Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Four Digits

It came across my pager (names changed, of course):
"Please call Sally 3050 re: Ms. Smith"
I called:
"This is OB/GYN, may I help you?"

"May I speak with Sally, please?"

"I'm sorry, there's no Sally here."

"Thanks, I'll try Hospital #2"
So the call is made. This time, no answer. So I call the Operator:
"Operator, how may I help you."

"Yes, can you tell me where extension 3050 is?"

"Um, looks like OB/GYN."

"Whaaaat?" (My mind raced. Who did I see on the OB service??? I had no clue.)

"Um, sorry, I already called them. They didn't know anyone there by the name of Sally."

Operator: "Would you like me to connect you with Hospital #3, maybe they have that extension."

"Yes, please."
And so I was connected. It rings and rings and rings. Once again, no answer.

At this point I've spent way too much time attempting to answer the page, and am about to give up, when I have an idea. I checked all of the wards I usually travel for a "Ms. Smith." Soon, I find an eligible candidate and note that she's on the surgical floor. I call that floor's number and a nice nurse answers:
"Surgical floor, this is Kerry, can I help you?"

"Yes, are you taking care of Ms. Smith?"

"Yes, I am."

"I was called to a 3050 by Sally, is she there?"

"Nooooo. No one here by that name. Uh, wait a minute, isn't that the resident's pager number?"
Then it hits me once again.

Not long ago, to call a phone number in the Chicago area we had to start using the area code in conjunction with the regular seven-digit phone number to place a call due to the exploding number of cell phones being issued. More area codes were quickly added, and communications have fourished.

With the increased consolidation of hospitals to larger health systems, the ability to quickly connect to a specific extension is becoming problematic, especially when we include pager numbers, cell numbers, and ward extentions to the mix.

Simply put: it's death by four digits now.

Suggestion: "Seven is heaven."


1 comment:

Ed said...

Connecticut is going all 10-digit too, as of December 1. I blame Obama.