How the joy of Christmas helped a critically ill child

REAL CASES

EVERY year at Christmas I remember Zita, a pretty little girl who, 40 years ago, was brought into the ED of the hospital where I was a resident.

Zita, aged four, was obviously in pain, and had a discharging right ear and a temperature of 41C. She had been referred by her GP, who suspected a perforated eardrum. The child looked unwell — sweaty, pale  and irritable. Examination distressed her and she clung to her father, crying.

I decided to admit her and rang my registrar. On his advice, I organised blood tests including FBE and ESR.

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