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 An Important Issue

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 26, 2002
Google has claimed it's first victim. When will people learn? Society simply isn't ready for the internet.

More diaries by T Reginald Gibbons
The Funeral of Bin Laden
An Apology
An idea Hollywood would probably pay millions for
Ask The Mad Scientist
Question for The Mad Scientist
"A physician-researcher performed a test of lung function on a healthy 24-year-old woman, administering a large dose of a particular chemical. The woman then died of lung and kidney failure. The doctor had searched online for information about the drug but had failed to turn up any literature warning of its dangers -- information that medical librarians later did find online after the woman died."

This is not funny.

The lesson here is quite clear. If you are going to post information to the world wide web, you must take the privilege of electronic publishing as seriously as if you were submitting a paper to a professional organisation. Every fact must be checked, and every relevant piece of data must be included. Today's students and surgeons cannot be trusted to perform exhaustive research, therefore the burden of assiduousness falls to the online author.

I am writing to my congressman to recommend that he introduce legislation whereby an internet author can be sued for negligence. Hopefully, through decisive government action, further deaths will be averted.


Fallacy. (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 04:11:10 AM PST
If you can't trust medical staff to do their research properly, why can you trust them to perform medical duties that rely on that research? Blaming the Internet is a favourite game of villians. Harold Shipman recently told the press that the Internet "made him" kill all those old ladies.

I also remember the equally hilarious Onion article about the earth-shattering news of someone recently finding the first incorrect fact on the Internet. -- because it isn't

Of course, we need.. (none / 0) (#2)
by jer on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 08:09:12 AM PST
..A Class-Action Lawsuit.

The Internet is responsible for far too many social problems. From pornography and sexual predators to misinformation (a bane when trying to determine when to call your broker), the Internet has brought far too much trouble to modern society. Hate groups, terrorists, criminals -- these are all people who use the Internet. And they could be interacting with your loved ones. Clearly, the Internet is responsible, and so we must send it a message. I propose a broad class-action lawsuit against the Internet and its owners & stakeholders under the premise of "corruption of society".

If you'd like to add your name to this Class-Action Lawsuit, please send a letter to my lawyer (who has been informed of this situation) at:

J. Knobel, Esq.
120 South Broad Street, Suite 615A
Philadelphia, PA 19101

Thank you

How close is he... (none / 0) (#14)
by derek3000 on Mon Jul 29th, 2002 at 08:58:42 AM PST
to the sports complex? You know, if I get in trouble at an Eagles game.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Dr. Gibbons Sir, (none / 0) (#3)
by Martino Cortez PhD on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 10:21:17 AM PST
Greetings. You already know my feelings toward our younger population. This is all the more proof that we need to ban non-college educated people from the Internet. Why? Look at our site for proof. We have top notch professors, researchers, politicians, CEO's and corporate board members who post quality insight each and every day. All who post have at least a 4 year degree and many have either have a Masters or a Doctorate in thier respecive field of study. Nary will you find a post from an uneducated man. When one does post, they are quickly spotted, uncovered then tarred and feathered by our watchful editors and community watchdogs. The difference in quailty is obvious.

Rather then push for private industry to fix our Internet, I think it is time our nations leaders realize the threat created by allowing uneducated lower class citizens to use the internet. All Internet Service Providers should require a faxed copy of a diploma from an acredited university before taking on a new customer. Not only will this improve the quality of our nations Internet, but it will be a strong encouragement for the nations youth to get a college education.

As a CEO, a holder of two doctorates, and well to do individual, it is with my highest recomendation that we ban all non educated from the Internet.

Thank you gentleman. I trust you will be contacting your senator soon.

Dr Martino Cortez, PhD
CEO - Martin-Cortez Financial Corporation
Copyright 2002, Martino Cortez.

