McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Should You Google Symptoms?

More and more people are suffering from cyberchrondia. This is the name given to people who take to Google to search symptoms for various illnesses when they are unwell. As you could imagine, it has a range of consequences.

Searching symptoms on the internet can lead to even more problems than just feeling under the weather. It can cause all sorts of panic and chaos, and not just for the patient. Firstly, looking up symptoms for a disease which you believe may have causes a person to worry. They can trick themselves into believing that they are seriously ill, which could lead to anxiety. Secondly, if the said person then takes himself or herself to a local hospital, they could end up wasting the time of doctors, nurses and staff of that hospital.

The major problem with searching symptoms on Google is that there is a wealth of information on the internet and you will often find contrasting opinions of what is actually wrong with you. Whilst a large range of what is on the internet may be accurate, a minority of it is wrong and there is a good chance you will come across some information which is inaccurate, leaving doubt in your mind. Often, a self diagnosis can lead to a misdiagnosis. Misleading information on the internet can often result in people not bothering to go to their GP, resulting in a loss of valuable treatment time if the illness turns out to be major.

However, searching symptoms and finding out that you may have a serious illness can be helpful, as it can mean getting help and treatment from a doctor earlier. However, this is not always the case. Doctors may think that there is nothing wrong with you, and without a full scale check-up, will send you home with a possibility of being seriously ill.

There has been a lot of commentary on the recent failure of a Hospital in Nottingham. Bronte Doyne, a teenage girl from Nottingham, went to Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre complaining of having a rare type of cancer – fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma – which she had found out about on the internet. She was sent away by a doctor who told her to "stop Googling your symptoms". She was eventually diagnosed just after her 18th birthday. She was admitted to hospital in March 2013. She passed away on March 23rd, aged just 19.

For Bronte, searching her symptoms on the internet resulted in her knowing exactly what she had. However her claim was not taken seriously. My advice would be not to try and find out what is wrong with you via the internet, as it can cause all sorts of problems including anxiety and wrong diagnoses. Instead, I would advise go to your local GP and make sure you have a proper check-up and let the real professionals deal with you.

If you have been let down by the NHS or a private hospital, speak to the experts who can help get the answers you need and secure you compensation for your suffering.

Categories: Personal Injury

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