I don’t know how many of you have recently found it necessary to visit a physician, but if you have not, the world of medicine has changed. Formerly, at your first visit, you would complete a comprehensive health inventory designed to give your physician a picture of your prior surgeries, current medications, etc. It was usually only a page and boom, you were in to see your new caregiver.
I will admit that for some of us, that picture might have been a bit blurry as our memories of some surgeries have, thank goodness, faded. Pregnancies? Luckily, I have the birth dates of both my children firmly embedded in my brain and I have no trouble remembering those. That bunionectomy, maybe it was in ’05 or ’06? Gall bladder? Was it after that New Year’s Eve party at Nancy’s in ’95 or ’96? Broken arm? That’s easy. It was when I chaperoned the church youth at a skating party. Crashed into my State Farm agent. Luckily, the two of us were the only ones requiring medical attention.
At my most recent visit to a new doctor, I was prepared to do the same, but as it turned out, there were at least three pages containing a list of possible symptoms I might be experiencing, followed by two pages of detailed questions about the health of my family members, including my parents and grandparents. Good grief! Then there were three additional pages which contained the following:
1. An affidavit swearing that I would under no circumstances hold the physician responsible, if during surgery, should he accidentally leave in my internal organs the following: a surgical instrument, his reading glasses or a Starbucks cup. And, I would agree to return the instrument, and/or reading glasses. I could keep the cup.
2. A list of possible side effects of his prescribed treatment of my medical condition to include: brain damage, heart failure, permanent hiccups or acne.
3. The next document laid out clearly how I might register a complaint about my treatment. It was simplified for the benefit of those who are not familiar with medical or legal terminology.
a. Don’t even think about it.
b. If you do, and you choose to proceed, the estimated wait time for disposition of our litigation is 87.5 years.
c. Besides, our lawyers have lawyers.
What are you gonna do? Well, I don’t know about you, but gimme that pen!