Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's not just the best policy part 1 (of 2)

According to the shiur I heard from Rabbi Paysach Krohn on Tisha B'Av, honesty is essential. Toward the end, he mentioned the pasuk everyone quotes for avoiding lashon hara with a reminder of what the last part of it says. "Netzor leshoncha mera usfathecah midaber mirma" It's not just a matter of avoiding evil speech but of avoiding twisted speech, that is prevarication.

He mentioned that the three letters of Emes in Hebrew, aleph, mem, and taf are stretched all over the alphabet because you have to really look around for truth. In contrast, the three letters for lies -- shin, kuf, and reish are all together because lies crop up all the time.

Rabbi Krohn included setting appointments that you don't intend to keep on time under the dishonest category. Saying directly that this is important for all doctors, he said, it is dishonest to double (and triple, quadruple) book appointments because, then the time you tell your patients to come is a lie. He pointed out that it works the other way, as well. Patients who come late to their appointments are also in the wrong. However, whereas doctors and dentists often have a policy to bill patients for missed appointments, patients have no such recourse. The cartoon pictured here is still just a bit of wishful thinking.

And I find that doctors are not the least bit contrite for keeping patients waiting. In fact, I once had one tell me that her phone call (with another patient) was far more important than my appointment. I had been kept waiting so long, both in the waiting room and in the exam room that I was ready to walk out. I really wish I had. The one time I did do that at a doctor's office, I felt very liberated. But they still don't seem to get it. Just calling you to warn you about a delay or at the very least an apology for keeping you waiting would go a long way in preventing malpractice suits.

While Rabbi Krohn also stressed that honesty applies to other businesses in terms of promised times for delivery, as well as monetary transactions, of course, he stressed its centrality in family life. The references get a bit lengthy, so I'll continue in part 2.


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