A patient came into the pharmacy to thank me. Nothing unusual in that although infrequent, our customers are generally very grateful for the support we give them across a range of issues – their medicines, general health and wellbeing. On this occasion though, the thank you will be remembered for the rest of my career. The gentleman came in specifically to thank me for saving his father’s life.
I remembered him clearly – he had come in on a Saturday morning wanting to speak to the pharmacist. He was in a quandary – he was concerned about his 84 year old father, who had developed cellulitis and despite being on antibiotics, wan’t improving. An hour and a half away, the son was managing the issue remotely and was being fobbed off by his dad who didn’t want to leave his caring role for his wife with dementia. A familiar story. Many questions later, I was concerned. This could likely deteriorate into either a sepsis or acute kidney injury. I advised strongly for him to call 111, not to leave it, not to feel ’embarrassed’ about ‘making a fuss’ (his words) and get to see his dad as soon as he could. He committed to this action and left.
So what happened? He came in to tell me that he followed my direction; 111 immediately called out an ambulance and his dad was admitted into hospital. Despite IV antibiotics he developed a sepsis three days later and was put into intensive care. They almost lost him but I’m pleased to say he survived and at the point of discussion, was in a ward and eager to get home and back to his wife.
What made me have this insight? The same situation played out with my late mother several years earlier. I had recently undertaken some CPD on Sepsis and I’m passionate about reducing the risk of AKI. More so, I asked questions. And listened. Aside from the intellectual assessment, I followed my instinct.
Stories like this will be happening up and down the Country. Community pharmacists and their teams make a real difference. And sometimes we save lives.