A house call may be a thing of the past for logical reasons but it can come in handy at times. Back in the day, when there were limited treatment options for patients other than elixirs from the apothecary, it made sense for a doctor to go to a home and provide “treatment.” However, as surgical procedures have become safer and injections and IV’s are more commonplace, the usefulness of a house call has been limited.
Well, I just learned of one remaining house call that can make all the difference….that of a plastic surgeon after a facelift! This past week, I performed two facelifts. One on Monday and the other on Wednesday. Both patients happened to live in the same neighborhood (Pacific Heights) as my practice – Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery. My facelifts typically take about 3 hours to perform in my in-office accredited operating room and I send the patient home after 1-2 hours in the recovery room. They usually get home right after noon.
In the past, I’d ask the patient to come back to the office the next day to remove the drain that I placed under the neck skin. But when I realized both patients this past week lived so close, it became clear that I could walk to their house with a suture removal kit, gauze and gloves and cut the stitch and remove the drain in the comfort of their own home. It didn’t disrupt my clinic hours since they were so close and I was able to help them avoid a trip to the office in the midst of their recovery.
If you’re reading this and I’ve performed a facelift on you and I didn’t make a house call the day after your surgery, it’s probably because you didn’t live nearby in the same neighborhood. This isn’t meant to be neighborhoodist! I don’t mean to present this as a popularity contest between neighborhoods here in San Francisco but traveling outside of the immediate vicinity through traffic by car or taxi really isn’t feasible. For me, a house call will have to be by foot.
So far it’s been a very fulfilling experience. One patient was so pleased that I came to visit, that she gave me a bottle of Champagne. It’s not important that Champagne gives me a headache. It’s the thought that counts!
Have you ever had a house call?