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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where to go...?

So random. Why do people think if they place an order at store A they can retrieve it at store B? When I order something online for in-store pickup, I have to select which location I will physically visit. I can't select the one in Duluth then show up at the one in Denver, expecting my order to be there. Why then, do people think physical pharmacy locations are any different? I can't call one store then arrive at another expecting them to know what I need. (Although some people evidently believe this to be true...)

Drive-Thru Customer: Here, I'm going to drop this off.
CP: When are you coming back for it?
DTC: I'm not. I'm going to pick it up at the store by my work.
CP: Then it won't be there.
DTC: Why not?
CP: Because it will be here.
DTC: But I want it there.
CP: But you're dropping it off here.
DTC: Aren't you all connected?
CP: We share the same father.
DTC: What?
CP: Same CEO. But we're like his kids that moved away. And don't really talk to each other. We have our own kids and houses and only see each other at reunions.
DTC: But you guys transfer prescriptions?
CP: Yes. Yes we do. When you go there, they call us and we transfer it. But I have to put it in my computer first. Essentially, I have to do all the work. Then you have to go there and tell them you want it there. Then I have to undo all my work. Then they have to do all the same work. It'll take more work and time for your convenience. 
DTC: Then do that.
CP: Ok. That'll be a processing fee of $60. 
DTC: You said it's convenient.
CP: Note: I did not say cheaper. And you have your own car which you are currently driving to work. Where our other location happens to be. Stop by and tell them I said "HI" and I miss them. Then give them your prescription and tell them you'll be back after work. Give them some time to get it ready for you. 
DTC: This is ridiculous.
CP: No. What IS ridiculous is your assumption that this is how the retail world works. You have given me an idea. Today, on my way to work, I am going to go to the McDonald's drive-thru near my house. When I place my order and get to the window, I am going to tell them to forward my order to the store across the street from where I work so it will be hot and fresh. I don't want any hash browns that are 10 minutes older than they need to be. I also shall request that they be packaged immediately out of the fryer. The coffee needs to be at exactly the hottest temperature for my enjoyment, otherwise my day is completely ruined. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I hear everything in my store. I am always on the alert for someone abusing my techs or for someone trying to flex their lone brain cell. This is probably our biggest pet peeve...

Every Impatient Customer: All you do is put pills in a bottle.
CP: Really? Shows you what you know.
EIC: It is. I see you.
CP: Well, you must be rather slow on your processing speed there, slick.
EIC: Come again?
CP: Point proven, but I digress.
EIC: Que?
CP: <in best 6 year old taunting voice> Ha! I also have to find the bottle. Uh-huh. Then I have to OPEN the bottle. That requires a tricky, 2-step process: I have to push down AND turn...at the same time! Then I have to take pills OUT of the bottle. I mean, seriously, where else would I get them to just put them in a bottle? See, I have to take something out in order to put something in.
EIC: You're a dick.
CP: While that also has to be taken out first, it doesn't get put into bottles. Unless you're compensating for something. Then I can give you a brand-name Synthroid bottle to try.

Monday, January 28, 2013


CP: Your copay today is $20
Surprised Dude: What? I didn't pay that the last time I got it filled.
CP: The last time I bought gas it was $3.19 a gallon!
SD: What's that have to do with anything?
CP: What? Oh, sorry. I thought we were wistfully reminiscing about the way things used to be. You know, pining for the "good ole days".
SD: Seriously?
CP: You want to try again? How about "I remember when gas was under $1 a gallon"! You try.
SD: I remember...wait, what? I want my pills.
CP: Ah. Give up? Okay. That'll be $20.
SD: It's never been that much.
CP: Really? I remember the uproar when stamps went to a quarter! Still want to keep playing?
SD: I just want my medication.
CP: And I just want $20.
SD: Bitch!
CP: No. Cynical Pharmacist in need of $20 so you'll go away.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Expense Reports

It's that time of year again. Everyone needs their profiles printed and expense reports run for tax season. That's the easy part. The hard part is answering the same question hundreds of times with an unsatisfactory answer. We are doing our jobs. Period. I don't make the rules, I just bitch about them.

"Can my husband/wife/life partner/sister/cousin/neighbor/dog/cat/taxi driver pick up my profile for me?"

