Medicine: Handle with Care

Doctors are keenly aware that the antibiotics (sulfa drugs, penicillin, streptomycin, etc.) have two great dangers: 1) sometimes the drug has a poisonous effect on the patient, and 2) the bacteria under attack may develop a tolerance for the drug. Last week doctors at the 13th Congress of the International Society of Surgery in New Orleans were reminded of another danger: antibiotics speed up the clotting time of the blood, thus subject the patient to the risk of death from blood clots forming, breaking loose, and being carried through the heart into the...

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