I wasn’t giving in to the patient who wanted a prescription for Levaquin after the standard ZeePack didn’t cure his cough. He had a normal chest x-ray and labs the day before but was convinced that he had pneumonia. I tried explaining the difference between bacteria and viruses. I used the “RAID doesn’t work on dandelions” routine. He wasn’t convinced.
“I NEED a stronger antibiotic to break this up. Levaquin has worked in the past.”
“You know, I think I’m going to start you on some heart medications, instead. Some nitroglycerin and some Lasix for your heart failure.”
“Whaaat? I don’t have heart problems. I had a normal stress test a few months ago. Why would you want to start me on heart medications?”
“You have risk factors for heart problems and coughing is a sign of heart failure. I should probably start you on Digoxin, too. Ehhh … maybe not. That’s kind of strong medicine to start out with.”
“This is ridiculous. My chest x-ray and blood tests were normal yesterday. I don’t have heart failure. I’m calling my doctor and I’m not taking any of those medications.”
“Your chest x-ray was normal. That means you don’t have pneumonia, either. And bronchitis is a viral infection. Levaquin isn’t going to help your symptoms any more than the heart medications would. Do you see my point, now?”
[long pause] “I’ll just call my doctor.”
I can only imagine what conversation sounded like.
This and all posts about patients may be fictional, may be my experiences, may be submitted by readers for publication here, or may be any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate. If you would like to have a patient story published on WhiteCoat’s Call Room, please e-mail me.