Doctor question - is this unprofessional?

I am staying at my parents’ place for xmas and new year, and it is a considerable time away from my place. I forgot one of the drugs I take so I went to their local GP practice.

I explained to the receptionist that I had left the pills at my place and could I see a doctor to get some more?

What actually happened is I gave the receptionist the name of the pills (which actually I couldn’t remember, we worked them out between us!) and the dose, sat down in the waiting room for twenty minutes, and the doctor just wrote me the prescription, completely unseen. Indeed, they even called me *Miss *Simple Linctus on the prescription form, when I am of the male persuasion.

At no point did I even tell anyone what condition I had, never mind actually talking to a doctor. I never saw the doctor! In fact, let me let y’all on a secret - I actually told the receptionist I was taking twice the dose I am prescribed, because I do like doubling my dose as it slows my heart down more than the prescribed dose. Mention that just in case anyone thinks the surgeries are linked up in one big database and the doctor looked at that to verify my “story” - I’m pretty darn sure they’re not. Although I don’t know that.

Oh and also the prescription was for 28 days supply, not the week I needed and asked for.

Seems to me that that was slightly blazee attitude from the doctor, what do you think?

P.S. This is totally not a complaint, I love the idea of being prescribed anything I want on demand! :smiley:


I am not a doctor or a vet, but I know where I live (Michigan) even veterinarians cannot legally prescibe something as routine as an antibiotic or topical flea medication that contains heartworm preventative for a dog or at without a hands-on exam.

I also know that medication abuse is sort of a big deal. Once when I had no insurance and was having a severe bad-back/sciatica flare-up I went to an urgent care clinic pretty much begging for pain meds, naively expecting someone to write me a scrip for Vicodin or something. Because I couldn’t even fucking walk in there without help. I was driven there by a friend, who had to go get help and a wheelchair just to get me into the building.

They basically treated me like a desperate junkie and sent me on my way with a scrip for Tylenol 3.

Where are you located? And yes; again IANAD but this seems pretty lax to me.

Highly unprofessional, and a good way for the doctor to lose his license.

I wouldn’t have done that, but I would imagine that the doctor figured that there isn’t any reason someone would lie about being on beta blockers (I imagine that’s what you mean when you say it helps your heart slow down) whereas they would probably be far more suspicious if you had shown up asking for something that is addictive and has abuse potential. I imagine they figured they were doing it for you as a one time favor because you’re in a tough spot.

Yeah, that seems unprofessional.

But truly, I’m wondering why you didn’t just get your normal doctor to call in a prescription to a local pharmacy? That’s what I’ve always done when in your situation. And as far as I know, if you use a national pharmacy chain, like Target or WalMart or CVS, the pharmacist there will do all the tracking down for you. Just call the local place, explain that your prescription is at CVS in Chicago, but you’re in New York, and they’ll figure out how to get you some.

That sounds HUGELY unprofessional (speaking as a doc’s wife), really stupid, and a good way for Doc to lose his license. Is there really no way he could have contacted your physician or your usual pharmacy?

And why are you taking double the prescribed dose? Has your doc OK’d that? That doesn’t sound very safe with heart meds…

Nevermind why, but *how *are you taking double the prescribed dose on a regular basis? Doesn’t your pharmacy tell you you’re not getting more pills until the month is out? I know they’ll cover the occasional lost bottle, but every month should raise some red flags, even for cardiac meds - not because you’re likely to be abusing them for fun, but because you could be selling them, or giving them to someone who’s not under a physician’s care.

And yes, unprofessional, potentially dangerous, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that he did it.

That’s what I was wondering. In what world is that a sane idea? Sounds to me like this problem could be self-correcting in the very worst way.

That’s the normal way to do it. If you’re out of town and forgot your meds, and can’t find the same pharmacy you usually use, call your doctor.

