A Simple Dilemma

Dr Vernon Coleman

I was talking to a very serious, pompous and rather patronising young GP.

`I miss having a medical licence,’ I said. `It means that in an emergency I can’t get hold of a few antibiotic tablets.’

She frowned at me. `But you don’t have any patients do you?’

I admitted that I did not.

`So who would you want the antibiotics for?’

`For my wife or myself, a relative or a friend.’

`That’s illegal,’ she said. `A doctor isn’t supposed to treat himself or a relative.’

`That’s true,’ I nodded. `But occasionally, in an emergency…’

`Not even then,’ she said dogmatically. `Never. It would be quite improper.’

`Do you have a child?’ I asked her.

`Three,’ she said, `A girl aged five, and twins aged two.’

`It’s half past ten on a Saturday night,’ I said. `One of your children wakes up screaming with earache. All he needs is an antibiotic. You’ve got a supply of what you need in your black bag. Outside it’s raining heavily. And it’s freezing cold. Your car has a flat battery. The nearest accident and emergency department is thirty miles away. It will be full of drunks and accident victims. Non-urgent patients will have to wait seven or eight hours to be seen. What do you do?’


Copyright Vernon Coleman December 2021

Vernon Coleman’s international bestselling book called `How to stop your doctor killing you’ is available as a paperback and an eBook.