Monday, October 17, 2016

Dear Patient: Guess What? Anger is NOT Helpful

Recently a man was angry at me because we didn't have a prescription waiting for him. I certainly understand his concern. The medication was warfarin and he needs it every day. But getting angry with me doesn't make sense.

I offered to loan him some medication until the physician authorized a refill, but this man chose to continue his anger attack on me. He was certain that he had refills remaining on his prescription. When I showed him the actual prescription and a print out showing he picked up all the fills, he became angrier.

"I'm supposed to be on this for my life," he stated, as if that magically makes refills appear.

"I understand that," I said, "and I'll give you a three day supply of the medication, but we can't fill it until we get a refill authorized."

Seems fairly straight forward... accommodating... helpful.

"But I have a standing order for my medication!" He blurts out, angry again.

So I conclude he didn't understand anything I just said, which is more common than you would believe. I repeat everything I said, again, showing him the original prescription again, refills authorized, and how he had used up all his refills.

"UNBELIEVEABLE!" he shouts. I tell him I'll get him some warfarin until we hear back. I quickly step away to the filling counter. I look up and he's gone.

I've never really understood why people are angry with the pharmacy or pharmacist in these situations. Even after you explain it to them (in this case, TWICE) they're still angry. All too often we're the focal point for intense, undeserved anger.


Anonymous said...

Feel sorry for his family; you got the wrath for a few minutes, but they have no choice but to live with it.

Liz Harris said...

People who screw up their own lives - in this case not procuring refills timely - usually have to find someone else to blame. In this case, he was lucky. You were standing right there.

Anonymous said...

At the pharmacy that used to support me (I moved out of state) there was a miscommunication somewhere between the prescriber and the pharmacy. I told the tech I was going to scream at the prescriber. She asked, "Are you going to yell at me?"
"Will it change anything?"
"Then what would the point be? I don't think you did anything wrong. Those baboons at Wheel Screwya clinic did."
The way her face lit up you would have thought I just gave her a puppy.