William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter

Writing Sample ~ Nonfiction ~ Healthcare

Note: The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference. .

You’ve booked a doctor’s visit three months in advance because your physician has just sold his practice to one of the larger hospitals in your metropolitan area. Next-day appointments are now out of the question. In fact, you can’t call his or her office directly anymore. You have to call the hospital switchboard, which will schedule your appointment and, if necessary, get in touch with the doctor’s nurse if you have a question regarding medication. There’s literally no way for you to reach your physician’s staff short of showing up in person.

The day arrives for your visit, and you sign in, noticing that two other patients are also scheduled for the same time as your your appointment. The doctor is now double-booking >in order to maximize profits, especially since a routine visit now costs $275. You give your insurance cards to the receptionist, who also has you sign a dozen electronic forms. Then you sit in the waiting room and must listen to the big-screen TV blaring on the wall opposite your seat. Most of the time, you’ll have to watch The Price Is Right or a soap opera. You have a health concern, but you >have to spend sixty minutes listening to people guess the price of a jacuzzi or microwave oven while the audience screams “Higher! Lower!”

And then you wait even longer because the doctor is running late, which is now the rule and not the exception. You’d like to read, but there aren’t any magazines in the waiting room any more because most people are scrolling through their smart phones or playing video games. Patients who came in after you are, for some reason, taken almost immediately, but when you ask the receptionist why, you’re told, “We’re >really busy today. It won’t be much longer.”

At long last, your name is called, and you feel as if you’ve been invited to the Promised Land. A nurse takes your vital signs and then asks which medications you’re currently on. Then she leaves, and you sit for fifteen minutes. You can hear the doctor outside every few minutes and think that it’s finally your turn to be seen. Thirty minutes go by, then forty-five.

Finally, your physician comes through the door, but he doesn’t bother to say hello. He heads to the computer screen in the corner of the cubicle and checks to see what info the nurse has entered forty-five minutes earlier. There has yet to be any direct contact with you, his patient. He then proceeds to ask several questions about why you’re there, his eyes never leaving the PC screen as he types your answers into a digital file, which will be uploaded to “the cloud” so that every doctor and hospital in the country can see your medical history because you signed away your HIPPA rights on one of those electronic forms the receptionist told you to sign.

After five minutes in the small exam room, the doctor sends a prescription to your pharmacy via the computer. He finally stands, smiles as he shakes your hand, says goodbye, and then exits the room. You leave, having spent a lot of money for a few minutes with a medical professional who looked at you for fifteen seconds. This is the new world of corporate medicine, a world in which private practices are the exception and not the rule. It is yet another aspect of life that has been appropriated by computerization and the digital age. Hopefully, the doctor got the diagnosis and prescription right. If not, you’ll have to call the hospital switchboard switchboard later in the day and hope that your physician’s nurse will call sometime during the next week.

 William Hammett

Dream big.

Write a book.



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