Prescribing Them Some Anti-Mean Pills

, , , , | Right | October 8, 2018

(I work at a pharmacy as a technician. We have the ability to request certain prescription refills for patients at the doctor’s discretion. Notes appear on a patient’s profile when we make requests, giving us the status of the request — waiting for response, denied, or approved. It usually takes two or three days to hear back from a doctor, so we generally make the requests within a week or two of when the patient will be out of medication to avoid issues with insurance companies filling too soon. It is about nine in the morning on a weekday when a middle-aged man walks up to the pickup counter:)

Me: “Hi. Welcome to [Pharmacy]. How can I help?”

Customer #1: “I’m here to pick up a prescription.”

(I take his name and birthdate to pull up his profile. There are no prescriptions ready, but there is a note that we’ve sent a request to a doctor for a refill.)

Me: “It appears that you don’t have any prescriptions ready, sir, but we did send out a request to your doctor for a refill of [Prescription].”

Customer #1: “Yes, I know that. I was here yesterday and you guys told me the exact same thing. I have to drive a long way to get here. Why isn’t it ready yet?”

Me: “Well, it often takes a couple of days for a doctor to respond. Are you out of medication?”

(Occasionally, we will give patients a few extra pills if we’re having issues reaching the doctor, and they’re entirely out of medication. The customer gets angrier.)

Customer #1: “Why hasn’t it been filled yet? He always responds quickly! Haven’t you checked your messages yet? What kind of place is this?”

(At nine in the morning, not all doctor’s offices in our area are even OPEN, let alone writing prescriptions. We usually recommend calling in the afternoon to hear back from doctors.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but the doctor still hasn’t sent us the refills yet. If you really need the medication, you can try calling the doctor’s office, as well.”

(This sometimes does help to speed up a doctor’s refills and authorizations, and we reach out to the patient to tell them if we don’t hear back in three days of a request to recommend getting in touch with the doctor. This also causes a note on a profile, which is not on this customer’s profile.)

Customer #1: “Why do I need to call the doctor when that’s clearly your job?”

(At this point I’m shocked speechless in anger. It takes me a few seconds to recover.)

Me: “You could also call us to make sure we have the prescription before coming.”

Customer #1: “You people never pick up the phone! I always end up on hold when I call.”

(The customer walks away, muttering about how we never have the prescriptions ready and don’t know what we’re doing. The customer behind him, who was waiting for her prescriptions to be refilled, has heard the whole exchange, and is equally as shocked at this guy.)

Customer #2: “Wow… I don’t know how you can put up with someone like that; I couldn’t handle being yelled at by someone with an attitude.”

Me: “Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. Sometimes they’re even meaner.”

Customer #2: “I’m sorry. I hope you don’t have any more like him today.”

(She was very polite throughout the rest of the exchange, and whatever upset I was feeling at the first customer was erased by her. She made my day. Whoever you are, thank you; I needed it.)


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