Scheduler Stories: Given the Finger

I served as a scheduler at a surgeon’s office from 1990 to 1998, and as you might imagine, I experienced my fair share of interesting patients and crazy stories. One such story occurred almost 15 years ago, during a typical busy day in the office. You might say it began like every other day, but the way it ended was something I’ll never forget – a man walked into the office and gave me the finger!

I worked at the front desk and was in charge of check in and check out, so at first I didn’t pay much attention to the man approaching me. In his hand he held a small bag that he extended through the window and I took then offered him a “Can I help you, sir?”

“I sure hope so,” he said rather matter-of-factly, “I just got my finger cut off at work. It’s in the bag and I need help.”

Wow! Of course, I was mortified, but my sympathy for the poor guy helped me hold it together to get over the disturbing knowledge I was holding a severed index finger. His employer accompanied him to our office and helped him complete his paperwork. I then began the task of getting in touch with the man’s workmen’s compensation insurance carrier. When I spoke to the adjuster, she informed me that they had 48 hours to determine coverage and that it was not an emergency. I curtly replied back to her that I was holding his finger and it looked like an emergency to me! In cases like this we commonly would just forgo authorization, declare it and emergency and deal with the insurance company’s medical director after the fact if needed.

Long story short: Surgery was performed but, unfortunately, the fateful finger was not able to be successfully reattached. I guess that just goes to show you that sometimes it is ok to give the finger to someone. You just might not get it back.

Are you a scheduler and have an incredible story that you want to share?  Send it to and we’ll included it in the next Opargo Insider.

Posted in: Patients