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Should these threads be banned?

(53 Posts)
Situp Sun 18-Feb-18 01:56:23

Just been reading this thread

In the British culture where a lot of us feel guilty about using NHS resources unnecessarily, lots of people seem to be looking for other people's approval for seeking medical help.

With the 111 service, there is the means for everyone to access this sort of approval from someone who is medically trained and who has asked a lot of relevant questions.

I lost a good friend and mother of 3 last year to sepsis last year because she didn't want to make a fuss and didn't get medical help until it was too late.

People seem to post some quite strong views as to whether someone should attend A & E based on limited information and often no medical training.

Should these threads be treated like those where people are at risk of self harming? The only advice is to call 111?

It would be a tragedy if based on responses here someone did not seek medical help and a serious condition went untreated.


Situp Sun 18-Feb-18 01:57:05

SmashedMug Sun 18-Feb-18 02:07:03

Yanbu. A blanket response directing the OP to call 111 to seek advice from a medical professional would be much safer. Threads like the ones you describe are dangerous especially on a forum where a lot of posters seem to come to let out their rage via the keyboard and might not be handing out the best advice.

RustyPaperclips Sun 18-Feb-18 02:16:42

It's an interesting question. I was quite ill over Christmas with an infection in multiple nails. I also felt generally unwell, weak and incredibly dizzy to the stage that if I stood up i was on the verge of fainting and had no appetite

I was in a lot of pain as well and then I woke up on Christmas Day with a red line gradually moving up my arm.

I would have ignored it until after Christmas as I didn't want to cause a fuss but happened to post on here and was urged to see a doctor

Even after a strong dose of antibiotics, I'm still not quite 100% .

I thought that I was overreacting and didn't want to ruin Christmas. I dread to think how much worse it could have been

Situp Sun 18-Feb-18 02:24:48

Glad you got help Rusty.

I live abroad and had an emergency c section with my third 3 weeks ago. Only went to hospital at DH's insistence and even as I got there I was apologising for wasting their time. Within 30 minutes I was in surgery. I have noticed that when it is a pregnancy related health question here, most people advise getting it checked out but with other stuff they don't.

Greensleeves Sun 18-Feb-18 02:29:38

It's an interesting question. I am uncomfortable with the idea of banning these threads (as I was uncomfortable with the banning of other types of thread where the OP is in acute crisis) because to me, ultimately MN's true value lies in the support that is available here when it is needed most and when people feel alone in their real life situation.

I would be in favour of banning posts like "no don't waste A&E's time" when there is nowhere near enough information to make that call. There are ways to offer support and help the OP reach a decision without being patronising and dictatorial. There is a discourse on MN about wasting NHS resources that is really dangerous.

RustyPaperclips Sun 18-Feb-18 02:31:26

Hope you are recovering @Situp thanks

torBrowser Sun 18-Feb-18 02:50:00

Yes, they should be banned. No medical practitioner worth their salt would advise against going or attempting a diagnosis on a forum like this.

I would be in favour of banning posts like "no don't waste A&E's time"

Well, doesn't that mean that the threads only allow 'yes you should go' replies which are worthless insomuch as looking for advice goes.

WellThisIsShit Sun 18-Feb-18 03:04:26

No, if you delete that human support, there’s a real chance that person goes straight back to their previous state of uncertainty, and doesn’t get help.

Cutting off a chance of saving someone’s life is not a good idea. Unlike suicide attempts, there arent the same issues around these threads standing, and the benefits are clear.

Delete the inappropriate posts, not the avenue for support. Have a standard message etc.

If we go down this route where does it stop? Does Munster ban any threads to do with any medical issues? Any health issues? Because that would cut out an immense amount of support on here.

echt Sun 18-Feb-18 03:22:45

Possibly MNHQ could issue an immediate statement when such threads are posted, rather in the same way they issue disclaimers about advice on medical/Relationship threads.

Not on education, though hmm

e1y1 Sun 18-Feb-18 03:27:54

Yes they should be.

We all wouldn’t want to waste a trip to A&E however, you essentially have people with absolutely no medical knowledge whatsoever becoming jusdge and jury on whether people warrant a hospital trip.

PyongyangKipperbang Sun 18-Feb-18 03:34:38

We should agree, those of us with common sense anyway, to always post "Call 111" on those threads and call those who are arseholes to an OP.

With a bit of effort we could make it an MN "thing"

PyongyangKipperbang Sun 18-Feb-18 03:35:41

And perhaps always report people who post "dont waste NHS resources" type posts.

DunedinGirl Sun 18-Feb-18 04:02:26

I'm all for banning 'don't waste NHS resourced' posts. I can't think of a single thread where that has been used with any justification.

DunedinGirl Sun 18-Feb-18 04:02:27

I'm all for banning 'don't waste NHS resourced' posts. I can't think of a single thread where that has been used with any justification.

DunedinGirl Sun 18-Feb-18 04:02:28

I'm all for banning 'don't waste NHS resourced' posts. I can't think of a single thread where that has been used with any justification.

