“My father is a patient of your partner’s. He’s leaving on a plane out of the country for his sister’s funeral and needs his medications refilled or he will run out!” She listed off a narcotic and a benzodiazepine and a blood pressure medication.
Technically, we have a policy not to prescribe narcotics, controlled substances, or antibiotics after hours. Sometimes the rules need to be broken, though. A funeral emergency would qualify.
I got the name and date of birth from her as I waited for the computer to finish booting up. Hurriedly, I typed in the info then hit search.
Thinking maybe I had misspelled or entered a typo, I asked her to repeat it.
“He was just in there on Tuesday. There must be something wrong with your computer.”
I pulled up that physician’s schedule for the day in question and scanned though it. Nothing even remotely similar.
Perhaps she was mistaken.
“What pharmacy does he use?”
I got the info and told her I would call back. My thought was to see of my partner had ever prescribed medication for this fellow before, but truthfully I already knew the answer.
“Does this fellow ever get meds filled at your pharmacy?”
The woman on the other end of the line was silent as she looked him up.
“No…. But you are the third physician calling about this guy in the past two hours.”
There are two kinds of drug seekers: the personally addicted and the professionals who probably sell what they get. Often I find that the personally addicted are sloppy, as they are typically the ones screaming “F- YOU!” through the phone. Their need gets in the way of calculation. Yet both types get more and more sophisticated as technology improves.
Major holidays are a favorite time for the professional seekers in particular. They are not stupid. They know that the odds are that physicians are less likely to be near a computer and the EHR (Electronic Health Record) during this time as we try to maintain some normalcy on call while celebrating as much as we can with our families.
I get to be on call for Christmas this year. There will no doubt be several of these calls. It’s par for the course. Fortunately, I have the ability to remotely access my EHR…