Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 10 Feb
"All insect bites look the same," I explained. Bedbug calls are tricky. Patients blame the hotel, so they are reluctant to pay the doctor. Confronted by an angry guest, hotels ask my help and often offer to pay my fee.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 30 Jan
Twenty years ago I drove thirty-five miles to Pasadena to see a patient. When I opened the trunk to get my bag, it wasn't there. I had left it at home. I drove back to retrieve it.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 23 Jan
"My son has a boil on his leg. Our doctor says he might need an antibiotic. Could you come to the hotel?" A boil is collection dead tissue, full of pus and germs. It has no blood supply, so an antibiotic can’t reach it. Antibiotics don’t cure boils.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 16 Jan
More than "I'm having chest pain" or "my mother stopped breathing" the most stressful phrase a hotel doctor hears is "Do You Accept My Insurance?"
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 9 Jan
"I am constipated," said a guest with a thick French accent. "Constipation' means different things to different people," I said. "What exactly bothers you?" Silence…. When a caller doesn't answer, it usually means he doesn't understand.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 2 Jan
A lady reported that her eleven year-old son was seriously ill but refused to take him to a clinic or emergency room. She had been pestering the hotel staff all day.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 24 Dec
A woman under treatment for infertility needed a progesterone shot every month. She had the vial. Could I send a nurse?
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 17 Dec
A man suffered a headache on his flight. After arriving at the hotel, he felt severe pain in his left ear. When he opened the door, I noticed that the left side of his face drooped.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 10 Dec
"No one but my wife had crab cakes in the hotel restaurant last night, and about 4 a.m……" A miserable problem for the guest's wife but also a difficulty for me. The caller had no doubt that his wife was suffering food poisoning although no one can make that diagnosis unless more than one person gets sick. In developed countries, viral infections cause most upset stomachs.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 4 Dec
A few years ago, Quantas abruptly cancelled flights after an engine exploded. Other airlines followed.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 26 Nov
I didn't recognize the number on caller ID, and when I heard "This is Adele from L'Hermitage" I nearly dropped the phone.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 19 Nov
As I entered the room, half a dozen family members stood and bowed. When Japanese bow, it means no one speaks English, so I phoned the Japanese travel insurance agency.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 12 Nov
A Quantas flight attendant was vomiting, so I drove 49 miles to the Radisson in Newport Beach. Fortunately, she was already getting better. She hadn't vomited in six hours. I told her that she should continue to improve and advised her to suck on ice chips. I went to the ice machine and filled tub. Normally, I would have left antinausea pills, but she was pregnant. She thanked me effusively as I left.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 5 Nov
An eight year-old's eyelid revealed a small bump. My diagnosis was a sty. As I explained, the mother held out her cell phone.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 29 Oct
A diamond dealer, violently ill with stomach flu, remained overnight at an emergency room. Returning to L.A. Marriott, he felt better except for some diarrhea. I reassured him and handed over anti-diarrhea pills.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 22 Oct
A Craigslist ad was recruiting hotel doctors. I keep track of new arrivals and offer to work for them. They often take me up on it because it’s not easy to find a doctor on the spur of the moment. A few hours after my query, the phone rang. The caller introduced himself, adding that he knew me, admired me, and was certain that I was a perfect hire.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 1 Oct
"This is Doctor Oppenheim," I repeated several times before hanging up. Caller ID identified the Doubletree in Santa Monica, so I phoned to ask if someone had requested a doctor. Someone had.
Mike Oppenheim M.D. · 16 Sep
A national housecall service connected me with a guest at the Montage in Beverly Hills. She was suffering the flu; I told her I'd arrive in half an hour.