Dear Angry Pharmacist
I really like your blog. In fact, I rarely comment because I almost always agree with you. Unfortunately, this means I can't remember which form of my Username I used to create an account to allow me to comment; either that, or my new computer has cookie issues. In any event, although your recent post about your hellacious Friday was heartrending -- and didn't actually say anything about me at all -- someone was kind enough (no sarcasm; traffic has been through the roof) to link to me in your comments. Many (many!) others have since come here and commented as well, so I'd like to address those folks directly.
I'd just like to point out that obviously many doctors are idiots. Uneducated front office staff calling in prescriptions must be maddening; illegible handwriting, nonexistent dosage forms and ridiculous quantities are certainly infuriating; waiting on hold over and over to clarify these things -- while saving the necks of ungrateful patients -- surely earns you millions of karma points towards your halo. That's why I like your blog; you put those doctors squarely in their place with great anger (obviously) but also with humor and panache.
I'm also certain you agree that patients are morons; many so stupid you wonder how they manage to breathe and blink at the same time. Of course they hear what they want to hear; often the exact opposite of what was actually said, whether by you or me.
It just so happens that there was this one particular patient who really really really needed a cholesterol medicine, and with whom I spent an inordinate amount of time carefully explaining exactly why he really really really needed it. So when this particular patient reported that a pharmacist (actually not one but two) told him he should stop taking it...I did not in fact go ballistic in front of him, but rather spent another extended visit explaining why he didn't have to take it if he didn't mind being at increased risk for another heart attack; and succeeded in persuading him to go back onto a different statin, as it happened. Still, there was exasperation, and the blog provided a fun way to let it out.
So for the record, I'd like to specify some things to those who so graciously commented on my humble rant:
- I don't see drug reps, nor do I accept anything -- including food -- from them.
- My handwriting is quite legible.
- My office phone is answered promptly -- by a person.
- I prescribe narcotics and other controlled substances with great caution, but
- I try always to be acutely aware of patients in true pain who are not abusing their drugs.
- I do not rush patients through my office, and in fact probably see only about half as many patients a day (usually the same day they call) as some other docs; of course I'm only making half as much money, but I believe it's worth it.
- Some of my best friends are pharmacists; by which I mean that in person I have wonderful, respectful working relationships with my local pharmacists (which actually means I should call the one (or two) this patient spoke with and get their side of the story.)