Too Many Cooks
By Mike Oppenheim, MD
“Does he have a bad sore throat?” I asked. Penicillin treats strep throat and no other common childhood illness, but the presence of coughing makes strep unlikely.
“No. I thought it might help… My brother is a pediatric consultant in London. He gave me a Ventolin inhaler.”
“Did that help?”
“A little.” That means “no,” but it was a good idea. Asthma inhalers often relieve a cough even in patients without asthma.
“I’m a doctor who comes to hotels. Would you like me to see him?” I asked.
“My wife wonders if I should take him to a clinic for a chest x-ray and blood tests.”
“Unless he’s very sick, that’s probably not necessary.”
“He’s doing better today. Maybe you should come. Can you give him cortisone?”
“I carry cortisone….”
“So you could give him an injection?”
“I’d have to examine him first.”
After consulting with his wife, he said “We will wait for you.”
I exchanged my pajamas for a suit, filled out my encounter form, and was about to leave when the phone rang. It was the Palomar, and I knew what that meant. Guests don’t like to cancel in person, so a hotel employee delivered the message.
“The gentleman says he’s decided to take the child to a clinic.”
“There’s no urgent care clinic in this area open so late. He’ll have to go to the UCLA emergency room.”
“Thanks for the information. I’ll tell him.”
I reverted to my pajamas and went to bed where I passed an uneventful night. The Palomar guest probably passed it in the emergency room.