Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Asking Me for Medical Advice is Against Medical Advice

I think it’s really flattering (and fun) that all my friends have started asking me for medical advice. However, I tend not to be very helpful. Here’s how the conversation usually goes:

Friend: Hey, I have a medical question for you.
Me: [Mental flashback to watching 1,000 episodes of Bones instead of studying Micro] Uh, okay. Shoot.
Friend: Have you ever seen Chagas Disease?
Me: Uh, sort of. I’ve seen pictures of it, but never in person.
Friend: [Texts a picture of a swollen eyelid] Do you think that’s what this is? 

Photo credit:
Me: Um, it looks like a lot of things besides Chagas. Do you have a fever?
Friend: No.
Me: Have you been to Central or South America recently?
Friend: No, why?
Me: Well, to get Chagas, someone usually has to get bitten by a kissing bug in Central or South America. And there are a lot of reasons for a swollen eyelid that are more common than Chagas. [Many, many questions, determining that it’s probably an allergic reaction] …But I can’t give you medical advice. So if you’re really worried that it’s Chagas, you should go to the ER.

Basically, all I can tell you is that your abnormality does/does not look like a picture I’ve seen of Roseola/scalded skin syndrome/plague (a picture that you can Google yourself).

In summary: if you ask me for medical advice, I’ll probably send you to the ER.

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