No. Not unless we have a power of attorney or letter from you giving said relation the authority to retrieve it on your behalf. It had always been this way, but now we can simply invoke "HIPAA" as the answer. Look, your elected officials decided to write this little law. If you have a problem with the law, call your representatives. I think I may just print out their names and phone numbers this year. Every time someone gets a little irritated about the inconvenience of their own privacy being protected, I will hand them a copy. They don't care who picks up their private health information, but they are careful to whisper their phone number and date of birth.
Yes. Your boarder who lives in your attic can pick up all of your medications. Yes, he can come in every day and bring us treats. No, we cannot give him a list of what he has picked up for you without your express written consent. Again, I don't make the rules...I just have to obey them.
Please call ahead to request this report. I know it doesn't take long to print it. I know you are on your way to see your H&R Block guy right now and this is the final piece of paperwork to make your refund instant. Keep in mind, you are unique, just like everyone else. This means everyone else has to do their taxes and everyone else wants this report too. Oh, we also have to work these requests into the rest of our workload.
If you happen to patronize a pharmacy that lets you print these at home, please take advantage. But then again, you already knew that and you're sympathizing with us.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Conversation with myself

Me: Why do you hate your job?
CP: I don't hate my job.
Me: You complain about it a lot.
CP: No. I complain about the profession and the people.
Me: But you have to work with people. How's that work?
CP: Works out fine. It's not those people I complain about.
Me: Explain.
CP: You go to a movie or a theater. Signs and announcements are omnipresent. No cell phone use. No calls. No texting. Hundreds of people obey this. However, there is always someone who will blithely ignore the rules much to the detriment of my enjoyment of the production.
Me: So there's a correlation here?
CP: Of course. We can post all the signs we want. We can explain the rules to everyone. We can tell them exactly what we need and people will ignore it all. (Notice I did not say ALL people.)
Me: So people are only after themselves? Ignorant of what society demands as socially acceptable behaviour?
CP: Indeed. It is no more obvious anywhere than retail settings. Where a profession and the public collide in a retail setting where we each have certain expectations of the other, despite the constraints of one party's laws, there is going to be friction. It is a worst-case scenario just waiting to be played out. On the Silver Screen. Or a TV miniseries. Which I will watch. And someone's phone will go off. Thus bringing my reality and my nightmare together, having completed the perfect circle.

Me: But what about the profession part of it?
CP: My profession, at least the retail portion of it, is a money-hungry whore that cares nothing for the patients/guests/customers/ whatever they choose to call them other than dollar signs.
Me: Seriously? Then why do it?
CP: Because that's who I am. I care. I hate the system, but I love the people. I am the best at what I do. I am. My patients (and they are MY patients) deserve the best care despite the system being set up to fail them. So every day, with a big smile on my face, I get to work early, skip lunch, skip the potty breaks, stay late, and do everything I can to help MY patients.
Me: So you say "Love the Player. Hate the Game"?
CP: Exactly. Like "The X-Files", the truth is out there. I am just telling it here. Perhaps corporate or Congressional America will hear it. Perhaps. Either way, I have a job to do every single day that despite Customer Service metrics, Auto-Refill quotas, Compliance calls, and other corporate "business-building" ideas, I will do better than anyone else. That is my goal.
For those who question my, or any pharmacists' dedication, I invite you to go back and read this entire page. Then hit "Like" and stick around.
If not, I can only offer you this insight: "All you know about me's what I sold you (MJK-tool)".

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Prescriptions do not get better with age

Some things age well-cheese, wine.  Some do not-Keith Richards, prescriptions.

Why do people hold on to their paper prescriptions as if their value will appreciate? In the great state of...where I practice, hard copy prescriptions must be filled for the very first time within 6 months from the day it was written; essentially, 180 days. (That's January 1st to June 30th = 181 days, I know. But July, 1st is too late. I don't make the laws.) Anyway, the refills are only valid for 1 year from the day it was written. This means 365 days (January 1st-December 31st-not to January 1st...)

Why would you wait to get your prescription filled?

An older lady brought us a prescription she had obviously stashed in her purse some time ago.  We explained we could not fill it because it was too old.  With her years of wisdom and maturity forgotten, she tore up the prescription and threw it in the air to land all over my floor.  First, it was for an antibiotic.  Second, it was over 1 year old and she complained her doctor wanted her to have it because she "had something".  How about NO.  You just wanted the gift card for a new prescription and are mad at your own stupidity and inability to use a coupon.

The most common ones we see...

