I just got a taste of how doctors feel when someone who knows very little about medicine makes a really stupid medical decision out of ignorance–
I feel so bad for this man–he’s made it so much worse for himself–
I was just in an Uber, and the driver was complaining about a pain in his mouth. “It really hurts, its hot, red and swollen.”
Then he added–and proudly– “The dentist tried to give me a prescription for antibiotics, but I read online that those things kill all the good bacteria in your stomach, and I didn’t want to do that to myself.”
When did you get this prescription?? Two weeks ago. And now it’s gotten red and hot in the last 24 hours??
I was so flabbergasted, I cut straight to the point,
“The infection in your mouth is much more likely to kill you, then taking antibiotics and killing off the ‘good bacteria’ in your stomach. You’re right–antibiotics do kill off good bacteria–but there’s a very simple solution, eat yogurt–
But this infection? In your mouth? Will kill you if you don’t treat it immediately.”
The driver looks into his rear mirror at me,
“Wow, golly gee ma’am, I appreciate your honestly. It sounds like you know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m not a doctor, but you need to see one asap. After you drop me off, go straight to the ER, explain to them the pain has gotten worse in the last 24 hours, and now it’s hot and red.”
“I mean it. Go straight to the ER.”
Now my wheels were spinning…blood work, X-ray, maybe even another imaging study, but I wasn’t sure what would be best for his situation so I didn’t say which one. I just told him he needed bloodwork and an imaging study, to make sure the infection hadn’t move into the bone.
Silence between us…I finally broke it,
“Normally I’m really chatty and friendly in the car, but honestly all my mind can think about is how much you need to get to a doctor ASAP. I can’t talk about anything superficial and mindless. You need to see a doctor.”
And with that, he dropped me off, thanking me–
I gave him my number. I told him to text me and let me know how he was going in the ER. I hope he’s gonna be okay.