Stat means stat for gawd’s sake
Last evening, right before closing, a frantic threesome came up to the pharmacy counter. The oldest, clearly the leader, had long stringy hair, a New York Yankees cap and was using crutches. He blurted, “Did my sister’s doctor call you?” This man’s eyes were lit up. He licked his lips and bit his fingernail.
The second one, a younger man, repeated, “Did my sister’s doctor call you?”
The third one, a young woman, said, “My sister got bited by a bee.”
I looked up then. There are reasons to be concerned about a bee sting. I asked what their sister’s name was and looked for her in the computer. She was not a patient at our pharmacy.
Now is a good time to tell you about these people. They all had haunted wide eyes. Each of them had a minor speech impediment, like they had learned as children to talk this way. The technician whispered into my ear, “Inbred.” I agreed and had the thought that this bee stung sister may need help getting her Epipen.
I called the clinic across the street and asked about her. They knew who she was. They knew that she claimed to be allergic to bee stings. They knew that she had been stung. They also knew that she was not their patient and refused to order anything.
“Her doctor is in Burlington,” the nurse said. “We have already contacted them. They will call you.”
“They will call me? She needs the Epipen now.” I looked at the technician.
“Go out to the car and bring her inside.”
“She is not our patient,” the nurse repeated.
“That is bullshit,” I said. “Do you know what Epipen is for?”
“Of course I know what Epipen is for and you don’t need to swear.”
“Stat is the instructions. Of course you know what stat means.”
Who’s That Girl the movie
“Of course I know what stat means. Jim, what has gotten into you?”
“This woman could die. That is what has gotten into me.”
I hung up and went to the shelf for an Epipen. I took it out of the box and looked at the sister. She was already swelling up. She said, “I don’t feel good.”
“Have you ever used one of these?” I held up the Epipen.
“I can’t remember.”
I handed the Epipen to the technician. “Help her,” I said, “She pops it into her thigh.”
To the technician’s credit, she did not hesitate. The woman popped it, drew a little blood, but in seconds she said, “I feel better.” She managed a small smile. The family walked in a sort of communal limp and left the store. None of them said thank you, but that was okay. We didn’t do it for thanks. We did it because stat means stat.
Finally, 20 minutes later, the sister’s doctor’s nurse in Burlington called. She told me to give this woman an Epipen.
“I have already given the damned thing to her.” I was agitated from the situation and angry at 2 offices filled with doctors and nurses who should have known better. “She has already used it. She feels better.”
“You gave it without a prescription?”
“You are damned right I did! She could have died. The timing and order is a little off, but the patient is still alive.”
“The doctor may not like that you did not wait.”
“Do you know what Epipen is for?”
“She should have had one on hand.” Now the nurse was going to blame the patient. I suppose it would serve her right to die. She didn’t plan ahead.
“Give me a break for crissake. This woman was going into anaphylaxis and all you can do is blame her because she did not have an Epipen on hand.”
“Don’t get mad at me. We don’t do anything in this office without the doctor’s permission.”
“Even in an emergency? You’ll wait for the doctor?”
“I asked you not to get mad at me.”
“Alright. I’ll calm down.” I took a deep breath.
“I suppose it is okay that you gave it to her, but you should have waited until we talked to the doctor.”
“It is an emergency drug,” I said. “This was an emergency.”
“We have rules,” she said.
“Sometimes you have to say the hell with the rules. This was one of those times.”
“I could get in trouble. The doctor is very strict.”
“What would you have done? The woman is standing right in front of you. Her face is starting to swell. She is scared. She could die and the Epipen is just a few feet behind you on the shelf?”
“Point taken” the nurse said with a sigh. “Give her 2 Epipens with prn refills.”
“These people are not very bright,” I said, “They need to be led by the hand. She is already gone and this is not her regular drug store.”
“I’ll call her regular drug store,” the nurse said.
“They don’t have a phone.”
Right before closing, the nurse from across the street called. She asked if the woman had gotten her Epipen. I assured her that the sister was okay.
“By the way, Jim.”
“The doctor agrees that we should never have made her wait until her own doctor called.”
“You are not forgiven,” I laughed. “Stat means stat.”
“Will you call the patient?”