General Question

flo's avatar

Do people assume that medical professionals can't be on Fluther answering medical questions? See detail.

Asked by flo (13313points) November 20th, 2019

People ask questions about all kinds of things knowing that there are people from different walks of life on it, whether it’s about trucking, or electricity or parenting, you name it. What makes people assume that there are no medical professionals on Fluther? Of course it’s a given medical info is specific to each person, and that the best thing is to ask one’s own doctor but that is not always possible.

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38 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Since there is no one vetting the users, anyone could claim credentials they don’t have. It’s safer to assume they are not medical professionals, or any other authority,

flo's avatar

@YARNLADY What I meant if you have nothing to go with, you can at least search the answer they give, they can lead you to a Mayo Clinic website etc. instead of diagnosing.
There is the automatic assumption that there can’t be an actual medical professional. Even if it is one out of many, that is not noone.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flo Most of us arent doctors or spring chickens, so I think accumulated knowledge and experience have value as long as its only advice and not a diagnosis or replacement for a medical professional.

Sagacious's avatar

Don’t expect a physician on this site to answer your medical questions, particularly when the answer is a google away.

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yes, so much valuable information comes from lay people’s experience.

But I’m just curious about people who just assume there is no way a real medical professional can be on Fluther. I guess it’s not a conscious thing. They say “Ask your doctor (for one they assume it’s your medical issue for nothing) and second, they make it sound like it takes as practical as finding it from other legitimate sources. I mean what is the point of Q&A sites, etc., if everyone should only ask their plumber only their mechanic, etc.? But they don’t say that about plumbers and electircians, etc. eventhough one can make major damage with the wrong info.

flo's avatar

@Sagacious I guess you haven’t read my reposnse to @YARNLADY
By the way please give a google site that you are referring to.

flo's avatar

…Isn’t every site a “google” site even the worst of the worst sites?
By the way I’m guessing by “google” you mean search engines in general.

elbanditoroso's avatar

We had a guy on Fluther a couple years ago who was an EMT Tech (ambulance driver) – not an MD but he knew a lot about a lot of medical things. He was very careful about what he said and that it was not medical advice.

For that matter, I think there was some woman – not sure if she was a doc or PNP – who specialized in female reproductive care. She was around for a while and disappeared. But she too was careful NOT to give medical advice.

Medical licensing has a lot of legal restrictions on providing medical advice without a doctor-patient relationship. (Listen to Sirius XM 110 Doctor radio where they repeat over and over that they are not providing medical advice (and so on) – that’s because there has to be a formal relationship to do so.

It’s the same with lawyers. There has to be a client-attorney relationship. If there isn’t one, the person is running the risk of losing their law license.

Besides, no professional who paid $200000 for their MD or LLD is going to give away their professional services for free.

Sagacious's avatar


I answer questions before I read what anyone else had to say.

flo's avatar

@elbanditoroso I agree with the fact that they give disclaimers. That makes sense.
I’m referring to getting something to go by, like good source of info (a website they recommend) to start with not for diagnosis.

Re. “Besides, no professional who paid $200000 for their MD or LLD is going to give away their professional services for free.”
There are plenty of professionals of all kinds, who do their community work by giving valuable info on line, just like some of them go to the soup kitchens to serve the homeless etc.,

flo's avatar

@Sagacious Have you read my reponse to @YARNLADY after your response.
Re., already responded to that in my previous to last post.

flo's avatar

…. @Sagacious Being on Fluther is being a “google away”, isn’t it?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@flo This is in General so I’d like a legit answer !

Do you have a Primary Care Physician?

flo's avatar

…By the way, @Sagacious I guess above it sounded like I assume everyone reads other people’s answer before they answer? I was just pointing to it in case you didn’t, just so I don’t repeat it.

JLeslie's avatar

We have some medical professionals on fluther. They can’t really make a diagnosis since they can’t see the patient, but they have definitely helped people on fluther. Plus, sometimes a non-medical jelly is helpful.

I think the thing to remember is to never trust the internet 100%, and see a doctor if something is ailing you.

Connecting online with people who had the same medical issues as me has been more good than bad, so I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Jons_Blond's avatar

Here is a great example of how a medical professional on this site helped a user:

johnpowell's avatar

I think I might be a bit jaded here. On Friday I saw the oncologist and he said my forehead is getting a rash from the Pembro and mentioned a OTC cream that would help. I also had two CT scans right before that appt and I dislike needles so I go hard with the Ativan. I barely remember visiting the doctor.

But I wanted to get that cream and I needed to confirm what it was. I knew it was OTC so I asked the internet since a bad answer wouldn’t kill me. I got confirmation of what I remember hearing. Great work internet.

But around seven months ago I had a lump on my neck that went from zero to OMFG in a few days. My sister freaked out and I called my radiologist and I emailed a pic to see what he thought. He saw me immediately (like hop in the car and come here right now) and sent me up for a CT scan to see what was going on in there. It was just a big cyst, I had just finished two months of neck radiation and he said “Not sure what is going on but that might have been us”.

Cyst popped a few days later. So much came out and it was like green, and bloody cottage cheese. And the smell is indescribable. My sister has a fetish for popping pimples. The cyst popped in stages and when stage “2” rolled around I was prepared and recorded videos of it. She did not like watching those videos and she loves gross.

And that is before it got big. In the end we are talking golf ball.

So yeah.. The internet can be good if you wonder if it is the flu. But for the real-deal call ask-a-nurse or your doctor.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Nobody assumes that a real medical professional cannot be on Fluther. But even a real medical professional is going to be wary of giving out anything more than general advice to someone they cannot see in person.

If you just want general advice, especially for an issue that’s not serious, like, say, “what can I do for tummy ache” then yeah, consulting the internet is fine. If your question is more serious like “why am I vomiting blood” then the best course is always to seek the opinion of a qualified medical professional who can examine you in person. Your GP is almost always where you should start as they can diagnose and treat you, or tell you where to go next if more specialized treatment is required.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I don’t completely agree with the GP part, it depends what it is. Sometimes going to the GP is a waste of money and time. Skin problem go to derm, vaginal problem go to GYN, foot problem go to podiatrist, acute emergency go to ER.

I haven’t had much luck with GP’s in the last 20 years, so maybe I’m jaded.

dabbler's avatar

a) People DO ask medical questions, and they are usually met with “Go see a doctor!” answers.

b) There ARE some MDs on fluther and they are understandably cautious about answering a medical question due to the vagueness of information with which they could diagnose anything and because of the possibility of fatal wrong advice.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Most insurance will not pay for a specialist unless you have a referral from a GP. They want to make sure the issue isn’t something that can be treated simply (and cheaply) before they shell out for a specialist (specialists tend to be much more expensive, not to mention the cost of testing).

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar That has changed a lot in the last ten years. A ton of policies offered by employers don’t require a referral from a GP. Some employers don’t even offer an HMO type plan anymore.

I got off that type of plan 20 years ago. Thank God. I have never had so much stress with insurance than when on that type of plan.

Some specialists require referrals regardless of insurance.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Some specialists require referrals regardless of insurance.”

Yes, this is true as well. Seeing as how specialists tend to be booked pretty solid they, likewise, want to make sure that you health issue is something requiring their attention and not just something that can be adequately addressed by a GP.

marinelife's avatar

There have been several doctors in residence at Fluther.

flo's avatar

@dabbler “and they are usually met with “Go see a doctor!” answers.” But I have seen many answers that don’t say “see a doctor.”, i.e that they rightly don’t assume it’s about your medical issue. They know some people just want to be informed, (added in case they or their loved ones experience it in the future etc. and have been answering it whether they are health care professionals or just are very knowledgable about health/care.)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Okay @flo “Go see a doctor! answers.” sample please !

That is like Elvis sightings at 7 -11.

flo's avatar

…The best medical sites or are on the internet.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

See a Doctor because you are not a DOCTOR !

“The best medical sites or are on the internet” implies you are a knowledgeable physician.

JLeslie's avatar

@Tropical _Willie Are you kidding? I was generated by jellies on Q after Q for months, because I answered medical questions. I wrote a disclaimer I was not a medical professional, and they still cane after me for a seeing and the OP for even asking. Even if the OP wrote they had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week and they realize the internet is not something to rely on for medical advice. They harnessed me and others. I’m still annoyed that it happened obviously.

Recently, on one of @flo’s questions that was medical, some of the same jellies were mean to her, telling her to google, or ask a doctor, basically accusing her of asking a bad question. I defended her, but all of it was modded—their meanness and my response to them.

They gang up. It’s horrible.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No appendicitis will kill; we had a jelly that went to a doctor and had their appendix removed after asking on Fluther (advice go see Doctor); the internet does not remove appendices !!

JLeslie's avatar

Wow, my berated turned into generated.

@Tropical_Willie Maybe fluther saved his life. Why was he waiting to go to the ER? It was a jelly who told him to not wait.

Lots of us say “go to the doctor,” or “go to the ER.” I say it too, depending on what the Q is about. Not everything is an emergency. @flo had a question about a medication that she wasn’t taking, but asking a general question about it. Sometimes there are Q’s where someone has a chronic condition, they don’t need to run to the doctor, they’ve been seeing doctors for 15 years.

These women I’m complaining about would berate me, and then answer some medical questions themselves. Not only mean, but hypocrites.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you. Sometimes there is no notification for an answer/s, (Activity For You) so could you post the link which OP of mine you’re referring to?

“Maybe fluther saved his life. Why was he waiting to go to the ER? It was a jelly who told him to not wait.” Excellent point.

flo's avatar

…A jelly who could have been a medical professional, or not.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

We have a medical professional here with Caravanfan. He is reluctant to offer medical advice for obvious reasons.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks.

Most health related information question answer is not about someone asking or offering for diagnosis, but just general info.

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