Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sorry for my absence. This weekend was our baby shower in Knoxville, and it was great. It also wore me out physically and mentally. We had a great time, saw a lot of family and friends, and received a lot of amazing gifts. The nursery is finished now, for the most part. The first few loads of new baby laundry have been completed and sorted and put in the dresser, and we are ready. (I hope).

I thought I would share this anecdote with you guys - because I'm still - a day after hearing about it - stunned that it actually occurred.

An owner showed up to our ER (my colleague was working) with a stuporous and laterally recumbent puppy. The puppy's heart rate was very high, it's temperature was very low, and it was essentially dying. The owner was convinced that the dog was dying from rat poison that it ate THAT day. The puppy had NO previous exposure to rat bait except for that day. Rat baits take 3 days to work at minimum. It is not physically possible to be exposed to rat poison and several hours later die as a result, no matter how much bait is ingested.

The owner had no finances and a dying puppy. My colleague offered free, humane euthanasia. The owner declined and elected to leave with the puppy, despite being counseled that it was suffering.

30 minutes later, Walgreens across the street called. The pharmacist reported that the woman was present, demanding a prescription for vitamin K (the treatment for rat poisoning). She (the pharmacist) wanted to know if vitamin K would help the puppy. My colleague explained the situation carefully. Then there was a pause. Then THE PHARMACIST, a fellow medical professional, said, "What you people charge over there is criminal. You are all criminals." And she hung up on my colleague.

Needless to say, the doctor was LIVID with this unprofessionalism and immediately called back. The pharmacist initially apologized, then tried to defend her position by stating that she had brought HER personal pet to the ER clinic, and we had gouged her. My colleague asked to speak with the manager, who was not happy and apologized.

We send a great deal of business to that Walgreens - as it is directly across the street from us, as well as 24 hours. I think however, that I will now be sending my clients to CVS Pharmacy, down the road about 1 mile, without reservation.

What is wrong with people?


Anonymous said...

Overall, pharmacists are my favorite medical professionals, but that one needs an intervention and an attitude adjustment. I'd follow up with a formal letter of complaint to the store manager, regional manager, and however far up you can go.

If possible, I'd also follow through, along with all of the other staff veterinarians, and send all of your clinic's business down the street. I'd tell management at the pharmacy across the street you'll be doing this until that pharmacist is formally reprimanded and/or removed from that branch.

Good luck.

foffmom said...

Wonder how often a patient there declines to purchase a prescription once informed of the cost. I will bet it to be fairly common. Does that constitute price gouging?
On the other hand, every profession has bad apples, and everyone has bad days. You could have gotten the double win with that pharmacist! A bad apple having a bad day, and they always pass it on.

Anonymous said...

I would have been tempted to tell her her salary was criminal, seeing as how she just counts pills all day. I've had some run ins with pharmacists, mostly over dozing thyroid medication, but wow, that's a cake taker.

Karen Whiddon said...

Wow. Just wow.