Friday, May 24, 2013

I Hope She Doesn't Kill Anybody

I love my doctor.  He's friendly, attentive, tall, dark, handsome, and he treats me like he would his favorite granny.  As far as I know, in all the years I have been his patient, he's never made a misdiagnosis.  His office is part of an established medical practice, second generation.  The original doctors are gone, now, and one of the sons took over and hired my doctor and another, female, doctor as associates.  They are all natives of the area, which makes for a feeling of continuity.

The only thing is, I suspect they are cheap.  For a long time, I thought the reason the office hadn't undergone any redecorating  was the original doctors didn't want to spend the money on new window covers or new chairs or paint or wallpaper or floor covering or any kind of expansion of an increasingly cramped lab.  But, the original occupants have been gone for a while, now, and the only change I've seen in 40 years is the removal of drapes in the waiting room and new paint and the addition of a little bit of wallpaper in my doctor's office.  I don't know about the other offices, as I've never seen them.   This leads me to believe, sadly, that they are simply - dare I say it?- CHEAP.

I believe that this "cheapness" applies to the salaries they pay to their nurses, clerks, receptionists, etc. Well, nobody's perfect.  But, when the inevitable turnover happens, they have to hire new people, and although I don't know this for a fact, I suspect every new nurse, clerk, receptionist, etc. they hire is paid less than they paid the ones before.  I'm convinced that they "lowballed" themselves right out of competent lab techs, and took to outsourcing that job.

So, it came as no surprise when my doctor hired a new nurse who has proved herself to b incompetent in the area of renewing prescriptions from the pharmacy, in this case, Walgreen's.  I have had to be super-vigilant with the prescription renewals that have to be ok'd by the doctor and by that I mean, watching his nurse like a hawk. Once, I had to get her to correct a prescription she had called in for the wrong medication so many times that the insurance company finally refused to pay until we started over from scratch.  She swore it was the fault of the pharmacy, and she was so convincing that I had some naughty thoughts about Walgreens, until the pharmacist presented me with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Sorry, Walgreen's. Maybe I should retract those ugly comments I made about you on Twitter and Facebook, too, not to mention what I ranted on this blog, but it was long ago, now.  I'm just glad I didn't write an angry letter to the editor, which I have been known to do in times gone by.

This week, I called Walgreen's for a refill on a prescription I had been taking for a couple of years and was told it would take an extra day, because they needed an ok from my doctor.  I waited , and when my prescription wasn't ready after three days, I called the doctor's office and told his nurse that Walgreen's had been waiting for an ok, and, as usual, she said she hadn't received a request from Walgreen's.  But, she would call them, and then she read off the doctor's instruction about dosage to me, just to double-check.

Then, she turned right around and called the pharmacy and ordered double the number of pills that the doctor had ordered. Of course, Walgreen's filled it the way she ordered it, and now, I have a six month supply instead of three month's worth.  As far as I'm concerned, this is not a bad thing.  I know how much I'm supposed to take, and I wouldn't mind not having to have another refill for a year, even, come to that.

But, I can't help wondering how often she screws up prescriptions.  And, in the case of the wrong medication she ordered for me, what if it had been another patient?  One who, for one reason or another, didn't notice that she had gotten the name of the medication wrong.  What if that patient had taken the pills and had gotten steadily worse while he/she unnowingly took the pills as directed?  What if that patient had died?  That's one way to hide the evidence, I guess, but what if  it has already happened! Let's not go there.

This mistake was minor, I realize, but, I'm wondering.  Should I have a little heart-to-heart with my doctor?  I haven't actually made a list of all her mistakes, so maybe I should start memorializing them some way before I talk to him about her.  I don't want to be the cause of her losing her job.

But, in the meantime, what if she kills somebody?

Stay tuned.


kenju said...

If I were you, I would detail in writing all the errors she has made and show it to your doc. He needs to know!!

savannah said...

i agree with kenju and for all the reasons you listed! not everyone is as diligent as you've been. xoxo

Olga said...

I do agree that the doctor should know about all the mistakes. There is a time for generous forgiveness, but this seems too risky to be allowed to go on.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Yes!! Tell your doctor. You are probably not the only one who has noticed errors she has made. She is a definite liability....and she could harm or kill someone. We need to be able to trust our doctors and nurses to make the right decisions and give us the right medication in the proper doses.

Betty said...

Looks like it's unanimous. Tell the doctor. I think I'm just taking the coward's way out, hoping his other patients complain. The fact that she's still working there makes me think I'm the only one she does that to.

marlu said...

These mistakes are so frightening. We had one at a pharmacy. Two men talking and joking while one filled an RX for our sick granddaughter. We looked at bottle. Supposed to be liquid and they gave us pills for three year old. We were glad we caught it. They weren't even apologetic as they corrected it.

Judy said...

Yes, PLEASE tell your doctor ASAP. Be specific with your dates, problems etc. He needs to know!
By all means write him a letter and mark on the envelope PERSONAL and CONFIDENTIAL. In most practices, the office staff may not open those letters but must give them directly to the doctor. OR if he has an office manager you could hand your letter directly to that person.

As far as the waiting room, exam rooms being re-decorated, go ahead at a later date and gently suggest it is time to do something. It is not so much a matter as being cheap as it is having to shut down an office to get it done--when you are in private practice, every day your doors are closed you are not earning anything but your expenses are still going--at least that is how my husband was looking at it. A patient gently suggested it was time to update and it opened his eyes! :) With a lot of scheduling and organization, we were able to re-do from top to bottom with minimal disruption to his patients and everyone was much happier. So do speak to the doctor about it.

Word Tosser said...

write it down.. all the ones you remember... and how it happen.. and tell the Dr. about it, when he is in the room with you... and then hand him the paper (make a copy for yourself) and tell him these are the times of concern.. but YES..tell the Dr. face to face..

L.J. Diva said...

Is there a company you can complain to, like head medical officer or something.

If the doctor doesn't do or say anything, remind him he could be sued if she gets it wrong and kills someone.