Your American Healthcare System At Work

As a rule, I never use this forum to complain about something that happened to me in real life. Since it’s vaccination day here at First Draft, I’m breaking that rule. As I like to say, there’s an exception to every rule.

I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Morial Convention Center on March 13. It’s where the local hospital chain LCMC has been vaccinating people. My first visit went well, and I suspect my second one will too. There was, however, some weirdness last night and this morning.

I’ve been patiently waiting for my second jab, which was originally scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday April 3. I missed a call from LCMC who left a voice mail informing me that my appointment had to be rescheduled.

No reason was given but I suspect it had something to do with Easter weekend. New Orleans is a very Catholic town, and they might have had a problem with volunteers or something. I don’t know since communication is not the medical behemoth’s strong suit.

I returned the call in a matter of minutes last night only to learn that they were closed. Fair enough: it was after 6:30 PM.

The message gave me two options: April 1 and April 6. I prefer the former. I’m tired of waiting for my second jab. I want to get this over with.

I called early this morning and was informed that April 1 was unavailable. I asked why and was told “I only make the appointments.”

I pointed out that LCMC was accepting walk-ins at the Convention Center and that some vaccine had been wasted. Again, I was told “I only make the appointments.”

She might as well have said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

I reluctantly accepted the later appointment, but I was fuming. I hate things that make no sense, and this was as arbitrary as it gets. I arrived 20 minutes early for my first jab and was taken immediately because they had the space.

Instead of getting mad, I decided to get even by calling back. I got a different operator who actually listened. It turned out that there *were* appointments on April 1, so I rescheduled after giving the second operator a piece of my mind. I did so without raising my voice.

The operators both sounded local so the first one should have gotten it. LCMC insisted that I move my appointment. All I wanted was some flexibility. I understood that it would have to be a specific date because I need a second dose of Pfizer, but they needed to work with me.

Operator #1 acted as if I was trying to reschedule a normal doctor’s appointment. The Convention Center is serving as a mass vaccination site: there’s built-in flexibility. I understand hating one’s job but taking it out on someone who just wants to be vaccinated during the pandemic is ridiculous. Oy, just oy.

There are two lessons to be learned from this incident:

  • The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
  • Our healthcare system needs change.

I know my experience with disembodied voices at the end of a telephone line is not unusual. To be told that I had to delay my second jab was too much. I’m glad I’m fought back but I shouldn’t have had to. Oh well, what the hell.

Let’s close on a lighter note and give the last word to ELO:

6 thoughts on “Your American Healthcare System At Work

  1. Similar experience up here in Maryland at an amusement park. But the deed is done for me. That call back thing is a fundamental part of telephony. I am sure that you know this. There are too many of us to get everything done right on the first go. I say with great respect that you should not be fuming. And I sincerely hope that you will personally thank every fuckin person involved in your vaccination that you can see. They are saving our lives, they are saving our country. Handing out $10.00 bills would not go unappreciated either.

    1. I’m mostly mystified as to why the first operator was deceptive and rude. I think people need to be called on stuff like that.

      1. People need to be called out on gun use, keeping their job when someone else kills eight peeps and the excuse is ‘he had a really bad day.’ A little rude is a small pill to swallow to get a jab in the arm. It is true that when it comes to something as life and death as providing access to a vaccination, a little smile would go a long way, But she was an adult, most likely and not likely to change. So lets us move on and start figuring how to get bottled water to people waiting to vote without ending in jail.

      2. LCMC contacted me after I wrote this and said the operator was out of line after reading the post. Deception not rudeness is the main problem here.

        I don’t like being lied to.

    1. I reckon that admonishment won’t be a valuable solution, here. Likely the opposite. Lets us just concentrate on getting those shoulders jabbed

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