Personal Physicians

12218 words 49 pages
by Professor Gregory L. Stoller
&
Christopher Ferrarone, MBA 2004
Carroll School of Management

BOSTON COLLEGE

Rule #1 of Personal Physicians HealthCare:
The Patient Is Always Right
It was 2:37 p.m. The patient in the doctor's waiting room was watching the top stories on CNN Headline News for the fourth time. The volume on the small television kept wavering in and out between bursts of static, making it nearly impossible to hear anything anyway. What about that 1:30 meeting he was supposed to be at right now? Well, he’d canceled it at 1:45. What about that email that he had promised his boss would be sent out by 2:00 "no matter what"? This too would have to wait.
Most galling, he had followed the receptionist's instructions to the
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Instead I called a friend who is on staff at Dana Farber Cancer
Instituteii and we discussed what the various hospitals in the area had to offer in terms of specialists and facilities. Eventually we decided on a certain hematologistiii at a particular hospital. So I called the hematologist and explained the situation. She advised me to bring my patient into the hospital that night where he would stay until she could see him in the morning. I asked her if she could do things differently: could she meet my patient and me at nine-thirty the following morning?
That next morning at nine o’clock, when my patient was expecting a call from me, I showed up at his office and I gave him the news. This was a life changing moment for him; and even though he may have suspected what was wrong, he was stunned when I gave him the diagnosis. Then I told him, “Look,
I’ve taken care of everything. I’ve checked with every hospital. I’ve got the best hematologist in the city waiting to see us. Let’s get in the car; you can call your wife on the way down there. I’ll be with you the whole time.” The sense that I was experiencing a life-changing moment for this man was personally very profound. Flier stayed with his patient for the remainder of the morning and was present to meet with his wife and explain the diagnosis and treatment. When he left, Flier realized that neither the hospital that he worked for, nor the

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