Thursday, July 14, 2016

I understand your situation, but...

Here's an image that was tweeted a couple of years ago by another pharmacist. I apologize but I don't recall who tweeted it or where it was from. But this is an example of the unfortunate disconnect that occurs between patient and pharmacist:

I understand your point of view. I really do. Now try to understand mine:

As a pharmacist, I took this oath:

I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow:

I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.

I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.

I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.

I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.

I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.

I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.

I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.

I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.

So to the author who proposed that this be our credo: I can speak for all pharmacists to say that no one, no pharmacist, tech, or otherwise wants you to suffer, ever. In most cases, pharmacists will do everything in their power to make sure you get your meds correctly and on time. 

THAT BEING SAID... we do have specific legal and moral obligations. I will adopt your credo and watch out for you, but at the same time, I ask that you do not ask me to do anything that breaks or even slightly bends the law. Do not ask me to do anything that will put my job in jeopardy. And while you may think it is just a job for us, it is not. Our job gives us our quality of life. If we lose our job our quality of life is gone, and for a longer period of time than being out of meds for a day or two.


Jennifer Lorenzetti said...

I appreciate what the patient is saying here, but if you have a condition that depends on medication at a certain time every day without variance, it is also your responsibility to work with your doctor to make sure you have an active Rx and have it filled ahead of time. Heck, many women have done that for years with the birth control pill; always keep a month ahead. Yes, accidents and poor planning strike us all, but it's not really a systemic thing.

Also, the letter-writer refers to returning to rectify mistakes. I'm jinxing myself here (because accidents happen, again), but I've never had to return to a pharmacy because of a medication error. A billing/charging error? Yes, a couple, for which I could easily cool my heals in line until my turn for service, but not a medication error.

If you are in need of a medication so desperately that it must be delivered on a certain day at a certain time and can't allow any error or downtime, then that sounds like something for which you should be hospitalized. It doesn't sound like a chronic pharmacy negligence problem.

(Disclaimer: I understand the frustration of chronic conditions and also of systems like doctors or automated refill messages that promise "your med will be ready when you get there" or "your med will be ready at noon" without actual input from people knowing what's in stock, what the workload is like, etc. That's a little bit of bait-and-switch for both pharmacist and patient.)

Also, I'm not a pharmacist. But I just hate these kinds of insistent diatribes like the original letter.

Anonymous said...

My pharmacist has said that I'm one of her "boring" customers. I'm self paying, and always try to get my refills several days ahead of schedule, especially if my client wants me to go out of town to the test sites for a few days. I always give the pharmacy at least 24 hours to refill my prescriptions(for high blood pressure and diabetes).
Recently, there was an accident at one of the test sites, and those of us exposed had to be taken to an ER and given something because of the exposure. We were okay, but only given a few pills of a med because of a shortage at that location. When I returned home, the DR at the site told me to "immediately" get the prescription refilled at my usual pharmacy.
The pharmacist was surprised to hear me say that I would wait for the med. She knows that I work around the country on some projects, and quickly filled it, which I appreciated and thanked her for.
However, when she asked me what happened, I told her (jokingly!) that if I told her I would have to kill her. I am no longer a "boring" customer.

Anonymous said...

Planning ahead is all well and good but you can't keep a month's extra of a controlled substance or even fill it more than a day or so early. I think that's part of the problem. I'm no longer on a controlled substance but when I was I also worked 8:30am to 7:00pm. That meant I could only go to the pharmacy on the weekend or right before opening or right before closing. I couldn't mail order. I couldn't phone in my script. I had to show up with the paper. It also couldn't be more than 2 days before I was out. So, if I'd run out on Thursday I'd drop the script off Tuesday night and come back Weds night for it. If there was an issue, I'd be there Thursday morning because I'd now be out. If there was an issue, I knew it wasn't the pharmacists fault. It was usually my insurance or doctor f'ing up a pre authorization again for a med I had been on years. But, that didn't change the fact that I was now out and wouldn't likely make it through the next work day without it.

To Jennifer, there are a lot of conditions that require steroid treatment. When you are on a high dose, you have to taper or else there are serious medical consequences that often require hospitalization. You can't skip. You can't skip insulin either. Or an inhaler. ER visits go down when people take their meds as prescribed.

Anonymous said...

First off if 3/4 times the patient misses or delays a dose of medication they end up in the hospital then there is NO way they have a job. Someone that physically fragile (and im sure mentally fragile as well, whether justifiable so or not) can not possible handle the rigors of a job outside the home. Perhaps im wrong, but I dont think I am.
Secondly- this is a perfect example of someone who doesnt manage their disease/condition/medications well at all. Why does a slight delay risk you being hospitalized? Why dont you have medication on hand to cover the inevitable delays or problems that life throws at us all? There could be supply issues, inclement weather, your car is in the shop etc etc etc. Lots of reasons you cant get your meds right away, which is why insurance companies allow 5-6 days early fill every month. After a couple months you ought to have weeks of supplies sitting there.
Thirdly and lastly, if these meds are painkillers (and ill bet the national debt that they are) then my second loint still applies. Insurances allow a couple days advance and the vast majority of pharmacists will fill it 2-3 days before you should run out. After 6 months why do you still need it 3 days early? Why dont you have 12-18 days worth of medicine still sitting in the bottle? We all know why you dont (if in fact you dont, if you do i say congrats and youre not the person[s] im discussing right now), and we all know that you have anaway to justify why you dont have that extra amount. Dont attempt to guilt-trip us or make us feel like horrible people for not understanding your plight. We know. We understand. We care. We just care about our jobs, homes, mortgages, spouses and children a timy bit more than we care about your need to take an extra pill every other day.
Pharmacies are NOT fast food drive thrus. You should be calling in anything you need at LEAST 24 hours before you need it, preferably 48. Your failure to plan and provide time to make it happen isnt our fault. Your suffering isnt our fault. You have only yourself to blame, and you better believe youre the one we blame when your bad decisions cause the problem