While I was working for an office that specialized in answering for doctor’s offices and dentists after-hours, I had a very interesting conversation with one of the doctors, let’s call him Doctor Dave. We had taken a message earlier in the evening from a woman claiming to be one of his patients, complaining of an eye issue. The following is the conversation that I had with him, roughly paraphrased from memory.
Me: Yes, Doctor, last message for you is from Jane Doe, complaining of eye pain.
Doctor Dave: Can you confirm the phone number for me?
Doctor Dave: That’s what I thought. I do not wish to speak with this woman. She is not my patient. She has never been my patient. If she calls back, tell her to call her physician at this number (gives me phone number).
Doctor Dave: Do not pass any more messages to me from this person. Document what she says and save the message. Do you understand?
Me: Absolutely! That won’t be a problem, I will be sure to let everyone know!
We exchanged pleasantries and the call ended. I go out of call rotation to let everyone know that we aren’t to pass any messages from this woman to the doctor, and I ask our supervisor in our sister office (local to the doctor) just what the hell was going on there, because he sounded pissed.
Apparently, Jane Doe was Doctor Dave’s soon-to-be ex-wife. The divorce proceedings had been VERY messy. The week prior the doctor had forwarded his personal phone to our service and Jane called over 100 times and insisted on leaving an urgent message every time, in the space of three hours. Our sister office failed to inform us of this little drama, and when the original message was taken we tried to connect Jane to Doctor Dave. He hadn’t been answering our calls for this reason, and was calling us back to retrieve all messages.
By the end of my shift she had called 8 more times, and was beginning to be abusive toward my teammates. The doctor ended up giving us permission to hang up as soon as she said her name.