We all know that we’re probably in for a wait when we go to the doctor’s office. Whether the appointment was previously scheduled or not, the office always seems to be running behind.
Though running a little behind is something we generally expect, there are limits, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor d**mittrudy was shocked when she’d been waiting for her turn, for a previously scheduled appointment, for over an hour.
When it reached a point that she would have to cancel the appointment that still hadn’t started, the Original Poster (OP) could not believe the administration’s response.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to pay a cancellation fee at the doctor’s office?”
The OP tried to fit a doctor’s appointment in-between classes.
“Earlier today I (22 Female) had an appointment scheduled for 12:15 pm with an ENT doctor. The appointment was hard to get and this was the only day and time they had available for a few months.”
“So although I had classes until 11:30 and a lab at 1:30, I figured I would be able to make it there and back in time because the office is only a 5 min drive from the University.”
But the office was running behind.
“I arrived at 12 to be sure I could get all the paperwork they make you fill out at your first visit done well before my time slot.”
“I then sat in the waiting room until 12:55. At that point, I went up to the reception desk and asked how much longer the wait is because I have somewhere to be at 1:30.”
“The receptionist said I would be next, so I sat back down.”
“1:15 rolled around and I had still not been called to see the doctor. It had now been an hour since my scheduled appointment.”
“So I again went up to the receptionist desk and asked for an actual estimation on the wait time because I have a lab in 15 mins.”
“She told him the wait would be around 30 more mins, which would make me really late for the lab.”
The OP tried to arrange a rescheduled appointment.
“I explained that I can’t stay any longer and will just have to set up another appointment.”
“She said that would be fine but I would have to pay the cancellation fee.”
“I told her that I’m not canceling because of my own fault, but because they are way behind schedule and I have other commitments and can no longer wait for them.”
“She said it was not her fault that I overscheduled my day.”
“I replied it was not my fault they overscheduled the doctors.”
“She then said again if I want to book another appointment, I would first have to pay the $75 cancellation fee.”
“I told her that’s ridiculous and I will find another ENT doctor and left.”
“Most people I have told agree with how I handled the situation, but my mom really laid into me, saying it was my fault for not picking another day for the appointment, even though that would be months away.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were annoyed for the OP’s sake and recommended complaining to the doctor.
“NTA. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Honestly, talk to the ENT him/herself about the situation. Many doctors would be horrified by the way the front staff is dealing with patients and would not want to be represented that way.”
“Sounds like the admin staff is having power issues today instead of using compassion and logic.” – ozuulrules
“Usually you can find the doctor’s info on their page. My mom works for an insurance company and she hears stuff like this all the time.”
“Doctors are horrified and embarrassed. They want their patients in their network to be taken care of.” – Antallday
“I’ve worked in multiple specialist offices, including ENT. Go to the webpage and mail the practice or call and ask for the clinical director. Explain to them the situation. I 100% guarantee this doc is either 1. Always slow or 2. On-call. Either way, it’s not your fault, and I’m sure the practice as a whole would want to know.”
“I would bet they’ve only explained their policy to their front office staff in very black and white terms. They need to know what’s happening, and you definitely should not be penalized.” – Samipearl19
“Talk to the ENT directly. I had problems with my ortho office. I need cortisone shots every 3 months leading up to getting a knee replacement.”
“The office would not let me just make an appt to get the shots. They’d make me get a consultation appt which took 2-3 weeks and then it would be another appt 2 weeks after that to get the shot. So I’m waiting 4-5 weeks for shots while being in pain, super stiff knees, can’t sleep, etc.”
“I asked several times if I could skip the consult and they told me no. I finally decided to ask the doctor and he was like, ‘Of course you can skip the consult. Just tell them when you call you need the shot.’ I told them they have told me no several times and HE LOST IT.”
“Lordy, what a scene. He walked up to the desk with me and stood over them while they updated my profile, making sure I never had to wait. I felt bad but not being able to walk properly and without excruciating pain for over a month is just crazy.”
“Just had my first appt a month ago sans consult, and it was so worth all the drama. I did apologize to the office staff after the doc went back to his other appt saying I just wanted to speed up the shots and wasn’t complaining about them. Felt bad but I got over it pretty fast.” – HRHSuzz
“I would add that I’ve almost never found a good doctor that isn’t hell to get into see on time yet is a delight to work with once in the room. I’m almost 40 and have to deal with many doctors over the years for both mental health and physical health, as well as MANY appointments for pregnancy with my wife (I went to almost all appointments with her).”
“The best doctors have generally taken a long time to get in to see, although the OBGYN was admittedly the least consistent, timewise, since she randomly had to drive over to the hospital and deliver a whole a** baby, then drive back over and keep doing appointments.”
“Most other doctors are relatively on time, even the ENTs we have seen for ear tube surgery, who generally schedule the ear tube surgeries on a certain day of the week but their office appointments on other days so they never had days like that where they were driving back and forth.”
“I know where her mom is coming from, though, since I just have a general expectation that, if I have a doctor’s appointment anywhere in the afternoon, I’ll likely be losing the entire afternoon to that appointment.”
“The girl is not an a**hole, but does need to come to expect that this can be the norm for doctor visits for that doctor or perhaps for all doctors in that field in that area, just depending. I’m not sure if the late fee can be avoided by going to another doctor… I don’t know how that works since I’ve never done that.” – chrisrayn
Others wondered why the OP needed to pay a cancellation fee for a reschedule.
“They should allow Herero to make the appointment for another time free of charge since she was there for her appointment and would be waiting 2 hours or more to be seen. I’ve had six appointments and haven’t had to wait that long.” – amaerau03
“It’s understandable that appointments will run late, and it could be argued that OP didn’t really leave herself enough time given the reality of how doctor’s offices often run, but she certainly shouldn’t be charged a cancellation fee for needing to reschedule once the appointment was clearly not going to work out due to the office running late.”
“If they’d simply rebooked an appointment for her and advised her to block off X Hours for next time, it’d be NAH.” – boudicas_shield
“A fee because you can’t show up is one thing, but when you’re there AHEAD of time, and it’s the doctor that’s way past time, they should owe YOU a cancellation fee.”
“We had tornadoes a few months ago, and one of my wife’s appointments was canceled. They didn’t call her to cancel. She found out when she tried to call and get it rescheduled (the alert was sudden) and got nothing but voicemail. They still tried to charge her a cancellation fee later.” – inn0cent-bystander
“The point of a cancellation fee, wasted time slots, doesn’t even apply. It doesn’t even matter who’s ‘at fault’ as there simply was nothing that happened. The was no 12:15 appointment and the front desk should be grateful to op for cleaning up their schedule.” – Cr4ckshooter
Though the OP had mixed feelings after what her mom said to her, the subReddit said she had every right to be frustrated and to be able to reschedule without penalty. She wasn’t actually canceling, but rescheduling, after all.
Hopefully in the future, though, she’ll be able to leave the rest of her day open so something like this can’t happen again.