Friday, March 18, 2011

Who's not Listening here?

"Pharmacist! Phone Call!"

(Keep in mind that this conversation occurred AFTER the doctor's appointment, AFTER the prescription had been written, waited for, filled, paid for, and taken home.)

"Yeah, I just had a prescription filled for some eye drops for my daughter, and I had some questions."

Me: OK.
(not recalling this person, but wishing she had perhaps asked them while she was here).

"Well, the doctor said that pink eye is probably due to a virus, so why did he prescribe an antibiotic eye drop for it? That doesn't work for viruses anyway, right?"

Me: Well.... he may have done that to guard against an underlying bacterial infection or....ummm......
(Now, what I'm thinking here is, why didn't you ask him that question as you sat there while he wrote the prescription? I wasn't in the room with you. Most likely he gave it to you just to do 'something' for a basically self-limiting condition. Most likely, you demanded that he give you something. I can't really tell you for sure.)

"How long am I supposed to use the drops? It doesn't say on the bottle."

Me: It varies... sometimes they recommend 5-7 days, sometimes they have you treat until the redness is gone, and then a day or two beyond that just to make sure that things are cleared up.
(I had to repeat this a couple of times)

"Well, her eyes aren't red."

Me: OK.... why did they think she had pink eye?

"Well, she has some drainage.... some discharge."

Me: O-- kay..... maybe there is some suspicion of bacterial infection, then?

Caller (sounding unconvinced): "should I call the doctor's office?"

Me: Please do.
(OK, I didn't say it that way, but yes. What we had here clearly was a failure to communicate. Whether the doctor didn't communicate or the patient didn't listen I do not know, but I am not the one who's responsible for figuring that out.)

This kind of thing drives me nuts. Not for my sake, but because I think of this as wasted time -- an unsatisfactorily conducted doctor visit that costs everyone money, a prescription that costs everyone money, and now there's going to be more time spent leaving messages with the doctor's office for someone to eventually return a call to this person.
In a world filled with disaster images, it's so out of proportion, and silly.


Anonymous said...

My favorite calls are "Why did the doctor prescribe me prednisone/medrol dose pack?" "Oh, there's hundred of reasons, what did you see him/her for?" " I dunno."

Anonymous said...

The lack of a diagnosis on most prescriptions was always something that bothered me as an intern. It's one of the reasons I'm not going into retail. Not knowing why a patient is taking a medication makes the pharmacist look foolish.

pharmacy chick said...

did she decline counsel? It seems a standard counsel do discuss approximate time of treatment...but I agree, the doctor should at least have discussed WHAT he was given and WHY. we can tell them HOW it used..

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I can only assume she declined counseling because at this particular pharmacy everyone is asked if they have any questions (if the pharmacist is not nearby). So I can never understand why people wait until they purchase the prescription and get it home before they decide they don't know anything about it... one of life's mysteries, I guess.

Spook, RN said...

Not just you - happens with nurses too.

And sometimes it happens between two nurses. E.g.: Admitted patient to medical floor. I get a call some 20 minutes later - "Hey Spook, why did the Doctor write for XYZ labs?" or "Why DIDN'T the doctor order ABC and PQR?"

It's all I can do to bite my tongue! Dude, I didn't write the blessed things! How about calling said doctor and asking him/her??!!