Over 73 million Americans use the Internet to answer health questions, harrying their doctors with self-diagnoses and putting stress on the physician-patient relationship. Medical web sites, disease discussion forums and health blogs give the "Worried Well" an endless supply of symptoms and therapies to ponder.
But sometimes, the Internet can save some pain, some suffering -- and some billing. An article in the Google Blog reports on a premature baby admitted to an ER with very low hemoglobin levels. ER doctors told the parents that an immediate emergency blood transfusion was necessary, but Dad whipped out his Palm computer and Googled the Web. He found an on-line article in American Family Physician that a hemoglobin drop in premies was "not uncommon." After a respectable period of further study, the docs agreed that the kid was fine. Dad wrote:
Google literally saved our newborn son from having to endure an extremely dangerous, and totally unnecessary, blood transfusion.
Maybe Googling should be added to the list of standard medical practices.