Dr. SJ made an appointment for me with a dermatologist. I hesitate to use his name, as I can’t say for sure that he deserves to be maligned by the likes of me. I didn’t want the appointment, and I avoid such appointments to the extent possible because nothing good ever comes of them. Dr. SJ sees things differently, and insisted I go.
When I arrived ten minutes early to the appointment, I did so begrudgingly. But I was there, despite my belief that anywhere else would have been a better place to be. I went to the receptionist, but before I could give her my name, she instructed me to put my name, reason for coming, insurance information and some others stuff that eludes me, on a piece of paper sitting atop the receptionist’s desk.
I said no.
She said I must. I said that “must” may not be the word she intended, given that she was unarmed. She said, “it’s our policy.”
There is probably no phrase that pisses me off more than “it’s our policy.” You see, of the many, many things that concern me, the “policy” of people whose services I use (and who charge me for the pleasure) is invariably not on the list. My policy is to not use anyone with their policy. See how that works?
In this instance, I have a particular reason why their policy is offensive. Neither my name nor my reason for seeing a physician, even a dermatologist, is anyone’s business. HIPAA much? I do not care to have them appearing on a list sitting on a receptionist’s desk. I have this personal medical privacy thing, and it trumps their policy. So does the law, but that’s a separate issue.
I told the receptionist that I would not put my name on her list, and if that meant the doctor would not see me, then I will be happy to leave. She reiterated something about policy, but I said good-bye before she could finish. I left.
Now the doctor is allowed to have whatever policy he wants, provided it’s not unlawful (as this is). In a sense, I don’t blame the receptionist, who is likely only following unlawful directions, but doesn’t realize it’s unlawful. Sure, she might be capable of grasping the privacy problem without regard to the legality issue, but then, I am reluctant to attribute malevolence when ignorance will do.
And I am allowed to walk out if I don’t care to have my privacy violated. And I did.
Dr. SJ is going to be pissed with me. The problem is that I had skin cancer, which was removed,* and now I have something where the cancer was that she thinks needs to be seen to make sure it’s not back. She’s got this thing about me not having cancer. Go figure. I am confident that I’m fine. I have no good reason for my confidence, but then, we all have to believe in something, and I pick this.
Still, she will have some cross words for me when she learns of my intransigence. She knows my feelings on this subject, as we’ve discussed it at length. She doesn’t care. I do. Plus, I don’t want to see the doctor anyway, and was only doing it to get her off my case.
But if anyone doubts my adherence to principle, I would rather court cancer than allow my privacy to be violated. And I really hate going to doctors anyway.
* Edit: Because my buddy Turk assumes I must be a blithering idiot, I add that this was not the first time I had been to this doc. He previously excised the offending cancer, and we had gone through this “sign in” issue before. That time, Dr. SJ accompanied me, and forced me through threat of bobbitization to sign in despite my refusal. What I would not do for the receptionist, I did for Dr. SJ. I’m weak.
However, having gone through this before, I was already aware that there was no persuasion, negotiation or discussion involved. This was what was required before the doctor would see me. I left this part out of the original post as I thought this degree of background unnecessary to make my point.
Clearly, it was insufficient to fill the assumption gap. I thus fill it with information, even though I still don’t see it as necessary, unless one prefers to assume I am a blithering idiot, as apparently some do, rather than accept what I wrote at face value.