Rule clarification question [medical advice questions]

Has the rule about giving medical advice been lifted? How does the rule work if it is still in place? Since it does not apply to actual doctors handing out direct medical advice via the board to people who are not their patients, where does it apply?

Are you referring to a specific post to which you could link?

Edited the thread title to add some description.


If there is a specific thread in which you think the rule is being violated, your best bet is to use the report button in the upper right corner of the post. It is possible no one has reported it yet.

I reported it twice, but it’s happened a few times in recent history, which is part of why I didn’t include a link. I also didn’t want to debate the thread in question or let this turn into a discussion of that. I’m just looking to understand how and where the rule applies. If you would like me to PM the posts to you, Gfactor, I would be happy to do so.

Please do. Thanks.

I presume you’re referring to this thread:

Here’s what the SDMB registration agreement has to say about medical advice:

Note that we don’t forbid medical advice; we simply advise caution. In extreme cases it’s likely we would step in - for example, if someone, doctor or not, attempted to prescribe medical treatment. That didn’t happen in the cited thread. The OP had had a psychiatric episode and had been prescribed medication he refused to take. Other posters advised that this was foolish. A poster who said she was a doctor at one point seemed to be on the verge of offering direct medical advice; we would have been smart to have warned against this. However, the gist of her comments to that point was, “You should recognize that you have a problem,” which hardly qualifies as prescribing, and in any case the OP showed no inclination to accept advice. So no harm was done. A couple observations:

  1. We don’t object to posters discussing their personal health issues in general terms. Discussion of specific medications or therapies should be limited to factual observations such as “Medication X is typically prescribed for condition Y.” (This happened a few times in the cited thread.) We would object to comments of the form, “You have serious condition Y and therefore should take medication X,” and would likely delete or edit the post, warn the poster, and take other appropriate measures. We don’t object to advice on minor matters (“you should drink OJ for that cold”), nor, generally speaking, to suggestions that an individual seek professional advice.

  2. In principle we don’t object to discussions with posters who arguably have mental health problems; sometimes these discussions can be illuminating. Such a thread could easily go off the rails, however. If you feel a thread has taken an inadvisable turn please report it to the SDMB staff immediately.