Saturday, August 1, 2009

This Is How You Fix A Prescription

Just after lunch I was handed a script and notified the patient was waiting. It was for one of our elderly patients who just had hip surgery and received a prescription for pain meds. She is one of those old-school rural hard as nails women so if she needs pain meds she must really be hurtin'.

I scan through it and I see:

Lortab 5/500
1T Q 6 Hours PRN Pain
0 Refills
Dispense as Written
Provider: Dr. Michael Jackson

Immediately I eyeball the DAW, namely because who the hell stocks name brand Lortab? I confer with the patient, who 'doesn't give a hoot if it's brand or generic as long as it works', and decide it is clearly a mistake. Looking further I see the doc himself entered it in the computer which further hints at a simple mistake.

I hop on the phone to the clinic she just came from. I explain to the person on the other line what has transpired and that I need a new prescription before I can dispense. I then emphasize that it is Friday afternoon and this needs to be resolved this afternoon so she's not screwed for the weekend.

Next I tell the patient what I have to do and that I'll make sure its delivered to her free of charge later this evening. Problem solved.

Or so I thought.

3 o'clock rolls around and I noticed I still haven't gotten a new prescription back from the office. I call again and go through my spiel once again. I, more firmly this time, state that this has to be done before the office closes for the weekend.

The clock now reads 4:30 and I know they will be closing in a half hour and I still have not heard anything back from them.

Now I understand Friday afternoon's are a pain in the ass for them too. There are people showing up to sneak in an appointment so they can 'score' some drugs. I completely respect that. In all honesty though, how hard is it to walk back to the docs office with the situation and have them print out a new prescription? Could take all of what, two minutes?

It had slowed down quite a bit and my co-tech was hinting about leaving a bit early. Displeased about the fact this little old lady would have to suffer this weekend, and realizing I had some free time, I hatched a plan.

I kindly asked my co-tech if she would not mind waiting a bit to leave as I was going to go on a short trip. I took the fubared hard copy, grabbed my keys and headed to my car. The office was only a few blocks away, I was going to pay them a visit.

Walking in, I see the clusterfuck I expected to see. Waiting patiently until one of the receptionists shoos away a seeker, I ask where this doc's office is located. Recognizing my story from earlier, she pointed me to the direction of one of his nurses who was out front.

I strolled over to her, prescription in hand, and explained the story to her.

"Ah yes, I got that a couple hours ago, but haven't had time to get to it," she stated.

I asked if the doc was in his office and she replied yes. I asked if she was dealing with a patient and she replied her shift was almost done.

So I handed her the prescription and asked her to go to the doc now, before he leaves, and get this resolved. She hesitated until I reassured her that it is a very simple fix that will alleviate a very simple mistake.

She disappeared for no more than 60 seconds and came back out with a freshly printed, and correct, prescription for Hydrocodone/APAP.

"The doctor apologizes for the mistake and appreciates you coming here to help his patient." she notified me. And then she scurried off.

The whole experience took place within a three or four minute period. I waited four hours to do what took four minutes.

Everyone was polite and courteous though, so I cannot bitch about them. It was just a crappy situation at a crappy time.

When I walked back into the pharmacy everyone had this confused/stunned face as I handed them the proper prescription. Our little 86 year old patient would go through the weekend pain free and I got to go on a little adventure.

Now that is how you fix a problem with a prescription is it not?


Anonymous said...

Sweet story. This is very personal statement-worthy.

NurseExec said...

That's really going the extra mile for a patient in need. Says a lot about your character.

Phathead said...

I suppose I didn't think of it as using in my personal statement. I just did it because it was the right thing to do in that situation.

Thanks for the comments.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

It was the right thing to do. And very few others would have done it.

We get into this to help people, and you did an awesome job on that one.

I salute you!

Brother Frankie said...

outstanding, refreshing, encouraging, blessing, awesome, gifted, ...........

Just in case..

thank you for your service, you are appreciated..

Brother Frankie
A Biker for Christ

Frantic Pharmacist said...

Nice example of going above and beyond. Just curious, in your state can't you get a verbal OK to dispense the generic if the patient wants it?

Phathead said...

No, but I couldn't even get ahold of the doc herself

Becky the Techie said...

I have a pharmacist who has done this and similar for a regular of ours, a double amputee whose doctor's office is the exact same kind of fustercluck you mention here. The office is also only a 5 min. walk away, so she's never minded a little stroll to help the guy stay comfortable. It's just what you do when someone depends on you.

You're a good man Charlie Brown. :)

Anonymous said...

Doesn't your state allow CIII's to be phoned in (or corrections to CIIIs to be phone in)?

Phathead said...

Not when it says DAW on it

PharmacyJim said...

Good for you...or more importantly, good for the patient that you took the time to care for them.

Anonymous said...

I just started reading through your blog and I must say that I love this story - keep this up and you will be a fantastic pharmacist.

I had a pharmacist probably save my life once when she recognized that I'd accidentally been given the wrong meds - something that would have drastically lowered my blood sugar instead of the meds for cramps. She noticed this because she spoke with me and asked questions (the mistake had been made because of my doctor's illegible handwriting).

My grandmother's pharmacist greets her by name whenever she comes in to get her pills. You have a great opportunity to do good in this world, and it seems you're off to a good start. Best of luck to you, and keep up the great blooging.