"Fast College Degree" (none / 0) (#5)
by foon on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 04:30:49 PM PST
Surely a diploma from one of those fine services I have been informed of through "electronic mail" on the Inter-Net would be just as good as a four-year degree, right? It really saves a lot of hassle over going to a traditional university and the prices are very reasonable, with a "B.A." degree starting at $99.

Two Doctorates? (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 06:05:55 PM PST

I find it hard to believe that a person who holds two doctorates can't spell.

And you dear AR, (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by Narcissus on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 08:25:32 PM PST
obviously can't have any doctorates in your posession either because I counted five misspelled words in your comment.

Ok, who picked the flower???

Make people get a degree to use the internet? (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 07:23:50 PM PST
This is the biggest load of BS I've ever heard. Almost as bad as is your son a computer hacker. Actually, I think that was by the same guy. There are plenty of people far more intelligent than yourself who have yet to reach college age.

Hmm (none / 0) (#4)
by DG on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 10:42:13 AM PST
Well I don't use the internet for research.. unless the author knows the subject matter.. I'd go to webmd or somewhere like that for medical advice..
truth is you shouldn't be a researcher if you don't check more than one place for information on the subject you are researching, to blame the author for your own laziness is stupid..
I agree the full internet is bad over all becuse, there is so much information and so little time. no for research books are the only place to look.
2002, DG. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

OK... (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 06:26:19 PM PST
For one thing, the article mentions the doctor searched online for information about the drug. It doesn't mention a search engine. It could have been the drug maker's own website, for all we know.

But why blame them?

The doctor didn't find the information. If the doctor had looked for the same information in a book, found it, but neglected to turn the page to find the warnings, would you blame the book author for that?

As for legislating a law where an Internet author can be sued for negligence, that as humourous as your "How To Tell Your Son Is A Computer Hacker" article. I'd like you to try to sue me for a law that wouldn't even apply to me, or do you believe that American laws should be applied to the whole world?

So basically it's ok to kill people??? (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 26th, 2002 at 08:19:19 PM PST
When you post information on the internet you have a responsability to tell the truth. To tell "the whole truth" as they say in court. Ignorance is no excuse.

Only the stupid ones. (none / 0) (#12)
by The Mad Scientist on Sat Jul 27th, 2002 at 04:05:45 AM PST
Ever heard the phrase, "caveat emptor"?

If you are too incompetent to use the Net, you deserve what you get. Nobody prevents you from doing an in-depth search, from comparing data from various sources. If you neglect doing so, who's to blame?

It isn't a question of blame (none / 0) (#13)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Sat Jul 27th, 2002 at 05:03:21 AM PST
It's a question of pragmatism. There is nothing preventing ordinary people from driving responsibly, yet tens of thousands of people die in car wrecks each year. By your reasoning, the government shouldn't be making laws against poor driving, since it isn't the fault of the government that people are incompetent behind the wheel.

Lives are at stake here. If we want to be fair to society, we can't afford to be fair to the individual.

An Urban Legend (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by First Incision on Mon Jul 29th, 2002 at 06:10:10 PM PST
I am disappointed to see the repeat what is obviously an urban legend.

This physician is at Johns Hopkins, one of the more prestigious medical research institutions in the world. This is an attempt to add validity to this story. The details leave me scratching my head. What was this lung function test for? What was the "chemical" or "drug," anyway? Where did the physician search? What was the correct place to search? Would the correct information even have been in a book? Did his colleagues know the correct information?

This story has all the scariness of "it can kill your children" e-mails that my mother forwards to me on a monthly basis.

I am tempted to verify the veracity of this tale, but I am afraid I would have to use Google.
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

*Sigh* (none / 0) (#16)
by Stabbacat on Sat Aug 3rd, 2002 at 09:00:13 PM PST
The doctor is clearly the one to be sued. One does not simply put an unknown chemical into a human being. It was his fault for not checking against the books rather than relying on a web site.
And who are you to say that the students and surgeons shouldn't be trusted to do research, who do you think has been doing it in the years before. Please sir, educate yourself before attacking things you don't understand.


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