The Field - - Opening Shots Letters -

Your story of the deadly thorns

[A thorny is­sue, Fe­bru­ary is­sue] re­minds me of an in­ci­dent many years ago. One of my pa­tients pre­sented with a swollen arm. He had been play­ing golf on the South Downs and while re­triev­ing his ball from under a black­thorn bush had pricked his hand. He played on for a cou­ple of holes, felt faint, col­lapsed and was rushed to Brighton Hospi­tal. The med­i­cal opin­ion con­firmed the di­ag­no­sis of the deadly thorn.

He pre­sented to me two days later with a more swollen arm, dis­coloured and with some bruis­ing. On closer ex­am­i­na­tion there were two punc­ture marks con­firm­ing my sus­pi­cion that he had been bit­ten by an adder.

I pre­sented his case to my col­league and part­ner, John Don­ald, end­ing with: “An­tibi­otics, tetanus im­mu­ni­sa­tion, a sling and rest. Do you agree, Doc­tor?”

Dear Dr Don­ald (him­self a scratch golfer) replied: “What you re­ally need is some golf lessons.” An­drew Hard­ing

Hay­wards Heath, West Sus­sex

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