Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Let’s Get Pharmacists in the Spotlight

I’ve been working in healthcare for over twenty years.  As both a patient and a provider I know the importance of a good medical team, but aren’t there providers we overlook?  The current health crisis with my mother-in-law is really making me take a stand on how to raise the profile and importance of pharmacists.

 We tend to think of pharmacists as those who simply count pills, and possibly make recommendations about over-the-counter medications.  The truth is that pharmacists go through years of school and internship before they’re let loose on the world…so why don’t we pay more attention to them?

 The other part of the equation is that many doctors believe they are not only doctors, but pharmacologists and that’s mistake number one.  The doctors are thinking that the pain medication my mother-in-law has been taking is what’s causing her liver problems.  She’s in the hospital and so far no diagnosis, but the signs point in the direction of the opiate.

 When I found out the medication she’s taking I did a Google search and began reading the information from the manufacturer.  Depending on the type she’s taking, the extended release or the regular take every so hours, would depend on the instructions.  I don’t know that my mother-in-law is great at following directions or if she would have taken the precautions seriously.

 The literature on the drug states that the drug shouldn’t be given to people with breathing/lung problems.  Hello…my mother-in-law has COPD, doesn’t the doctor think that’s a breathing/lung problem?  If the doctor was running out of options shouldn’t they turn to the pharmacist for a consult?  The pharmacist should be the doctor’s go-to person.  As heathcare consumers I believe we need to start asking the doctor’s if they have consulted with a pharmacist; and if they say no, we should request one before we ever put the pill in our mouth or rub the salve on our skin.

 Doctors have enough to worry about keeping up on how the body works and the latest and greatest treatments.  Let’s allow the pharmacology experts to take a prominent place on our healthcare team because it could save your life!!!!