Treating Disease in the Big Easy

A patient’s abdominal pain challenges doctors in post-Katrina New Orleans.

By By H. Lee Kagan|Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The case was straightforward, exactly what we needed on a busy morning. A 40-year-old construction worker had given me a history that sounded as if he had reviewed the signs of acute appendicitis just before walking into the clinic. He’d had two days of central abdominal pain that had now migrated into his right lower quadrant, mild nausea, no appetite, no vomiting, and no diarrhea. “A slam dunk,” I thought. “Appendicitis until proven otherwise.” I asked him to lie down on the exam table, but my...

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