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Monday, October 20, 2014

Running Out of Medication


A Doubletree guest had run out of insulin. I could have made a housecall, written a prescription, and a pharmacist would have filled it. Instead I explained that insulin doesn’t require a prescription. She should go to the pharmacy and ask for it. The same is true for the morning-after pill, another request that arrives now and then.

An Italian guest at the Four Seasons brought a migraine prescription from her doctor. Pharmacies wouldn’t accept it. Could I come and write an American prescription? I told her to have the pharmacist phone, and I would approve it.

When housecall services (Expressdoc, Medicast, AMPM Doctors) send me to see guests who need a prescription, I write it, collect money, and leave. Those are easy visits, but guests are never grateful. Americans look sullen; foreigners understand that American doctors require immense fees for any service. When guests call directly, I take care of it over the phone, gratis. It’s no great sacrifice and good public relations.

It may even be good business. Long ago, when I returned from a day off, the doctor who covered told me a guest at the Casa Del Mar had phoned. That was exciting news; this was an upscale Santa Monica beach hotel which had never called. The guest obviously had a bladder infection, so the doctor phoned a prescription to a pharmacy. I nodded. Treating an infection over the phone is not a good idea, but simple bladder infections are considered an exception. He added that he had charged the guest $30 for the service. I mention this only because it happened during the 1990s, and I haven’t heard from the Casa del Mar since.

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