Clarification Requested on "Medical Advice"

Somewhat inspired by the recent thread on weight loss and somewhat inspired by my own curiosity-- I have thought of a few things that, to me, are on the borderline of “asking for medical advice”, which is not allowed. (And I can see why it is not allowed, I’m not arguing that point.)

  1. Even though I’m not personally interested in participating in them: weight loss advice threads where the goals fall within what most expert type people would consider healthy (1-2 lbs per week as opposed to 10 lbs per week)-- OK or no? I’m guessing that “Poster, you ought to do X in order to lose weight” is a no-no, but what about “I did X and it worked for me”?

  2. A while back, I had a thread about my painful kidney infection. I wasn’t asking anyone’s advice on how to treat it (I went to my doctor), but I did ask for advice on home remedies to help me feel more comfortable while I followed my doctor’s medical advice. Is this type of thing still OK?

  3. I was thinking of starting a thread to ask advice on what time of day would be the best to take a prescription medication. Not what prescription I should take, but if when I take the prescription I already have would make a difference. Is this sort of thing OK?

There’s a rule against this?? :confused:

Now, I feel that asking for serious medical advice is a “bad thing”. But- IMHO- asking things along the lines of “I have this painful canker sore- any suggestions?” where home remedies are the normal and acceptabel way of treatment- well, that’s different.

Note that I did look through the " FAQ - guidelines for posting at the SDMB" and the registration agreement, and I even “searched” the FAQ using that tool and the word “medical”, so I am confused. :confused:

It’s in the registration agreement as

I don’t want to make general rulings. Basically, anyone can offer advice, suggestions, comments – they mightn’t be true, they mightn’t be accurate, they mightn’t apply to YOUR specific case. In short, it is generally pretty stupid to rely on online advice (or advice from friends) rather than ask your doctor.

For your three specific examples:
(1) On weight-loss programs: “I did X and it worked for me” would be OK for IMHO. That’s sharing information, that’s not giving advice. Comments about how much weight a person should lose – that’s going to vary by individual and individual circumstances, based on their height, bone structure, general health, shoulder size, hip size, etc etc etc.
(2) Asking a general audience about home remedies to help you feel more comfortable? Holy cow, what kind of assinine thing is that to do? Ask your doctor!
(3) What time of day is best to take a medication? Ask your doctor!

Look, here’s the bottom line, spelled out in real simple words. INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES ARE DIFFERENT. Based on ALL the facts of your case, the “best time” for you to take medication may be very, very different than what the doctor suggests for someone else, based on their individual circumstances.

Example: “Milk is good for you.” Yeah, perhaps, but not if you happen to have an allergic reaction to lactose. Bottom line: Professional medical advice, like professional legal advice, varies based on the individual circumstances.

Ya know, I politely asked for clarification of some rules which are not clearly spelled out in the registration agreement. Why, exactly, did you feel it was necessary to insult me?

Actually, he’s not trying to insult you, and I regret that you took it that way.

I’m not claiming to speak for him – only he can do that – but it does sound like advice given as someone who would be worried about you, in much the same way someone would say, “You did what?” Not meant to insult you, but as a commentary to underscore the seriousness of the situation.

We do not want you to become ill because of something you read here and would hope that you would always check out anything you might find here with a qualified medical professional. Here at the Dope, we can’t stress that enough; that’s why every time this topic comes up, one of us is invariably around to make your eyes roll as we state what most people consider to be the obvious. Not meant to be insulting there either; we just don’t want harm to come to you from well-intentioned but possibly harmful personal advice.

We don’t expect you to love us for being sticklers like this, but we do hope you see why we speak up. Please don’t take it as anything more than that and certainly don’t take it personally.

your humble TubaDiva

Yes, I apologize if my meaning was unclear. I do not think asking for clarification of the rules was assinine, I think that asking total strangers for medical advice is assinine… not to say dangerous. That’s why we have the rule.

So, to repeat and re-state the obvious:
“Has anyone else had an allergic reaction to Heptomyacin-3?” is a legit question.
“Should I take Heptomyacin-5 to help alleviate the pain in my left knee?” is NOT reasonable to ask on a Message Board. Ask YOUR doctor about YOUR specific situation.

“Has anyone been sued for someone tripping on their front lawn?” is a legit question.
“Can I win a suit againt Fred because I tripped on his lawn?” is NOT a reasonable question for a Message Board. Ask YOUR lawyer about YOUR specific situation.

First, the Message Board may not give you honest answers – some people joke, play games, are sarcastic when you don’t know it, or are deliberately misleading. And the Message Board can only give GENERAL information about the majority (or average) situation, not about YOUR SPECIFIC situation.

“Heptomyacin-3 is a great arthritis remedy!” may be true for the rest of the population, but it may not be helpful in your specific case, because you’re pregnant or have diabetes or have a broken bone rather than arthritis. “Yes, you can sue someone when you trip on their lawn” may be true in general, but it may not be helpful in your specific case because you tripped when you were running at Fred to hit him with a baseball bat.

I guess that I think this is obvious. I understand that some people think they can avoid doctor’s fees or legal fees or whatever by asking on a Message Board. There’s almost always some sort of clinic or legal aid organization where you can get your questions answered for your specific case.

Hi, Finn! [waves]

MPSIMS is actually the forum for “Hi, I’m new here” threads. Feel free to stroll over there and start one, you’ll get a bigger welcome over there than here in the Tech Questions forum. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help, DDG, but I moved his comments to another thread here in ATMB.

your humble TubaDiva

Wow, you are just the master of the non-apology apology, aren’t you? I’ll know better than to ever ask a question again-- all it gets you is a big ol’ bucket of condescending smug poured all over you. And I got the privlege of PAYING for it, too; I guess I really AM stupid.

Hey Minnie, I too feel like you weren’t treated very nicely. Further, I fail to see how asking for some home remedies to make you feel better while FOLLOWING THE DOCTOR’S ADVICE is “assinine” either. Seems like maybe that also would be asking for other’s experiences. For instance, if you are taking some med that upsets the tum and someone says I found that drinking three glasses of water made that stuff easier to bear…is that asinine? Not to me. Maybe it’s just us…

One more point-- you guys are taking the “no medical advice” to a ridiculous extreme. There ARE health decisions that it is perfectly valid for people to make themselves. I don’t need to consult my doctor every time I need to take ibuprofen for a headache, nor do I need to ask her if I should make my toast out of white bread or whole wheat bread. That is apparently what you would have us do. I sought advice on how to make my horrible kidney infection pain feel a little better until the prescribed antibiotics kicked in because I had spent ALL DAMN DAY running all over town talking to nurses and doctors, telling them how much pain I was in, and getting treated like some kind of scumbag junkie despite the fact that there was proof I had a raging infection, and no reason for any of them to think I had any kind of drug problem (I don’t and never have). Like most people, I’m capable of determining what may or may not be dangerous for me to do. So I asked if anyone here had any ideas, and that apparently was ASSININE. NO one suggested anything remotely harmful. I ended up using (GASP!) a heating pad. Boy, lucky I didn’t lose a leg, using a heating pad! I guess the NON-ASSININE thing to do would have been to just lie on the floor and scream instead of trying to do anything about it.

Minnie, I apologized if my meaning was unclear.
I now further apologize if you misunderstood me.
I apologize if you took my meaning as an insult even though it wasn’t intended as such.
I apologize if I offended you in any way, even if it wasn’t intended by me as such.
I apologize for anything I have ever done that you may have misinterpreted as an insult.

Anything else I can do?

kayT, you think asking about “home remedies to make you feel better” is a wonderful thing to do? And what if someone tells you to take something that happens to be counter to the medication? or counter to doctor’s orders? Putting heat on an inflammation “makes you feel better” short term, but in fact can do considerable damage long term. “Have a scotch, that always makes me feel better” can be disasterous if it interacts with the medication you are taking.

Unless, of course, what’s happening is that you are having a serious side-effect for some medication and you need to get to the emergency room fast, but no, you’d rather sit down and ask your online friends and get told to drink three glasses of water while standing on your head?


GETTING ADVICE ONLINE FROM A MESSAGE BOARD ABOUT TAXES, MEDICINE, LAW, DENTISTRY, OR ANY OTHER PROFESSION IS DANGEROUS. When someone gives you bad tax advice because you didn’t tell them about your capital gains, YOU’RE the one in trouble. When someone gives you bad medical advice because you didn’t mention that you’re also taking Phthalminomyacin, YOU’RE the one with cardiac arrest… although they can be sued for practicing medicine without a license. When someone gives you bad legal advice because you didn’t mention which state you live in, where the laws are different, you’re the one who loses the house… although the other person can be sued for practicing law without a license.

SHeeeeesh. Some of this is not a matter of debate, it is a matter of U.S. law which governs our Message Boards.

Thus thread is now closed. The OP has been asked and answered. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated, but you asked about the rules on this Message Board and that has now been answered…several times. In detail.

You want to insult me further, start a thread in the BBQ Pit.