Waiting... in the Doctor's Office

United States
February 11, 2009 2:58pm CST
When you go to the doctor's office, you probably expect to wait a bit in the waiting room, maybe a few minutes past your scheduled appointment time, then to be taken back to the exam room. You probably then get your vitals taken, perhaps height and weight and some general questions, then the nurse tells you to disrobe and put on whatever gown the office has. The nurse informs you the doctor will be in shortly. ... You quickly pull off your clothing and slip into the gown provided, hoping no one busts in on you in the midst of changing (no one ever has for me, but I am still paranoid). Then you sit on the bed and wait a few minutes, assuming the doctor will be in any second. Usually the doctor comes in within 3-8 minutes, just to give a ballpark figure, but have you ever been sitting there in your gown waiting and waiting and waiting? ... A few minutes pass by, and those few minutes turn into a half hour! What would you do if you were still waiting for the doctor to see you after you'd already had plenty of time to change and wait for them? This has happened to me once when I went to a clinic. I went out after about 20 minutes and asked when they thought the doctor might be in. They informed me the doctor had seen someone out of turn accidentally and it would only be a few more minutes. I was not very happy, but there is no sense in throwing a tantrum. Has this ever happened to you? Or have you ever had the doctor "forget" you were waiting in the exam room? If something similar has happened, what did you do? If this has never happened to you, what if it DID? What do you think you'd do, and how do you think you'd feel?
8 people like this
22 responses
• United States
11 Feb 09
This has happened to me a few times, it's bad enough to have to wait as long as you in waiting room. You sit there and wonder how long is it going to be before they ever call you back, then like you said you have to wait another 30 min. or more before the Dr. sees you. I have always just sat there until they come, sometimes getting more upset by the min. until they finally come. I sometimes wonder if the doctors would hurry any faster if everyone could bill the doctors for their waiting time.
2 people like this
@cher913 (25895)
• Canada
11 Feb 09
oh i hate waiting at the drs office and it seems like it is usually a long wait, too. i was forgotten at a drs office, but by the office staff, not the drs. i usually count on waiting a least an hour at the drs office, so i usually bring a good book.
2 people like this
@rainmark (4307)
11 Feb 09
Fortunately it never happened to me to wait inside the examination room, but i do experienced to wait for my turn during my monthly check up when i was preggy.Of course, i do feel irritated and i wanted to explode of madness. So instead of nagging inside the clinic, i informed the nurse that i will be outside, so she can call me when it's my turn coz i do really feel irritated! Coz i do really hated waiting! Happy posting.
2 people like this
@Bluepatch (2481)
• Trinidad And Tobago
12 Feb 09
Thank God you don't have my doctor. He's at least an hour and most times up to two hours in waiting time. He's good, though, that's why I stick with him. You've got to have patience in this world.
• United States
23 Feb 09
Yeah my boyfriend's general practice physician always has him waiting at least 2 hours. I told him that's a bit much. He said they always seem to book too many appointments. It's good to be able to see a lot of people, but it should be only as many as they can handle, and not too many that they must rush through the exams with patients.
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Feb 09
Once, long, long ago, my doctor did forget that I was there and I had to leave. I just walked out and told them politely that I couldn't stay any longer. No big deal. But it would have been a big deal if they had tried to charge me!
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Feb 09
Agreed!
@sacmom (14336)
• United States
13 Feb 09
I've had this happen to me a couple of times during my kids appointments. I remember one time getting into the exam room and feeling like my son and I had been forgotten once we got in there. It took a lot longer than usual for the doctor to come in, which is maybe 5 to 8 minutes at the most. I don't remember if they were understaffed or whatnot that day, but I did get a bit upset. Why? Because here they make us reschedule if we are 15 minutes late or charge us a fee if we miss our appointment altogether. I remember seeing this happen with a couple and their baby a few years ago. They had been late getting to the doctor's office and the front desk didn't show them any compassion whatsoever. The couple didn't purposely get there late, but they still had to reschedule the appointment for another day. They were only late a minute or 2 past the cutoff time. Yet, we just have to put up with doctors taking their sweet time and make us wait, whether we like it or not. Sometimes I think we should be able to charge the hospital a fee or at the least get a discount if we have to wait longer than 15 minutes in the waiting room and/or exam room. Of course I know that would never happen, but boy wouldn't that be nice?
1 person likes this
@Cannonball (3639)
• France
13 Feb 09
It didn't happen to me but I had to live those 3-8 minutes, that's for sure and I have to say weirdly I like these minutes a lot! Just feel nice alone in the room lying there, I could even have a nap so I can say if it would be more than 8 minutes then I would fall asleep
1 person likes this
@rusty2rusty (6746)
• Defiance, Ohio
12 Feb 09
I always wait so long. Than ask how long it will be to. Doctors make mistakes as well. Sometimes it is the nurses and it depends on how busy they are. I also look to see how many peopel were in the waiting room before me. If I see them all gone but someone after me gets called. I ask what is up and why i am still waiting.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 09
I have never been left to wait in the doctor offices,but my wife has.I am from a vary small town and when the doctor is on call. if they have an accident or something the doctor has to go to the hospital for the other person.we just don't have enough doctors here.the nurse had to give us another appointment the next day.
