AMA Says Not Calling to Cancel Your Appointment Causes Cancer, AIDS
Chicago, IL (AP) – The American Medical Association, the nation’s oldest and largest professional group for physicians, released new recommendations for patients, under which failing to call to cancel an appointment the patient knows he will miss is a risk factor in cancer and other horrible diseases.
Jeremy A. Lazarus, the president of the American Medical Association, told reporters at a press conference that the organization felt compelled to issue new recommendations after a review of statistics showed a dangerous disregard on the part of patients for the physicians and other patients.
“It’s not only cancer,” Lazarus warned. “Failing to give a reasonable amount of warning that you’re not going to show up to your appointment not only puts you at risk of enmity from doctors and fellow patients; it also means you’re more likely to contract, uh, cancer, herpes, syphilis, measles, smallpox, AIDS, meningitis, and it makes you, uh…yeah, it makes you seven times more likely to catch a bad case of the flu.”
He also pointed to data showing that people who neglected to inform their doctor they would be missing the scheduled appointment were twice as likely to be bludgeoned to death by other patients using rolled-up copies of U.S. News and World Report from the waiting room.
It is unclear what percentage of Americans are no-shows for medical appointments, but the AMA released data regarding the populous states of California, New York, Texas and Florida, showing that of the approximately 19,000 missed appointments in 2011 in those states, nearly 40% were not preceded by a phone call or message alerting the medical practice or staff of the impending absence; of those patients, the AMA eagerly anticipates upwards of 80% will suffer mightily from gonorrhea, mumps, shingles, lupus, sexual dysfunction, gastric ulcers, and several other diseases they haven’t thought of yet.
“Calling ahead is one of the pillars of preventive medicine, which is what modern patient care is all about,” says Stephanie Siegel, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “In the early years, physicians would focus more on treating existing conditions, but over the last century, we’ve shifted, fortunately, to a greater focus on preventing things from going wrong in the first place. Patients who disregard the basics of avoiding the risks have only themselves to blame” when a truck full of infected needles falls on them from a rooftop, she noted.
Patient groups welcomed the new AMA guidelines, praising the calling-ahead provision as a life-saving measure. “This AMA recommendation is an important step in making the period before a scheduled medical visit a safer experience for everyone,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Co-Founder and CEO of the Patient Advocacy Foundation. “It’s been a long time coming, and unfortunately, too many patients have been ill-informed regarding the long- and short-term dangers of not calling ahead, but with the American Medical Association’s unequivocal stance on the matter, we can now work on actually getting people the care they need when they need it, assuming they prefer not to come down with dysentery, Huntington’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and maybe even a nasty case of flesh-eating bacteria.”
The AMA guidelines are not unprecedented in the industry. Just last year the American Dental Association issued similar recommendations, focusing instead on lateness. Patients who arrived less than five minutes before the scheduled appointment time were six times as likely to suffer jabs in the gums from sharp implements.
Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where, we solemnly promise, you will not be jabbed in the gums with sharp implements. At least not today.