How tired am I of hearing “the Little Clinic”?

OK, I get it that patients are too busy with their lives to “make” time to see me during the day. That’s why I have Tuesday evening hours. But those hours aren’t enough when one is sick on another day of the week and need to get better IMMEDIATELY. So enter the “Little Clinic”. Physicians have finally taken it to heart that not everyone with an upper respiratory illness should get an antibiotic (in fact, MOST people with URIs don’t need an antibiotic) thus slowing down the development of superbugs. Unfortunately the “practitioners” (and no, I don’t mean doctors) who work at the “quickie mart” brand of medical care offered at drug stores, grocery stores and discount department stores, apparently didn’t get the message. If I had a quarter for every patient who got an antibiotic at those places, I’d be happily supplementing my income. Meanwhile my patients are mystified that the amoxicillin or z-pack they got for their cold just isn’t “doing the trick”. By this they mean that they are still sick after three days.

Who is overseeing these people? I resent that my patients are getting inadequate care and I resent the systems that are bringing this poor care about–employers that won’t allow patient sick days (which is what “allowed time off” is–a way to avoid paying sick time), employers that insist their employees work when they are ill, insurance companies that encourage the use of “physician extenders” because they can pay less for that kind of care, entities (like drug stores and grocery stores among others) that are offering poor care so that they can take another slice of the health care dollar, and patients who think a z-pack will cure every respiratory illness.

“One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”
William Osler

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