Medical Q&As

Doctor's receptionist - acting irresponsibly?

My friend works as a doctorís receptionist and she gets free samples of antibiotics, which she hands out to her friends when they are sick so that they don\'t have to pay to go to the doctor to be prescribed an antibiotic. I tried telling her that administering antibiotics willy nilly like this can be dangerous. But she says thatís what the doctor prescribes when you go to see him! Am I over-reacting or is it really dangerous to take antibiotics without medical supervision?

I assume that the doctor who employs your friend is completely unaware of this activity and if he became aware of it your friendís actions could reasonably be construed as being grounds for dismissal. As a doctor I would find it completely unacceptable that a receptionist was administering drugs to people. If anything were to happen to any of the people taking the drugs the doctor would be responsible because support staff in a medical practice function in a delegated role with the doctor taking ultimate responsibility for their actions. Your friend has assumed to herself a responsibility for which she has no training or expertise and is potentially putting her employer at serious risk, to say nothing of the potential harm she could be inflicting on her friends. It is not unknown for people to develop side effects from antibiotics and some people can be allergic to antibiotics, which can result in serious illness. Your friend is acting irresponsibly and she should stop this covert activity immediately.