Kill or cure: how useful is Dr Google?

Men do it, women do it, young, old, Men do it, women do it, young, old, even doctors admit to doing it sometimes. In fact, if there’s anything surprising about the news that 50pc of us seek health advice online, it’s that the figure is so low.

According to new research carried out on behalf of the RCSI, half of all Irish people surveyed say they use the internet to investigate potential health woes.

The knee-jerk reaction to such a statistic is to fear that these keyboard patients are putting their health at risk by not heading directly for their GP’s busy waiting room.

But is the internet really such a bad place to venture when you’re worried about your well-being?

Several months ago, I was told I would need a biopsy on my breast. I was breastfeeding at the time and advised to stop to have the procedure. Reluctant to do so if not absolutely necessary, I sought other opinions online, contacting one of the world’s leading lactation experts, Dr Jack Newman, via the web, as well as experts in La Leche League.


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