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What's a reasonable time to wait in a doctor's office?


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Poll: Waiting game

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How long would you wait?

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#1 papsrus

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:02 PM

I had a 2:40 appointment today. Walked in to a deserted waiting room. Last patient to sign in before me was at 1:30.

Still waiting at 3 p.m., started getting pissed. At about 3:15, asked the receptionist how much longer. Just then, door pops open and I'm finally invited in to one of the examination rooms for a quick blood pressure check, etc. -- then I wait, and wait, and wait. At 3:45 I open the door and say I have places to go. Can't stay here all afternoon. Doctor appears just before 4 p.m.

4-fucking-p.m. for a 2:40 appointment. (This is a new doctor, btw, due to new insurance not covering my old doctor).


Pissed doesn't begin to cover it. I figure 20 minutes max is about the norm, even though it's still not acceptable.

So how long would you sit in an empty waiting room for the doctor to stop scratching his balls and see you?

#2 Chuck Nessa

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:18 PM

I'd have pissed on the floor. Then someone would have paid attention.

#3 GoodSpeak

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:21 PM

Seems to me if the doctor expects you to be on time [and some charge you if you're late], then he needs to be on time or pretty damn close.

Strange as it may seem, we patients have job responsibilities, too.

#4 Matthew

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

I've waited as long as three hours. Once I'm in the office, I'm not leaving. It's just way too much hassle to go back.

#5 Hardbopjazz

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

That sucks. I've been through that too. One time my wife wasn't feeling well, I took her to the doctor and we sat there for 3 1/2 hours. That was the last time we used that doctor. He had booked more patients then seats. People were standing in the waiting room. And of course we got the you must pay your co-payment first before seeing the doctor.

#6 Brad

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

Under those conditions, 30 max. That's a pretty ridiculous wait.

#7 Jazzmoose

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:55 PM

I've waited as long as three hours. Once I'm in the office, I'm not leaving. It's just way too much hassle to go back.

That's me, but while seeing the doctor I'll mention that I need copies of my medical records as I'm changing doctors.

#8 Harold_Z

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:13 PM

Doctor's get emergencies. IF that was the case the office personnel should of informed you asap and you could have made an informed decision whether to stay or leave.

#9 GoodSpeak

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:20 PM

Bottom line is doctors only care about their overbooked schedule...not yours.

What importance can there be about our jobs? We don't matter.

We are just the patients. We are there just to serve them. Heavens forbid we should ask for an appointment after our work hours.


What fools we are :rolleyes:

Doctor's get emergencies.


Like we don't?

Oh, no of course. I keep forgetting we patients don't matter.



What was I thinking?

#10 Jazzmoose

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:23 PM

Uh...the difference is that a doctor's emergency could be someone bleeding to death, not you being late to pick up your kid from soccer practice. But, as Harold says, the staff should keep you informed.

#11 GoodSpeak

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:30 PM

Uh...the difference is that a doctor's emergency could be someone bleeding to death, not you being late to pick up your kid from soccer practice. But, as Harold says, the staff should keep you informed.


Soccer practice, what...are you kidding me? So bleeding is the only emergency? Seriously?


My emergencies involve kids passing out, fighting after school, reporting abuse, breaking up gang altercations, consoling a kid in tears, drug/alcohol use, parents pitching a nutty, health issues and general pandemonium.

But I'm made to wait.


Oh, that's fair. :rolleyes:

Edited by GoodSpeak, 02 July 2010 - 09:35 PM.


#12 papsrus

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:37 PM

Doctor's get emergencies. IF that was the case the office personnel should of informed you asap and you could have made an informed decision whether to stay or leave.



Wasn't an emergency in my case. In fact, the appointment was originally scheduled for two weeks ago and his office called me the day of the appointment to cancel because the doc had to go to the hospital.

While I was in the waiting room today, a young, attractive woman came in and was ushered directly to the inner sanctum. I assumed she was a salesperson.

My previous doctor was quite good about being prompt with appointments. Rarely more than a 5 or 10 minute wait. And once in the examining room, he was always pretty quick to come in. I was in this guy's examining room for almost 45 minutes -- and that's after more than a half hour wait in the empty waiting room.

On top of all that, he was unprepared for the specific nature of my visit once I finally got to see him.

He's a dip-shit and I'll be looking for a new doctor.

Edited by papsrus, 02 July 2010 - 09:37 PM.


#13 jlhoots

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 11:58 PM

I'm a retired M.D.
20-30 minutes unless someone gives you a good reason for a further delay.

#14 Jazzmoose

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 02:51 AM


Uh...the difference is that a doctor's emergency could be someone bleeding to death, not you being late to pick up your kid from soccer practice. But, as Harold says, the staff should keep you informed.


Soccer practice, what...are you kidding me? So bleeding is the only emergency? Seriously?


My emergencies involve kids passing out, fighting after school, reporting abuse, breaking up gang altercations, consoling a kid in tears, drug/alcohol use, parents pitching a nutty, health issues and general pandemonium.

But I'm made to wait.


Oh, that's fair. :rolleyes:

You're right; I don't know what I was thinking. Let the SOB bleed to death so you can get back to grading papers.

#15 kinuta

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 05:17 AM

The last real medical emergency, a broken wrist, was attended to after a wait of about ten minutes, about the time it took to fill out the forms, check my national health insurance details and get an appointment schedule card.

#16 J.H. Deeley

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 01:02 PM

A 60-90 minute wait is a standard for pediatricians in my experience. Especially in flu season. My doc is usually 20-30 minutes.

