Complaint to HDC over treatment

A Dunedin woman has lodged a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) over the way she was dealt with by a local pharmacy when seeking the emergency contraceptive pill.

Student magazine Critic this week reported a young Dunedin woman complained to the HDC over the way she was treated when she visited Wilkinson and Son Chemists seeking an emergency contraceptive pill.

Critic reported the woman complained to the HDC after feeling ''uncomfortable'' about the questions she was asked during her consultation, the woman saying her visit finished with the pharmacist advising the ''best method of contraception was to hold an aspirin pill between my knees''.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times this week, Wilkinson and Son Chemists pharmacist Warren Leonard said it tried hard to make it a ''positive experience'' for women who visited seeking the emergency contraceptive pill (ESP).

He confirmed a complaint had been made against the pharmacy to the HDC relating to a woman's visit in December.

Asked if he told the woman the ''best contraception is an aspirin between the knees'' he said: ''If I did that, I would have said there is an old joke about that, and the old joke was told to me by my brother and he always said, 'The best contraception is an aspirin between the knees'.

''If I said that, that would have been said as a joke, to again, try and make [her] feel relaxed.''

Responding to the woman's claim that religion was brought up in the consultation, he said: ''I don't ask whether they are religious at all. We explain that the pill does not actually prevent pregnancy.

''It actually affects implementation of the fertilised egg. Now that has obvious ramifications for people who are of various religious aspects, for example Catholic, and ... I also explain that is the reason we just tell them that.

''I don't care what religion they are, but since I married a Catholic I understand some of the Catholic faith and the Catholic ideas about things.''

He did not recall telling the woman her partner was a ''lucky guy'' or she was ''pretty and athletic, like his daughters'', as was alleged in Critic.

''Mind you, it was a fair while ago and I don't try to remember every conversation I have anyway.''

He was not against the emergency contraceptive pill personally and did not judge women who came in seeking it.

''I actually rate them for coming in talking to a person who is probably old enough to be their father or even maybe their grandfather and resolving it.

''I'm a little sad ... that one person has got upset. For that person, if I have upset them in anyway, I really do apologise to them.''

He had replied to a request for information from the HDC and was now awaiting its decision.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

2013, over 2500 ECPs dispensed from North Dunedin pharmacies

Why not forget promoting condom use, forget about chlamydia, forget about alcohol-fuelled risk behaviour, forget about any interfering health promotion?

And why not have the emergency contraceptive pill dispensed, no questions asked, from the supermarket?  If you think that would be a bad idea, you are likely someone who will appreciate a pharmacist who gives you the time you need.

Peter Ripley

Manners and the ECP

I understand where this girl is coming from I would be mortified if someone spoke to me like that, I get you should make the patient feel comfortable but what was said would have me running to the door. You have to ask yourself if you would be ok with inappropriate banter at such a delicate time? I say keep it to the facts and don't go off rattling about someone's lucky guy or daughter look a likes. After all, him being a father himself how would he react to one of his daughters telling him about a conversation had like that? I now know where NOT to go for any medical issues I'm having.  

Religion and the ECP

I commend this pharmacist for bringing up religion. I have taken the ECP twice and thoroughly regret it, because it was not explained to me properly. I really wish someone had considered my religion, and what are my personal beliefs outside of religion too, that the moment of conception is the moment of life. If I had understood, I would not have taken the pills. My only relief comes from the hope that in both cases I was being overcautious and that there had been no conception. I hope that this finer detail of the explanation becomes standard for all those dispensing the pill.

Oh for goodness sake...

I see it from both sides.  She was probably embarrassed and felt she was laughed at and analysed every word said probably.  He sounds like an older man that thinks he is funny and able to relax people with inappropriate (to some) humour.  I can see it as an old time joke that perpetuates in families and he has wheeled it out to a young woman having a bit of a crisis. He probably was just talking to sooth her a bit and she has taken it to heart.

Mr Pharmacist retire your banter and perhaps not give all the info you think people MIGHT want and just tell them what they ask for (unless there is a risk to that). 

[Abridged] 

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