I am familiar with the question Neutral word for half-hearted

But I am looking for a negative word.

Consider the case:

Patient is brought to emergency ward in hospital. The Doctor knows that they have 1 hour to administer medication. Doctor goes socializing for 50 minutes - because that was more short term fun for the doctor. And at the 50th minute comes back and administers the medicine. When asked the Doctor claimed, that there is still time.

The 1 hour is however an average, and for this patient, it was too long. His body rejects the treatment.

I am looking for a word to describe the Doctors behavior.

More generally : Putting off your call of duty, or long term goal, or your dream as long as possible only to scramble at the 11th hour.

It would be nice, if the same word can also capture the defense / claim that there is still or enough time / resource etc left. If not then maybe we will find a companion word that fits well.

Word form : I want this to be a single word , possibly a verb, please. If the single word does not capture both the meanings I mentioned, then two words are also OK. I would be open to phrases, in worst cases as well.

Words that i have considered :

Half hearted action, acting at the 11th hour: Does not quite catch the negligence and drooling after a different short term hedonistic fulfillment (like the socialization for 59 minutes ignoring the patient)

Ignorance, Carelessness, disregard : Very broad terms. I would like the word / phrase to be specifically capture the general meaning above.

Lukewarm : There is no shortage of enthusiasm here. The main issue is that the action is delayed as far as possible with excuses of "still enough" / "still time left" etc.

  • 1
    I'm not really sure that what you're describing is half-hearted. Half-hearted is about the level of effort applied to doing the job, not when it was done (ie putting it off). For example, you can delay doing CPR on a heart-attack patient; or you can only put limited effort into doing CPR, whenever you do that. It's the latter which is half-hearted. – Andrew Leach May 4 at 10:06
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    I'm not sure whether the issue here is the doctor's insouciant, casual, nonchalant attitude, or the fact that as a medical practitioner, he's quite obviously not properly qualified, if he could fail to realise that his lack of timely intervention might lead to death. – FumbleFingers May 4 at 10:44
  • It's the attitude, that the Doctor takes it for granted, that they can put their duty aside. – Sean May 4 at 11:29

The adjective dilatory carries, according to Webster's, a negative emphasis:


[a] inclined to defer or put off what ought to be done at once; given to procrastination; delaying; procrastinating; loitering

  • a dilatory servant

[b] marked by procrastination or delay; tardy; slow; sluggish ... said of actions or measures

[re-formatted and with minor correction]


Since you've mentioned that you'd prefer a verb, slack seems to fit the bill nicely.

To be careless or remiss in doing.

slack one's duty.

[American Heritage Dictionary]

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