1 person likes this
@mamabeezy (172)
• United States
12 Feb 09
From my experiences, The OB/GYNs and Pediatricians are the ones that take the longest. I remember waiting an hour or so in the waiting room and another hour and a half in the actual room. Really sucks, one of the times I just got frustrated and rescheduled! haha
1 person likes this
@ronaldinu (12454)
• Malta
12 Feb 09
it's not the first time that the doctor turns up half an hour or an hour late. Usually I just take a book with me to read and try not to look at my watch. I easily get frustrated waiting. I really hate waiting. I am always on time and I do hate it when I have to wait for others being in a waiting room waiting for a doctor or waiting for a friend.
1 person likes this
@BlueGoblin (1833)
• United States
12 Feb 09
I had to wait a long time in the exam room one time because the doctor had an emergency with another patient. He apologized and then checked my balls for hernias. I don't think the doctor was delaying just so he didn't have to check'em. He probably touches 20 of them each day. You can't expect doctors to always be on time. Cause doctors do have other patients and they might be a lot worse off than you.
1 person likes this
@Sillychick (3282)
• United States
12 Feb 09
I don't wear a watch, and of course there are no clocks in the exam rooms or even in the waiting rooms. (I often wonder if investing in a few clocks to place strategically around the office would help doctors stay on schedule. Of course they know they're running behind, but maybe if they also knew patients were watching the clock they'd try harder to be on time.) Anyway, since I don't have a watch, I am never sure if I've been waiting for 2 minutes or 20. You know how it is, when you are waiting and bored, time drags on forever, and what feels like 20 could actually be only 5. So since I'm never sure, I don't complain. Plus, as a patient, I don't want the doctor to be in a rush to get to the next person, I want them to take their time with me and make sure we've covered everything. I'm willing to wait as long as they don't rush me once they come in. However, there was one time when I was at the OB/GYN and I was waiting for a long, long time, and I was becoming impatient. Finally the nurse came back in and said 'I'm so sorry, the doctor got called out on an emergency. Someone will be right in.' The other doctor was trying to see the patients who were already in the office. A patient had an emergency, and that is understandable that it happens from time to time in an OB/GYN practice.
1 person likes this
• India
12 Feb 09
ya it happened to me also. But health is most important thing than anyother thing. so i waited till the doctor admits me
1 person likes this
@laydee (12815)
• Philippines
12 Feb 09
I never had that experience before but I do know of a situation where a patient was really showing his tantrum because the doctor was late. Well, my dad is actually the doctor and his secretary told him that my dad was running late because he hasn't come out of surgery yet, meaning there was a complication somewhere with the patient. The patient in the waiting room was like shouting at our secretary and our secretary tried to calm him down, and even advised him to go to another doctor if he can't wait (our clinic is actually in a building with several other practitioners so he could easily just look for another doctor), yet he still insulted the secretary. After a few minutes, my dad came and he was seen, my dad actually didn't know what happened a few minutes ago and the patient was calm and even smiled when my dad came. We were only told by the secretary afterward. I think patients should understand that no doctor or no person would like other to wait on him. Specially if you're a surgeon, you tend to have complications or miscalculations of time, that's why we advise patients to call in first before going to the clinic and we no longer receipt appointments and it's on first-come-first-served basis.
1 person likes this
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
12 Feb 09
I had my yearly exam yesterday and it was awful. Those gowns are little and the little string they gave me didn't even fit. I didn't have to wait too long but it seemed like an eternity. When she finally came in I asked if she had a much bigger gown. She laughed and said "no", only one size but did get me another one to go on top of it. She said "I understand...the things us women have to go through. I hate waiting for the doctor anyway. I get so anxious.
1 person likes this
@jimbo88 (231)
• Indonesia
12 Feb 09
I hate to wait in doctor's office. Sometimes when the waiting room is full i like to find another doctor in my city. I do that because I need more fast to care of my problem.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Feb 09
I'd just wait, nothing else to do, you could read those outdated boring magazines they have, or take a nap.
1 person likes this
• Canada
11 Feb 09
We have pretty long waiting times for doctors' appointments here. Typically, I can wait an hour in the outer waiting room. But, my doctor comes to get each patient personally so, once your name gets called, you are actually with the doctor. Other doctors I've had, there has been the hour in the outer room and then another 30 mins or more in the exam room. I get nervous going to the doctor a lot of the time and I also have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, by the time someone finally sees me to check it, my pressure usually gives a false higher reading. I'm glad my current doctor knows this (she says I have "white coat syndrome") so she takes that into account when testing me. I don't recall ever being forgotten at the doctor but one of my friends was... she went for her yearly gynecology appointment and got as far as the exam room. She got into the gown and she said it was FREEZING in the room... but she sat there shivering, waiting for the doctor. After an hour and a half back there (why she waited so long, I'll never know LOL), she got dressed and walked out to the front desk because the office was closing. The secretaries jumped when they saw her! The doctor was already gone... assumed he was done for the day... and she was still back there in her little paper gown. I really think that is inexcusable.
1 person likes this
@palonghorn (5490)
• United States
12 Feb 09
It hasn't happened to me, yet. But, I am seeing an orthopedic specialist for my wrist injury. They tell you, dress comfortably, bring a snack, drink, because it is never known when he might be called out for an emergency or surgery. The longest I have been at his office is 3 hours, from arrival to leaving. And if you have to reschedule, it might be another month before you can get in to see him. But, what are you going to do, besides wait.
• United States
23 Feb 09
Wow, that's a long wait but at least they do sort of warn you ahead of time, and you go prepared for a long wait.