Case Number 6
The setting of this case is unique, since Xu is called to a military garrison far from his home. A member of the patient’s family is on the scene, and intervenes in the clinical process. In this case the patient’s age plays a role. Xu wants to use a laxative, but the relative objects on the basis that this treatment is dangerous due to the patient’s age. In Xu’s reply, he makes the commonsensical observation that in this case he needs to treat based on the patient’s disorder, not on his age or appearance. The relative does not administer Xu’s drugs to the patient, as Xu realizes following a second inspection. This description is revealing about the clinical setting and the complications physicians of the time faced when treating patients. Family members who were not physicians argued with their diagnoses, and even failed to administer medications they trusted. Xu mentions that based on his life-long experience this formula should be administered only once, in a single dose, since overuse will harm the patient.
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