Oh, you're having a procedure done and the doctor gave this to you so you could fill it ahead of time and not worry about us being out of stock? Oh, it was written 3 months ago? Oh, your appointment is in 30 minutes? And you were supposed to start this 1 hour before? Sorry. We are not only out of stock, but my time machine is in the shop for repairs.
So this is for an infection? A UTI or other acute illness that prompted an ER visit in the middle of the night? The middle of the night 3 months ago? And you have to have it now? Sure thing. Our wait time is about 4-6 weeks...
Another ER visit? This time for pain meds? You were in so much pain that you had to go to the ER at 3am? And it's now noon? 6 weeks later? And you need it now? Sure. Come back in 10-15...days.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Board Game

Introducing the newest board game to rival Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary: Name My Drugs.
Pharmacists would excel at this game. It would be fun at the holidays and on college campuses everywhere. It could be a drinking game.
The set would include a box of cards and a playing board. On one side would be pill descriptions. On the other side, a picture. Points are awarded for guessing the correct pill based on the clues. More points are awarded for guessing it in the fewest clues. Board pieces would be shaped like common tablets-Blue Viagra, Red Sudafed, Black Nephrocaps, Yellow Synthroid 100mcg...
It's a fun, easy way to learn what exactly you take. There would even be informative stats on each card.  Since patients take their medication every single day, often 2 or 3 or 4 times, they should present quite the challenge to the professionals.
There would be booster boxes released once a year that contain the newest Brand and Generic releases to hit the market. There would even be a "Challenge" card or box of cards for those seeking an expert level. It would include only "little white pills". We could even have trading cards sold in booster packs so you and your kids can play together. Imagine the family time you will gain by sharing this common bond: taking prescriptions together and collecting trading cards. Fun for the whole family.

We would sell it at the pharmacy. We could file patients' prescriptions by Drug Name instead of Patient Name. Fun! Then for in-game bonus points, we can quiz patients when they come in to pick up their prescriptions. "What medication are you getting today? What does it look like? Why are you taking it?" If they get them all right, they can receive a gift card or online loyalty reward from the pharmacy chain where they do business. Imagine all the tie-ins with this!
Another booster pack? Narcotics only. Test your mettle to make sure what you bought on the street is really what that guy told you it was.
The board would take you on a lovely, meandering trip through Pharmacy World. We could have drug companies sponsor it as you go from Pfizer Village to Merck Meadows. Or it could be based on drug classes as you travel through Benzo Bayou into Penicillin Plateau. Better yet, we could set it up so your travels mimic that of your prescription through our pharmacy: Drop-Off Downs to Data Entry Woods to Filling Falls to Verification Vista to Checkout Chateau. Penalties would take you to Prior Auth Purgatory where you have to sit out of the game for 48-72 hours.

My lighthearted jest is sincere. As we all know, people do not know what they take or why. They don't read labels and only know them as "the green one at night and the little white one with lunch". How do we engage them? Loyalty Rewards!
(Just Kidding. I do think this would be a great game though.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pick One

