Mumps

These children don't have mumps. They are just posing for the camera
These children don’t have mumps. They are just posing for the camera

One evening, over dinner, a Zambian guide at the lodge was talking about traditional treatments for illnesses. This was fascinating for me, and I filed away lots of interesting therapeutic techniques for future use.

When a patient with mumps came to the clinic last week, I examined the patient to confirm the diagnosis and said:

“You must find a small bundle of twigs, tie them with sisal and place them on your head. Walk to a pathway which forks into two and at the junction, you must dance until the twigs fall from your head. Then immediately walk home, without looking backwards. And in a few days you will be cured.”

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My interpreter looked at me in amazement. “How did you know this, doctor? Is this how you treat mumps in your country, too?”

To my shame, I couldn’t resist saying, “Yes.”

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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