GOOGLE, the go to place for all of the worlds questions, a wealth of knowledge and an bastion of anxiety.
One man in particular has not faired well in his quest for diagnosis through a simple Google search. After typing in his symptoms he found out he had cancer, a brain tumour, had had a stroke and a ‘strong indication’ of Alzheimer’s.
Ricky Bond from Northampton innocently asked a symptom checker he’d found on Googled for help after suffering from a runny nose, sneezing and a sore throat.
“I thought I had a cold.” Ricky said with a sniff. “But Google told me otherwise, I was pretty shocked when it suggested I had a brain tumour. And even more shocked when it said I was having a stroke.”
Ricky booked himself in for an emergency appointment the next day, convinced his symptoms were fatal and that he was probably going to die, he made a will before his visit.
“I visited the doctors the next day, very depressed, I knew it was bad.” He said. “But when I sat down and explain everything to the Doc, he looked at me like I was a nutcase. He said I had a common cold and would be fine.”
Ricky considers himself a lucky one, he is learning to rebuild his life after his virtual diagnosis but is concerned others may not be able to do the same.
According to a recent study some 80% of people have sought help from the internet. The misdiagnosis epidemic has reached such proportions that even the National Health Service has issued advice to people to take what they read on-line with a pinch of salt.