Interruption In Waiting Room

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Dear Joel,

Recently, while in my doctor’s waiting room completing paperwork a middle-aged man sat down, proceeded to turn on his electronic device and watch a movie. Not only was the volume loud, it was competing with the television, as well as front-desk telephones and conversation. I moved as far away as I could, but the room is small. I was tempted to ask him to turn it down, but I was concerned as to what his reaction would be. What is your suggestion for situations like this?


  You are not alone; many others have experienced similar situations. I personally have left a waiting room and stood outside. However, you should not be inconvenienced or uncomfortable. In order to avoid a confrontation, I would suggest speaking with the front desk or the office manager. Explain the situation and request that the person be quietly spoken to or removed from the area, and that signage requesting ‘courtesy’ be posted to avoid future incidents. If the office does not wish to address the immediate situation, then request to be put in an exam room or office. Also, I would not hesitate to share your feelings with your physician, they may be unaware of the daily practice goings on and would be happy to put policies in place to avoid future issues.

Joel Markel

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