A patient attended our clinic with her elder sister. The elder sister was screaming repeatedly. It is impolite for us to ask the patient to soften their voice or to wait outside and we would do it only as a last resort. We usually wait for the noises to quiet down or bear with it. However, the screaming continued and affected the Doctor’s concentration while he was attending to other patients. The Doctor was afraid that he may make a medical error and this would be unfair to the other patients. Prior, the doctor was removing stitches on another patient and found that he had to struggle to concentrate . He also had to keep checking his notes to make sure he did not make any error , resulting in a longer waiting time for everybody. After half an hour, the Doctor told the nurse that he cannot carry on with his work anymore, and asked nurse to ask the patient to wait outside. The nurse misinterpreted the message and asked the patient to attend another clinic.
The Doctor was attending to another patient when he heard the parents shouting at the nurse outside. Thinking that the parents were unhappy to wait outside, the Doctor asked if they want to attend other clinic as they were unhappy, and the noise was preventing the Doctor from carrying on with his work. If they had not wanted to go to another clinic, we would still see them. The Doctor had to go back immediately to the room to continue with the rest of the consultation with the other patient. The Doctor was not aware that the patient was having a fever. We have apologised to the parents over the incident, explaining that we were afraid of making medical errors on other patients. If we make a medical error, we cannot say that it was because we were distracted by the noises in the waiting room. Patient’s safety is our first priority. We wish the child a speedy and complete recovery.