Have you complained about a physician?

mike1975August 25, 2012

I may have went overboard this morning but I was upset. I've been on Paxil for 10 years now, tried to quit 5 years ago, but the withdrawal effects were horrible. My pharmacy faxed a request to my doctor's office on Tuesday asking for authorization for my refills. Happens every 3 months so no big deal and I still had a few left until I picked up the new prescription. Went this morning to pick it up and the pharmacy told me that they still haven't received the return fax! I called my docs answering service and they told me that he was on vacation this week and the doc that was covering him was out too! I was so upset about having to go through today, tomorrow, and Monday not taking my Paxil and having the withdrawal symptoms that I went to the homepage of the office's headquarters and sent an email complaining about my situation. Did I overreact? Sorry about the long post :(

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If you are a long standing customer at the
pharmacy, if asked I'm sure that they would
give you a couple of days worth of your
usual perscription.
They would do that here where I live.
Small town tho......

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:41PM
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I was going to say the same thing as marry. The pharmacy should give you just enough pills to carry you through.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Almost 20 years with this doctor and 7 with this pharmacy and I asked but they said no.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:51PM
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That's really bad. I can['t believe a doctor would leave his practice uncovered while he's away. I used to work in a non-clinical position at a hospital but I know the president of the hospital got LOTS of complaints from patients about their treatment. Now that the hospital uses hospitalists, I am sure they are getting more complaints than ever about doctors.

I think yu did the right thing, although I would be wary about my relationship with my doctor. I hope he knows the doctor who was covering didn't do his job.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I'm more on the pharmacy's side on this one. For all they know, your doctor might not authorize the refill. Your doctor may have decided to switch you to something else. The pharmacist's license would be on the line if s/he dispensed an unauthorized medication.

If you have been on this medication for 10 years, you should be aware when you're running out and how many refills you have left. It's your responsibility to contact your doctor's office in plenty of time for a refill authorization. It's never (in my opinion, anyway) the pharmacy's responsibility to call the doctor's office for an authorization. Yet, you said, "My pharmacy faxed a request to my doctor's office on Tuesday asking for authorization for my refills. Happens every 3 months so no big deal ..." So, every three months you have your pharmacy contact the doctor's office for an authorization for refills.

With a medication like Paxil, you need to be evaluated regularly by your physician. If your doctor is only authorizing 3 months' worth of refills at a time, there's a reason for it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I don't think you overreacted......have you asked the pharmacist if he can give you enough to last until Monday.
My pharmacist does it for me....locally owned place.
I usually call the pharmacy if I haven't heard in two days and if they haven't heard, I call the doc's office, especially when a weekend is coming up.
Wishing you well.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:29PM
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I can understand the pharmacy not giving you a few pills until the Rx comes thru. That's just illegal, small town or not. I can't fault you either. You had no reason to think that how this would be handled now is any different than it has the last hundred times.

The problem lies with the "covering" physician. He's not doing his job. If he is incommunicado, then there has to be a dr covering for HIM. I would be on the phone adamant that I must speak to or be given the name of the covering physician so that the pharmacist can talk to him to get an order for your Paxil (even if it's only enough to tide you over until Monday). If all else fails, go to an urgent care center if the withdrawal symptoms get too bad.

I don't think you over reacted, but it won't help the dilemma you're in, in a timely fashion. The original dr's office staff screwed up if they did nothing with a fax that was received on Tuesday.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:33PM
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When was the last time you saw your family doc in the office?
I used to work in a large medical clinic and if a patient had not been in within a year the covering doc would not OK the RX.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Carol, I don't know if this is State or Federal law, but in Ohio drug Rx's are only good for up to a year. A dr *must* see the pt before writing a new Rx if a year has passed.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:11AM
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There's shared blame here. Your physician's office should have promptly responded to the fax. The covering physician is supposed to do just that "cover" and it seems he isn't. However I never rely on the pharmacy to verify my scripts. I would have called them on Wed and again Thurs to see if they had received the physician's script. At that point I would have called the physician's office to find out what caused the delay. Why wait until the weekend when the medical office is closed and it's more difficult to contact someone?

However I would call the answering service back and insist that they contact the 'covering' physician and have him contact the pharmacy.

I don't think you overreacted by calling and complaining- this is a legitimate concern. Hopefully you didn't leave a nasty, vitriolic message but one that was concise and explained the problem and still expressed your disappointment.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:38AM
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There is a time and place to complain and I'd say this was one of them. Good for you and a big Boo to the doc and pharmacy.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Thanks everyone. I do take some responsibility for this as I usually call and check to make sure it is at the pharmacy before I go to pick it up. But naturally life was hectic this week between work and home issues so I just didn't think anything would be amiss. But I believe some responsibility lies with the office staff and the covering physician to at least explain why they did not return the fax.

