On the Soapbox:
What’s So Special About Antibiotics?
Three weeks and three days later, I'm still coughing. I think, perhaps, I have a latent bacteria infection. But I have not had time to see a doctor; hence, I can get no anti-biotic. As I sit here, coughing up gunk, I ask myself, "Why should I have to see a doctor to get the antibiotic I'm pretty sure I need?"
No matter what doctors seem to think about "super bacteria" and "mutant strains", I think it is time that we begin to by-pass the doctor's prescription. My idea is a simple one. At the pharmacist's counter, there should be a list of antibiotics that are effective for certain kinds of infection. For instance: I know that with me, if I have a sinus infection, I should take Ceclor. If I have bronchitis, my body likes PenVK 500 mg. But for those who have no idea what antibiotic is for what type of infection, there is the list.
Then, to actually self-prescribe the antibiotic, there would be a symptom and diagnosis sheet. You would check off the appropriate symptoms and it would lead you to a diagnosis.
For instance: Fever might be the first symptom category. You note down a fever of 104. The arrow leads you to "You may have a bacterial infection, go to question #2." So, question #2 concerns your throat--what it looks like. Question #3 might have to do with pain or earache or the color of the muck you're coughing up.
The point is that symptoms of bacterial infections are finite. Once known, anyone, even a novice, can diagnose a bacterial infection. So, once you have answered all the questions, the sheet will point you toward a diagnosis, i.e., "You have a bacterial infection in your sinuses, choose an appropriate antibiotic from the sinus infection list." Or, "You do not have a bacterial infection."
If it’s indicated, you would get the medicine when you need it, instead of waiting days for doctors' appointments and spending $60 to $90 to see them, only to be turned away without a prescription because the infection hasn't progressed very far. Or, even if you get a prescription, by the time you do, the process has taken way too much time and money for too little return.
Personally, I'd like to stop having to spend $90 for a $5 prescription, and I would like to have it when the infection is new and hasn't yet threatened my life. If this idea were put into practice, I would bet that almost 50 percent of doctor's visits and 50 percent of emergency room visits would end. Think what that could do to reduce the cost of medical care in this country.
Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on October 20, 2003.
Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
10.16 'I leave the car at home': how free buses are revolutionising one French city [with electric or hydrogen buses the cities can be much less polluted and cleaner with far fewer cars]
10.15 'It'll change back': Trump says climate change not a hoax, but denies lasting impact [1:10 video; comfortable in his willful ignorance and denial, catastropic effects will be sooner and greater for doing nothing]
News Media Matters
10.16 The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire [Distorting news and issues "analysis" almost completely where cable and Internet are least available]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
10.18 Are You Kidding Me?' Outrage as Democrats Push 'Incremental Steps' Over Bold Agenda Needed to Save Planet from Climate Catastrophe [Neoliberals still control Democratic Party leadership...]
10.16 GOP plan to get Americans off food stamps puts 4 million children and seniors at risk [What would Jesus say?]
10.15 We need tax police – and they should go after the likes of Donald Trump [growing the mafia-state; to the extent allowed all tax evaded results in additional debt or taxes on honest citizens]
10.13 With Campaign Only 'Powered by People,' Beto O'Rourke Shatters All-Time Senate Fundraising Record With $38 Million Haul [nullifying Citizens United—that empowers corporations and the super-rich—with a pledged commitment returns democracy powered by the people!]
10.18 Is Fraud Part of the Trump Organization’s Business Model? [Obviously!]
10.18 Nicaragua used 'weapons of war' to kill protesters, says Amnesty International [why refugee immigrants rightly see jail in the US as an improvement]
10.18 How We Can End the Saudis’ War in Yemen [There is NO EXCUSE for War Crimes]
10.12 Trump Says Murder Shouldn’t Stop Saudi Weapon Sales Because ‘We Have Jobs’ [Morals and laws be damned! Trump grows his mafia-state for patron and personal profit]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
International & Futurism
10.17 US-China tensions soar as 'new cold war' heats up [the world needs mutually-beneficial moral friendships among nations, not high-risk emotional outbursts]
10.17 Jamal Khashoggi: gory reports of killing emerge as Pompeo meets Erdogan [What explains Trump's opinion and behavior?]
10.16 Tax evasion: blacklist of 21 countries with 'golden passport' schemes published [mafia-states are increasing and growing, threatening financial health of non-mafia states where tax evaded becomes additional debt or taxes on honest citizens]