Two recent posts of mine have dealt with bad information, and both times I’ve wondered what the accepted protocol is for addressing it. Obviously “Hey dumbass, go read some medical literature,” doesn’t cut it. I addressed one instance — the cholesterol one — quietly, after it happened. It wasn’t life-threatening misinformation, so immediate intervention didn’t seem necessary.
I didn’t bother to say anything about the antibiotic shenanigans.
The trouble with this is addressing something someone does without stepping on their toes. If I do something stupid, I’d like someone to smack me upside the head and tell me I’m wrong. Pussyfooting around the issue is for people with no self-confidence. I don’t have that problem — after all, I write on the Intarweb, and think people actually care about what I have to say, don’t I? ;) — so just come right out and tell me I’m wrong.*
Not everyone is that resilient, however, and I’m sensitive to this.
Recently I’ve heard a pharmacist say she was going to take lots of Vitamin C and echinacea to get over a cold. I’ve seen pharmacists recommend Airborne for cold on more than one occasion. I’ve heard a pharmacist recommend a homeopathic remedy for migraine. I said nothing — these suggestions aren’t harmful, but they certainly aren’t helpful, either. In these cases, it’s just not worth the effort. Besides, Father Time and the body’s own defenses will clear these problems up on their own. (And in the case of the migraine, I suspect it was psychosomatic anyway.)
When someone says something boneheaded to a patient, how do you handle it? Especially if it’s a pharmacist colleague? I would imagine doctors and nurses run into this problem from time to time as well, even if they practice alone now.
* I’m happy to say that this hasn’t happened in a very long time, which can be viewed as either a good thing (I’m SMRT!) or a bad thing (I work with a bunch of idiots). Which one I lean towards is dependent on where and who I am working with, naturally.