Good Ideas With Unintended Adverse Effects

Back in April, I was driving home from Vegas through Nebraska, when ahead of us we spotted a minivan upside down on the median. There were no emergency vehicles there yet so we (I a nursing student and my fiance a paramedic) immediately stopped our car and ran over to help. A quick triage revealed 8 passengers, three of them children under the age of 3… We administered first aid and waited for the ambulances to arrive.

Soon, however, it was discovered that there was only one car seat. There were two car seats built into in the minivan, but there was no way the minivan was drivable at that moment. One kid was put into the single removable carseat, and the two others loaded into the ambulance in the arms of the medical team.

Built in carseats, while a great safety and convenience, don’t do much good when you can’t take the car with you. While I assume all the kids made it to the hospital safely, that was the first time I really realized this.

What other really good ideas have unintended negative consequences?

It’s a good idea to disinfect tables and such in hospitals, restaurants, and other high-traffic area, yet this can lead to the rise of super-resistant bacteria and other microscopic nasties. Fucked if ya do, and fucked if ya don’t~

A group of fossil hunters in the 1960s were excavating a promising area in the Rift Valley, Africa. There were lots of bones spread over a very wide area, much too large for the small team to process in the time they had available

So they asked some local workers to help collect the bones, and as an incentive they offered a cash reward for each piece that was brought back.

Initially the team were delighted at the number of bone fragments returned - lodas and loads of them, but all quite small. Unfortunately, it turned out that the workers had been smashing large bones into smaller pieces as this would give them more of a bonus.

Great idea, but didn’t take human nature into account!

Auto, yes! In fact, we could pretty much put antibiotics in this category, can’t we? Great idea, lifesaving idea, that has some pretty terrible consequences, even when they are used correctly (and of course, even worse when they’re not used correctly).

Wallenstien, that’s hilarious! And, like those researchers, I never would have thought of someone gaming the system like that!