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That's not the way to syringe ears safely

The article on ear syringing (Answerback, January 19) shows the operator's hand holding back the pinna and no restraint on the spigot of the ear syringe. This is very dangerous.

If, as often happens with this type of syringe, the plunger sticks, it is very easy for the spigot to be thrust deep into the ear canal with a high risk of local trauma to the canal or even to the drum and middle ear itself. Such an event can be disastrous to the patient and expensive for the practitioner's insurers. If the free hand is used to hold the spigot close to the ear then any unexpected movement can be safely restrained, thus protecting both patient and practitioner form disaster.

It is true that purists will say this makes it difficult to straighten the canal during syringing, but if the tip of the spigot is inserted just past the tragus and then pulled towards the back of the patient's head, adequate flow of water can be assured.

If the electric type of syringe is used as recommended by your expert the risk of trauma is avoided and the free hand can safely be used as shown.

Dr Michael Blackmore

Ringwood, Hampshire

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