Maire Cate my message was very direct and to the point....I made sure that what I wanted to say didn't come out of my mouth lol!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:42AM
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I have had one with a doctor. I found out how to file a complaint with the organization that monitors them. I don't know if it did any good or not. All a patient can do is file the complaint and if there are other complaints it may tip the scale to getting rid of him or making him stop such behavior. He got angry at me for not taking hormones. A couple of months later they stopped testing on female doctors because the danger of taking the hormones was to dangerous to the participants. I often wonder if he change his opinion of giving hormones to his patients. He retire shortly after I filed my complaint and he did not seem old enough to retire.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:31AM
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I don't think you over reacted.....I think the office messed up by not getting back to either the pharmacy or if the doctor was going to change the RX, they should have called you.....There is no excuse for just letting you hang......And if the doctor knew about the withdrawal and did nothing, then, he's at fault....I think I'd go to Med 1st or a neighborhood medial service if the withdrawal gets too bad......Any more, it seems, you're just a number....

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 3:16PM
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I've never heard of this happening; surely someone is covering the doctor who was supposed to be covering for your doc!! It's not a good idea to go right off of Paxil--perhaps you can remind the office of that? Please monitor your mood and insist on some help if you start to spiral, Mike.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:15PM
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I would imagine that the covering physician is there to be CALLED in an emergency. He or she would not likely consider a prescription refill an emergency. A fax to the doctor's office is going to an empty office if the whole staff is on vacation. Did the pharmacy try CALLING the office or just sending a fax? I imagine there would have been a message on the answering machine with instructions. I doubt a pharmacy would refill an outdated prescription around here. Maybe something like a life-saving drug or one you cannot stop without health consequences as opposed to comfort consequences. I certainly do not mean that to sound like I don't sympathize with your predicament. I would be annoyed as well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:22PM
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mike how are you doing today? i read up on paxil and it sure isn't a drug to messed with or missed...while your doc was very remiss in not filling your 'script, don't wait if you do feel any of the symptoms, and head to the er...

more and more drs are becoming less willing to refill even the simplest of drugs without some lab work...in fact dh's dr won't accept a fax from our target pharmacy for a refil, period. and on the flip side? many are now going paperless and are faxing the pharmacy directly...that's what our family, oncologist, and kidney drs do..

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 7:12PM
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"while your doc was very remiss in not filling your 'script,"

No, the doctor was not remiss in not filling the prescription. The OP was remiss in repeatedly not paying attention to the fact that he was nearly out of pills and always (every three months according to what he posted) relying on his pharmacy to request a refill. A medication like Paxil requires regular checkups with the doctor -- to ensure the dosage is correct, that the patient is not suffering from any adverse effects, etc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Mike - it's Monday and I'm hoping your Physician's office call you and takes care of the script. Let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:30AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree with Lindey....this seems like a patient responsibility, to me. A pharmacy absolutely cannot offer to provide even ONE pill without a perscription....even if you've been a customer for 50 years.

I make sure that my meds are current to three months in advance. My pharmacy has an automatic renewal service which will fill a script when I have about 7-10 pills left and call me when it's ready for pick-up.

One solution could have been to visit one of those Emergency Care type places to explain the situation and obtain a refill for just enough to get you by.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Often it seems that all I can count on these days, is that someone, somewhere, will drop the ball. When all goes well and smoothly, I'm pleasantly surprised and pleased. I think a lot of workers these days are not properly trained to pay attention to details, or don't care, or are just too overworked, that 'stuff' happens.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:28AM
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So at 9am this morning I called my doctor's office to explain the situation. I was told that on the 20th and not the 21st they had faxed my pharmacy a release for more meds. She said that they had pulled my chart for the doc because I have an appointment next week and the doctor wanted me to have have labs done beforehand. The doc also told the receptionist to fax my pharmacy for another supply of meds before I came in. I called the pharmacy and they said that they never got any refill authorization and that they faxed them on the 21st. Regardless I finally after got my prescription this morning after a few back and forth phone calls. Now I feel bad that I wrote that complaint. I guess next time I should get both sides of the story first :(

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Just want to say that, at least where I live, it *is* proper procedure for the pharmacy to send a fax to the doctor to request a refill. It's been that way for a few years now. Before that, you would call the doctor for the refill and they would fax the pharmacy.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:33PM
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