Here is the text of my letter to the endodontist, whom I have never met:
Dear Dr. NameWithheld,
Your office was recommended by Dr. Whojamajiggy, my dentist, so I recently made an appointment to have a root canal. When I phoned, I thought the receptionist was rather curt, but after all, I need the procedure. I was unsure about whether or not I needed an evaluation appointment, because I had had a severe allergic reaction after my only other root canal. She was not terribly helpful, at one point saying in an irritated tone of voice that the only procedures your office performs are root canals. Nevertheless, I planned to have the procedure done.
I was under a lot of stress the weekend before my May 13th appointment, and had myself convinced that the root canal was at 9:40AM. At 8:50AM, your receptionist phoned and demanded to know if I was on my way. Her tone of voice was quite irritated and short. I said no, my appointment was for 9:40AM. She explained it had been for 8:40, and I apologized, saying I guessed we would have to reschedule. She said indeed we would have to reschedule, as you only see one patient at a time, and I had messed up your day. She sounded very angry. I was nearly in tears, having apologized repeatedly, when she sighed deeply and said let’s move on, at which time she scheduled an appointment for May 30th.
Today I decided to cancel my appointment with your office and have my dentist recommend another endodontist. I refuse to be treated unkindly. Perhaps you should consider charging patients for missed appointments, rather than have your staff tongue-lash them.
When a person has to undergo a procedure that is painful and difficult, it is, in my opinion, important that they be treated with care. You have hired someone who is unfriendly, irritable and short with patients; that indicates to me that you do not respect your patients’ feelings. For you it is an everyday procedure. For the patient, it is an unwelcome and dreaded event.