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Patients are losing patience, and they’re speaking out

Said former nurse Marta Frank: “I have kind of taken on a sacred cow.’’ –Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Marta Frank was accustomed to waiting past her appointment time to see her ophthalmologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a prominent Harvard specialty hospital. But she just couldn’t stay silent when she sat in a waiting room for what she calculated was upward of an hour and a half on a recent visit.

Frank progressed from the main waiting room to a “sub waiting room,’’ where she exchanged stories of frustration with other patients. One woman told Frank she had been kept waiting so long she missed her 4 p.m. ride on a previous occasion and had to wait until 8 p.m. for another, Frank recalled. Another weary patient shared that she had once returned a Mass. Eye and Ear fund-raising letter with the message, “Not until you give me better service.’’ “Elder abuse!’’ one man called his long wait, she said.

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Frank, a former women’s rights activist and nurse, told her fellow patients that she, for one, was going to speak up. She has company in her annoyed impatience. Patients have long been plagued by waiting room delays, but many are now becoming more vocal, particularly through social media. And the medical establishment is starting to react.

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