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Doctors should respect patients' time
From: Dallas News

The following blog post is written by Sandy Kulkarni, a chemistry teacher at Allen High School and a Teacher Voices volunteer columnist. Her e-mail address is

In this busy world, time is sometimes more precious than money. That is why we set Appointments. Once wasted, we never recover time. But how many of us really respect "Time"? When it comes to doctor appointment, whose time should be considered more valuable?

Although it is a long time ago, I can never forget one of my appointments with my doctor. My doctor refused to see me. Why? I was late by four minutes for my appointment. I argued and gave excuses, but nothing worked. Since then I make sure to be there well before my appointment time. What happens most of the time? I sit in the waiting room reading old magazines or listening to music. Recently we had to wait as long as two hours before the doctor finally got to us. Sometimes I had to wait in the examination room wearing their pretty(?) gown for an hour.

"Sorry, I am running a little behind schedule..." we hear muttering.

"A little..?" But I swallow my words somewhat with the fear.

Many of my friends had similar or even worse experiences.

Some opted for the very first appointment in the morning to avoid the dilemma of "running behind the schedule." In spite of it, my friend ended up waiting there for an hour and thirty minutes. Before he was called in, there were already two patients waiting in line with their appointments after him.

Is it rude to ask doctors to respect our time? Obviously we are in need of care, but most of us already struggle to make arrangements for our set appointment time. And after all that struggle, "a little delay" upsets everything. It could be a very important meeting with your boss that you are going to miss. You have to urgently make some arrangement to pick up kids from school or even you will have to sacrifice your next appointment that you set so carefully.

What if patients are notified about that "little delay" a little earlier, so they can plan accordingly? We live in the electronic world these days. This should not be an impossible task.

I have heard about some websites like, that can help track the wait time for registered doctors. Also doctors can create their own website to post these wait times each day.

Just like the doctor who refused to see me, patients should be able to cancel the appointment in such cases. After all, it is the priceless time we are talking about. We must use it wisely. Once gone, it never comes back.