Angry Doctor II

So a few months back I got into a bit of a Pharmacist vs Doctor war (I think it was involving drugbuyers.com, narcotics, and the bit). I wrote a very heated response to a hate-mail that I got, and never published it hoping that the whole situation would just die (which it did). Yanno, taking the high road, etc.
Since I just got back from vacation, the angry-pumps arent quite primed for a new entry, so you get one that I wrote when that stuff was going on (but I didnt publish it).
Oh, as before, I am /not/ anti-doctor (a bunch of my friends are very nice doctors). However what I say below is how I feel on most issues when doctors get uppity. Lets not start another war here. Its sad that I have to put a disclaimer as to not to piss off a bunch of my MD readers.. bleh!
Onward!

There are many differences between pharmacists and physicians: your post
and your comments highlight the big ones.
Physicians work as hard as they can to not judge our patients based on
race, income, gender, sexual orientation or sexual preferences. We learn
NOT to make rash assumptions. We know that the superficial appearance
doesn’t always tell the whole story.

We dont initally judge either. However, since we spend more than 5 mins with these patients more often than once or twice a month, we have a better understanding as to who they are. Regardless on how they look when they walk in the door, I treat them with the same respect and kindness I do everyone else who walks in. However after the 5th phone call in 2 days asking if their Vicodin is due yet, I tend to get a bit irritated and annoyed. You have a front-end staff to deal with that crap, I dont. They can just walk in and start yelling anytime they want. I dont have the luxury of setting appointments.

You’ve now gone and made pharmacists look like every other whiny, catty,
self-rightous, ignorant retail clerk. Congratulations. The more that the
general public reads work like this, the faster you’ll lose the title of
“Most Trusted Profession”. I’d never set foot in your pharmacy knowing
that you’re review prescription histories and make fun of patients this
way.

Im sorry for reviewing patient histories, I thought that was part of my job. I’m sure the front-end girls in YOUR office have their share of chuckles and eye-rolls when they find out that patient-X is coming in at 2:30 to get his Rx’s refilled. Im sure you yourself have written an Rx or approved an early refill just to get a troublesome patient out of your hair. See, we dont have that luxury. We cant just fill vicodin 4 weeks early just to get them out of the store, its unethical and grounds for having men in suits come and look at our records. We dont have the luxury of setting appointments, or closing for lunch for 2 hours, or taking off at 5pm on friday. We dont have an officestaff to say that you are busy, or with a patient so you dont have to deal with these folk. We take the heat from your patients so you dont have to. We are the last line of defense in preventing truckloads of vicodin and soma and other crap from hitting the streets. I have no problem telling a patient that his pain pills are due on this date. What does the doctor say when the patient bitches to him/her? “Well, I wrote for them, its up to the pharmacist if he wants to fill them”. Not “You’re getting them too early, NO”. So he/she absolved himself of any blame. We’re the bad guy, you’re the good guy. Its hard to be nice when you’re getting lied to by the patients, and used as the scapegoat by the doctor.
So if I look like a “whiny, catty, self-rightous, ignorant retail clerk.” Then you really need to walk out of your little office, with your cushy chair and big computer monitor and start spending more than 5 min with the patients that I see and talk to all month long.
So yes, we still we be the “most trusted profession”, because the people who I poke fun at will just choose another pharmacy in a month. However that 80 year old patient of yours (a patient of mine of over 25 years by the way) who is seeing 4 other specialists (and you all cant be bothered to talk to each other to formulate a drug game-plan) is coming in holding Rx’s for 3 different ACE-I, a few beta-blockers, some warfarin + amioderone, a smile on her face and a story to tell us about what happened at church last week. You paint that picture on why we are trusted and why your patient isnt dead.

Shame on you.

No, shame on you for making a blanket assumption about pharmacists based upon a blog who’s humor obviously eludes you. When is the last time you found out what pharmacy your patients were mostly going to, and paid them a visit to say hi and thanks for all they do? Try it sometime, oh wait, you’re too busy going to free CE dinners by drug reps to learn what new drugs are out rather than reading non-paid-advertisements like us pharmacists do. God knows you arent approving refill requests that have been sitting on your desk for the past month (while I advance the patient some to keep them out of the hospital).

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14 Comments

  1. Kong says:

    I think you were too nice in your response. Don’t hold it back let it out!

  2. Brian says:

    I’m a pharmacy tech in retail and god do you tell the truth.You are my personal hero!

