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A Lesson for Veterinary Technicians on Taking Client Phone Calls

by Lori Hehn - January 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM
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I had just started my internship after finishing veterinary school. I was on my emergency overnight rotation, and I was the only one on duty.

One of the veterinary technicians took a phone call from a frantic client that stated her dog had been impaled by a stick through its chest. The owner was obviously told to bring the dog in immediately.

I was scared to death about this critical impaled dog that was going to walk through the door at any moment. We had the crash cart out, oxygen ready, and were prepared for this dying dog with a chest trauma.

About 20 minutes later, the lady rushes into the hospital with her dog. He looked a little nervous but was bright eyed and wagging his tail. I saw the stick...and started looking closer...

VTP-dog-chewing-gum.jpgThe stick was sticking straight out from some bubble gum that was stuck to the dog's fur! Luckily, I removed the bubble gum and the dog was no longer "impaled." In fact, I am pretty sure I cured this one for free.

When taking calls from clients, tailor questions to the situation. Extensive questioning is not necessary but ask things like, "Is he having difficulty breathing?" Or ask them to check the gum color.

This was only the first of many lessons that usually when the owner calls and schedules an appointment for something, MANY times the diagnosis is completely different than what they came in for.

Have any funny patient stories? We would love to hear them! Leave them in the comment section below.

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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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