Boy-with-Baseball-by-George-LuksC.jpg
Artist George Luks

It was early on Sunday morning when Betty called-

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“Abby’s ears are acting up again. She ran a fever and cried all night. Will you please call in an antibiotic?”

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Abby, who was fourteen months old, had previously been treated at Family Health Care for several ear infections. But, at Family Health Care the rule is not to give antibiotics without examining the patient. So, I recommended they take Abby to the emergency room for evaluation.

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“We would, doctor, but my husband lost his job last spring and we don’t have insurance. Why don’t we just wait and bring her into you in the morning?”

Ear infections are most often a painful, but not serious illness. Waiting overnight would probably be ok, but this was a child in pain. Giving antibiotics by phone was tempting, but not the best quality of care. I arranged to meet the family at the clinic that morning.

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When the mother pulled into the parking lot, she rolled down the window and apologized. “I’m sorry to bring you out. She’s better now. She finally fell asleep on the way over here.” She pointed to the child in the back seat.

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I climbed in the back seat and checked the child. Abby was burning with fever and worse, she was not arousable. She was in a coma. Her mom believed her to be asleep.

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Acting quickly, I arranged for Abby to receive her first dose of antibiotic at the door of the emergency room. She lived and about six years later, while at a Royals game I heard her clear little voice calling from half way around the field- “Doctor, doctor- there’s my doctor!”

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Family Health Care goes the extra bit for our uninsured patients. Please help by going the extra bit for Family Health Care. Help us be there for Abby and others in need.

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