Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

911 Disclaimers Are Absurd

I’m sure you’ve seen them on medical blogs:  Disclaimers that remind readers to call 911 in the event of emergency.

But is someone choking on a hot dog really going to dial up KevinMD or SeattleMamaDoc for help?  Does anyone really believe that 33 charts is the place to deal with your acute airway obstruction when you have a just a couple of minutes to live?

Here’s my theory:  I suspect that the first attorney who came up with the 911 disclaimer did so as some sort of perverse joke.  And rather than seek the input of their own lawyers, all those who followed simply copied the this original language believing it to be judicious and most conservative.  Now it’s the longest running gag in legal history.

I’ve yet to hear of a doctor forced to pay damages over the misunderstanding that their blog was the sole source of therapeutic direction in an individual patient’s maligned care.  Perhaps it’s that viral 911 disclaimer keeping us safe.

Long before the internet I wrote for magazines like American Baby and Parenting.  There were no sidebars reminding the parent-in-crisis of the three number sequence that should be used in place of the magazine’s advice.  That would have been insulting.

Those initiating the 911 disclaimer should step forward and claim their place in history.  We’ve all had a good laugh.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »