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Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Guests I Didn't Help

Last week a travel insurer asked me to see nine sick hotel guests. My first thought was food poisoning, but their symptoms turned out to be coughing and sore throat.

I love multiple visits at the same hotel, but I wouldn’t love these. I visualized the scenario: a large group arrives for an expensive vacation when they fall ill, and in America you need a prescription for an antibiotic. Luckily, they tell themselves, we have travel insurance. The doctor will come and give us our Amoxicillin, and we’ll be fine.

As I repeat relentlessly, my philosophy on antibiotics is that I prescribe them if they’ll help, and I don’t prescribe them if they won’t. This puts me at odds with doctors around the world not excluding the US. If you always receive antibiotics, it’s reasonable to assume that’s what you need.

When I see victims of a respiratory infections (twenty percent of a family doctor’s business) I do my best. Most seem satisfied, but some are clearly disappointed, and a few make it clear that I have failed them.

I did not want to see nine consecutive patients with a respiratory infection. Luckily, there was a walk-in clinic nearby.

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