In the past we’ve had discussions regarding what we post here on this “support” site, and when it crosses the legal/ethical boundaries between giving “support” and giving “medical advice”.
In a recent post, we made some assumptions and gave support/advice based on what turned out to be an incorrect assumption. It was a simple mistake of not knowing whether the poster’s BG numbers were mg-dl (US) or mmol-l (Canada). Many responded correctly by stating “seek medical advice”, which would have been accurate if the number posted was either mg-dl or mmol-l (although, were it mg-dl, I suspect the post would have ended zsdklrjghisajddh;ncvjah;sioas as their face hit the keyboard and passed out). Some however responded with support/advice that would have only been appropriate if it were mg-dl. An easy mistake for sure. Luckily someone picked up on the little mix-up and thankfully, things turned out OK and we learned a valuable lesson. From now on we post which it is, mg-dl or mmol-l.
Could this confusion have been avoided? Sure. Had the poster not posted anonymously, we probably would have picked up on it sooner (most of us know where everyone’s from by now, even if they’re not on our friends list). Had the poster added “mmol-l” there would have been no questions. Not the poster’s fault – heck we’ve been throwing BG numbers out without disclaimer as long as I’ve been here.
I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I can’t help wonder “what if”. What if this had been a first time poster who really didn’t know any better. I know, you’re probably saying “Nick, most diabetics know this”, but that’s not the case. When I was diagnosed I was only told what “range” I should be in, and never told what to do in case of highs and lows, let alone what was considered high or low. Honestly, if on a Sunday someone told me to eat an orange if my BG was 240 (mg-dl), I would have believed them. The unfortunate thing is, more people are coming on board here with the same lack of proper medical education.
So my question is multi-part: if we (even mistakenly) supported/advised someone with high numbers to consume sugar that caused a medical emergency, what kind of liability would we put ourselves (and the site) under? Are there things we can do (aside from the already good suggestions) to prevent this in the future? Am I indeed making a mountain out of a mole hill here?
Love to hear your thoughts.
Next Discussion: who adds groups to thier fav's? »