Let Me Write You a Prescription


 
 

Guy H. Haskell | | Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Once upon a time, in the big northeastern city of Megalopolis, there were two paramedics, both named Bobby, who worked out of the busiest firehouse in the city, if not the Western hemisphere. This firehouse was located in the very worst neighborhood in town -- street urchins roamed armed and unsupervised, every third row house was a burned out carcass, and the people had no hope. But the two Bobs did the best they could.

Bobby A. loved fire engines and trauma. Bobby B. loved ladder trucks and medical calls. Bobby A. had no tolerance for slackers, malingerers, deadbeats, ne'er-do-wells and scumbags. This made working in this particular neighborhood a bit trying for him, since most of his patients were slackers, malingerers, deadbeats, ne'er-do-wells or scumbags. Bobby B. was more tolerant. Until he finally snapped, that is -- but that's a story for another day.

Whenever Bobby A. and Bobby B. were dispatched to a call -- let's say, for "my head hurts," or a toothache, or the miseries or the weaknesses -- they would take turns getting the patient's medical history. If it was Bobby A's turn to tech, he would puff up his burly chest and begin to interrogate the patient about the necessity of calling for an emergency vehicle to a non-emergency situation. He realized this was probably a less-than-productive approach to the situation, but he just couldn't help himself.

That's when Bobby B. would step in. He would sidle in front of Bobby A. and take over. He would ask the patient, "So you got a headache?"

"Yeah, I got a headache," the patient would respond.

"Hurts real bad?"

"Yeah, real bad."

"OK, tell you what we're gonna do. I'll write you a prescription," he would say, taking out his notepad. As he wrote, he would say out loud: "I-BU-PRO-PHEN. 200 milligrams. Two pills every six hours."

He would hand the patient the sheet of paper. "You go right now and take this down to the store and show it to the clerk. He'll fix you up. Take the medicine right away. Be sure to call the doctor if the pain gets worse or doesn't go away in a day or two," he would advise the patient.

"Thanks, man, thanks a lot!" the patient would say, smiling.

Problem solved.

WARNING: This is a story. It is not a protocol, standing order, suggestion or justification. Side effects of writing fake prescriptions in the field may include termination from employment, loss of certification, criminal prosecution, undiagnosed stroke, aneurysm, epidural/subdural/subarachnoid, AV malformation, other brain injury or death.




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Related Topics: Patient Care, Special Patients

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Guy H. HaskellGuy H. Haskell, PhD, JD, NREMT-P, has been an EMS provider and instructor for more than 25 years and in four states. He is a paramedic with Indianapolis EMS, Director of Emergency Medical and Safety Services Consultants, LLC, firefighter/paramedic with Benton Township Volunteer Fire Department of Monroe County, Indiana, and Clinical Editor of EMS for Gannett Healthcare. Contact him via e-mail at ghasell@indiana.edu.

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