Unpublished and possibly career-ending letter to a fellow medical practitioner
Dear Dr Zu,
I saw Joanne X today. She was limping and she had many of the clinical signs of sciatica. Imagine my delight when I heard how you had successfully treated her back pain without recourse to drugs of dependence.
I'll have to imagine my delight, too, because that is not what I heard.
She said, and a call to the pharmacist confirmed, that you have prescribed her a bottle of alprazolam. I told her that alprazolam was not compatible with her other medications, because together they could cause dangerous side effects like memory loss.
She asked why I hadn't told her about this.
I told her I had.
This is the same woman you sent to me three years ago because she was addicted to alprazolam. She had nearly been intubated because of an overdose of alprazolam. Her husband and two daughters are addicted to alprazolam. The sojourn in the Barad-dur Women's Prison, the miraculously survived three motor vehicle accident, the three weeks in August sleeping in a station wagon, all are due to alprazolam. I have winched this woman's dose back to nothing over the last three years and three months ago she had what she swore was her last dose of alprazolam.
And then she strains her back and you give her alprazolam.
Sciatica occurs when an inflamed disk presses on a nerve root causing pain. The inflammation is treated with anti-inflammatories, the nerve root pain with analgesics. The only thing alprazolam is "treating" in this case is the very dependency issue that caused ninety nine percent of her problems in the first place.
She also mentioned some concerns about her weight gain. Perhaps you could prescribe her some pastry?
BSc BM BS etc.