Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Thursday, August 18, 2005
    Summer Burns

    Saw a patient yesterday with the chief complaint of "sunburn." It turned out that a tanning salon had opened next to her gym and she was offered a free session at her initial visit. Apparently, they'd set the tanning bed on "Broil," or perhaps "Nuclear Power"; her entire bikini area, above and below the waist, had been burned. She presented with a bright red set of unmentionables but fortunately no blistering. I told her to use hydrocortisone and cold packs.

    This led me on to remember what I like to think of as the "Christmas in July Affair." One hot summer a few years ago a patient came in complaining of a wound on her ear. She'd gotten an insect bite and decided to control the itching by applying ice packs... for a really long time. The pinna (outer ear structure) was blistered and peeling. Diagnosis: frostbite. She did fine, but it still cracks me up to think of someone presenting with frostbite in the middle of the summer.



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