Are nurses supposed to protect doctors? Part 1

And now for the most difficult part of my opthalmic journey.

My fill-in, emergency opthalmologist did a good thing and a bad thing.

Good thing: She noted my allergies aloud from my file, then used her phone to look up the active ingredient(s) of a medicine I was using. I had a prescription from my dermatologist that I was using on my flaky eyelids and surrounding skin, in the hopes that the skin would respond like my non-eye skin does — with healing and non-flaky, normal appearance. I was on board with ceasing use of my current treatment because it wasn’t giving quick results.

Bad thing: She did not look up the ingredients of the prescription she gave me for the skin surrounding my eyes. She demonstrated that she had access to ingredient lists and proclaimed that I was allergic to lanolin minutes earlier. She also sent me home with a sample of an eye drop medication.

The prescription was available at just one pharmacy, which I would never have chosen to buy from anyway. I have always had bad customer service on the retail side, but since it’s near my child’s school, I’ll pop in once in a while. I bought the medicine. My husband had me look at the ingredient list when I opened the box, and there it was in black and white — lanolin alcohol. I called the doctor’s office. I told the nurse that I couldn’t take the medicine because it contained lanolin. She said she’d work on it. She called me and reported the pharmacist was looking for an alternative.

My allergy is rare, and I thought my issue could be a board of ethics case. I called a friend who works for a state pharmacist group. She said that prescribing medications that patients are allergic to happens more often that you know. Frightening, isn’t it?

I later learn (days later) from the nurse that the pharmacist claimed that the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) lists only active ingredients, but he obviously had access to ingredient lists because he found a lanolin-free medication for me the same day as my appointment. At over $150, I declined it and decided to use Aveeno lotion on my eyelids. As far as I can tell, the doctor was not alerted that she wrote a bad prescription. The nurse was trying to handle the situation on her own.

Have you ever gotten a bad prescription?

2 thoughts on “Are nurses supposed to protect doctors? Part 1”

  1. Holy moly this is scary. I’ve never run into this…I haven’t discovered any allergies yet, though, either. I hate when they look stuff up on their iphones….they better have access to some pretty exclusive apps or I could just go home and be my own doctor. Just the way I feel…
    I think nurses should stick up for the patients. Not the docs. Let’s be ethical, everyone.

  2. Your doctor and the pharmasist each made a mistake. Did the pharmasist know beforehand that you had an allergy? They do have access to updated software. Most of the time they do know what interactions there are with medication but it is often best that they double check. My husband is a pharmasist and uses his software (epocrates, which updates on a very regular basis).

    Hope your skin improves. I have skin issues around 1 eye in particular, it seems like the skin does not like to respond like other facial skin. My dermatologist wants me to go to the eye doctor. I have perfect vision so I feel silly going to an eye doctor just for skin issues.

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