Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New crime on the books

As a prosecutor, I don't get to decide which laws to apply, and which to ignore. I don't get to write new laws, to invent crimes, or pick and choose defendants to hammer.

As a prosecutor, I can't do those things legally or ethically.

But as a blogger, oh boy. . . this is my world and if you run afoul of its laws, I get to decide whether to apply the thumb screws, boiling oil, or put cockroaches in your panties.

So here's a new law, aimed at a noble and ancient profession (no, not that one!): doctors. The law is:

If a person makes an appointment for a specific time, it shall be a felony to make that person wait more than half an hour.

-- a state jail felony for between 30 and 45 mins;
-- a third degree felony for between 45 mins and 1 hour;
-- a second degree felony for between any time over 1 hour.

The following shall not be defenses to this crime:
  • apologetic looks from the receptionist
  • comments from any member of staff about how busy they are
  • that the person is placed in a holding cell (aka examination room), if the waiting is done there instead of the reception area
Now, doctors are productive members of society so I don't think they should necessarily be jailed for this crime. Probation would be more appropriate and here are some conditions I would apply:

-- community service : providing free, on-time, and cheerful service to the indigent and homeless.
-- drug / alcohol / anger management treatment : it wouldn't matter if the doctor suffered from any of these. After all, needless treatments are already part of their world.
-- fifty minutes a day, every day for a week, on a hard plastic chair with only a poster of AIDS symptoms and a 1997 copy of Time magazine to look at.
-- at least one bodily invasive procedure, chosen by the victim. If a second degree, performed by the victim.

For repeat offenders . . . hmmm, I'll take suggestions.


  1. Agreed! I don't understand why doctors don't have a computerized system that calls the next people in their appointment queue and lets them know that the doctor is running X minutes late, please delay your arrival, or would you like to reschedule your appointment? This would save a lot of time and aggravation. And at the very least, if people have to pay for parking, reimburse them for the extra time they spend waiting!

  2. I dispute the idea that, as a prosecutor, you have no choice in which laws to apply and which to ignore. Prosecutors routinely ignore violations of the law, even ones they could very easily prove.

    Take, for example, infamous former Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell. He testified under oath in a Denton County DWI license suspension hearing that he subjected a driver to a field sobriety test because he "smelled alcohol on his breath" while, on a dashcam tape taken at the time of the traffic stop, he is heard telling a fellow officer that he doesn't smell any alcohol but he's going to administer a field sobriety test anyway.

    In Texas, it is a Class A misdemeanor to "make a false statement under oath". So there was a crime that was pretty much a slam dunk case. If prosecutors don't have the ability to ignore the law, Robert Powell certainly would've been prosecuted.

    Instead, no charges were brought, and Robert Powell continues to work as a police officer in the state of Texas (presumably still lying on the stand).

    And that's just one example off the top of my head.

  3. Ding! Ding! Ding! We must have the same primary care physician. After a very brief but peaceful interlude in the waiting room, watching TV or reading a magazine, I'm hailed to an exam room where a nurse's aide weighs me and takes my blood pressure, and then leaves me sitting in my skivvies on six feet of butcher paper and staring at the four walls for a half-hour. No legislation needed, it's a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

  4. Donald,
    I think I'm right in saying that the eighth amendment only protects us from governmental torture. Hence the need for my law, although I'm wondering now about a constitutional amendment, protecting us from tardy docs... nice idea!

  5. It shall be a major felony if the doctor makes you wait if you are the first patient of the day longer than ten minutes. The workday has just started, what could possibly make you (as a doctor) that behind schedule?

  6. Todd: what prompted my new law was an 8:40 AM appointment, for which I had to wait 30+ minutes. You're right, there's no good excuse for an early morning wait like that.

  7. Excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Mr. Bigshot Prosecutor, but I did indeed have a perfectly fine excuse. Can't remember every detail but it had something to do with too many tequila shots the night before. Always makes me late to work.

  8. Being made to wait for the MD is an automatic fine at twice your normal billing rate, or the MD's normal rate which ever is higher. Psychological pain and suffering endured while waiting - priceless.

    I suggest the injured party of the first part select a stainless steel implement from the MD's toy box and insert said implement into an orifice of his or her choosing.


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