#17 Tom 1960

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 03:38 PM

I'm pretty fortunate. My doc moved to a smaller office a couple years ago and the waiting time in his newer office is 20 minutes max. Even better, he's a GREAT doctor.

#18 Randy Twizzle

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 04:14 PM

I had a stroke in feb 2009 and have been in and out of doctor's offices since then. Before the stroke I wouldn't wait five minutes in a office, now I have no choice since I can't get up and walk away without a cane and a brace on my left leg and the help of an aide. Life sucks.

Edited by Randy Twizzle, 03 July 2010 - 04:20 PM.


#19 AllenLowe

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:21 AM

there's only one doctor I go to see anymore - no wait, always a smile, and the only co-pay is a promise not to press charges:

Posted Image

#20 cih

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:10 AM

My 3 year old son needs to have blood tests every 3 months and we regularly have to wait up to an hour. When he was under 1, and needed the tests every two weeks, we often waited up to 2 hours. On occasion the junior doctors have been unable to find a vein and we’ve come away after an hour and a half without a test done, with him in tears and the need to go back and try again... but on the NHS they are understaffed and there are other kids on the ward with worse stuff so I remain philosophical and we play games and I get a couple of hours off work with him while we wait... :tophat:


BUT for myself, 10 mins max before I destroy everything in sight.

#21 AllenLowe

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:15 AM

don't tell Berigan and Weizen. Posted Image

Edited by AllenLowe, 05 July 2010 - 12:07 PM.


#22 BillF

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 12:54 PM

Please spare us Brits from such distasteful images, Allen! :o

#23 cih

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:17 PM

Never fear...


Posted Image

#24 BillF

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:19 PM

We're really getting some shitty stuff tonight! :(

#25 Tom Storer

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:40 AM

I used to have a doctor who overbooked and I would wait up to an hour, always in a crowded waiting room. To his credit he was working his ass off, and once he saw you he was attentive, conscientious, took the time required and was generally a good doctor. I doubt he ever left the office before 9. Here in France, GPs typically do not have any office staff and do it all themselves, so it naturally takes a bit longer. My current doctor is also good but she doesn't overbook, so one rarely waits long.

I'm pretty tolerant if the doctor is seeing patients continuously; it's hard to predict how long each patient will need. If the waiting room were empty like you described, and no explanation were given, I would definitely see red.

#26 GoodSpeak

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:17 PM



Uh...the difference is that a doctor's emergency could be someone bleeding to death, not you being late to pick up your kid from soccer practice. But, as Harold says, the staff should keep you informed.


Soccer practice, what...are you kidding me? So bleeding is the only emergency? Seriously?


My emergencies involve kids passing out, fighting after school, reporting abuse, breaking up gang altercations, consoling a kid in tears, drug/alcohol use, parents pitching a nutty, health issues and general pandemonium.

But I'm made to wait.


Oh, that's fair. :rolleyes:

You're right; I don't know what I was thinking. Let the SOB bleed to death so you can get back to grading papers.



Who said grading papers was an emergency?


OK...so next time I'll just let the bloody gang fight continue that way I won't be late for my doctor appointment. Such nonsense, Mark.


Doctor's get emergencies. IF that was the case the office personnel should of informed you asap and you could have made an informed decision whether to stay or leave.



Wasn't an emergency in my case. In fact, the appointment was originally scheduled for two weeks ago and his office called me the day of the appointment to cancel because the doc had to go to the hospital.

While I was in the waiting room today, a young, attractive woman came in and was ushered directly to the inner sanctum. I assumed she was a salesperson.

My previous doctor was quite good about being prompt with appointments. Rarely more than a 5 or 10 minute wait. And once in the examining room, he was always pretty quick to come in. I was in this guy's examining room for almost 45 minutes -- and that's after more than a half hour wait in the empty waiting room.

On top of all that, he was unprepared for the specific nature of my visit once I finally got to see him.

He's a dip-shit and I'll be looking for a new doctor.


Good point.

Edited by GoodSpeak, 06 July 2010 - 12:15 PM.


#27 Greg Waits

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:25 PM

Took mom to an orthopedic drs office for follow through from her shoulder surgery. Appt was for 11. I got her there by 10:45.

We sat for close to 45 minutes. Of course when mom feels the call of nature and goes to the ladies room in the reception area, only then do they call her name.

It was close to one p.m. by the time left

Not right.

#28 Don Brown

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:12 PM

I find it difficult to believe that there are people in the U.S. willing to wait so long to see their doctor. I live in Canada where we have what many people in the States refer to as "socialized medicine" and I've never had to wait any longer than 20 minutes. If I had to wait longer than that I'd probably resort to what Chuck Nessa suggested and pee on the floor. Medicare works folks. Just ask anyone who posts here from outside of the the United States.

#29 Soulstation1

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:32 PM

Don't ever get sick in the USA!!!
Problem solved

#30 kinuta

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:51 PM

'Socialized medicine' in Japan too. I go to a large hospital every month and their appointment system works very well, I never have to wait very long to see a specialist doctor.
If I had a minor complaint I'd go to the local clinic and would probably have to wait 10-15 minutes. Coincidentally, I had to make an emergency evening trip to the hospital on Wednesday. My bronchitis with complications suddenly flared up and I was coughing up copious amounts of blood. I waited ten minutes before seeing a respiratory specialist, X ray,CT scan and subsequent treatment were immediate. All was covered by National Health Insurance although I did have to pay a total of about $80, mainly for the CT scan. The Japanese medical system puts UK's to shame.



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