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Finally, Someone With A Dose Of Sense

, , , , | Healthy | April 3, 2020

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

There are certain medications that can be used in both humans and animals, but usually, the dosages are very different. One of these medications is Phenobarbital, a seizure medication. Our office doesn’t keep this medication in stock so we have to call it in to a human pharmacy.

One of our canine patients is on Phenobarbital. He has been stable on his dose for years, but they do not make a pill in the size he needs, so we prescribe him two different sizes to add up to the right amount. Apparently, this is not regularly done with humans, because every time we call in his medication we get a call from the pharmacy to confirm some things. So, we put a note on his file with what to say when they call back.

I am training a new receptionist and have just had her call in his refill authorization. Soon after. we get the expected call from the pharmacist. She has the pharmacy on hold and asks what to do, so I tell her to open his chart and read the script.

New Receptionist: “Hello. Apparently, I have to read this note to you. Yes, he needs both sizes. Yes, at the same time. Yes, we know this is a very large dose for a human, but he is a dog. He is a very large dog. He has been taking the pills like this for years now. Thank you.”

I am sitting there listening to her side of this, fighting the urge to facepalm, and thinking it was pretty obvious that those were meant to be the responses to questions she would be asked and not to be read straight through like that.

The pharmacist says something and she replies:

New Receptionist: “I’m not sure. Um, looks like the note was dated four years ago.” *Pause* “Um, I think so; let me check.” *Turns to me* “Hey, [My Name], have we been saying this every time we call his medication in?”

I nod and she turns back to the phone.

New Receptionist: “Yeah, we have.” *Pause* “Really? That’d probably save everyone some time. Thanks.” *Hangs up* “They are going to put a copy of our note on their computers so they don’t have to keep calling in every time.”

Me: “Wait, they could do that? I thought it was a requirement for them to confirm odd-sounding doses, and that the phone calls were just formalities so they could check a box saying they did it. How did none of them ever notice that we were having the same conversation every four months?”

We no longer get confirmation calls for that patient.

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