Patients. Please. I implore, beg, beseech, supplicate, humbly request that you pick one pharmacy and stick with it. (Exceptions can be made for special items your pharmacy cannot stock or compound.) It used to be that people only used one pharmacy and often chose one due to the pharmaCIST. Now it is de rigueur for everyone to shop around. To compare prices. To use coupons. To get a free tank of gas. Free banana peeler. Whatever. The point is there is a problem with NOT using a single pharmacy.
In order to do our jobs, to completely perform all the tasks associated with our jobs, we need to have your complete record on file. If you use one pharmacy, or a single chain, everything will be there. If you use insurance for all of your prescriptions, they will have a record as well and will often alert pharmacies to drug interactions. But not always.
Herein lies the problem. When people are looking to save a few dollars and shop around, they often tell the pharmacy to keep it off their insurance. The FREE antibiotics and diabetes medications don't need to go on there, right? Patients often come in for those and tell us they are just cash customers. Patients often get the majority of their profile filled at one pharmacy but use another for the free and $4 medications. (I've never understood why people do that. Why drive all over town? Just get everything at the same place. People can't keep track of where they keep their keys or cell phone, but they can juggle 2-4 pharmacies?) They also want us to keep the $4 medications off their insurance. It adds up, they say. Fine. The only problem is, no one else knows you are taking this. Not your insurance. Not your other pharmacy(ies). Often, not your other doctors. If no one knows what you are taking, no one knows what types of interactions you may have.
As with all things, a profile is only as good as the information in it. Incomplete records result in incomplete care. I know a few pharmacies are slowly moving away from their free and $4 lists. Hopefully this means people will take those 1 or 2 scattered medications back to their main pharmacy. Please make sure you inform every healthcare worker you see what medications you take. Doctors offices make you fill out a form and ask with every visit, to list your medications. You should tell every pharmacy the same thing. It's okay. It's not cheating. We already know you're doing it. You don't even have to tell us who she is. Just tell us what she fills for you. Seriously. Then go back and read the first paragraph. Hopefully you pick us. I honestly don't care. I only care that you continue to use one pharmacy so you can get the most complete healthcare you deserve. Seriously.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The process: get unwell, make appointment with doctor, visit doctor, get prescription, visit pharmacy, get prescription filled, take prescription. When prescription is empty, go back to the beginning. Do not skip steps.
We all know this isn't true anymore. Now the onus is on pharmacies to do every damn thing for the patient except be sick for them and take the meds for them. We call doctors, we hunt down refills, we predictively fill refills, we call patients to come pick up these refills. We relay messages to them from their doctors. And here is where I make today's point. I am fine with giving these messages. We often see many patients on a daily or weekly basis whereas the doctors may see them only a handful of times a year, often once or twice.
If you are trying to get someone to do something, you have to give them reason to want/need to do it. Doctors will often send messages that "patient must make office visit" or "no more refills until seen". Fantastic. Except when they are attached to prescriptions for a 90 day supply with 3 refills. How is this expected to work? Here's a year supply. Since you haven't been seen in some time, we expect you to pop by for a visit in the next year or so? How about we try this? Give them a 30 day supply. Period. If we fax another request in a month, deny it for this reason. Better yet, give them a 2-week supply. That'll get them in the office right quick. We need to train them.
Don't give me the "it's not convenient for the patient" excuse. It works for all the pain clinics, right? They schedule patients for 28 day supplies of medications with appointments every 28 days. (No. I am not saying all appointments should be q28d. Just more regularity with accountability sprinkled in too.) Pain clinics may do drug tests. Other prescribers should be so vigilant with their testing. Patients often forget, as do some doctors, that routine testing is a necessary part of patient care. Blood pressure monitoring, LFTs for many drugs, especially statins, other blood work, eye checks, breathing checks, etc. If patients are not seen and are not checked, how do we know the medication is correct? Is the correct dose? Frequency? Still appropriate for her? How many events have affected her health since the last visit? Multiple doctors since the heart attack or panic attack? Multiple pharmacies due to free drugs versus mandatory mail order? These routine visits to the offices with regularly scheduled visits to one pharmacy make our jobs easier. It also makes the management of one's healthcare their own. Skipping steps in the process and not holding people accountable can only be bad. I say we force the issue. Maybe I'll schedule an appointment with the doctor. Sometime in the next year or so...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Conversation #3

CP: Thanks for calling Cynical Pharmacy, this is the Cynical Pharmacist speaking. I am a Pharmacist. How may I help you?
Any Caller: May I speak to the pharmacist please?
CP: No.
AC: Why not?
CP: Not if you're going to act like that.
AC: Like what?
CP: I think you know.
AC: I most certainly do not know.
CP: You're not even listening to me. Are you listening to me?
AC: Of course I am and it's making me mad.
CP: Do you even know who you're talking to?
AC: The pharmacy?
CP: No. I am not a building. I am a person. I am a human being. I deserve to be loved and treated as such. I can't believe you didn't even know it was me all along even though I said Pharmacist twice in my intro spiel.
AC: Sorry.
CP: Furthermore, I can't believe you indulged me long enough to get this far. Now what did you want?
AC: Did my doctor call anything in for me?
CP: Hahahahahaha. See conversation #2...

Conversation #2

Any Caller: Did my doctor send you a prescription for me?
CP: Maybe...
AC: What do you mean maybe?
CP: Ok. Sorry. It depends?
AC: Depends? On what?
CP: It depends on who "me" is.
AC: I am me.
CP: I know this to be true as you and I, or as you put it "I and 'me'" are talking. However, "me" does not come up in my computer. If it did, I'd have a thousand of them and I would still need something like a first and last name and date of birth to separate you out from all the other "me's" who call me every hour with the same inquiry. Care to try again?
AC: No. I'll just call my doctor and ask him. Thanks though.
CP: Good idea. You're probably the only "me" he has. I'll be on the lookout for a call for "me". Want me to call you if I get one for "me"?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Conversation I'd Like to Have #1

