Have a Heart: The Importance of Empathy in the Doctor’s Office

heart-healthIn April 2013, I was preparing to undergo surgery.  After taking several lab tests, they found I failed my EKG and had to be referred to a cardiologist for further analysis.

I had a scheduled appointment at 10:15 am.  When I arrived to the medical office, there was standing room only. I paid my co-payment to the receptionist and I asked what would be an approximate waiting time.  She got out of her chair, stood up, glanced around at the lobby and surprisingly said 20 minutes.

My name was finally called at 12:30pm. No apologies for the wait.

As I walked through the back of the office, it was empty; three quarters of the staff had gone to lunch.  Once in the examination room, I was informed that my previous EKGs had never been faxed to the cardiologist, even though my other doctor said this would be done.

Due to this, it was decided for clarification purposes, that I had to undergo another EKG.

As I sat in the exam room waiting, I hear a knock on the door. It opens and the cardiologist leisurely walks in and sits at the computer. His greeting is brief and he doesn’t make eye contact. When he beings to type on the computer, he is using the hunt and peck method, entering my personal information into the system as if I were a nuisance.

I sat there as silent tears cried out.  You wouldn’t think, out of all the medical professions, a cardiologist would be the one with half a heart.


SAMSUNGSusan Hoag became a teacher in 1986 and proudly represented the El Monte Union High School District, Los Angeles County. Throughout her tenure, she had been recognized with numerous commendations, such as Teacher of the Year.  She strongly supports the youth of today as we encounter a challenging, but yet promising tomorrow.  Susan shares her future with her best friend, Dan Dempsey. Susan is also Jenny’s step mom (seen together in photo).

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  • Richard Perez

    Mrs. Hoag

    I was one of your students when you were a Teacher at Valle Lindo High School. I graduated in 93. I was one of your many favorite students. You will always be my favorite teacher. After all theese years not a day goes by without you crossing my mind. I learned a great deal from you. I would like to thank you for being such a wonderfull teacher. You would always tell me that I had great buisness skills. You said that I would be a great buisness man. I am a great buisness man you were right. Thanks again hope to hear from you soon. Love Richard perez class of 93

    • Jenny Dempsey

      Hi Richard,

      Thank you for sharing your kind words about Sue. I’d really like to talk with you about her more–would you mind emailing me at “jenny@phone.com”.

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