A mother’s son in South Carolina is reportedly infested with parasitic worms, and was turned away by medical professionals. She wonders not if we can identify the worm for her, but simply if any of our readers have felt like this before in the queries they send in.
To answer our reader’s question: yes, we have a lot of readers who have experienced similar things, and have felt the same things. Our reader disclosed her humiliation and incredulity at the “dangerous and unprofessional” nature of the people she and her son consulted, and we have received a lot of mail from readers who are sure that there is a parasite involved, and are met with similar responses from medical professionals.
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The thing is, the vast majority of physicians and other medical professionals have little to no training in identifying parasites, and so, in a way, you cannot blame them. Of course, that is not to say our reader’s feelings are not valid. No medical professional should display an apathetic attitude toward their patients. What our reader needs to do in this situation is find the sort of physician who has training and experience in this area. To do that, we recommending Googling either “infectious disease specialist in (name of her town or largest city in SC)” or “travel medicine physician in (name of her town or largest city in SC).”
Furthermore, although our reader did not provide pictures of the worms, she did give a substantial amount of context, which we appreciate, as it may provide other readers with a situation they can relate to if they are having similar issues. At first, our reader took her son to Urgent Care, where his doctor did not do any examining once he was informed that he was there for a parasite. He reportedly told our reader’s son to “go home to get his camera to prove there was a worm.” We can understand that in this context, this would have felt like a waste of time for our reader, especially in a country where every second spent in a hospital is a substantial amount of money being added to the price of one’s visit, especially for our reader’s son, who does not have health insurance. Later the same day, she went back to the same doctor, who then told her to take her son to the hospital as they were not prepared to treat something like a parasite infestation at the Urgent Care center, which is fair.
Following this, our reader took her son to a hospital in a different city, where the doctor also did not perform any examinations except for an ‘eyeballed’ oral examination, which the doctor did “reluctantly” at the mother’s request. After not being able to identify the issue, the doctor told our reader she needed to get Ivermectin, which was supposedly $400 per pill, which our reader could not afford. Our reader ended up giving her son their horse’s Ivermectin paste, which “has not helped.” This is definitely something we would urge our readers not to do. Do not give someone medication that was prescribed for someone else, or something else as in the case of our reader. The intended dosage for a horse will be vastly different from that of a human child, and nonetheless, one cannot know the potential side effects of giving a person medication intended for an animal.
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Our reader concluded her query by saying that she would send over pictures, but as this situation is purely medical in nature, that will not be necessary. As we are not medical professionals, we cannot provide medical identifications, as that would essentially be giving diagnoses. Nonetheless, while our reader was not able to get the help for her son that she required from the medical professionals she did consult, we encourage her to keep pushing for her son’s health as she has been doing, and to consult an infectious disease specialist by doing one of the two aforementioned Google searches. If any of our readers have found a physician who was knowledgeable and helpful regarding parasites, please leave their name and contact information in a comment below!