Dear Doctors in the Audience:

Dear Doctors,
I know you are out there. I read your comments, approve them, and usually treat you pretty well on here. I have a small request from the pharmacy community in general. I hope you take this request to heart and please comply.
Please buy a god damn stamp with your Name, DEA, NPI and any other license information you may have. Buy 100 of them, put them all over your office/coat/etc and use them on every Rx you write.
You see, although us pharmacists are pretty good about deciphering your scribble regarding medication and sigs, our Achilles heel is your name. When you dont print your name, and just leave chicken-shit scribble as your mark, we tend to get upset. Trying to get “Dr Joseph Smith” from a signature that looks like 2 year old scribble is frustrating. Usually we can use process of elimination and get a few letters, look up the patients profile, and match that way. However all bets are off on hospital discharge papers because there are a bunch of you there who really don’t see the patients there, so we have to guess. I know thats unsafe, and you get really angry at us when we call for clarification or your name ends up on something that its not, but its your own fucking fault. I don’t wipe my ass on refill requests and try to get you to decipher my name from that now do I?
So please please PLEASE get a few stamps and use them. If you don’t see this as a problem, then don’t get pissy when your name ends up on Rx’s that its not supposed to.
Thank you.
-The Angry Pharmacist
Patron Saint of Retail Pharmacists

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18 Comments

  1. Pana_T says:

    We’re lucky here in Australia, doctors have their own pre-printed prescription stationary with their name, address, prescriber number and phone number.
    They still manage to butcher patient names though….

  2. Kim says:

    Oh God . . . and trying to track down who signed which script at UVa is a nightmare!!! It usually takes more than 30 minutes and 10 different residents (each with a different impossible-to-understand accent) to finally get it figured out. I HATE their scripts! But I love your website . . I can always count on getting a good laugh here!

  3. auspharmstudent says:

    I have seen one (hospital) script with stamped details and it just made my day. It makes you think there is some hope in the world. This single little action will make the days of many pharmacists

  4. Grasshopper says:

    Amen!!!
    I get excited in the retail setting when I get a discharge script with a doc’s signature that is unreadable….but I’ve done some time at that hospital so I knew who the doctor was.

  5. RxDr says:

    Bravo! As always, an amazing assessment of the crap pharmacists have to put up with on a daily basis. I won’t let a heart beat pass before rebuking a physician for indecipherable garbage handwriting. I just tell them…look, who would you rather have calling you about this, me, or the prosecuting lawyer?!

  6. Ash says:

    You are my hero! Everyday I worked as an intern I would dread typing and getting all the way to the end of the script and seeing an oval connected to a squiggly line for a signature. When there is only one doctor on the letterhead that’s fine but when you have 7 names and at least 4 of you are on the patient profile there is a problem.
    Hell I would be willing to start a fundraiser to help pay for the stamps.

  7. bradley says:

    Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment, and no I’m not a doctor or anything close. Let’s say a doc did get one of those stamps and appropriately marked his scripts everytime. Would that really prevent his name from showing up on scripts he didn’t write? Seems that all docs at all the hospitals he works at would have to do the same in order for his name to not get chosen accidentally.

  8. not a doc but as an RN, my signiture is required on so many fucking things, I have horrible handwriting, so I got a stamp:) It is kind of the culture where I work. Lots of docs have them. I say you just send them out to the frequent offenders, eventually everyone will copy and it will become the “culture” to have one.

  9. drh says:

    I totally agree with you–I’m f-ing sick of trying to read other drs. writing. One of my partners asked our nurse to decipher something written by a doctor–HIM. Couldn’t read his OWN writing.
    My scripts are legible and I print my name above my signature.
    I don’t think I’d put all my numbers on a script, though. One of the PAs I work with is having a whole ethnic community in town calling in narc scripts all over using her DEA that they got ahold of. I’ll give you my numbers if you call for them (though I’ll have the nurses take a message and call you back after I verify the number is actually a pharmacy–another docs DEA number was stolen that way). Every time I think I’ve seen everything with regard to ways druggies scam pharmacists and doctors, one of them comes up with a new one!

  10. Kenzie says:

    Here, here! My 9 year old would be willing to offer her handwriting skills at any docs office. She is available weekdays after 3pm.

  11. Angry,
    Join us…we need the Patron Saint on our side, and YOU NEED US!
    The Pharmacy Alliance
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ThePharmacyAlliance/

  12. Carol says:

    My personal favourite is when they also “print” their name…..and the printed name is more illegible than the signature!

  13. I have an addendum to this request. If you are a hospital doctor writing discharge prescriptions, just assume that the patient’s pharmacy does not have you on file, and please, for the love of god, write your name neatly and include your DEA#.
    That’s all the pharmacy needs to fill the script. It takes 3 extra seconds to write legibly and include your DEA#. This isn’t much to ask, and it will save us the frustration of having to track you down, so we can find out who exactly wrote that Percocet script.

  14. Matt says:

    Oh, boy, do I hear you.
    I work at the switchboard for 6 hospitals, and we get dozens of calls from pharmacies every day, who can’t even tell us the first initial of the doctor’s name they’re looking for because the signature is so bad. One of our urologists has a signature that’s so terrible that I get at least half a dozen calls about his prescriptions a week. And I work part-time night shifts.
    In fact, I always say “Could it be *insert name here*?” when a pharmacist tells me that they can’t make out even a single letter of the name. I want to call his office and leave an anonymous message telling him to learn to print his name so that people can actually read it. Heh.
    That said, with enough info (patient name, patient health card number) I can almost always help the pharmacist figure out who wrote the prescription. It helps that I have nearly every doctor that works at our hospitals memorized, including the residents.

  15. huey says:

    I think they should have a class in med school devoted to just this subject. I know that you you are a new grad Intern and are very important in your home town and it’s very exciting for you to be called Dr. insert name here, but your not so well known that every pharmacy in town knows your name. Hospital interns please get a stamp or print (legibly) your name, DEA, and attendings name on the RX. When an intern writes a script at a hospital it is ridiculously hard to find out info on that doctor. Not to pick but Bradley that’s the point, that all doctors at said clinic would get a stamp or write there info on the RX’s. Then there would be no confusion.

  16. NocturnalDoc says:

    Aww, I work in inpatient hospice medicine, so we never get to chat! Plus, I work at the VA so we don’t even write inpatient orders.
    I do not miss the days of trying to read other docs chicken scratch.

  17. r- says:

    You don’t even have to put your DEA # on it. Just make your name readable, and I can look it up. Or when I call the ER I can say this is the DR I need the DEA. I makes life so much easier and less stressful.

  18. Marc B. says:

    I love when I’m working in the pharmacy getting a script that has the doctors signature completely mashed together so you can’t tell where the first name ends and the last name begins and the signature is in such bad cursive I can’t tell what they letters are. Even better is when there are no doctors listed on the script just “XXX doctors practice” and no printed name underneath the signature or a listing of doctors that someone can check off to see what doctor it is.

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