Friday, November 11, 2016


“Could you check out my ankle? I don’t want to go to an emergency room.”

These are tempting calls. I could make the housecall, solemnly examine the painful, swollen ankle, express sympathy, wrap it in an Ace bandage (universally agreed to be not much use), and tell the guest to see a doctor if he’s not dramatically better in a day or two. Happy to avoid rushing to an emergency room, the guest would consider his money was well spent.

Of course, I could have told him this over the phone. If walking on an injured ankle is painful, it requires medical attention. But unless pain is unbearable or the skin is mangled, it’s not an emergency.  

Furthermore, the medical attention should be delivered by a doctor who knows ankles such as an orthopedist. Going to an emergency room is a bad idea. You’ll get an x-ray, a bill for around a thousand dollars, and advice to see a doctor if you’re not better in a day or two.

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