Prescribing a medication whose name you’re not sure you remember right, without seeing you, examining you, or even knowing what your condition is? That doctor needs to lose the right to practice. And you need a smack upside the head, OP, for doubling your dose without your doctor’s approval or knowledge, just because you feel like it. That’s dangerous and really, really stupid.

I think over-prescription of drugs is a big problem in this country and that doctor is part of the problem.

It would depend on the drug. If it wasn’t something subject to abuse then the doctor was being somewhat unprofessional in not getting some more information. Not as serious as if it was narcotics, but still not the right thing to do. The doctor could have spent 5 minutes making sure it was the right drug and right dosage. He also should have asked for the name of the OP’s doctor to call and check, which would have made it all very easy.

Once I had a doctor who took off for a holiday weekend without sending in a refill order to my pharmacy (basically his staff failed). The pharmacist gave me enough pills to last through the weekend. I assume there was some exception permitting him to do this under the circumstances. and he could see there was an ongoing renewal of the prescription, but there should be ways to deal with such a situation.

OP’s use of term “surgeries” to refer to what Americans would call doctor’s offices or clinics makes me think he is in the UK, which may explain why he didn’t just call his pharmacy.

If this is the case, then his medical records are on a networked system that, in theory, could be accessed by other medical practitioners than his registered GP, but in practice, is restricted only to medical professionals in direct connection.

In the UK, the correct thing to do in this scenario is to find your nearest NHS walk-in centre, who will be able to access your records, contact your GP and provide the appropriate advice or prescription.

The OP is making me pine for my old doctor who recently passed away.

Cussed like a sailor and had no problem prescribing me benzos. Which I fucking need for my essential tremor!

Good luck explaining that to a younger doc. Talking to them you’d think benzos are evil incarnate. :rolleyes:

Illegal? No. A way to lose your license? No.

These are not controlled substances or even antibiotics we’re talking about. It was a well intended special favor for the son of his known regular patients. And if he had made him come in, and made him pay for an office visit, what he’d have done is ask the op what med he takes and how often and taken his word for it then too (so long as it within the usual dosing range, which he was able to verify just on the request). Doctors seeing new patients do not generally call pharmacies to verify that the patient is not lying to them about what their past usual antihypertensives and high cholesterol meds are. Same outcome just forced the op to pay him something instead.

Yes it opens the doctor up to medicolegal exposure. He now has a relationship with that patient and is liable for any untoward outcome. Trusting that the op was adequately evaluated by his regular MD and appropriately prescribed is leaving himself exposed to any error that doctor may have made and we all know no good deed goes unpunished.

Yes, the better way to handle it would have been for our op to call his regular doctor and have that doctor call in a script to the local pharmacy. Phones work fine in the UK too I am sure.

Except in the UK, there is no charge for a doctor visit, so he didn’t save the OP any money.

Oh, I missed that this was his PARENT’s doc - I thought he walked into any doc’s office.

It’s still a stupid thing to do.

Looks like legality of this depends on your state in the US. My reading of the following link is that it is, for example, illegal in my state of Tennessee.

Obviously, this link does not address whether it is illegal, and therefore subject to causing physicians to lose their license, in the UK.

I missed that too, and I (now) understand the med was not a controlled substance or anything risky.

BUT it still seems to me awfully lax. And why a scrip for a month, when it seems that a week’s worth or so would have tided the OP over until after the New Year, when presumably he’d be back home and able to see his regular doctor?

A data point - an ex-boyfriend of mine (who, ironically, is a doctor) and I were visiting my family in Scotland; we’re both in the US. And, he forgot one of his meds. Something for his rheumatoid arthritis, I believe. Too long ago to recall details, but I do remember a long and frustrating day chasing around clinics in Inverness, dealing with the time difference and international faxes and phone calls (this was before the internet was everywhere) so a doctor in Inverness could get assurance from a doctor in the US that he got the correct prescription. This would have been in 1999 or 2000.

The OP says (and I’m quite surprised nobody has commented on this earlier) that he likes to double his dose because it slows his heart rate more than the prescribed dose. :eek: