Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear Kate,

The problem with the medical sites isn't really that they're wrong, it's just that... well, some might call this paternalistic, but I think it's just professionalistic - I think I should tell you what you need to know, what's relevant.  Otherwise, you just scare people.  Now, if they need to be scared, or if I'm concerned, I should speak up, but otherwise, I think that should be considered "doing harm."

You see, those websites include EVERY possible cause of "headache."  And they don't take into account anything other than what you typed in - "headache."  So when a patient comes to me and says, "I know I have a sub-araknid hemmage because I have had a pretty bad throbbing headache for a week," it can be really hard to convince him that he does not in fact have a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage despite the fact that I went to school and learned about the signs and symptoms and they don't match at all.

Information misinterpreted and misused.  Now that's dangerous.



  1. I'm pretty sure the patient you just described is my husband. Are you sure you haven't seen Derek in your clinic at any point?

  2. how about 'i think i got one of them biblical hernias- and maybe a linguinie kind too".... oh you mean umbilicus and inguinal? yeahhhhh. i hate webmd in the hands of uneducated/uninformed people. they have no idea what they are reading and you are soooo correct. they come in saying things like im having a stroke bc i have tingling in my finger. when clearly. they are NOT having a stroke.