuous to say "yes, all doctors are like that." i''m a doctor, and NO, i''m NOT like that. in fact, i work my butt off to make sure that i''m always on time. i''ve very anal and HATE being late. i hate having to wait, and therefore i hate making people wait for me. that being said, there are times when (as other people have posted), it''s absolutely impossible to stay on time. i''m a dermatologist, which is inherently a fast paced field. but if i get a new patient with lymphoma in his skin, and he''s scheduled into a typical 15 minutes slot, then the rest of the day is toast. that being said, the most important thing is that when i''m running late, i ALWAYS apologize, and i DON''T skimp on the next patient. i''ve found that most people are very understanding with an explanation, AND as long as they feel they get listened to by their dr. [that being said, if your doctor doesn''t apologize or take the time to listen to you, then, as others have said, FIND ONE WHO DOES!!]

    i''ve worked with a ton of doctors in my eight years of post grad training, and i''ll tell you, i''ve NEVER met one who lies about going to the hospital, and instead is out to lunch or at the gym. EVER.

    it seems to me that many people believe that doctors are in it for the money. HA!! that may have been true in yesteryear, but the reimbursements for doctors have been cut BIG TIME. no longer is being a physician a guaranteed cushy lifestyle. in fact, most of us come out of our 4 years of med school in BIG TIME debt, and then work for a pittance (significantly less than minimum wage when you factor in hours worked) in our 3-7 years of residency. if we were in it for the money, we sure wouldn''t go into medicine. and DEFINITELY not into primary care. those drs are forced to see WAY too many patients by the insurance companies who don''t reimburse and essentially dictate the way the doctors care for their patients.

    i have the utmost respect for my OB (who i see on a weekly basis lately). yes, she is almost ALWAYS running late. but i expect it and plan for it and bring a book. when i think about what she sacrifices to be there for her patients who are giving birth or having difficult pregnancies, i don''t mind waiting. and since i''ve had preterm labor issues of my own, no matter how late she is, she always takes the time to sit down and answer my questions, and never makes me feel like she''s in a rush.

    sorry for the diatribe here, guys. just a subject that i''m a little sensitive about.
     
  29. cara
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    by cara » Sep 17, 2008
    Hi Dani- I do not mean to imply that nurse practitioners are not well trained or are not knowledgeable or not competent. I should have qualified my comment by saying that they were based on my experiences at my clinic, which might not be reflective of how NPs practice at other clinics, but I wasn't that creative in my first post.

    I have had several instances in which I call for an appt, tell the scheduler the general topic I am coming in for, am offered a choice of Dr. or NP, take the NP (usually higher availability or female for annual test), show up to the appt, ask a question, and am told that I'll need to see a Dr. to get that question answered - please go schedule another appt. So...

    I don't know what to make of this beside saying, if I imagine that I might have a question or problem that the NP is not going to be able to help with, I should attempt to shorten the process my scheduling right off with a doctor. Maybe they restrict what NPs are allowed to address at my care provider - maybe I just hit on the 15% of stuff, as you say, that NPs are not trained for. But I did not ask for surgery. Certainly there are many times one goes to one's general Dr. and then is referred out to a specialist Dr, before actually getting the problem addressed - at least if you have a gatekeeper in your insurance system - so I didn't mean to imply anything BAD by it except that if you have a question that you might need a Dr to answer it is best to schedule with a Dr. And it is hard for me, a non-medical person, to predict whether perfectly who will have the appropriate training for my problem.

    Though now I can cheat by asking DH to guess.
     
  30. dani13
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    by dani13 » Sep 17, 2008
    Cara-

    We are not "restricted" when it comes to addressing/counseling re: certain issues/problems. We have a scope of practice which limits us in other ways-such as managing high-risk patients, etc. Just because you felt that the NP you saw was incompetent or not knowledgeable regarding your problem, doesnt mean that ALL NP's should be classified the same way. Honestly, if the NP you saw didnt know the answer to your question or concern, she should have found the answer for you. I have worked with many pracititioners (doctors, np's, pa's) who need to leave the patient alone for a few minutes in the exam room so they can find the answers to their questions and/or how to properly guide them....They either consult with another professional in the office, or look up the information in their nearest reference book. It happens all the time- ask your husband...Im sure he'll agree!
     
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