These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Refilling Other Doctor’s Prescriptions

A Physician’s Dilemma

I sometimes have patients ask me if I will refill a prescription that was written by another doctor.  This is a really difficult thing for any doctor to do.  Some doctors want to see the prescription first.  Most will just flat out refuse.

Here’s why. 

Often, the medication is something I am not familiar with.  I had one patient look at me in amazement and exclaim, “But you went to medical school, didn’t you?” Yes, but that was back in the stone ages.  A lot of today’s medicines weren’t available then.  That goes for medications in and out of my specialty.  I have tried to keep up with those in my specialty.  I have not been able to keep up with those out of my specialty.

Not only do I not know how to spell the medication, I don’t know what it is used for (indications), whether or not it will interact with any medication I might be giving you, what the doses are, when you shouldn’t take it (contraindications), what the side effects are or anything else about the medication.  I admit there are fancy computer gadgets that let me look that stuff up.  However, there is not enough time in an average appointment to look up every medication.

The other issue is WHY ARE YOU OUT OF THE MEDICATION?  Are you late to see your other doctor?  When did you have your last screening testing done?  Do you need an appointment to get your cholesterol or sugar or kidneys checked? How am I supposed to know if you are taking the right amount?   What if I refill it and it isn’t the right amount?  Your condition could get worse or you could DIE.  I would feel pretty danged awful about that. 

Nope, I’m not going to take the risk.  I will call the doctor who wrote the prescription and see if you can get an appointment.

And don’t even think about calling after hours or on the weekend.  I’ll need extra blood pressure medication for that!

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