I have received many complaints over the years from patients and relatives. Some have been justified and are usually caused by bad communications. Most however are a waste of time and are usually caused by us (the hospital) not doing what the patients wants when they want it. These complaints are usually about the wait to be seen but two complaints recently have just topped them all.
The first was from a couple of young guys - early twenties - who when I asked when the patient had hurt themselves the friend said "Well it will be about three hours ago now the time we have waited here." This time I thought hang on, I know we are busy but our waiting time is not that long so I checked their arrival time. From the time of arriving in the department to being seen by me was 40 minutes, on our busiest day of the week with a full waiting room. They were complaining about waiting 40 minutes. I was less than diplomatic and asked if they had noticed the number of people surrounding them in the waiting room? No, they just felt that having to wait under an hour was still too long.
The other complaint was definitely the weirdest one I have dealt with. I was giving a patient a meal - that he had ordered from a menu - and he complained that the food was too white. What? The food was too white. White cod, with white potatoes and white cauliflower all on a white plate. How do you answer that one? Turns out he was a lecturer in catering and felt that a bit more thought should have gone into presentation, despite the fact that he had ordered it. He also mentioned (complained?) that the green salad had some red tomato in it. Still don't know if he was winding me up or serious.