Me: Thank you for calling my pharmacy, Cynical Pharmacist speaking, may I help you?
Average Patient: Did my doctor call anything in for me today?
Me: Yes.
AP: What?
Me: A prescription.
AP: What prescription?
Me: A small round, white one.
AP: What's it for?
Me: What's wrong with you?
AP: Nothing. What's wrong with you?
Me: Nothing. But I didn't need to see a doctor today.
AP: Neither did I.
Me: Then why did your doctor call in something?
AP: I don't know.
Me: Did you call him?
AP: Yes.
Me: Why, I ask, did you call your doctor?
AP: To get a prescription.
Me: Why did you tell him you needed a prescription?
AP: Because my head hurt.
Me: Great. So does mine now. I think I'll call your doctor and ask if he can give me what he gave you.

What's in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...Very poetic.
A customer by any other name would be a guest...Not so poetic.
An associate by any other name is called a team member.
Their boss is called a team leader...

Is it just me, or does anyone else think of Star Wars when they hear a page for "Team Leader"? I find it especially true walking the aisles of Target. All I can picture, as I walk among the polo shirts, is Luke Skywalker and buddies saying "Red Team Leader, ready!" Do they call  Wal-Mart and ask for "Blue Team Leader"? Seriously. It's funny. Try not to think of this now whenever you visit these two stores or watch Star Wars. It's also sad. People complain there is no room for cynicism in the profession of pharmacy. Bullshit. There's plenty of room. We are not a profession anymore. I want it back. I want to be treated as such. When my profession starts being a profession again, I'll revisit my stance. Until then...

It is this idea of rebranding that helps the profession of pharmacy distance itself from being a profession. It marginalizes us. We are pharmacists. They are patients. If we continue to distance ourselves from who we are, the customers will also. If we don't take ourselves seriously, no one else will. That is why they treat us in the pharmacy the way they treat any cashier at any store in any town. It wasn't like this when I was a kid. It wasn't like this when I graduated. (It wasn't that long ago...at least in my mind.)

I want my profession back.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stupid Insurances

Did you ever wonder how insurances come up with some of the formulary/dosing guidelines they use?
#1. Insurance rejects #30 Prevacid 30mg for a 30 day supply because they only allow for a max of a 21 day supply. When we reprocess this for 21 capsules, they reject the claim because "minimum day supply of 28 not met"...Now I think they're just playing with us.

2. Insurance kicks back a claim on Prenatal Vitamins with the DUR that says "Warning-carefully evaluate use in pregnancy"...So they're only useful before and after?

3. Maximum daily dose of Prozac 40mg capsules = 0.75 capsule per day? I called the insurance lady and she proceeded to ask if I had called the doctor to notify him of the high dose. High dose? I told the lady the doctor would laugh at me if I called and said the patient's insurance requires her to take only 3/4 of a capsule per day...I understand pill-splitting in some cases, but, really?

4. Insurance required insulin and pen needles be purchased together. Her Lantus and Novolog Pens each lasted 48 and 50 days, irrespectively. They would only allow her to get 100 needles at a time because she only used 3 shots a day, combined. Her needles were due every 33 days. We called and asked the insurance how we could bill them on the same day since the insulins would be 2 weeks too soon. They didn't know. Said we would have to call each time for an override. Right. Your rules are stupid so I have to do more work. Fantastic.

5. Mail order overrides--this is a post in itself, but...what about an unbreakable package? We call for the override to be told we have to reprocess for a 14 day supply and we have to change the dispensed quantity. Um, how do I take 16 inhalations out of a Spiriva or 32 from an Advair? Why should I have to even call for this? Give me override code for "unit-of-use" item. They have us running around like crazy fools. I think they secretly post cameras in our stores and watch us like some billionaires' pet reality show-like Rat Race where they're betting on whether or not we're going to lose it. Why not? They already record our calls "for convenience and training purposes".

We let the insurances make the rules for so long they are completely in charge. While they complain about tough times and how rising healthcare costs must be shouldered by more employers and employees, they continue to report record profits. Why are we paying more and more and getting less and less? Yesterday's news reported some states are seeing insurance costs rising by double-digits, some as high as 26%. For what? It's like big oil. You can't tell me rising costs are a burden to be shouldered by everyone else then report record profits as a company year after year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flu Shots and Urgency

