Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Letter from His Doctor

A VIP had forgotten his medication. Would I prescribe it, asked the manager of a Sunset Strip hotel.

“He brought a letter from his doctor,” she added helpfully.

That was bad news. About twenty percent of guests with letters have complex medical problems that require an explanation. The rest are drug abusers under the impression that an official document will persuade us to prescribe something we ordinarily wouldn’t.

Sure enough, it was a popular narcotic. This guaranteed tedious consequences. The most critical was that, after my refusal, he might ask the manager to suggest another doctor, explaining that I had heartlessly rejected his appeal.

I listened as he described the complex pain disorder he and his doctor were wrestling with. Perhaps I could examine him, he added. While this sounds reasonable, such visits involve an unspoken agreement that if I came and took his money, I would give the prescription. That felt too much like selling drugs. I countered that I would call in a prescription for a good non-narcotic while he contacted his doctor who would phone me to discuss matters.

His doctor wouldn’t call, and I suspected the guest wouldn’t care for my prescription, so I could expect to hear from him in a day or two. But the clock was running. He might check out and return home or move to another hotel and bother another doctor.

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