Professional

Submitted by Miles Gatling to Contest #15 in response to: Write about one character’s fundamental misunderstanding of another character’s job.... view prompt

"Go ahead and rinse for me, Jacob."

The child took a sip of water and thoroughly cleansed his mouth.

"How does it feel when you bite down?"

"A bit higher than the rest, " the child told his dentist.

"Alright, go ahead and chew the paper again."

It left a few red dots on the filing and the adjacent teeth. Switching to the blue side, the doctor instructed his patient

"Now move your jaw from left to right. Well done, Jacob. "

He gently brushed the tooth with his high-speed burr under the microscope, and then polished the filling until it felt silky smooth to the touch.

"Please, rinse again and check the bite, Jacob."

The boy did just that.

"It's better now."

"Good. Alright, we're done here. Go ahead and stand up."

The dentist called his mother into the office. She was past forty and had an irritated expression on her face.

"Well, what did you do to my son?"

The dentist kept calm. It wasn't the first time a parent argued with him and his staff about their presence in the dental office. Most understood that standing over his shoulder while he worked was detrimental to the treatment. But some, like this lady, argued that she needed to be present to assure herself the doctor performed his procedure correctly. He was well accustomed to pushy, annoying, sociopaths. And he'd come to the conclusion that parents were just the freaking worst.

"A composite filling, Miss. Flanigan. The tooth will be periodically checked for vitality. It the case of a negative result, root canal treatment will be necessary."

"Root canal?! Why? That means you didn't do a good job with the filling!"

Christian didn't take the bait

"Not true, Miss. Flanigan. That is a possible scenario. The cavity is gone, but the bacteria may have penetrated beyond the boundaries of the clean dentin. I used an indicator to objectively-"

"It means you did a bad treatment!"

Dr. Christian didn't like to be interrupted. Nevertheless, his tone was steady, his posture non-threatening. He politely asked the woman to leave his office and reminded her that failure to bring her son to his scheduled recall could result in treatment complications. Before she could speak, he told her to pay at the front desk. Oh boy, did that set her off. But Christian could care less about her tantrums.

The woman finally left with her son, slamming the door to his clinic. The nurse knocked and slowly entered.

"What a horrible woman."

"Ha, yeah, I know."

"Can I clean up and prep for the next patient?"

"Yes, please. But first, upload the content from the microscope to my laptop."

"Of course, doctor. Would you like me to make copies of her son's radiographs and add those to your folder?"

"Yes. Include his file, previous medical records, and all data."

"Right away. Do you think she will try to-"

"Definitely."

Hearing his words, the nurse hurried up and got things done. She knew the kind of trouble these patients would bring if the medical staff were unprepared to disprove their false claims. The rest of the day was uneventful.

Time passed, the boy was never brought to his scheduled check-up. The staff tried contacting Miss Flanigan but to no effect. Seven months later, the clinic received an angry phone call from Miss. Flanigan, demanding a meeting with Dr. Christian. She was granted one, on a Friday, at the end of his shift.

Before he would allow her in his office, Dr. Christian checked the audio and visual feed on his security cameras.

"Hello, Miss. Flanigan. What brings you here?"

"What else? Your faulty treatment brings me here, you butcher! My son had to go to the emergency room last night with an abscess. Do you know how swollen his face is?"

Dr. Christian stood there, shoulders relaxed, arms resting on his desk, letting the vile thing continue her rhetoric.

"It's your fault this happened. I will sue you for everything you got. I have recordings on my phone, I'll take them to the press I'll…"

He could care less about that bag of flesh. Christian waited a long minute and just stared at her.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"

"If you feel cheated, you should seek help from the justice system. Good day Miss, never contact me again."

And with that, he rose from his desk, opened the door and left. Inside stepped two private security guards and gently escorted her outside.

The judging commission was formed by law professionals, and other doctors that specialized in malpractice cases. Dr. Christian and Miss. Flanigan were present in the room as well. Her lawyer stated his case first.

"The lack of empathy is clear. Dr. Christian didn't care at all about what happened to his patient, a child at that. He's making a mockery of the Hippocratic Oath; that is to give his all in the best interest of the patient. He performed a bad treatment, lacking in quality thus resulting in an infection that put the child's life in danger and-"

"Alright, that's enough, sir. I will not have you take this committee for fools."

The woman who spoke had the highest authority in the room.

"The evidence that Dr. Christian had brought forth weighs more than your words, sir. We analyzed the video from his dental microscope. The treatment was undoubtedly correct and matched the standard international clinical guideline, so say these experts. The tooth was isolated with a rubber dam, colorful indicators were used to check for remaining altered dentin. Etching, bonding, and composite filling were done correctly. The occlusion was thoroughly checked, the filling neatly polished."

The lawyer tried to say something but was brutally cut off.

"We know for a fact that Miss. Flanigan was supposed to bring the child back for a recall to check tooth vitality. She failed to do so and made no effort to reschedule the appointment. When she was faced with her son developing pain and abscess, she decided to blame Dr. Christian for her own wrongdoing. "

"How dare you speak-"

"Be silent, Miss! You forget yourself! We are the ones who decide what's right and what isn't! And know that that is how the Justice system works. So be quiet."

Miss. Flanigan swallowed hard and began tearing up.

"Not only did you falsely accuse Dr. Christian of malpractice, but threatened to ruin his name with these claims. Let me tell you something, Miss…"

Her voice was gravel, her tone menacing.

"You wasted our time with your disillusions. You let your son suffer just because it would help your case. If you cared about him, you would have rescheduled. Instead, you waited until his condition worsened. You recorded meaningless conversations with your phone and submitted it as evidence. You lack the proper understanding of what doctors do. They aren't here to blow warm air up your ass and make you feel satisfied. They are here to objectively provide treatment when possible, to the best of their ability. It's antisocial individuals as yourself that burden the system and try to profit."

Dr. Christian had a blank look on his face. This wasn't his first sociopath. On the outside he seemed humble, but on the inside

Boom, boom, another one bites the dust

And another one gone…




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