Monday, July 18, 2016

The Wrong Way To Do It

“My son has a boil on his leg. Our doctor says he needs an antibiotic.  Could you come to the hotel and give the prescription?”

A boil is collection dead tissue, full of pus and germs. It has no blood supply, so an antibiotic can’t reach it. Antibiotics alone don’t cure boils.

Left alone, boils eventually go away, so victims who use one of the innumerable silly home remedies from the internet will give it credit. Allowing nature to heal is commendable but may require few weeks of misery.

Unnatural healing works instantly. The doctor cuts into the boil, squeezes out the pus, washes the cavity with saline, and then stuffs a strip of sterile cloth into the hole. A few days later, he or she pulls out the strip.

I don’t drain boils in a hotel room, so I had to decide where to send the guest. At an emergency room, the doctor would certainly do the surgery, but an emergency room is a tiresome experience.

A local walk-in clinic would be more civilized. The downside is that the doctor in a walk-in clinic would have a background similar to mine but probably without my vast experience and wisdom.

I sent the boy to a walk-in clinic where the doctor punctured the boil and sent them away with an antibiotic. The puncture might seal and the boil recur (that’s the purpose of packing it with the cloth). Or it might ooze for weeks before resolving. I wish the doctor had done it the right way, but the boil would eventually heal.

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