Sometimes at Real Work I come across stupid people. I’m sure they’re really nice people too, but they shouldn’t be practicing medicine. It’s as simple as that. This morning I stumbled over one of them that left me, even after thirteen years of dealing with such things, aghast at the level of stupidity. The pharmacist phoned about a script he'd received. It necessitates a letter.
Dear Healthcare Professional,
Thank you for calling for advice regarding one of your clients, the mother of a 6-month-old baby who is not sleeping (the baby, that is, to prevent any confusion) and presented you with a script for sleeping pills for her baby. You were wise to call. The mother, too, was wise to take said baby to the paediatrician to be checked out. However, everybody seems to have got a little bit confused about the patient, thus the need for my writing this letter.
You need to explain to the mother that her baby is SIX MONTHS OLD, she doesn’t have insomnia. It’s called being a baby. Some of them don’t sleep. Contrary to the paediatrician’s advice of ‘give these pills for a month to establish a sleeping pattern’ and subsequent prescription of sleeping pills.
Perhaps a gentle explanation on the sleeping habits (or lack thereof) of small babies would be more apt. Also, it may be wise to warn her that, as babies get bigger, their sleeping patterns change (even from night to night, what with teething etc) until, in fact, when they hit puberty, she’ll probably have to try her hardest to get them to stop sleeping too much. At this point I’d not advise another consultation with the same paediatrician, who would most likely prescribe a stimulant.
While it’s completely understandable that sleep deprivation could (and often does) lead to the occasional 'unnecessary' dose of that lovely pain and fever syrup that makes them sleep so nicely to keep her sanity intact, it seems just ever-so over-the-top to turn her 6-month old into an addict.
Just a thought. Well done for questioning it. I hope you can get the mother to see the light.
And, then, another one, to the paediatrician involved.
You are an idiot and should not be practicing medicine. I think it’s time you consider another career path. Something harmless, perhaps, like threading beads for necklaces out in the country, away from people.
Honestly, can you believe that a child specialist diagnosed insomnia in a 6-month old? And then prescribed sleeping pills?
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