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“What about this one? I’m pretty sure I could have this one.” The pointer flicked across the screen as Corbin twitched his mouse to click for more details. “It says here that redness of the skin and fatigue are symptoms.” The chair creaked as he spun around, feet hitting the other side of the computer desk as the seat responded to his enthusiasm.
“You don’t have…” Bindi leaned past him to read the article. “Medication…You don’t take any medications. How could you react poorly to one? And your skin is supposed to be red, it’s called having blood flow.”
“I know, but it’s redder than usual. It says I could have seizures. Maybe I should go to the doctor, just in case.”
“We can’t afford a doctor. And all they will tell you is to get some rest. You were up until 2am last night. Of course you’re tired.”
The Internet and Medicine
Raise your hand if you have ever done an internet search for a symptom, such as a new mole, rash, unusual fatigue, or other medical problems. Now, put your hand down. You look ridiculous, sitting at a computer with your hand sticking up in the air.
When you did your internet search, you likely searched multiple sites, or one site that you have seen many advertisements for and believe to be reputable. You also likely reached the inevitable conclusion that you need immediate medical attention, because the disorders that came up in your search suggest that you are dying. After all, a skin rash is a sign of cancer, tiredness is a sign of depression, and if your shoulder hurts, you probably broke it or tore a muscle.
The Mayo Clinic
In contrast to the many sites that will convince you that you are dying, I have found one site that consistently gives good information. The Mayo Clinic provides helpful advice at mayoclinic.org. Rather than convincing you that you have some disease and need to see a doctor, which isn’t really helpful at all, they give you the most likely cause of whichever minor symptom you have. Unlike many sites, it is clear that their writers understand what people need to know when they are trying to find out whether they need to see the doctor, or whether they are just tired because they overslept and have too much stress at work.
In some ways, describing the clinic’s internet search value does a disservice to them. The Mayo Clinic has been named the best hospital in the country by U.S. News and World Report. This function is by no means the primary function of the clinic, which does research and provides innovative medical care, as well.
Why am I telling you all about the Mayo Clinic? Today, May 31st, was the birth date of William Worral Mayo, whose vision and beliefs as a doctor made the Mayo Clinic what it is today. Click here for more information about the founding and history of the Mayo Clinic.