GRE Argument Essay 132
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. ”
The argument given above seems to be convincing and believable at the first instance because of the way it is presented. According to it, all patients suffering from muscle strain should be given antibiotics since it was found in a study that those who are treated with antibiotics show quick recovery. On the other hand, those given sugar pills in the name of antibiotics did not recover any faster. Therefore, antibiotics should be taken to avoid secondary infections and recover faster from a muscle strain. However, there are certain points that go against the given argument. The argument does not hold its convincing power when viewed in a fresh light as is done in the following discussion.
The introductory line of the argument says that doctors have long suspected that secondary infections keep some patients from healing quickly after muscle strain. This means that not all patients of muscle strain get infected with secondary infections. However, in the conclusion given in the argument it is said that all patients suffering from muscle strain should be given antibiotics. It can be understood that there is no need of antibiotics in many cases. Giving antibiotics to all is only adding to the number of medicines they take. Therefore, all patients need not be advised to take antibiotics.
The argument further confirms the hypothesis with a study conducted on two groups of patients. However, it is mentioned in the argument that only the preliminary results of study showed the given findings. It can be commented that the study conducted was not a detailed one. Before making any medicine fit for prescription, it should be tested and retested for its effects. Only if the findings of such a study are repeatedly seen to be the same can any medicine be considered fit to be given to patients. It is immature to rely on only preliminary results and take them as a proof of a long held hypothesis.
The argument ignores the possibility of any side effects of antibiotics on the patients. It is possible that the antibiotics administered in case of muscle strain cause some kind of side effects that might be harmful for the patients. This should be particularly taken care of in case of sportsmen. The argument mentions that Dr. Newland is a specialist in sports medicines but it does not say anything about the effects of antibiotics on sportsmen. It is very important to keep a check on the intake of drugs by sportsmen in order to comply with the rules and regulations of sporting events. If any antibiotic proves to be a banned substance for sportsmen, it can bar them from playing in the events and can even ruin their future. While muscle strains are most common with sportsmen, the argument is silent about this category of patients.
There are many patients who are sensitive to medicines. If the medicines given to them are increased in number, it becomes increasingly difficult for them take these. A doctor must prescribe a medicine only if it suits the patients. However, it is possible that antibiotics do not suit many patients. It can further be said that there is a difference in the severity of muscle strain experienced by every patient. The medication of each muscle strain should, therefore, be according to the condition of the patient. The treatment of a sever muscle strain is different from that of a mild strain. A mild muscle strain may not require a lot of treatment and medicines. Therefore, antibiotics can be avoided in such cases and it can be concluded that antibiotics are not required to be given to every patient in order to treat a muscle strain.
Clearly, these loopholes exist in the argument and they completely shatter the stand taken in the argument. Instead, the discussion given above should be kept in mind and a comprehensive study should be conducted before making any conclusion.