TOPIC: ARGUMENT51 – The following appeared in a medical newsletter.?

“Doctors have long suspected that secondary infections may keep some patients from healing quickly after severe muscle strain. This hypothesis has now been proved by preliminary results of a study of two groups of patients. The first group of patients, all being treated for muscle injuries by Dr. Newland, a doctor who specializes in sports medicine, took antibiotics regularly throughout their treatment. Their recuperation time was, on average, 40 percent quicker than typically expected. Patients in the second group, all being treated by Dr. Alton, a general physician, were given sugar pills, although the patients believed they were taking antibiotics. Their average recuperation time was not significantly reduced. Therefore, all patients who are diagnosed with muscle strain would be well advised to take antibiotics as part of their treatment.”

WORDS: 494? ?? ?? ? TIME: 00:29:59? ?? ?? ? DATE: 2007-9-4 16:35:32

The author, in the newsletter, confirm the doctors’ viewpoint that it is secondary infections that keep some patients who suffer from severe muscle strain from healing quickly, and recommends that all muscle strain patients should take antibiotics during their treatment. The recommendation is problematic in several aspects, thus render it unconvincing as it stands.

First of all, the author fails to provide detail information of the patients of two groups involved in the study, their age, gender, physical condition, and?the?most critical factor, the?seriousness?of their muscle strain, thus we cannot be sure the conditions of patients of two groups are comparable. It is highly possible that those who are in the first group are younger than the second group, which make them can recover quicker than those in second group.?Similarly?the men?are?generally?believed?to recover faster than women. And the patient of first group can definitely recover much quicker if they suffer from less serious strain than those in second group.

In addition, even if I were to concede the personal conditions of the patients in two groups are comparable, the author provides?insufficient?evidence?to support the statement that antibiotics help the patient heal quickly. First, Dr. Newland, who specialized in sports medicine, perhaps?is?more experienced in deal with?muscle?strain than Dr. Alton who is a general physician. The patients of first groups might?accept?several special treatments?besides taking antibiotics regularly. For example, Dr. Newland?required?his patients taking some specified exercise, which contributed more to the patients’ fast recover than theantibiotics, while Dr. Alton took the regular treatment, it is the exercise caused the different consequence of treatment. Thus, it is?not?sure the?antibiotics?help the patient recover quicker.

Finally, even the author provide evidence that?whether taking antibiotics?is the only difference of two groups, and antibiotics led to the different treatment effects, it is not reasonable to suggest all the patients who are diagnosed with muscle strain to take?antibiotics. First, the assumption is that antibiotics are effectual for the severe muscle strain patient. Perhaps it is not a good treatment for the slight muscle strain patient. Second, even it can help all the muscle strain patient healing quickly, the side-effect of the drug has to be evaluated, it is entirely possible some harm it inflicted on the body of patient far outweigh its benefits.

In sum, to convince me that the recommendation that all the muscle strain patients should take antibiotics in their treatment to achieve a fast recover, the author need to provide evidence that the personal condition of patients in two groups are comparable. And author also need clearly present evidence the patients of two groups received the same treatment besides antibiotics. To better asses the recommendation, I need the evidence that the antibiotics can help all the muscle strain patients not only the severe patients and they have no side-effects which will threaten the health of patients.


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