A woman who sought treatment at a Taichung clinic ended up with kidney damage 11 months after her doctor began prescribing a large number of medications for an extended period.
The woman's father, who showed reporters receipts issued by the clinic, said that 38-year old Chan Kuei-fang (
The report said a receipt dated Dec. 19 last year showed the woman was supposed to take 19 pills at the same time.
Her father, Chan Chao-sheng (詹朝勝), has sued her doctor, Chen Yen-liang (陳彥粱), for prescribing an excessive number of drugs.
Chan Kuei-fang first saw Chen in May of last year because of an ear infection. After three months of treatment, the infection was gone, but she was experiencing nausea, vomiting, headaches, numb limbs and other symptoms.
Chen told her to continue taking the medication he prescribed. She did so until she was hospitalized in April with shock and told that she would need dialysis.
Taiwan Health Reform foundation director Hsiao Min-hui (蕭敏彗) said that the case illustrates why pharmacists should be able to challenge doctors' prescriptions.
"We have always said that the doctor is the professional when it comes to prescribing drugs and the pharmacist is the professional when it comes to ensuring that the prescription is safe," Hsiao said. "In this case, an extra gatekeeper might have been able to prevent this woman from doing herself permanent damage."
Pharmacists have little clout, which makes it difficult for them to help patients, Hsiao said.
"Perhaps in a hospital setting a pharmacist can stand up and say `this prescription presents a danger to the patient,'" Hsiao said. "In a clinic setting, however, the doctor is the boss, assuming there is a pharmacist at all."
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