Written by Gal Cohen-Chivvis, DVM

It was a typical busy night in the ICU. Patients were coming in several at a time, procedures were piling up and multiple animals needed to be hospitalized for immediate treatments. As I rushed from patient to patient, filling in my technician on what needs to get done, receiving results from blood/ urine tests and reading radiographs, I ask my receptionist to put the next client in a room. I will go speak with them while I am awaiting another diagnostic to come through.

I go into the room and introduce myself with a smile. “I have been waiting for 40 minutes to be seen,” I am told by a woman who is clearly unhappy. I understand, and I have been confronted with this in the past. While the frustration is justified, unfortunately it is often also unavoidable. Furthermore, interactions that begin like this make it challenging to establish a trusting relationship and provide the best care for a sick animal. Believe it or not, if I have kept you waiting, there was a good reason for this and I, too, am feeling the stress that I have inadvertently caused you.