Thursday, June 19, 2008

Doctors and the relay - Hung up?

Has anyone had a doctor appointment seemingly be cancelled for no reason, and when you show up at the office, no one is there and you find out that the doctor's on vacation or something? Then when you check your emails, you see a collection of relay calls that you don't know who they're from, who called, and they're all hangups?

I sent this message to the Quality Management contact on the doctor webpage with some details removed;

Currently, my orthopedist is (doctorname) in the (location) office. Before I continue, let me introduce myself. You got my name from the headers of the message. I am a deaf patient in (town name) who uses hearing aids and lipreading to communicate with the doctor and front desk people. On my contact form can be found my home address, my phone number, and I believe my email address. This phone number is a relay number that goes directly to my instant messenger account where I communicate with the caller.

Approximately 3 months ago, I had hyaluronic acid injections in both knees and had an appointment scheduled for June 19 at 11am. Unfortunately, the office was closed when I showed up, When I used the relay to call the office, I got an answering machine that stated that the office was closed. I then called (another office called) and found that the (my doctor office location) office was closed due to the doctor being on vacation.

The problem here is at least twofold. First, this appointment was to determine what course of action would happen next if it would be knee surgery (total knee replacements) or something different. Second, I have at times received relay calls that don't even say who called or what number called. Here's one of those messages;

Subject: Missed call from Unknown Caller


Instead of a message left, I have no idea who just called and for what reason. I currently have a listing of a number of "Unknown Caller" emails in my inbox. While calling a relay number sounds like a marketing call when the operator answers and makes a connection with me, it is actually a valuable communications tool for many deaf people out there who would otherwise be dependent on a hearing person to make those calls for them. This caller could have at least sent me notification via regular mail or email since all this is on my contact info sheet.

You can see how much trouble this has caused me. I do not want to have to wait months later for another appointment when my knees are in more need of help than anything else. I deserve an immediate new appointment given the seriousness of my condition.


Has anyone else had this kind of issue with a doctor or someone in the office who tends to just hang up and not even try to make any more contact with you? What was your course of action?


Jamie Berke said...

This is Jamie Berke. This happened to Bob, and when he told me what happened I became royally pissed off. Living with Bob, I see how much he is suffering with his knees. He NEEDED that appointment today. I swear, if they tell him he has to wait several months for a new appointment, I may just march into that doctor's office and let them really have it.

Dianrez said...

That's happened to me many times. I arrive at the office, find the appointment was cancelled, and arrive home later to find a hung-up message on caller ID, an incomplete message on the message service, or sometimes a completed message that was sent ONE HOUR before the cancelled appointment.

No end to the thick-headed, uncaring and ignorant decisions made by front office people!

We might have to brainstorm ideas for handling this. Idea one: Hand each office a bright neon pink sheet to be stuck on the front of your file with exact instructions on how to contact you. Idea two: Call the office the day before to confirm the appointment. Dentists do it in this area, but not a good idea to let them off the hook! Idea three: Check out what message the answering relay services are giving out and change them so people don't hang up on them.

Deaf Pixie said...

Jamie, Wow, Poor things about Bob.

Just today, It was happened to me. They did not want to call relay service and the have a phone automomilly records to leave .. They dont deal with a problem with TTY RElay service or IP relay service anykind of they dont know that phone automilly never leave a message into TTY answering machine.
It is not working! I cannot think what it is called the records from the dentist office did not use relay service,Darn it I missed it!

Good bring up the topic about these situation I have hard time they called me reschedule I knew nothing until show up the appointment.

One time a guy called us and hung up and never leave a message. It is misunderstood.

Sometime I forgot to turn on TTY device on .. Good things, my daughter have a voice answering machine after 5 pm during end of their business hours end.

Too complications!!

Deaf Pixie said...


I always keep print out and show the IP Relay service from you need to print out and make a copies for office manager. That's what I doing all the time to make copies than sorry.

Make sure to print out and send a complaint letter to Office manager at your doctor's office. Along with NAD print out. Much easier they realized. you need also keep for yourself if they are contiune problem with clinic.

