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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
March 23, 2012/ 29 Adar, 5772
Internet cures for the common curiosity
A doctor friend who is a pediatrician was lamenting the state
of his vocation of late.
"But being a pediatrician must make you feel so useful," I said.
"Helping all those sick children, putting all those mothers' minds
"It used to, but not anymore," he said. "We doctors are slowly
being replaced by the Internet. Mothers bring kids in to the office
and already have their own diagnosis."
"I understand completely," I said. "Just last week I discovered
one common ailment and five rare disorders I could have by trolling
WebMD. Still,I'm sure that mothers are interested in what you have
"Not very often," he said. "I say viral, they say bacterial.
They're medical experts. When I try to ask them where they attended
medical school, they're already on to potential side effects of
possible drugs they'd like me to prescribe."
"Tough room to play," I said.
"Some of them even argue with me. Twenty-five years experience,
but they have all the answers."
I didn't tell the doctor, but it's called Motherhood by Google.
Nobody needs ask a mother or grandmother about something or to rely
on a thick home medical book, mothers today just Google everything.
We all do.
A young mother I know recently complained of being tired.
"Baby keeping you up at night?" I asked.
"The baby slept very well," she said. "But I had Googled 'baby
and sleep problems' and it pulled up 19 million sites. I was up
all night reading."
Clearly, doctors are outnumbered by online experts. When you
Google "baby and colic" you get 3 million sites. Your kid will be
finished with colic and performing long division by the time you
read through a million sites.
Searching "baby and teething" will net you 15 million sites with
different opinions, salves and remedies. A Google of "baby" and
the odious product they produce in their diapers pulls up a whopping
13 million sites. The kid will be potty trained (17 million sites
on that topic) by the time you've finished sorting out the conflicting
"The Web does bring out the latent medical caregiver in us all,"
I told my friend. "My personal favorites are the diagrams where
you can click on the part of the body that hurts and it will list
the possibilities of what may be wrong."
"That's not competent medical care," he snapped. "That's not
how you diagnose. And, sometimes there are complexities."
"But, they've already read about the complexities, too, haven't
they?" I ask.
"Of course," he said.
"Doctoring is all I've ever done," my friend said, rubbing his
"I'm sorry," I said. "But look at it this way, if you ever decide
to quit your practice, you could start a blog. Someone might actually
listen to you then."
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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Catching Christmas" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2012, Lori Borgman
Richard Z. Chesnoff
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J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K