Rural Doctor Fired for Not Waving Back to Local Residents in Public.

Abigail, KS --  Brown Community Hospital fired their only Family Medicine physician on Wednesday after town residents complained he never reciprocated the two finger greeting in public. With great fanfare, Dr. Riley Jones had just been hired two months prior after the critical access hospital failed to sign a local physician for the previous three years.

"The CEO welcomed me into in his office with a two-finger-hat-tilt-head-bob-wave and then told me to clean out my desk," said Dr. Jones, who was shocked a hospital would fire the only doctor within 60 miles for failing to wave back in public.

According to hospital officials, Dr. Jones was contractually required to initiate a wave or to wave back to town members as a sign of community respect.

"On numerous occasions, we asked the doctor to participate in our class on How to Improve Patient Satisfaction through Public Hand Waving, but he never complied.  His repeated lack of respect for community standards left us no choice but to let him go," said CEO Benny Brainard, known for his right-hand-index-finger-circular-lift-off-the steering-wheel-wave when leaving the hospital in his 2001 Buick Regal.

"I've never been to a small town before.  In Kansas City, waving at strangers will get you shot," said Dr. Jones, who has already found another job in a lucrative cash only Kansas City botox clinic for three times the money.

Several years ago, Medicare started paying hospitals based on patient satisfaction scores. Since then, hospitals have placed increasing pressure on physicians to keep patients happy at all costs.  A 2013 Gallup survey found rural hospitals could increase their patient satisfaction scores by 28% if physicians facilitated or reciprocated  a friendly wave to community residents in public.

 Dr. Jones was the target of animosity even before he saw his first patient.   "He didn't even acknowledge me when I drove past him at church," said, Annabelle Vedlaceck, one of several elderly ladies who started organizing the doctor's recall just days after his arrival.  "I think it's rude not to get  the finger from your doctor," said Annabelle, as she greeted the hospital's on-call night nurse, passing by on a bicycle, with a two-finger-chin-bob-left-eye-squint-wave.

Finishing first in his medical school class and saving  the life of two local residents after just a week on the job was not enough to overcome dissatisfaction with his lack of hospitality.  Multiple town residents met with hospital officials at Bill's Cafe in September to demand Dr. Jones be fired or they would boycott the hospital and travel 60 miles out of their way to Green Community Hospital, where their doctor always gives a friendly left-handed-two-finger-brow-touching acknowledgement to the lay folk.

Outsiders may question the utility of firing the town's only doctor they've had in years for presumed rudeness, but local residents disagree.  "The one-finger wave is such a basic part of our community, we just can't let it slide," said John Banner, a farmer who lost all but a single waving finger in a combine accident at the age of 12.

"Getting a one-finger-wave from my doctor is the best medicine I could ever ask for."



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