Pl read

1. Why o Why?

If you are visiting these writings for the first time, or have not read the entry "Why o Why",

may I suggest you read that first and then read the rest in numerical order?

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

4. Beware of the Internet: It will only increase your worries and little else

The World Wide Web is a wonderful resource for lots of things. I wonder how many times an average person searches the web for information each day.

My academic research has taken me deeply into the domain of the Web, especially in the context of data caching, search, access, replication, mobility, etc. But I must confess that when it comes to my experience with the web while I was searching for medical  information relevant to me, I felt like a blindfolded person lost in a jungle.

We have tons of text and pictures but little by way of support for users to know when the information was posted,
the shelf-life of the information,
the authors,
where a particular quote or "fact" came from, etc. etc.

To put the above in perspective, have you ever arrived at a location
published on the web claiming to serve a delicious meal only to find that
instead of a restaurant there is a laundromat there, or should the restaurant
exist,  the quality of the food or service rarely matches the raving reviews you have read, or the colourful pictures of the interior (of the restaurant or the food)
do not compare with reality.

What about the medical domain? In addition to the problems mentioned above with respect to accuracy, completeness, and time relatedness, there are the  thorny perils of interpreting aggregated information.
For example, when it comes to cancer treatment, how should one interpret "2 year survival probability of x"? Should one be happy that x is more than 0 or that with (100 - x) probability, I am unlikely to be around 2 years from now? Do the qualifications attached to the above statement apply to me, and if so, with what probability? The questions can be vexing even to the best of medical insurers, and worrisome even to the most stoic of patients.

The compounded effect of all this is that even a patient with a minor ailment will probably die from worrying rather than from the ailment.

With my brother-in-law taking charge of the logistics, my brother being a match and hence the donor, and SK  doing everything to keep my mind off my problems,  I decided to leave my care and treatment to these fine people
and my doctors, each of whom cared.