Thursday, February 5, 2009

The double edged sword of the internet

The internet, as we all know can be an excellent source of information. Information from experts at our fingertips. There is a mind boggling amount of information on every subject you can think of. The internet is usually my first stop whenever I need to find out about anything.

However, the freedom of the internet and the lack of monitoring can have some rather dangerous consequences.

Recently, there was a lot of animated discussion on the home dialysis forums I am a member of (and possibly other forums as well) about a series of videos posted by someone on You Tube about the dangers of dialysis.

(I am not putting the link here because I don't want to increase the hits the videos get and increase their popularity, thus showing up higher in searches and risking more people getting misinformation.)

The videos were supposedly put up by a "University of Common Sense" and showed a person interviewing a dialysis assistant. I have never seen such blatant falsehoods being peddled as information in my entire life.

Dialysis is a life saving treatment. People with impaired renal function cannot live without dialysis. It is the only way toxins and the excess fluid that builds up in a body can be removed. This is the truth. One hundred percent.

The videos however project dialysis to be a trick played upon people by doctors to make money. They claim that dialysis is not necessary and the process is there so that the medical industry benefits from it. They say it is actually a harmful process where people die one after another. The most ridiculous claim however was that people on dialysis do not urinate because they do not drink enough water! How I wish that were true! They claim that doctors restrict a patient's fluid intake and then dialyse him or her and then they do not urinate because they have not consumed enough water.

Well, I really have no counter argument to offer to that. It is that ridiculous!

The only worry is people who have not been educated enough and are scouring the internet might see these videos and actually decide to stay away from dialysis. There are tons of gullible people out there. This video could actually lead them to death. A death that can easily be avoided.

But we are all helpless. What can we do? Outraged people have posted comments to the video ridiculing the misinformation presented there. I did a video explaining how absurd the claims were. Unfortunately You Tube requires the author of videos to approve video responses. I submitted my video response but the author did not approve (obviously!). I just put it up on You Tube with the title of the original video so that searches will show up my video too. Other dialyzors are also working on similar videos.

That is why it is important to understand that information on the internet is not sacrosanct. We need to be careful while reading anything that is out there. Unless we are very sure of the source and its reliability, we must never take what we read as the truth.

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