Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Pharmacist from Hell

Okay, maybe I am taking it a bit far. But let me tell you what happened.

The other day, when I was on call, my father asked me to call in a script for something to help dry up his cough. I told him I would when I got some down time. While I was at the hospital rounding on patients, I saw one of the patients I was on was taking Guaifenesin Long Acting (LA) 1200mg every 12 hours. Then I remembered my Dad's request. So I called in that very script for my Father. Yes, I know it is pretty much the same as Mucinex, but Mucinex comes in so many doses and types. Plus, if it is a perscription, many times insurance will help pay for it (unlike if you get it over the counter). So I called it in.

Later that night, my Dad calls me very upset. He said he went to the pharmacy (drive through) to pick up his script and at first, the lady said she did not see / could not find the order. So she went to get the pharmacist. He comes to the window and says "Oh, well that doctor must not know what she is doing! You can get this over the counter..." He gives him Mucinex 600 mg and tells him to take 2 every 12 hours. My Dad wanted to say something but my mom stopped him.

Now, sometimes my Dad can embelish a story, so when I talked to my mom, I asked her did that really happen and she said, "Well, yes, that pharmacist did say that 'that doctor must not know what she's doing!' They are not supposed to say that, are they sweetie?" "No" I replied. Kind of hurt. Quite upset.

Initially, I figured I would let it slide seeing as I am a Resident (though third year) and it's not like I have my own practice in the town or anything...yet. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that something should be done.

The next day, I talked with the Pharmacist at our clinic about the situation. She was quite enraged at him and said that there was nothing wrong with what I did and what he said was absolutely inappropriate and unnecessary. She urged me to talk to the Pharmacist and added that maybe he was having a bad day or something and just said something he didn't mean. And maybe, just maybe, he'd apologize.

So, I called and this is how it went after he got on the phone.


"Hi, ____, this is Dr. ___ how are you?"

"Oh, I'm good and you?"

"Oh, I'm good. I just wanted to talk to you about something."

"Sure, sure, go ahead."

"Well, Saturday, I called in a script for Guaifenisin 1200mg Q..."

"...Yes, yes, I know. I took that order."

"Okay, well, I understand that when the patient came, you told him that 'That doctor must know know what she's doing, you can get this over the counter'"

"Oh, no, I was just saying that Guafenisin is the same as Mucinex and he can get it over the counter"

"Yes, I know that, but I wanted him to get a specific dose which is one reason why I called it in.that, but I also understand that you said that 'That Doctor must not know what she is doing'"

"Well, yes I did because we have not had that dose available for quite some time now and the manufacturers no longer make that dose"

He sounded very argumentative.

"Well, I am not trying to start an argument or anything, but I just wanted to say that I think for you to say that about a physician to a patient is very unprofessional"

"Well, I think it is unprofessional for Doctors to order doses of medications that we don't have"

"How am I supposed to know that when I look in my pharmacopea and and it says that that dose is still available? As a matter of fact, that dose is still readily available in this hospital. Patients are getting that dose as we speak. And just so you know, that patient that you told that to was MY Father with MY Mother and MY little girl in the car. So I would appreciate it if, in the future, this would not happen again. Because I wouldn't do that to you! Okay?"

"Okay, thank you."

"No, thank you."

I told the outcome to our clinic pharmacist and she was absolutely appalled as was I. He was such an A-hole to me! And ofcourse he did not apologize or even seem to care.

I discussed this with my parents. They have done business with this pharmacy for over twenty years. Needless to say, they don't do business there anymore.

For what it's worth, my mother called the head pharmacist there who is his supervisor and who she has known for years and he had heard about the incident and apologized profusely.

Too little, too late.