What comes out of patients mouths starts with B and ends in T

Sometimes I wonder why we even listen to what patients have to say.

How many times a day are you lied to by a patient.  A patient who on the phone will tell you they “lost” their medication, but when they magically show up at the store they say they are going to Mexico for 2 months. A patient who cried how his pain pills were stolen 2 days ago, yet is in the paper today for selling his prescriptions to an undercover officer.

Heres a colorful metaphor.  You have two sparkling clean containers (the doctor and the pharmacist).  One is filled with clean pure drinking water (the message) and must be moved to the other container.  How we join them? A piece of uncleaned retired sewage pipe (the patient).  Sure, water is going to get from one container to the other, but its going to pick up a whole lot of shit along the way.  However heres the kicker, some doctors listen to what these patients have to say as the absolute truth.

Example:  Doctor calls up the pharmacy pissed as hell because the patient said that the “bad pharmacist wouldn’t fill my pain pills”.  Doctor gives the pharmacist both barrels before being fed some humble pie by learning that his beloved patient got a month supply a week ago from another doctor.

Patients are horrible translators, historians, and message carriers.  How many times has a patient told you a message they recieved from the doctor (like to stop a medication), only to have it be horribly wrong?  How many times have you had patients spout medical jargon they learned from their doctor about their condition only to have it be sorta right in a ignore-the-big-picture sort of way?  Yet doctors and pharmacists use the patient to carry messages to each other.

“Contact myself or your doctor if your lisinopril gives you a bothersome cough” turns into “My pharmacist told me to stop my lisinopril because I coughed” and “Maybe you should ask your doctor about a pain management referral” turns into  “My pharmacist said that you should send me to a pain management doctor because you don’t know what you are doing”.  The shit that patients twist and fabricate with a single grain of truth just boggles my mind, and just makes bad blood between the doctors and the pharmacists.

What kills my soul (which a lot of things do, this being one of them), is when patients have a tiny-yet-dangerous bit of medical knowledge gained through the internet or one nursing class 15 years ago.  Then the bullshit they spout actually sounds like it really did come from the doctor or pharmacist even though its completely wrong.

So how to handle this?  Easy, treat the child like he’s a fucking 5 year old, and pin a note to his/her shirt to give to the doctor/pharmacist.