Assignment: For each scenario that follows, explain how and why you would schedule an appointment or suggest a referral based on the patient’s reported symptoms. Be sure to first review the “Guidelines for Patient-Screening Exercises” found on page iii in the Introduction section of your Workbook.
1. A male patient calls for an appointment. He reports experiencing the sudden onset of excessive thirst and urination. He says that he is thirsty all the time and cannot seem to get enough to drink. How do you respond to this phone call?
I would first ask the patient if he has been checked for diabetes or if he is a diabetic. The second step I would take would be to schedule him in an appointment for that day, this could be a serious condition related to Diabetes Insipidus which means he will need to get immediate medical attention.
2. A female patient calls the office and says she thinks she has swelling in her neck and is beginning to experience difficulty swallowing. How do you respond to this phone call?
I would ask the patient if she had a sore throat or had recently gotten over a cold or respiratory infection. I would also ask her if she is having an allergy to something that she might be allergic to, if she sounds short of breath over the phone I would suggest that she go into the emergency room if we could not get her in that same day to see the physician.
3. An individual calls the office stating he is experiencing periods of rapid heartbeat and palpitations, insomnia, nervousness, and excitability. He states that despite excessive appetite and food ingestion, he is losing weight. How do you respond to this call?
I would ask the patient if they have checked their blood pressure and pulse, and if they have a heart condition, high blood pressure or anxiety. I would then request that this patient go through the emergency room immediately to be monitored because of the burst of rapid heartbeats and heart palpitations, these could be signs of high blood pressure (hypertension), a high anxiety attack, or heart attack.
4. A woman calls the office stating that her husband, who has been diagnosed with diabetes, is experiencing excessive thirst, nausea, drowsiness, and abdominal pain. She just noticed a fruity odor on his breath. She wants to know what to do. How do you respond to this call?
I would place the caller on hold while I got the physician on the phone, this could be a serious condition and the patient may need immediate medical attention or the physician may want to meet them at the emergency room for further testing. The patient should check their sugar levels and monitor them until their appointment time.
5. A patient calls the office saying she has started experiencing weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, and frequent urination. She also tells you her mother and aunt have diabetes. She says she just does not feel right. How do you respond to this call?
After listening to this patient’s symptoms, and the family history of diabetes, this could be an indication of diabetes mellitus. I would then schedule in this patient the same day so that we can do a diagnostic evaluation and give her the proper treatment she needs, as well as instructions on how to control this illness.