Major Problem ("My Chest Hurts")

If it is during office hours:

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office, listen to a message about calling 911, and get put on hold while waiting for a nurse to talk to you (if the front-desk person doesn’t tell you automatically to go to the ER).  Obviously you don’t leave a message about chest pain. 
  2. The nurse either tells you to
    a.  Go to the ER (see “Go to the ER” below)
    b.  Come in for an appointment immediately (see “a typical appointment” below)
    c.  Puts you on hold while the doctor is asked (who will probably tell you to go to the ER or come in for an appointment).

MY PRACTICE:

  1. Call the office and talk to a real person (probably the doctor) who knows you and tells you:
  2. a.  How to treat the problem outside of the office, if appropriate.
  3. b.  Come in to the office for an exam or a few tests, if appropriate.  See “a typical appointment below.”
  4. c.  Go to the ER (if appropriate).  See “Go to the ER” below.

If it is after office hours:

TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:

  • Call answering service, which will almost always tell you to go to the ER (see “Go to the ER” below).
  • If you do talk to a doctor, they are not likely to be your doctor.

MY PRACTICE:

  • Call the office, which forwards your call to your doctor's cell phone (if you are a subscribed patient), who answers your question based on what he knows about you.

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