Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Friday, February 06, 2009
    It Has Come To This

    So there's this drug called Amitiza, used to treat severe chronic constipation. Most people don't need it; you put them on prunes or spinach and explain to them that they are supposed to eat five to seven fruits/vegetables per day and not per week, and they do fine.

    But some people do need it. I have one patient who does. Today I had to call his insurance company to get the drug re-authorized, and this is what ensued:

    Pharmacy Benefit Rep: "What is the frequency of the patient's bowel movements on the medication?"

    Me: "Whaa?"

    PBR: "How often is he having bowel movements?"

    Me: "He has not shared that information with me."

    PBR: "We need to know that before I can authorize the Amitiza."

    So now I have to call up my patient and ask him how frequently he, uh, goes. What a surreal conversation that's going to be.

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