Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weirdest. Day. Ever.

Yesterday was so strange. I hope we never have a day like that again, even though it was mildly entertaining.
Paramedics were called to the store 3 times. A kid fell out of a cart and hit his head on the floor. A lady had what we think was a heart attack. The 3rd person, I don't know the story, but when I saw the medics, they were getting a backboard ready.
We spent most of the day trying to find out if someone was dead or alive. Yup, you read that right. We had faxed a request to a doctor to change a prescription for a product we couldn't get. The doctor's office called us and said that the patient had passed away on January 7th. Looking at the profile, we knew something was fishy, because all of her prescriptions had been picked up regularly since then. One was a controlled substance (which sent up red flags), but none of the others were. She was on Medicare, which made us think of Medicare fraud - but what were these people doing with her insulin? So, we started making phone calls... Back to the doctor - "How do you know she died?" "Hospice notified us" OK. Call hospice, using the phone number the doctor's office provided. They never heard of her, but apparently, there are multiple home health branches of that company. Leave a message at one. Call the person who signed for the scripts (but try not to let on we think she's dead, in case there is some sort of fraud going on) - she is the patient's caregiver, and she speaks of the patient in the present tense. Call the local AND state health departments, check to see if there's a death certificate on record. No such luck, but converting from paper to computer records can be delayed. Back to the doctor - "Are you sure hospice told you she died?" "Yes. We even sent a sympathy card to the family. They never called us to say it was wrong." Odd, you would think if she didn't die, the family would ask why the doctor sent a card. FINALLY, nearly 6 hours later, we hear back from the hospice company. The patient was released from hospice to an adult family home. Call that number... "She's not dead. She's sitting right here, want to talk to her?"
Alrighty then... Call the doctor's office back. They're happy to hear she's alive, agreed to change the script.
So. How did this happen? We figure that hospice told the doctor that the patient was no longer on hospice, and the office just ASSUMED (we all know what that makes us!) that it meant she died. You know, sometimes people do get better. What I still can't figure out is why on Earth the family didn't question a sympathy card sent from the doctor's office....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Handicapped

I can appreciate the need to accommodate the needs of people with physical limitations, within reason. But, I hate it when people expect things without any explanation, or worse yet, a stupid explanation...
Take the case of a woman who comes to my pharmacy. We have been receiving, from the manufacturers, drugs that come in unit dose packages - you know, those little blister packs that you have to punch each pill out of. A lot of people bitch about those, including me - they take up too much space in the pharmacy, they're a pain for people who don't get their prescriptions in multiples of 30, and they all look the same so if patients have more than one product packaged like that they run the risk of mixing them up. A couple of weeks ago, this woman comes in to pick up her scripts. The cashier hollers across the room to me that this lady wants us to punch out all the tablets into a vial for her. No reason. I say no - if I said yes to every request like that, we would spend half of every day punching tablets out! Seriously - I get at least a dozen requests for that every day! So - I said no, and the lady starts throwing a fit. The cashier sends her over to where I am so I can get yelled at too (share the wealth, I guess). So, the tirade gets launched "You have to punch them out! I'm handicapped! I have NO THUMBS!" She thrusts both hands in my face, and they clearly each have 5 digits... I try to hold back a mouthful of foul language, and in my attempt to cover my frustration with a phony smile, a "give me a fucking break" look comes across my face. Then she threatens to sue me for discrimination...
Now, had she told me she couldn't use her thumbs, or that she had no movement of her thumbs, or even said "my thumbs are un-opposable", I may have reacted differently. But, as each of the 5 patients behind her said to me as they came to the window - SHE HAD THUMBS!
So - if any of you readers have a disability that needs me or any other business you frequent to do something special to accommodate you, listen up.... Don't assume I know your disability by looking at you. Don't communicate your disability in a false way - if you can't walk, say "I can't walk" not "I have no legs". And finally, I can't discriminate against you if I don't know about your handicap - you can't sue me for something I had no knowledge of...
Oh, and from now on, I plan to punch out the tablets for my "thumbless" patient. Maybe I'll do it in front of her, and use my index finger just to piss her off...