Angry Doctor

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Five Ages of Man

To the rude bastard who came into my room before his number was called yesterday asking to be seen before his turn,

I am sorry I was unable to see you first because of your specific combination of age and gender. While you might think that your ‘type’ is unique and deserves to be seen first, I would like to inform you to the fact that each age group has a reason too as to why they think they should have priority.

Here’s how it goes:

For some reasons mothers think that babies can’t wait, and should be seen first.

(I don’t really see why that should be the case because that seems to be about all that they do: sleep, wait for hunger to come, then cry for milk, get fed, sleep, etc. It’s not like they have something else important to do.)

Incompetent parents who cannot control their children think that it’s our fault when they kids get impatient and start throwing tantrums in the waiting area, so they should be seen first.

(I understand it’s embarrassing to the parents involved, but I hardly think it’s fair for the rest of the patients to subsidise your inept parenting skills with their time.)

Parents think that their school-going kids need to see the doctor sooner so they can get the medicine sooner so that they can get well sooner so they can go back to school sooner, preferably within the same day, so they should be seen first.

(Please, when your school-going child is sick, he or she needs rest. The reason why doctors treat children is not so that they can quickly go back to school and take the exam which their future so depends on, but so they can be more comfortable while they recuperate. In fact, the only reason why your kid is having a chronic headache is because of all the stress you are putting him through (to the point when he has to read 10-year series while waiting to see me!). Let him sit there and not have to do anything for a change!)

Working adults think that the whole economy will collapse if they are not back in office before lunchtime, so they should be seen first.

(Have some perspective. I don’t care who you are and what you do, but the world will go on even if you collapsed and died of a heart attack this very minute. Sometimes an illness is your body’s way of telling you to take a break.)

Adult Female
Adult females are either ‘possibly pregnant’, ‘pregnant’ or ‘recently pregnant’. Curiously, conventional wisdom states that they must not wait too long while in any of the three states, so they must be seen first.

(Fact is, it’s not exactly a strenuous exercise sitting there waiting for me. And pregnancy is a 9-month process; seeing me an hour earlier is not going to speed it up. If you’ve recently delivered, you have gone through the worst pain known to mankind, so don’t bitch about the minor discomfort that is sitting in a chair.)

Old people think that because of their frailty, they cannot wait too long, and should be seen first.

(You are retired! What else have you got to do? The fact that you have been around this long should mean that you are used to waiting more than the rest. Certainly waiting time doesn’t seem to be an obstacle for those of you queuing outside the court for a ringside seat at the latest murder trial. For those who are in a wheelchair, why are you complaining? You’ve got your own chair when some people have to stand!)

So you see, no matter what age or gender you are, there is always some other group that think they deserve to be seen before you do.

I’m not particular, since I have to see all of you eventually anyway. I would in fact prefer an open bidding system where the highest bidder gets seen first, with the money going towards my pocket. But for some reason the clinic administration feels that that is unfair and insists on the first-come first-serve rule.

Well, I guess as long as both you and I are in this system, you’ll have to continue to wait till your turn comes up.


angry doc


  • Laugh. That is actually really funny and so true :-)
    ~ xena

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 9:08 am  

  • agree with you however, sometimes there are exceptional cases for eg. my son has fit (14mths)& his temperature being constantly stayed at 39C, so i requested to be seen by doc first. Not too much right?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 10:53 am  

  • I dunno... I might still be inclined to see the 3-month old with brochiolitis and is becoming blue in the face, or the 5-year old who fell and bashed his head and is now bleeding away and getting drowsier...

    Whom do you suggest I see first?

    By Blogger angry doc, At September 14, 2005 12:15 pm  

  • Haha!

    The anon who wrote that example about his son who has a fit etc...

    I am sure in most cases the doctor would attend to medical emergencies first. If it happens that there are several emergencies that present at the same time, then a triage is done.

    I am not sure whether the anon was taking his son to to A&E while his son was fitting away with status epilepticus. But I have seen anxious parents who say that their toddler had febrile fits before and thus NEED to be seen first and the fever brought down immediately. I usually tell them to throw the boy into a bathtub full of water or place him under a running cold shower if the sole objective is to lower the fever immediately. They will look at me like I am crazy.

    Again leopards are not going to change their spots. And the way Singapore works is whichever leopard growls louder usually gets fed sooner.

    Welcome to the zoo!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 12:37 pm  

  • how about doctors who need to be seen by other doctors?

    do they wait? :)

    By Blogger monk, At September 14, 2005 2:09 pm  

  • There will definitely be those who wait and those who do not wait. Just like everybody else.

    Again those who growl the loudest will usually get what they want.

    It's the same with talking about the elite, VIPs, etc

    I feel we should be professional about it and stick to the system of severity of conditions first and then first come first served.

    In countries for example Australia they have an appointment system which I think is better for the doctor and the patient. Make an appointment with the doctor. So the doctor expects you, and you don't really get into situations where it so happens there are many people at the clinic when you go there.

    For patients who walk-in there they will agree to wait since they did not make an appointment. If the condition of the patient is severe they will be seen first.

    In Singapore we have a first come first serve system for various reasons which deserve a whole discussion on its own. Thus there are more instances where people have to wait. But the system also affords other advantages which the patients and people do not appreciate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 2:20 pm  

  • hi i am the anon (son has fit)

    That incident was the 1st encounter - son has fit+fever, so it was a terrifying experience for 1st time parent. Anyway, it is also my 1st & last request to be seen by doc first so far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 2:57 pm  

  • Anon, you are a parent and you are expected to fight tooth and nail for your son.

    If you feel your son is in danger, you must do your best to help him. It doesn't matter if you are rude, impatient, or how much inconvenience you cause the medical staff. It's your instinct and duty as a parent to do what you feel is best for your child.

    I'll be worried if you didn't.

    You can apologise about it afterwards, when he is well.

    By Blogger angry doc, At September 14, 2005 3:11 pm  

  • To the anon father with son who had fit:

    Your request was totally valid.

    I think if you read angry doc's blog entry he is referring to requests to be seen first based on age rather than medical condition and severity of disease.

    In your son's case, he SHOULD be seen first unless there are other patients with more serious problems.

    If I were the doctor I would ask that your seen be seen first and tell any person who disagrees to clam up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 3:14 pm  

  • hi to both doc - anon again (son has fit)

    The doc that attended to my son, was as understanding as both of you...hehehe...

    dr oz bloke - YES, angry doc's blog entry he is referring to requests to be seen first based on age etc, thats why i say agree with him in the 1st posting. It must be quite a tough job for doc to tell patient straight off the face "NO", right???

    by the way, i am anon mother with son who had fit ... =D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 4:15 pm  

  • Oops! Mother not father :D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 14, 2005 4:37 pm  

  • yeah,I've seen cases where the father says he didn't bring milk powder so he wanted it faster but it was obviously fake cos the mother was whispering to the father in the ear jus 1 sec b4 that...prob not the first time they use that...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 19, 2005 10:08 am  

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