Am I the only one that gets crazy calls (after hours)?

phone call

If someone calls my office after hours, the voicemail announcement gives them my cell phone number for emergencies.

My cell phone automatically silences itself at 10pm.  I don’t like my cell phone waking my family or me up late at night.  And, as it pertains to dental emergencies, there’s not much I can or will do at that hour.  My phone ringer automatically turns back on at 7am.

This morning I retrieved a voice mail from 10:10pm last night.  Here’s a transcript:

“Hi Mike.  My name is XXXXX.   I’m in dire, dire pain.  I’m not a patient of yours.  But,  I saw online that you’re open 24 / 7.  I live in XXXXXXX.  I have to have my tooth pulled tonight.  I’m 9 weeks pregnant, and I’m going to DIE.”   <CLICK>

I’m always amused at the first-name basis of complete strangers.  It’s not that I’m “stuck up” and insist on the “Dr.” title.  I honestly don’t care about that.  But, even when I call my own long-time physician, I don’t address him by his first name.

I’m not sure where she got the idea that I’m “open 24 / 7.”  But, she failed to leave her phone number!  Whoops!

I also get folks who leave a number very quickly from a bad cell phone connection, making it impossible to understand.  Sometimes they add in extra digits or leave out digits.

I occasionally get a call that will go something like this:  “Hi Mike.  This is John.  I’ve got a toothache.  Please call me.”  Ummm…. yeah… no, Mr. Drug Seeker.

Another trend I see is calls from people calling on BEHALF of the person with the toothache.  I see this a LOT.  I find that rather curious.

Are you getting these, too?  Got any funny ones?  Share in comments below!

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17 Responses to Am I the only one that gets crazy calls (after hours)?

  1. Ryan Shearer says:

    This one really pissed me off. I had a patient call my parents house at 6 am on New Years Day!!! They knew which small town I was from in Arkansas, so they looked up who in that town that had my last name (which is not a common name), and called there trying to find me. I’m still mad they called at 6 am, and that was five years ago! I just happen to be there sleeping on the couch because I had hung out with friends the night before there in town and was the one who took the call. I was pretty fresh out of school so I really tried to help the guy out since he was hurting from a tooth that I recently put in a sedative filling. I still can’t help but think why would somebody ever want to ask anybody for help that early on New Year’s Day. I figure everybody at that time is either sleeping or if they’re still awake, they’re pretty much inebriated and useless! LOL

  2. Ken says:

    I’m always amazed at the after hours calls where the caller forgets to leave their name or phone number. “Hi Dr. Henley, I’ve been having a really bad toothache since yesterday and was hoping you could call me as soon as possible?” Most of the time the number shows as “unknown” on the caller id (I find more people elect to block their number these days). So I guess it’s get out the phone book and start at the “A’s” and start calling, “Excuse me for calling so late Mr. Aardvark, but is anyone in the household having a toothache or did someone just call for a dentist?” LOL!

  3. Dale says:

    Got one last night at 11:00 PM. “Hi Dr. Hardy, my wisdom tooth that’s had a big hole in it for six months started hurting about a week ago. And now my face is numb and it’s really scaring me. I know it’s late but I really need to get this tooth out. Can you please give me a call?”

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      So… did you call, Dale? 😉

      • Dale says:

        Actually I did. I asked him if he realized how strange it was for him to tell me how long he waited. Symptoms were weird, half of face numb, even up to forehead, no swelling or even much pain. Told him it probably wasn’t his tooth and that if it was concerning to go to the emergency room.

  4. Doug Dillard says:

    An “emergency only” type patient called me at 1:00 AM, Christmas morning. Her mother, who had been bothered by a toothache for the past week, had finally decided to do something about it. I told them to go to the nearest emergency room. I never heard from them again. Hmmmm…. wonder if I lost a good patient that day?

  5. Eamonn says:

    It is great to see patients are the same the world over. I have the misfortune to live over the surgery however I don’t think the word is out yet among the patients. What amazes me is that we could go from 7am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday and ten min after we close the phone rings and the usual story as described above – hole in tooth past six months really painful all week but its been killing me all day but now that I know you’re closed i want it sorted. This market is a great niche for somebody to exploit. Somebody with no family life etc.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      In Orlando, Florida, I saw a 24-hour dental office. In a big enough metropolitan area, it might be a good business model.

  6. Adam says:

    The way we handle this in our office, which has been very successful, is to have the office answering machine give a number for “existing patients of record” to call. This rings a cell phone purchased for this express purpose which a rotating employee is paid for the weekend to carry and field calls (we have a few who request doing it for the extra income). Often times it’s a front desk staff member who is more familiar with everyone who has been in the office lately, regardless of which doctor they saw. Minor problems they can often handle immediately over the phone and if it’s more involved the staff member can call the individual doctor for advice. This fields a lot of unusual calls, gives patients peace of mind, and allows the doctors to enjoy their weekend and compensates an employee for answering the phone a few times.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      That’s a good system. I have a similar message about “patients of record” on my voicemail. They get my personal cell #. But, I screen any calls through my cell phone voicemail. I don’t just pick up.

      In reality, I don’t get many calls. But, some can be interesting!

  7. Miranda says:

    Hi, I’m a dental assistant from the Netherlands, and just found your page. Been reading a couple of entries, really like your writing 🙂
    In the Netherlands, most dentist have set up a schedule, to be on call for emergencies for the other dentists in your city at night/weekends. Our praxis has 4 on call shifts a year, and as a dental assistant, I take the calls, and when there is a real emergency I’ll call the dentist.
    One night I got a call at 3 a.m. It was a woman who’s husband had multiple extractions the day before, and according to the woman it was bleeding pretty bad ever since they left their own dentist.
    I offered they could come by in half an hour (dentist and I both live close to the praxis). The woman started that she didn’t want to drive at night, and that it was dark outside (duh….) and she just wanted to talk…………… To call again at 5 a.m. that perhaps they did want to come by in an hour or so….
    Really really needed a coffee when my alarm went of at 6 a.m.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Miranda! Thanks for visiting my blog all the way in the Netherlands. The patient just wanted to talk, eh? LOL! Ugh!

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