#flushots usually don't come with a sense of urgency. They pretty much sell themselves in the fall. Get one, help prevent flu. Don't get one, run the risk of getting sick. We start offering them in August and peak shot season is October. I always wonder why people wait until January or February to get one; which is often peak flu season. There is nothing like a media frenzy to stir up interest. With the flu exploding now, everyone seems to want a flu shot who didn't get one months ago. Why? Because there is a lot of misunderstanding out there. True, if you haven't received one yet, you are still better off getting one now than not. However, keep in mind that it takes two weeks to reach full efficacy. If you have been exposed to the flu anywhere prior to its maximum effect, you can still get the flu. The symptoms may be less severe, but you can still get it. (Which is many times why people think they get the flu from the flu shot-which is quite impossible.) Many people expected the flu to arrive in a month or two. It didn't. It came early. There is no reason to wait as late as possible to get your flu shot. Next year, be the first in line in August.
Let's look at this another way. Waiting until now to get a flu shot, which has been offered for months, is like putting on a condom today, after having unprotected sex for the last 5 months. Sure, it will work going forward, but it doesn't offer protection against any previous exposures.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stupid Insurances II

After a first-of-the-year apocalypse rant (new insurance cards and long wait times) last week, I thought I'd follow up with a thank you. Thank you to all of our patients who were prepared and had their new insurance cards ready when dropping off their prescriptions. Thank you to those customers who were extremely patient during longer than normal, and longer than expected, wait times. Thank you for helping us out by calling your insurance if numbers were missing or incorrect or your new cards did not arrive as expected. Thank you for not freaking out if I was the first to tell you you should have new insurance. All of this leads me to...
I hate insurance companies. Truly hate them. I have another post about their idiocy prepared, but I'm going with this today. Why? Last week was the first time in a number of years where a large number of new insurance cards patients presented, had the WRONG information on them. I'm not talking about a missing person code or misspelled patient name. I am talking about cards that had the wrong ID# AND wrong RXGRP # AND wrong PCN, on the same card. What's funny is when we processed them, the insurance started kicking them back with "resubmit with correct numbers..." and the reject would list them. This was fine except those numbers were wrong too. What's the point of sending out new cards with new information only to have it all be wrong?
It's like moving. You fill out a change of address form at the post office and put a house number to a street to a town to a state to a zip code that don't exist in any combination. Simply put, it's like me giving you a made up date of birth for myself. How am I supposed to make that work?
The cards are supposed to contain all the information I need to properly bill for the patients' prescriptions. If that information is wrong, what's the point? Just give me the 1-800 number I need to call to get everything for you. If insurances want to save money, kill the cards. That way I can justify employing one person to simply man the phones all day making calls tracking down whatever I need to bill them properly.
It's okay. As everyone plainly understood last week, we had nothing better to do than spend hours on hold, repeating our store information, that already comes up on their caller ID system, and being endlessly transferred, to get information that a correct card would have contained. It's not as if the insurances themselves hadn't made the cards and sent them out a month ago. It's not as if it's their billing information they're putting on their cards then sending to their customers. Idiots.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Doctor Knows Everything...

We accidentally irritated a patient who had to wait forever for a prescription. It was our fault and I apologized. See, there was a pesky little drug interaction between something she was already taking and the antibiotic her doctor prescribed her this beautiful wintry morning. We diligently phoned her physician and explained to the patient why it was taking so long and that we had to wait to hear back from the doctor. It could save your life, we said. Patient continued to call us all day for it. I politely suggested she contact the office herself if it was such a great emergency. I explained the doctor may want to change it...then again, she may not.

Irritated Patient: "I don't know why you're keeping my medicine from me."
Me: "WE are not. WE are trying to prevent your untimely demise from a serious drug interaction."
IP: "I have been going to that doctor for over 10 years now. My doctor knows me and would certainly not give me anything I couldn't have!"
Me: "You would be surprised."
IP: "What is the medication she prescribed, then?"
Me: "She wrote for this antibiotic."
IP: "What? She knows I can't take that!"
Me: "As I said. You'd be surprised. Now can you have a seat and wait for her to call back with something else?"
IP: "I'm just going to call her again. She was in a hurry. I'm sure she just didn't notice it..."

Me: "Right. But we did. So you're welcome. Oh, and thanks for yelling at my staff all day. Thanks for calling us 14 times over the last 3 or 4 hours. Thanks for taking us away from helping other people. Perhaps other doctors were rushed and we needed to call them for other patients. Thanks for thinking your prescription is more important. Thanks for absolutely absolving your doctor of any blame in your irritated situation today. Thanks for laying it all squarely on us. Yep, your doctor did no wrong, but we made you wait by actually doing our jobs. Again, you are welcome. Come again.