I stopped seeing new patients officially around January 1 because I’m not in town enough and too busy building Hello Health to take on new patients. In mid-June, when Hello Health launches, I will officially start seeing new patients again. But when I’m in town and my day isn’t chock full of meetings, I occasionally see patients. Today I saw a lovely young woman who was definitely sick and needed attention. Even though I was busy, I saw that she needed help and scheduled her between meetings with the stipulation that she come to me to be seen in my apartment (Hello Health #1 will be ready in just a few weeks!). At the end of the encounter she asked, “How much do I owe you?” I told her “$50…you came to me and it only took a few minutes.” She asked if I take credit cards but I only take PayPal and she didn’t have an account. She went around the corner to an ATM and rang my buzzer when she was back at my apartment. She thanked me politely and handed me some cash. I told her to have fun on her fishing trip to Alaska (she’s leaving Friday) and went back inside. I started to put my money in my wallet and saw that she gave me $100. I sent her a text to thank her. She sent me a smiley face back.
It wasn’t that she gave me $100 – that’s still an inexpensive doctor visit in NYC. It’s that she valued what I did for her and the service I provided to give me double what I asked.
Therein lies the reason I went to medical school – to help a fellow human in need and create an experience and relationship we both value…and to help other doctors and patients feel the same way.