CircleofWillis Sun 18-Feb-18 04:16:48

I agree with DunedinGirl. Ban wasting NHS resources posts rather than the threads. Perhaps have a special post deleted message to explain why in order to emphasise the point. Otherwise people might just think someone was just using bad language.

Situp Sun 18-Feb-18 06:44:21


I agree that my suggestion is perhaps over simplistic and have certainly seen threads where the support from other posters has really helped the OP.

I guess that as the website is getting bigger and bigger, it is easier for people to put their more political views about wasting NHS resources ahead of their concern for an unknown individual's welfare.

FancyABrewOrTwo Sun 18-Feb-18 06:51:30

I think with the site being so big that there are enough people about to counter balance the posts that try and give 'medical advice' like don't waste resources it's nothing blah blah blah.

I also think it's useful to see all the opinions as those sitting on the fence can read more reasoned responses of why doing nothing might not be the best advice and also that it's ok to phone a service like 111 and not to worry about it as that is what the service was developed for.

itsmeimcathyivecomehome Sun 18-Feb-18 07:02:58

I was worried about DD the other night because she was breathing oddly - I googled and it was an old thread on MN that advised a child of her age should breathe no more than about 40 times a minute. I timed her; 78! So I called 111 and they said take her straight to a&e.

A&e said croup and a high (not worryingly so) temp - I didn't know they could have that without the cough and the breathing noise! - and kept her in for steroids and a few other things.

So I was very happy someone had asked here and sensible people had answered.

But I do take your point, OP - nobody here can really say anything other than, "call your dr/111/999/go to hospital".

AnElderlyLadyOfMediumHeight Sun 18-Feb-18 07:09:05

I too am very uncomfortable with the virtue-signalling 'it's not an accident or an emergency' 'look at me doing my bit to gatekeep save the NHS' stuff. An 'I think you should be OK until Monday morning with that', if that is what the poster really thinks, is different (although perhaps rarely appropriate, as people tend to post these kinds of threads when they have reached the point of needing to be seen).

Perhaps a standard disclaimer like the one that goes on MH threads, along the lines of 'We can never know whether anyone posting here has medical qualifications, and most posters don't - if in doubt, always get in touch with a service that can assess the situation properly [by that 111 or an ambulance]'.

I don't think deleting the threads is the way to go, particularly where other posters might spot that an OP is potentially very ill indeed where the OP has no idea. Not because it's somehow MN's responsibility to provide that - goodness me, no, and I think the days when MN's core remit was about 'support', if they ever existed, are long gone - but because, even though this site isn't primarily about 'support', its nature means support and help and insights and good ideas can spring from it, and it would be a shame to cut that off in instances where there may be a very direct and dramatic effect on someone's health.

TheXXFactor Sun 18-Feb-18 07:17:20

There is a ton of potentially dangerous, even lethal, medical advice on MN. At the very least, there should be a standard disclaimer, as a PP suggests. Sooner or later, someone is going to die as a result of following advice on here. It's difficult for MN, as they would have to pull so many threads if they banned any with health advice - it's not just A&E - a lot of threads about when to see a GP and about medication also contain dangerous advice. I'm not sure it would be practical to pull them all, but MN should do more to raise awareness of the dangers of following medical advice from strangers.

You can always spot the real HCPs on the threads, because they are the ones telling the OPs to contact NHS 111 or their GP, and not to follow advice from randoms on MN smile

Situp Sun 18-Feb-18 07:17:29

Those are good points about when the thread goes the other way and people are encouraged to seek medical help or if people have suffered similar issues.

I guess what I find hard is the guilt mongering that we shouldn't use the NHS. In the scheme of the under funding and mismanagement of our health and social care system, I imagine it makes little difference if someone goes to A&E or OOH.

AuntieStella Sun 18-Feb-18 07:19:21

"most people advise getting it checked out but with other stuff they don't"

I don't really see that, but I suppose that'll be because you open all those threads and I probably only see some of them.

The answer is at your fingertips - you post the advice that you think is correct. More than once if necessary, to make sure it is seen.

It do leave the politics of 'people needing approval to seek medical help'. Just answer the question, with reference to the symptom that you think cannot wait.

If people post in the Health topics, there is a disclaimer. But given how even the major topics are so little used these days, then it does mean that it won't feature on many health threads. If you reported the threads that concern you, and asked MNHQ to repeat the health disclaimer on health threads in other topics, perhaps they would

lljkk Sun 18-Feb-18 07:23:47

I have noticed that when it is a pregnancy related health question here, most people advise getting it checked out but with other stuff they don't.

Gosh, I feel the opposite! Feels like every thread has dominant message = "I always ring xxx when I'm unsure." and "Better safe than sorry" and " some arbitrary rule I never heard of means you have to get advice" comments. Constantly ppl on here post about problems I would (& have) managed at home, but get told they must see a doc.

I realised that I don't know the procedure to get an appt at my GP b/c I never ring them.

If this thread is typical then I will avoid those threads in future. Nobody wants to hear what I would do, anyway arguably applies to all other MN threads, too.

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