Blogs: Piller of the Community

Pharmacy Fears: Misfilled Prescriptions and Robberies

Published Online: Monday, December 30, 2013
There are two possible occurrences related to my career that petrify me whenever I think of them. The first is causing somebody irreparable harm or fatality due to a misfilled prescription. Despite my obsession with thoroughly checking every prescription, sometimes one gets by. Thankfully, proactive patients tend to call me or come back in to let me take a look when they see something amiss. I apologize profusely, and 99.87% of the time, the patient involved is forgiving and tells me I'm being too hard on myself.
I hate mistakes. I take them personally and I get madder at myself than the goalie who just gave up the game-winner to award the other team the Stanley Cup. Mistakes stay with me for a while. I get over them, but a little part of me dies with each one.
Speaking of death, this brings us to my other fear: getting killed in a drug robbery. Whenever I hear about such a robbery, I cringe. Recently, my store came as close as it ever has to getting robbed. A man from the town next to mine robbed a pharmacy in Scranton, PA. If he had made a left instead a right, we would have been his likely target. The only thing that may have saved us is that the robbery took place at midnight, when we were closed. The pharmacy that got hit was known for having a pretty good narcotic stock, and the alleged criminal was caught with 17 bottles of mixed amphetamine salts in his possession. Yikes.
I actually was the victim of an armed robbery when I was in college. Before West University City cleaned up, it was in a less-than-savory part of Philadelphia. I had just walked off campus and, before I knew it, I had guns pointed at my face and back. The thieves had my full cooperation. The kicker of it was that my Mom and Dad had visited a day earlier, and Dad had given me five pictures of Andrew Jackson that were still in my wallet when the robbery occurred. I hope the thieves got their money's worth with whatever they spent those bills on.
Were the same thing to happen in my pharmacy today, I would ask the perpetrators to put their weapons away and assure them they had my full cooperation. I would do nothing to become a martyr and would instead give them exactly what they wanted. Then I think I would request the next day or two off to recover.
I have faith that powers beyond me will keep either of these fears from being realized, and that is enough to get me in the door every morning. When I kiss my family goodbye, it is with the feeling that it will not be the last time I do it. I just hope that I am right about that. Peace.
Jay Sochoka, RPh, thinks a little fear is a good thing.
Jay Sochoka, BSPharm, RPh, CIP
Blog Info
This blog will highlight the pharmacist's role in preventive medicine. When diet and exercise are the prescription, specially trained pharmacists are the ones to fill it. It will also focus on current trends in pharmacy such as politics, customer service, and health care ethics. There will also be the occasional pharmacy humor piece.
Author Bio
Jay Sochoka, BSPharm, RPh, CIP, has been involved in one aspect or another of community pharmacy for more than 2 decades. He is a high-volume specialist who also enjoys delving into preventive medicine and wellness. He is the author of Fatman in Recovery: Tales from the Brink of Obesity.
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