Pharmacists Making A Difference: Chrystian Pereira, PharmD
When I was asked to talk about a recent patient experience, I could not stop thinking of one particular patient. We can call him Bucky, because he loved Wisconsin teams. He is likely on my mind because he has just died and I am going to miss his big personality in our clinic.
Bucky was a large man, and the likely cause of death was his worsening heart failure secondary to his extreme obesity. But when I refer to his big personality, I think about how he would shake my hand and not let go until he had asked several questions. I think about how he made the medical assistants work harder because he would tell them a long story or ask “just one more” question.
In discussing Bucky’s passing with others in the clinic, I witnessed a front desk staff member tear up as she remembered how they would chat after each visit. And I got to know him well, because whenever his primary care physician saw Bucky was on the schedule, we would work up a game plan on what aspects of his care to address and how we would divide up the work.
As his clinical pharmacist, I needed to keep track of the different meds he was taking and evaluate how each small change would make an impact. He had several specialists who were no doubt also kept on their toes by this special man. Each would tweak his medication and the care team in the hospital would do their best to make other adjustments. In the midst off all these changes I needed to keep things straight and help my clinic’s care team moving in the right direction.
People are very complex. This man was tall, big and had an imposing posture, but when I would talk to him about his health he would become very sensitive and vulnerable. He had several chronic diseases, and on any particular visit the attention may have needed to shift to prioritize one disease over another.
Over the course of years that I knew Bucky, I made several changes and tweaked his medication list. I feel I worked to improve several of his diseases. But I think what I am most proud of was that I was able to listen to his concerns and chip away at them little by little, so at the end of the visit he left with fewer concerns regarding his meds than when he started.
I’ve told you that this his story has recently ended. I’ll miss him as a patient and will remember him fondly. He inspires me to keep working to chip away at medication problems my other patients also have. People are complex, and while the problem we all face may be much larger than the medication list, I think this is the part I will commit to improving.
Stories on other faculty who are making a difference in patients' lives:
Kylie Funk: Helping a patient reduce his risk of complications from uncontrolled diabetes
Jean Moon: Going above and beyond for a suicidal patient
Ann Philbrick: Helping a patient get the right medication to breathe better
Sarah Westberg: Finding alternative medications a patient needed to manage her disease