Be Careful What You Ask For - The Life of a Hotel Doctor
By Mike Oppenheim, MD
He had been coughing for several days, a guest explained, adding that he probably needed a Z-pak. When a patient suggests he needs an antibiotic, a doctor feels one of two emotions.
(2) Depression. In an otherwise healthy person, the only common illness with a cough that antibiotics cure is bacterial pneumonia which is not common. All others are viral infections. These affect fifteen percent of everyone who consults a doctor, so they are no trivial matter.
Over the phone, I quizzed him about his symptoms and then explained that he was suffering a self-limited illness requiring only over-the-counter remedies. When he insisted that he needed a doctor, I directed him to a nearby urgent care clinic where he would get his antibiotic.