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PAGING DR. GOOGLE

Google is great for things like finding answers to obscure homework questions and getting directions to distant soccer fields, but it’s terrible for checking health symptoms.

Search: bloody nose
See 1 to 10 of about 1,234,784, 987 results for “horrible wasting diseases that parents often overlook because they think ‘Hey, it’s just a bloody nose.’.”

You’d think something that’s sophisticated enough to be able to figure out what you really want to search for even when you type in the wrong word or phrase would be smart enough to filter out (or at least de-prioritize) the rare, deadly, one-in-a-million afflictions that always seem to pop up when you search for something minor.

Search: headache
See 1 to 10 of about 1,831,187,321 results for “things you shouldn’t worry about at all, not tonight, not tomorrow, not ever.”

But no.

Instead, you’re faced with page after page of terrifying results.

(Exactly how many pages is unknown, since what you read on the first page alone is usually enough to make even the most anxiety-proof parent pass out from a panic attack.)

All of which would be fine – even amusing – if a visit to the doctor’s office or emergency room offered relief.

But it doesn’t because even if you catch your M.D. muffling a scoff when you admit you googled the symptoms and freaked out when you read the results, he or she will run a bunch of test anyway, “just to be sure.”

Why?

Because doctors use Google, too.

Search: malpractice
See 1 to 10 of about 4,876,876,987,382,876 results for “multi-million dollar settlements against doctors who fail to spot rare, deadly, one-in-a-million diseases in anxious patients.”

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