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Fire Your Receptionist

So I called a pediatric optometrist to talk about vision therapy for Alexander’s eyes.


RECEPTIONIST: Does he have ambliopia or strabismus?

ME: Both.

RECEPTIONIST: [clucking her tongue] Oh that’s bad. [she rattles some keys on her keyboard and asks] And does his eye turn in or out?

ME: It used to turn in, and now it turns out.

RECEPTIONIST: Oh gosh, I’m really sorry. That’s really bad.

ME: Um, I have an appointment I need to run to. I’ll call back later to follow up. Okay?


9 thoughts on “Fire Your Receptionist”

  1. Wow. I can’t believe someone like that was hired and allowed to answer telephones. I used to answer phones at a physician’s office and I can’t imagine speaking like that a patient (or the parent of a patient).

  2. …Sounds to me like she’s trying to be empathetic?  But what do I know…I always got marked off for not being empathetic enough on my phone calls when I had a call center job.

    My job was filled with fake, “I’m sorry to hear that” – “that’s terrible” – “I hope everyone is okay” … If I simply asked questions & did my damn job I wasn’t being empathetic enough.  Oh well.  You can’t please everyone.

  3. While she may have been trying to be sympathetic, you strike me as the type to really pick your moments when you’re going to fall apart, and would not pick “on the phone with a stranger” for it, so she should have really stuck with one, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that” and then moved on to scheduling the appointment.

    But gosh, I’m really sorry for your experience. That was really bad. :)

  4. I’m thrilled you’re exploring this avenue, and outraged at the behavior of the receptionist. I hope you can find another practice, one in which all staff members are trained and informed, or avoid this person in the future. That is just insane. Receptionist sounds so clueless… I wonder if she/he is new? Amblyopia is so often caused by strabismus! It’s not some tragedy to have both. It’s typical. That person has no business being employed in this role.


    Doctors (and others) have no idea how destructive their bad receptionists and secretaries can be….ruining the relationship before the patient walks in the door. I think it is an excellent idea to let them know what’s happening, they might be the last to understand….Or, as is often the case, the tone is set from the top! Onward…

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