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Misdiagnosis and searching online

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on February 6, 2013

Following a recent post on one of our blawgs about ‘misdiagnosis mayhem’ which cited issues with searching Google and other search engines for symptoms and medical treatment solutions, a new video has been published outlining some recent statistics about people searching for a diagnosis for their illness or condition. Please see the video below for some useful information and statistics, first published by insurancequotes.org here:-

See the original Daily Mail article for further analysis and comment. Particularly interesting is the fact that the headline statistic “How a quarter of British women misdiagnose illness by looking up symptoms on the internet” suggests that 75% of women are getting their diagnosis correct through use of the web alone.

What about those who have misdiagnosed their illness following a search on search engines such as Google? Could they sue the search engine? The short answer would be “no”. Google and other search engines are generally considered to be merely facilitators of information, mere ‘conduits’. They are not the publishers, as case law around the world has generally held, for instance in respect of defamation (sometimes foreign courts see things differently, for instance in respect of autocomplete results but that’s again in a defamation context) See this Out-Law article for further analysis on that point.

And, at the same time, such search engines do facilitate the ability for you to find a doctor online!

Any further comments on this subject welcome below.

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
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