I have written about this topic before, but something happened last week that I just have to share. This past week I wrote a prescription for a patient, whose last name was "Veerakallinambipoona"-- (I have changed the name to protect patient privacy, but it had exactly the same number of alphabets and sounds similar).
About a couple of hours later, I got a call from the patient.
"Hey doc, they won't fill my prescription. Can you please talk to the pharmacist?"
"Sure," I said. "I'll hold." After a few moments, the pharmacist came on line.
"Hi doctor," he started. "We have a problem filling the prescription for this patient."
"So what's the problem?" I asked.
"His name does not match the one on the prescription."
"Really? What's the name on the prescription?" I was confused. Had I given this patient somebody else's prescription?
"The last letter of the last name is not the same," he said.
Now I was even more confused. "What do you mean?"
'Well, the prescription you wrote is for Veerakallinambipooni, and the patient here is Veerakallinambipoona. So I can't fill the prescription. It could be somebody else."
I burst out laughing. "Somebody else? You can't be serious! How many patients do you have with names even remotely similar to this guy?"
"None. But I have to follow rules," the pharmacist replied.
Well, I couldn't fault him for that. We sorted that one out and the patient got his prescription.
I know we should all follow rules. That makes the world so orderly and easy to negotiate. But when rules are formulated, one cannot predict all the variables and scenarios. But in a situation like the one above, you think one can bend the rules a bit? You decide!
"To act with common sense according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know." ~ Leonardo da Vinci