I Will NOT Let You Bother the Doctor in the Middle of the Night. In the End, I Decide if it’s an Emergency.

I recently started working for an answering service. I had no idea what an answering service was beforehand. It’s the lady who answers in the middle of the night when you call the doctor, takes your information, and has the doctor call you. Or during the day because people are out in the field, in court, are law enforcement, etc. You name it, I answer for it. It’s pretty awesome.

Calls are super short and quick. I do some transfers and get your message through. That being said, there is still the rare occasion that a wild Karen comes across my line. This is a story of how I used my power and freedoms given to me to let, who I assume to be, an extremely tired and overworked doctor sleep through the night.

I’m in the PNW and work until 8:30pm. We get calls from all over the states and Canada. I page businesses after hours in the event of emergencies. Plumbers, roadside assistance, doctors, vet, the essential people of the night. The heroes who come out at all hours to stop sewage from taking over your house, a tree fell on your house, the therapist on call for the crisis line… These people are not always treated as they should be.

It’s nearly the end of my shift and this lady calls in to speal with her doctor. She and said doctor are in New York. So it’s almost 11:30pm. We all know the chaos going on in New York and the shit healthcare workers are being put through to keep us and themselves safe and healthy. Karen says if she doesn’t talk with her doctor it could kill her. So I go into work mode to get her information. After I get her name and number I ask her what’s going on. She wanted to confirm she had an MRI appointment for the next week.

Now let me add some context. Yes we usually go by what the caller says is an emergency. Most usually fit in one way or another. But! In the end, before I bother some poor soul in the middle of the night, I make the final decison. We are given that power along with the power to hang up anytime without asking for permission. The call is just reviewed by management afterwards to make sure the agent made the right call. I can even block numbers from calling in for up to two months.

I obviously know that this is not an emergency so I switch screens and put it as next day while telling Karen it is late and tomorrow is a weekday so the doctor will receive the message and call her back in the morning. This is not good enough for her. She starts going on this rant about cancer and nodes in her lungs and an MRI is crucial to her health. Which I do not dispute. I simply tell her that making sure she has an appointment for next week is not an emergency. I understand she may have cancer. But what’s going to change that outcome by knowing an MRI is scheduled for next week?

Karen then loses her shit and screams that I will call the doctor for her and if I don’t she will go to the Emergency Room and have him paged. I lost a little bit of my politeness after her tirade.

“Ma’am, scheduling is not an emergency in the middle of the night. If you go to the hospital they may just give you an MRI tonight without the doctor even being paged. This is not an urgent matter.”

“I don’t need one tonight-“

“Exactly. You will not be speaking to the doctor tonight. You can call after 8am when he is in his office.” I was done and wasn’t going to let her continue wasting my time.

And then Karen paused and calmly, which was weird, said, “Yes I will.”

“You have a good night Ma’am.” I clicked my disconnect button and went on to notate her message and make clear instructions that until 8am said Karen should not be put through even if she says it’s a matter of life and death.

Entitlement.. I will never understand it. I’m just glad I no longer have to be a pushover at this call center. They let me use common sense and let me have final say. I also never received a talking to after that call so my boss must have agreed with me. There would have been a meeting if not.

Fuck you Karen, let your doctor get a good night’s sleep.

submitted by /u/MissShayla
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