  3. BlueTech says:

    We’ve gotten Rx’s for five different opiates from several doctors, for the same patient at the same time. It eludes me how doctors cant be in contact with one another, especially in regards to patients who take so many serious medications. Actually, I had a patient come in tonight with a Bactrim Rx, and I overheard her talking to her friend about how the hospital tried to poison her by giving her Keflex when she had a cillin/cephalexin allergy. I looked at her profile, and saw she also had a sulfa allergy. *eyes roll* It’s not easy to tell a patient that’s already pissed at a doctor…that the doctor’s screwed up again. End result, she wanted to sue the hospital. *eyes roll again*
    Of course, how should I know whether she actually told the doctor that she was allergic? I’ve developed a habit of not believing much that my patients say…but still, a doctorate in internal medicine should require at least a bachelor’s degree in common sense.

  4. You are one of our heroes!!! THANK YOU! Now read our blog!
    :)

  5. Don Incognito says:

    Pffft. That wasn’t heated at all. I bet if you held a mirror in front of your face while reading that post out loud, it would barely be splashed with spittle. WE WANT VITRIOL!!!

  6. F. B. says:

    We especially LOVE the last paragraph. No one ever thanks us, always hangs up on us and cuss us out without ever giving a thought to doing those same things to their mds. WTF?

  7. I wish I had your ability for writing scathing letters to those who annoy me. I bought a computer with Vista and I have had email-wars with the computer’s manufacturer and the manufacturer of every one of my other pieces of hardware over finding drivers. Vista does NOT provide drivers for hardware such as speakers, iPods, etc.
    Oh yes, about doctors and pharmacists….
    I like both of y’all. In fact, I went to both of my own the other day, and they both spent a lot of time with me. But I think it wasn’t so much as being kind of heart as the fact that they know (while rolling their eyes) that I have doctor-phobia and am a typical “nervous nurse”–who is very knowledgeable about her patients’ problems but is a total nunbskull with her own stuff…

  8. becca says:

    Amen brother. I am so sick of not even a simple thank you when I catch a life threatening drug interaction. I had a doctor call me back last week. She left a voice mail on the IVR because she didn’t have the b***s to speak to me directly. I called her twice, once for daw on zithromax when the patient has state medicaid. Second, because of an interaction, a major interaction. She leaves a screaming message, “stop calling me and give the patient her medication, she needs it more than you know.” OK. Your welcome doc.

  9. Ryan says:

    THANK YOU! I just found this blog and I’m eatin’ it up. I just finished my first year in pharmacy school, and I’m working as an intern in a retail pharmacy. Everything you say is so damn near a universal truth it’s scary. Thanks for expressing my repressed emotions!

  10. Am third year student studying pharmacy at the university of zambia school of medicine. I like your postings. Keep it up.

  11. Am third year student studying pharmacy at the university of zambia school of medicine. I like your postings. Keep it up.

  12. Am third year student studying pharmacy at the university of zambia school of medicine. I like your postings. Keep it up.

  13. Mike Hollahan says:

    You speak the truth brother. You are a god among men.

  14. Sooz says:

    I am a patient/undergrad student, and I love the blog – very funny. I was searching google for “idiot doctors” because of how annoyed I am with my derma basically blowing off this awful (torturous) generalized rash I’ve had for 5 weeks now, she said “all we can do at this point is give you stronger/more antihistamines”. I’m thinking “I don’t want more fucking medication that puts me to sleep so I can’t study, I want you to tell me what’s causing this”. I respect pharmacists a lot, I swear my friends at the walgreens pharmacy (really, they know me now) have helped me with this more than the doctors.

    Anyhoo, I wanted to comment on part of your post about doctors communicating with each other… I really think medicine in this country would be better if medical records were databased/streamlined. It makes no sense that with the technologies we have now, and with patients often seeing a PCP, and multiple specialists, that doctors can’t see visit notes, prescriptions written, histories, etc from each other. As a patient, its often very difficult to keep track of everything, remember everything… when patients have conditions that are often the sum of multiple symptomatic parts (this is not coming from my recent experience with this rash, but from past experiences with myself and family members), it seems that this complete lack of communication would SO often lead to misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses. It’s crazy that my friendly local pharmacist have a better record of my medical history/prescription history then my doctors that are writing the prescriptions (this is not an attack on pharmacists- I realize how important it is for you guys to have that since interactions can kill us.. But why isn’t it also important for doctors to have that info?) Wouldn’t better communication make life easier for doctors and pharmacists? And lead to better overall care for patients?

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