May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
April 28, 2008
/ 26 Nissan 5768
Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir
Q: I'm often stuck in the doctor's waiting room for hours! Doesn't he owe me something for my wasted time?
A: The Shulchan Aruch (authoritative Code of Jewish Law) states: "One who puts someone into a room and closes the door on him, preventing him from working, is liable for his lost time." This is certainly how the patient (or parent) feels as if he or she is trapped in the doctor's office.
But realistically, a patient is not imprisoned in the waiting room, and it's not really fair to expect the practitioner to compensate you for your time which after all you're not using for the doctor's benefit.
Still, so many readers asked this question that I am devoting a special column to how we can deal with this exasperating situation with dignity. Like most interpersonal dilemmas, the key to curing the waiting-room blues is mutual thoughtfulness.
Patients should keep in mind that there are many valid reasons for delays. Greed and sadism are not really the only factors at work! For one thing, the carelessness and missed appointments of patients themselves compels practitioners to overbook in order to keep hard at work at all times. When people do show up, long lines are the result. A better on-time record for patients will ultimately mean shorter waits at the doctor's.
Another reason is emergency calls. As one doctor exclaimed when I asked him about this problem, "How am I supposed to know when some woman is going to come in with chest pains?" We expect the physician to put his regular schedule aside when we have a medical emergency; we need to have patience for the extra wait this imposes on us when, thank G-d, there is no emergency.
One thing patients can do to shorten waits is to call ahead. If you have a two o'clock appointment, call the receptionist at one! If she says that the doctor is just now taking patients with 11:30 appointments, you know that you don't have to arrive any earlier that 3:15 or so. Of course doctors and receptionists should be forthcoming with this information.
Physicians should contribute their share too. If you really care about your patients' time, don't wait for them to call - have the receptionist call up patients and inform them that their appointment is delayed! If possible, allow them to reschedule. A small extra investment in receptionist hours can save your patients dozens of hours each day.
Practitioners can also adopt more effective scheduling practices. Dr. Leon Zacharowicz informs me that he has dramatically cut no-shows at his practice by not giving exact times for distant appointments. Instead, the patient is at first given a generous advance "window" in which to schedule; a few days beforehand the patient calls to set an exact time. (Example: in November the patient is told to call "in two months". Only at the beginning of January does the patient call back and set an exact time. Of course the practitioner has to learn to keep enough empty slots for patients who have been instructed to call.)
If emergencies are an ongoing part of a practice then the schedule should partially reflect this. (Probably obstetricians and cardiologists have more of these than dermatologists.)
The best advice of all is: take it easy! Learn to take advantage of the waiting time. It is ironic that the harried parent who is chafing at the long line at the pediatrician is the same parent who complains that he or she just doesn't have enough time to spend with the children. And the busy executive who is apoplectic about the wait at the periodontist is the same person who complains that he or she has no time for Torah learning.
A final note: for anyone who thinks that long waits at the doctor are something new, here is an excerpt from a letter written eight hundred years ago by Maimonides, who was not only one of the greatest scholars and leaders in Jewish history but also a prominent physician: "I do not return to Fostat until the afternoon. Then I am famished, but I find the antechambers filled with people, Jews and Gentiles, nobles and common people, judges and policemen, friends and enemies a mixed multitude who await the time of my return. . . . [I] ask them to bear with me while I take some light refreshment, the only meal I eat in twenty-four hours. Then I go to attend to my patients and write prescriptions and directions for their ailments. Patients go in and out until nightfall and sometimes even, as the Torah is my faith, until two hours or more into the night."
SOURCES: (1) Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 420:11; Maimonides' letter to Shmuel Ibn Tibbon
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan
administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology.
To comment or pose a question, please click here.
THE JEWISH ETHICIST, NOW IN BOOK FORM
You've enjoyed his columns on JWR for years. Now the Jewish Ethicist has culled his most intriguing and controversial offerings in book form.
Sales help fund JWR.
© 2008, The Jewish Ethicist is produced by the JCT Center for Business Ethics