Angry Doctor

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Sometimes I get a feeling that Help-line protocols are written just to piss callers off so the company doesn't actually need to give any help.

I just hope the obstructionist jerk who wrote the protocol I had to struggle through this morning doesn't end up getting a taste of his own medicine when he needs medical help, like in the scenario below:

Caller: Help! Someone just crashed his car into a tree – we need an ambulance here, quick!

Despatch: Sure. What is your name please?

Caller: My name's Caller. Please hurry!

Despatch: Good. How do you spell that?

Caller: Er… C-A-L-L-E-R.

Despatch: Good. May I have the model and the license-plate number of the car please?

Caller: What? Why do you need to know that? There’s a guy inside the car and he looks hurt – does it matter what make the car is?

Despatch: Mr Caller, we need to log the information before we can despatch an ambulance.

Caller: Er… OK… it's a Qia Meridian, and the license-plate is YI108N.

Despatch: Good. What colour is it, please?

Caller: What? What does that matter? There’s an injured man in a car - aren't you at all interested to know where this is?

Despatch: Sir, I’ve already told you – we need to log the information before we can despatch…

Caller: That's stupid!

Despatch: Sir, that’s our protocol, and as a matter of fact we are rather proud of our ISO certification. Now the colour, if you'd please.

Caller: Er… the car just burst into flames, so I guess it's sort of an orangey-red now. It'll probably be soot-black in a few more minutes but I can't be sure. Can you send a fire-engine round too?

Despatch: Sorry, you'll have to make another call at this same number for a fire-engine.

Caller: What? But I'm already on the line with you! Can't you just send a fire-engine too so I won't have to repeat all that useless information I just gave you?

Despatch: No, you'll have to make a separate call so we can assign you a separate service number.

Caller: Would you mind putting your ear-piece to your cheek? I would like to slap you through the phone-line.


  • In fact, your speculation might be correct in that some companies do make the customers jump through hoops to avoid providing help and/or compensation. Just the requirement of having to send another email puts many people off, saving the company money. And another technique they use is (in the case of computers) to ask "Have you tried changing the RAM slots?" or "the PSU". Basically, give the customer yet a time-consuming chore to do until eventually they give up. THOSE BASTARDS!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 13, 2006 6:00 pm  

  • Worst was:

    Me: I forgot my systems password, can you give me a new one?

    IT: OK. We'll send it to you on your email.

    Me: But I can't even log on to my systems account, let alone my email!

    By Blogger angry doc, At June 13, 2006 6:57 pm  

  • as a medical student in one of the hospitals, i sustained a needle stick injury while helping the hospital to take blood for a patient. i went to the A&E dept only to be told i could be registered only AFTER i have reported my injury in the online incident reporting system, which was so embedded in the intranet that nobody could find it. it was a sunday, and the few nursing/medical staff around had no idea how to report the injury. it was only after 3 hours of shuttling between the ward and A&E that my blood was taken for HIV/Hep screening. total disgusted with the red tape.

    By Blogger Miss Piggy Chong, At June 14, 2006 12:13 am  

  • Aiyoh, why your IT Helpdesk so like dat?
    Usually, if you tell them you forgot your password, they'll reset it on the spot for you (after verifying your identity), and then you log into the system and then you change the password immediately.
    Maybe, they are nicer to bimbotic female users. :P

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 14, 2006 9:26 pm  

  • Yep.

    Just the same in the UK.

    Ambulance control have a list of protocol driven questions. If you want an immediate ambulance, in the old days they just send one. Now the telephonist reads down a list of questions; does the patient have breathing difficulties etc interrupt and say, "Look, I am a doctor, the patient is stable but unconscious; I just need the ambulance."

    More questions. They go on and on.

    The final question, and this one must have been drawn up by a committee is always:

    "Is there a medical need for an ambulance"?

    Of course there bloody well is, that is why I am calling you.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 15, 2006 1:54 am  

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