Sunday, 4 December 2005

First, Google Analytics. Now, Diagnostics and Investigations?

The New England Journal of Medicine has this letter to the Editor where a Fellow made an accurate diagnosis of a rather rare syndrome.
'How did you make that diagnosis?' asked the professor. Came the reply, 'Well, I had the skin-biopsy report, and I had a chart of the immunologic tests. So I entered the salient features into Google, and it popped right up.'

'William Osler,' I offered, 'must be turning over in his grave. You googled the diagnosis?'

Where does this lead us? Are we physicians no longer needed?
[Link via Patrix's weekly Linking Park. How does the boy find the time to do that and Desipundit and have a life?]

And, in other news, we learn through creativegarh, that in Durham County, North Carolina, USA, the prosecution in a murder case used a man's search history as evidence in a trial, and won a conviction.
Robert James Petrick, 51, didn't exactly point a Web browser to the Internet search engine Google and type in "how do you kill your wife?"

But he came pretty close, say prosecutors in Durham County, North Carolina.

Petrick used Google to search the Internet for references to "body decomposition," "rigor mortis," "neck" and "break" in the days before and after he murdered his wife, Janine Sutphen, then dumped her body in a lake, said Durham County assistant prosecutor Mitchell Garrell.

By "Googling" his wife's murder, Petrick was inadvertently supporting the prosecutor's time line of events.

For instance, the jury learned that Petrick searched for and downloaded a topical map of a lake bed in the days before he dumped the woman's remains in the same body of water.

"We were prepared to go forward with prosecution anyway, and would have succeeded, but no doubt this stuff helped," Garrell said. "We were able to tell the jury things like, 'Here's when she's last seen, and here he's downloading a map of the lake she's found in.'"
Of course, this raises questions of privacy. Your opinion? And in the first case, would you be more comfortable if your doctor was using search to help in diagnosis, or less so? The the link that Patrix points to has some opinions.

1 comment:

wise donkey said...

well it shouldnt be made easy

on diagnosis, dont still trust the net:)