Emergency Rooms Are No Place for the Elderly

The elderly man lived alone in an apartment complex not far from the hospital. A younger neighbor, who’d watched him hobble down the building’s stairwell for nearly a week, insisted on taking him to the emergency room. Doctors there immediately diagnosed an infection in his painful toe and prescribed antibiotics for him to take at home.

But they also advised the man to be sure to take his diabetes medicine, since the infection could elevate his blood sugar to dangerous levels. And as the surgical consultant, I urged him to keep his foot up, check the toe once a day and come to our vascular surgery clinic in a week to make sure the infection was clearing up. He needed close follow-up to prevent serious complications, even the loss of his foot.

-The New York Times

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