Easy Money – The Life of a Hotel Doctor

A Brazilian traveler had left her medication at home. Could I drive to Hermosa Beach and write some prescriptions? The caller was the guest’s travel insurer.

When hotel guests call directly, I tell them to go to a pharmacy and explain what they need. I would approve over the phone. It’s free; everyone is happy.

Before I could offer to do the same, the dispatcher informed me that, as a new service, the insurance would pay for visits to replace prescriptions. I could not turn down easy money.

It turned out not to be so easy. The traveler’s family doctor had faxed his prescriptions, but the writing was illegible and in Portuguese. There followed half an hour of debate, phone calls to Brazil, and Google searches before I found the American equivalent of three of the four. The fourth never turned up, but it was probably an herbal remedy.


By Mike Oppenheim