Why physician guidance matters: A night of Neuralgia, meningitis, and webMD

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


During a night of severe pain and weakness, I found several plausible-sounding diagnoses online: occipital neuralgia, nerve damage, and meningitis. The next day, I consulted a physician who did not offer professional guidance; instead the physician suggested tests entirely based on my self-diagnoses. What resulted was an unnecessary array of lengthy and costly testing that did not diagnose the problem. Although my symptoms disappeared on their own, I was left feeling mistrustful of my physician and ultimately stressed and anxious. Against the backdrop of my experience, I highlight the potential harms of Internet-based self-diagnoses and the importance of collaboration and trust in the patient-physician relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-464
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Clinical decision making
  • Diagnosis
  • Patients
  • Physicians
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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