Graduated Up To A Personalized Service

, , | Healthy | November 23, 2017

(I am picking up my medicine and in order to do so, you must give your name and birth date, including year.)

Clerk: “Name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Clerk: “Birthday?”

Me: “[Date].”

Clerk: “That’s the same day I graduated. To the day.”

Me: “And year. Next time you ask, I’m just going to say, ‘the exact day you graduated.’”

Sickening Lack Of Attentiveness

, , | Healthy | November 22, 2017

(I’m staying at the hospital because of an exploded appendix. Unfortunately, the surgery goes wrong and I end up with several complications. One of them includes not being able to hold any liquid, not even the liquid my stomach produces. So despite not eating or drinking anything, I spend several days (around a week) vomiting up green goo until I finally manage to get that under control. A few days later, I’m chatting with a nurse when I suddenly feel the need to barf again! Thankfully, there’s a vomit-bag sitting right next to the nurse.)

Me: *with some urgency* “Can you please give me the vomit bag?”

Nurse: *shocked* “What? I thought you were done with that?”

(At this point I’m afraid that if I talk any more I will just start projectile vomiting so I just stare at her, hoping she’ll get the hint. But the nurse just stares back at me for what seems like an eternity, expecting me to answer the question.)

Me: “Quickly!”

(The nurse finally scrambled to get the bag, but by the time she got it, I’d already started vomiting all over the floor. I sure hope she’ll be more attentive in the future!)

The Sad Estate Of This Family

, | Healthy | November 22, 2017

(I work at a long-term care pharmacy. We service patients in nursing homes, assisted living, etc. and bill prescription costs monthly. Of course, this means we have trouble with people not paying their bill. Part of my job is to make collections calls. I hear all kinds of excuses, but this was a first.)

Man: “Hello?”

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] calling from [Pharmacy]. Is [Person #1] available?”

Man: “Nope, he’s in jail over in [County].”

Me: *not sure how to respond* “I’m sorry to hear that… I also have [Person #2] listed as an authorized contact. May I speak with her?”

Man: “Nope, can’t talk to her either. She’s dead.”

Me: *now REALLY not sure how to respond* “I’m sorry to hear that, too. I’m calling in reference to [Patient]’s account. Who could I speak with that handles [Patient]’s finances?”

Man: “Not him. He’s dead now, too. His wife’s still living but she’s got ‘all-timers’ disease so she won’t be much help.”

Me: *basically at a loss for words at this point* “There must be someone handling [Patient]’s estate. Who would that be?”

Man: “Couldn’t tell you. The only one I know of that’s not dead, locked up, or crazy is [Person #3]. She’s probably the best you’re going to get.”

(Turned out [Person #3] was extremely nice and helpful, and promptly sent a check for the full balance. She must have been the shining star in a family of “dead, locked up, and crazy!”)

Making Sure You All (Co)Pay Dearly

, , | Healthy | November 22, 2017

(I work at a long-term care pharmacy. We bill prescriptions monthly, and always get angry phone calls a few days after statements go out.)

Me: “[Pharmacy], this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Angry Man: “What kind of scam are you all running out there?”

Me: “Sir?”

Angry Man: “Do you think you’re going to get away with charging these outrageous prices? I should report you for robbery!”

Me: “If you have questions about any charges, I’d be happy to explain them to you.”

Angry Man: “As a matter of fact you can! I’d like to know why you’re charging me $50 for a month’s worth of [medication]!”

(I pull up the claim and go through my normal spiel of how we submit a claim to the insurance company, they respond with how much they’ll pay and how much of a copay we need to collect from the patient, and how we have no influence over the cost of the copay, as this is determined by the plan, etc.)

Angry Man: “Well then, how come I can go to [Other Pharmacy] and get three months’ worth for $150?”

Me: “Sir, that’s the same price.”

Angry Man: “You’re trying to tell me that $50 and $150 are the same thing? How stupid can you be to have your job?”

Me: *remembering to be professional and not sarcastic* “No, sir. I’m telling you that $50 for a 30 day supply and $150 for a 90 day supply is exactly the same price.”

Angry Man: “I can’t pay $50 every month for one prescription! I’ll go broke! I’m going to be using [Other Pharmacy] from now on so I can get more for a decent price! And I’m going up to [Nursing Home] and telling everyone there that you’re robbing them!”

Me: *slowly losing professionalism* “You have the right to use whatever pharmacy you like. If you feel the need to tell them that, I can’t stop you. But if they can do basic math, they’ll realize that copays are no different with us than they are anywhere else.”

Angry Man: “I know the tactics you people use to try to confuse me. You talk over my head hoping I’ll give up and pay your ridiculous price! You’re not going to fool me. I’m no dumb-a**!”

(At this point I was contemplating whether it would be worth the complaint I’d get if I said “Well, sir, you certainly could’ve fooled me,” but he slammed the phone down, making my decision for me. People are unbelievably dumb!)

Doctor Nose Best

, , , , | Healthy | November 21, 2017

(I am a pediatrician. A woman has come in with her little girl who is suffering from a rather infected finger. He diagnoses her with a staph infection, prescribes some antibiotics, and sends them home. At the end of the antibiotics the woman is back in his office, and the infection has spread to several areas; a spot on the little girl’s face, the inside of her nose, and a spot on her leg. She demands that I run a million tests because I’m clearly a “failure of a doctor.”)

Me: “Ma’am, it appears that your daughter has spread the infection to other areas of her body, most likely through scratches or by touching a scratch that was already there.”

Mother: “That’s impossible! How would she get one in her nose? You’re just making excuses because you don’t want to run any tests!”

Me: “I can assure you, ma’am, that’s not the case. If I felt the need to, I would certainly run more tests, but there is no need for all that time, effort, and money when I can clearly see what the cause is. It’s more than 99% certain that she spread it through her nose by a scratch as the bacteria causing the infection is located under her fingernails. She picked her nose, scratched it, and spread the infection there.”

Mother: *turns bright red* “That’s ridiculous! My little princess would never do anything so disgusting as pick her nose! We’re just going to go and get a second opinion! You’ll be run out of business, you’ll see!”

(We turn around to see her “little princess” with a finger very far up her nose indeed. The mother grows nearly purple at this point and swats her daughter’s hand away from her face.)

Me: “So I’ll be prescribing that next round of antibiotics, then?”

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