Doctor’s Office Healthy vs. Sick Side – Please Explain This?

by MyDadBlog on February 24, 2009

in Health

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So, my wife recently brought our child in for a “consultation” for the doctor to take a look at his adenoids.  Long story short, he’s a mouth breather and has some speech issues, so it was advised that the doctor take a look and see if his adenoids were swollen and whether we should consider surgery to correct if so, which might improve both his breathing and his speech. 

Pretty easy to understand, right? 

Apparently, not for the staff.  Upon arrival, my wife and child were banished to the “sick” side.  Nowadays, the doctors offices have the healthy/sick sides.  I get it.  Doctors’ offices are chock full ‘o germs…coughing kids, runny noses, sneezes, right?  So, that’s why it’s especially infuriating that the receptionist mandated that my wife and child sit on the “sick” side. 

My wife said, “Well, he’s not sick.  He’s actually just here for the doctor to take a look at his adenoids.  He has no illness whatsoever.” 

The receptionist, clearly being unable to voluntarily process information on her own said, “Sorry, if he’s not here for a ‘well-visit’, then he’s sick”. 

My wife: “You’re clearly not understanding me, so I’m just going to wait here on the healthy side because he’s clearly not sick and you must be misunderstanding why we’re here”.

This went on for a while…the receptionist refused to call my wife for the appointment unless she was “on the sick side”.  Clearly, not only was the woman a bit conversationally challenged, but she also had a power trip going now.  After this charade ensued for a bit, my wife was finally escorted into one of the waiting rooms. 

Today, my wife got a call from her friend who uses the same doctor’s office.  Her child had an ear infection a few weeks ago.  After the regiment of antibiotics + 1 week, it was recommended that she bring her daughter back to see the doctor to confirm the infection cleared up.  They put her through the same ordeal.  Her friend had said her child was no longer sick, never was, really, but that the ear infection’s been gone for weeks.  The same party line: “If it wasn’t a well visit, clearly the child was sick”.

While somewhat trivial, seeing as how this was a new doctor’s office and she’d be encountering similar situations in the future, she commented to the nurse how this stance didn’t really make any sense – logically, medically, or otherwise.  Immediately going into defensive mode, the nurse quipped that “unvaccinated babies have to be protected from sick children”. 

Now, you have an actual trained medical professional who doesn’t know what the heck they’re talking about. 

Medical NewsFlash: Ear Infections are not Contagious…and there is no vaccine for them either!

If you want to split hairs, sometimes, an ear infection is accompanied by a cold, which may be transmittable (another news flash – there is no vaccine for rhinovirus ‘common cold virus’ either), but in this case, the child had been healthy for 2 weeks now and was simply in for a checkup, so clearly, there was no higher likelihood to transmit any vaccine-preventable disease than any other person. 

The best part:  My wife had switched to this doctor’s office because of the rave reviews and her own initial assessment after interviewing the doctor.

So, the question is: Is this another example of bureacratic stupidity gone wild?  Do these invisible separations between sick and healthy really accomplish much other than frustrate parents with healthy children?

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