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    Pharmacists write in, Part 2: Why mistakes happen

    Dennis MillerDennis MillerDo pharmacists feel that discipline by the state board of pharmacy is effective in deterring future errors?  Should the pharmacist’s name be published in the state board of pharmacy newsletter for all the pharmacists in the state to see? Readers were vocal on this subject and plenty more.

    To see what the first 10 said, go to: Pharmacists write in: Worst mistakes, Part 1

    Official actions

    Pharmacist 11: A pharmacist who admitted having made a few mistakes stated, “Like you, I didn’t need official discipline. I kicked my own butt way harder than anyone else would have.” 

    Pharmacist 12: “I'm with you. I don't think publishing my full name is necessary. I beat myself up all by myself. I think a focus on the details surrounding the mistake would be more useful for others. Besides, it is shame enough to know that anyone who verifies my license online will see a Y next to Board Discipline.”

    Pharmacist #13:  “I would much rather deal with the wrath of the pharmacy manager or the DM and a few irate patients than sit on a witness stand. I'd rather stay late and finish than try to cram 14 hours of work into a 12-hour shift and risk someone's well-being.”

    Pharmacist #14: “I was reprimanded by the board for a HIPAA violation. The student/technician, unbeknownst to me, was helping a customer at the out window. He asked the man who was picking up his prescription if he also wanted the one for his 27-year-old daughter. He said yes. Turns out it was for birth control and the daughter contacted the board because she said she did not want her father to know she was on birth control. I never knew any of it happened until I got a Fed-Ex letter from the board. I had to review HIPAA policies and sign a paper saying I did. No big deal. The fact [is] that I took the hit and couldn't have known it happened because I was busy at my workstation. But of course I was the pharmacist, so it was my responsibility to know everything that was going on.”

    See also: My most serious pharmacy mistake

    The public

    Pharmacist #15: “One time a patient yelled at my coworker for an error for so long that I stepped in and said if you want 100% of the prescriptions filled perfectly, you would have to get Jesus Christ down here to fill all these scripts.” 

    Pharmacist #16: “I have caught hundreds of errors [made by doctors] in my 25 years in the profession, and you know what? I have never gotten one thank you from a doc. One time I caught 65 units of immediately acting insulin given qhs. The doc laughed at his error.”

    Pharmacist #17: “I always tell customers that rush us, ‘If you get the wrong hamburger from McDonald’s, you can return it, but if I give you the wrong drug, you may not be back.’” 

    Dennis Miller, RPh
    Dennis Miller is a retired chain-store pharmacist living in Delray Beach, Fla. He welcomes feedback at [email protected] His books ...


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    • Anonymous
      To pharmacist #30: Get off your high-horse, son. So maybe there are things the old guy doesn't know. I'll bet there are things he could teach you, also, if you weren't too arrogant to listen. I've worked with your generation, also. Most of them are caring, responsible pharmacists who do their best to serve their patients and are a credit to the profession. A few are arrogant, self-serving, know-it-alls who have no respect for anyone who is not exactly like them. So what's your contribution?
    • Anonymous
      Oh really? One day he pulled a paper off the printer and said "This is trash, right?" I said, "Um, no, that would be the hard copy for an e-script we just processed. You really shouldn't throw that away." His reply was, "So what do we do with it?" I incredulously told him that we file it with all the other prescription hard copies. I can come up with so many examples of ignorance about clinical knowledge and basic pharmacy operations. I have listened to him try to teach me, and it's always wrong (i.e. it used to be true but not in a long time). He's like a dinosaur whose time has come and gone.
    • Anonymous
      I'd like to respond to pharmacist #30. My guess is that you're fresh out of pharmacy school with a PharmD behind your name, of which you are very proud. Bully for you. But I'd rather have that old guy you're talking about than 10 of you. The difference? He cares about his patients and has spent more time taking care of them than you will ever know. Don't be so quick to discount the power of experience. You may be hi-tech, but I'll bet he has more heart. Don't worry, you'll grow up someday, too, if you last long enough.
    • Anonymous
      I am that pharmacist #30. You would be wrong. I have 10 years of experience. Until 5 years ago, this PIC had been in mail order. He had to leave because he couldn't keep up with the speed they wanted. So I actually have more experience at "taking care" of patients. We don't really do that anyway. We're just highly paid hamburger cooks with a wider variety of products. There's no point in even asking when they want to pick up their prescription. They all want it ASAP with a side of onion rings. Make sure to hold the tomatoes.