Save as and print out and make a copies for yourself. and I always make three paper to office manager with " Interpreter roles" RElay Operator and interpreter. It is really pain ass for everyone deaf people struggled with medical situation.

Deaf Pixie

RSGeo-007 said...

Pixie, the young front office lady knows about my relay number since she called it one time when I was driving home from their office. I had to pull over and take the call, then drive right back. Fortunately, I wasn't far.

But in this case, I think it was someone else who was unfamiliar with the relay number. Seems they tried several times before giving up as I mentioned in the post.

Now if this happened right when I showed up for my surgery date, oh, you can bet I'd take the place apart verbally. That'll be due to my not eating since the night before and I'll be having Jamie and most likely my mom around, if not another old Sherlock friend.

Deaf Pixie said...


You are right, I mean they did not familiar IP Relay Service mean use computer or pager. I dont always use pager. I prefer PC computer I use it.. I wish I could have a laptop and show front desk what is mean and dont leave a message while relay service did not finished the dialing.

That one big problem I told front desk to wait until you leave the msg. Today.. front desk left a message without relay service. Just let them to not use voice to depend my teenager girls. I have two teenager girl. They never tell me what did they say and I had to show them how it is working and what looking relay service communicate by third party line.

I don't have caller Id with me at all. Too hard to trace.

Likely Dianrez say one hours before I did not know when I drive long trip. Stuck with people who clueless about how to use relay service or Doctor's office do have a automilly for leaving records each of patient's.

Good topic about frustrated without the office did not tell me before you arrive the appointment. The answer records have a the patient's phone to leave their voice answering machine it will working. but not TTY device or IP Relay service. if the reminder recorder for next monday from phonebooth leaving machine by itself. I hope you understand what I mean?

if you still not understand. Let email me at am from Seattle. ;)

Deaf Pixie

The Rogue said...

I struggled to call places from law firm, doctor, dentist, job search and etc via any relay service.

I called law firm to deal with my personal serious issue through relay. Law firm kept hung up on me. I was so piss and made calls until they speak with me. They finally decided to talk to me through relay and got my phone number along relay number. They told me that they will call me back. It never happened. I decided to ask my hearing friend to call the law firm and see why they didn’t made some effort to call me back. They told my friend that they rather to HEAR my own voice as directly contact. My friend tried to explain to law firm about relay service. They still so stubborn not to change or give me some accommodation.

I noticed phone situation via Relay service is a BIG ISSUE for the deaf community.

Dana Utah said...

I am curious what IP relay service you guys are using? I signed up with i711 iprelay to get an 800 number. I have not even given my number out but I have already had a number of missed calls (weird!). I called those numbers back and they seemed to be canadian numbers, or disconnected numbers. Doesn't make sense.

Dana Utah said...

I don't think it's the doctors or lawyers or hearing people you do business with. It's the system that the IP Relay service uses. I suggest that you educate yourselves with which relay service serves your interests best and stick with it.

Deaf Pixie said...

Diane Utah,

Exactly that what I alaways talk to person to person with a Intepreter about situation if you got hung up by someone. You must go to office and talk to manager the situation.
Print out and show her it is evidence. and along with NAD, Interpreter and Relay service. Show the person.
Good example way to tell person to explainations and if they refused to hire ASL interpreter. Then file complaint!
Much easier!

Deaf Pixie said...

I am totally sick of the phone recordered cannot exist on tty relay service or VP either! if you are not home or clueless.

Deaf Pixie

Antonio Howell, M.D. said...

Hello Robert,

I hate doctor's office in general nothing to do but wait.

Rox said...

I use an 800 number from CSDVRS and it sends me an email with the number of the person that is calling (CSDVRS alert). So even if someone hangs up on me, I can call them back and find out who it is.

RSGeo-007 said...

Rox, even with CSDVRS' 800 number, you're still bound to get the "unknown caller" problem. The 800 numbers are not immune to this problem. There's people and places out there that will not even allow their number to show up on any caller identification device. They will only tell you verbally.