Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hazards of the job

Mrs. Ancient didn't show up for an appointment last week. Mary had left a reminder message on her machine the day before, but she didn't come in. It happens, and so I moved on to my next patient and forgot about it.

Last evening we were having the usual home night. Doing homework, asking kids to brush their teeth for the 18th time, etc, when my cell phone rang.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."

Mr. Policeman: "Hi, this is Officer Badge of the Grumpyville Police. Is Mrs. Ancient a patient of yours?"

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, yeah, what's up?"

Mr. Policeman: "Well, we were notified today about uncollected mail. We entered her home tonight, and found her lying dead in her bed. It looks like she's been there a few weeks. There's a message on her answering machine from your office..."


Poor Mrs. Ancient.


This morning I told Mary about it.

Mary: "OMG! So you mean the whole time I was talking into her answering machine she was really lying there..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh-huh."

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

RIP Mrs Ancient

Suburban Princess said...

Poor thing. It's so sad to think she didnt have anyone to notice.

Doris said...

Poor lady.

@SuburbanPrincess: Yes it is sad.

My Mom is 91 years old. Thank God there are people in and out of her house every day. She could still pass when no one is with her, but it won't be weeks before someone misses her.

Poor poor lady.

>:p

Anonymous said...

Oh, no! That's sad!

On another note; did you know that Google Ads are popping up on your blog when folks access it via their feed readers?

Ben S said...

I don't think she noticed..

kate said...

Ugh...I hate it when I go to check on a patient's appointment only to find out that the account has been deactivated because (as the giant pop up says that appears when you click on the account): **PATIENT DECEASED**

Old MD Girl said...

Poor Mrs. Ancient. This kind of thing makes me sad. Possibly because of over identification with the deceased.

Not House said...

Very sad. At least they managed to find her before it would have gotten really messy.

The Evil Receptionist said...

I've done that twice--the first time, I left a message and a member of the family very kindly returned the call and let us know the patient had died. The second time it happened, I called the home as the guys from the funeral home were there to pick up the patient.

I felt like an ass both times, and sorry for the awful timing.

tj's_angel said...

Hopefully Mrs. Ancient didn't suffer.

This recent story came to mind while reading your post, not exactly the same, thankfully a happier ending
http://www.urlesque.com/2011/02/24/pizza-delivery-saves-woman/

a.generic doc said...

It's sad, but much better than if she had a message from your office about results of a vist she'd just had.

Krista said...

It is one of the sides of working with primarily older patients that I never get used to dealing with. However it is easier to stomach, on the whole, than when one of our younger patients dies.

webhill said...

At least they didn't drop off her starved dog at your office....

Omg word verification "hogiver?" is that code for pimp?? And autocorrect changes it to yogurts. Hahaha.

Anonymous said...

dead for a few weeks. Bless those first responders... Decomp after a few weeks is not pretty. thankfully it is not 100+ degrees outside.

I think I would be mildly disturbed if I was Mary also.

Sarah Glenn said...

I had a reverse experience: the morning after my co-worker died (short but very acute illness), I went to check voice mail and she'd actually left a message. She was worried how a program would go with her in the hospital.

Still get a chill thinking about it.

Kat's Kats said...

Oh my, poor Mary. Last year my godson went to check on his father who had not been by to see his grandchildren and was not answering phone calls. He had also passed away. His son found that he'd been dead for a few days. Much worse than strangers discovering the loss given the circumstances. It makes me feel fortunate that my family has a tradition of the elders moving in with children once they become bed bound and can no longer live at home with daily caregivers.

Diana said...

When I retire I know I'm going to end up like Mrs. Ancient. I have no one here that keeps in touch with me. Right now if I didn't show up my co-workers would know something was wrong. I have no family here and the neighborhood isn't one that everyone visits each other. I just hope when it happens I'm found quickly. I don't want my dogs to suffer becasue of the life I have chosen.

WV: ousetabe. Sounds like a voodoo chant.

Reddkatz said...

That situation happens a lot in Japan. They call it lonely deaths.

AfterGirl said...

Tell Mary it is worse when you remind a wife of her husband's appointment and the wife tells you the husband recently died. True story.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

That's happened, too. 1-2 times a year.

terri c said...

Sad. Sorry for you and Mary. Hope Mrs. Ancient just slipped away in her sleep.

Anonymous said...

Diana, when the time comes, you might be able to sign up for something like "Calling All Seniors" which is a free program that uses volunteers to check on seniors from time to time.

Dana said...

What happened to Mrs Ancient is one of my worst fears.

I hope she went peacefully, and I hope that Mary doesn't feel bad.

The Mother said...

I guess now you can't charge her for the missed appointment?

ERP said...

Luckily she was not " Mrs Previously Young and Healthy".

Anonymous said...

Does this count as a Serious Complication of Death?

 
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