Monday, May 27, 2013

Cuco Somoza
4-3-13 WOSO Commentary

Last Thursday my wife and I attended the standing room only funeral mass for our dentist of some 30 years, Francisco (Cuco) Somoza, who died of cancer.

Cuco was the perfect professional and went against the grain in what I call Puerto Rico’s medical UNCARE appointment system.  Cuco’s office gave you an appointment for a specific hour and Cuco received you punctually at the scheduled time with a warm smile and expert dental services.

Although all my doctors in Puerto Rico are similarly friendly and effective regarding their medical advice and treatment, the majority give appointments for a given day on a first come, first serve basis. The way I have dealt with this uncaring system in the past is to patiently make various calls towards the end of the day in order to determine when I can arrive and be attended to with the least amount of waiting time. The risk is that my last call is too late and they can no longer take care of me which is precisely what happened to me last week.  

Because I needed to schedule an operation prior to our trip to Iran scheduled for April 15th, I could not risk missing another appointment and thus played the system in the normal way, that is, arrive very early and patiently wait for various hours.

I arrived at 7:10 am to sign up on the sheet put up by the first patient arriving around 6 am. I was number 16 on the list. Because the office opens at 8 am and the doctor arrived between 8:30 and 9, the first person on the list saw the doctor around 9 so his waiting time was some three hours.  I saw the doctor at a little after 11 am and so I ended up waiting some 4 hours.

In closing, all I can say is that I will miss my punctual and affable dentist, Cuco Somoza, very much!

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