x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tablet computer no substitute for doctor

Financial analyst finds his iPad app is no substitute for a real doctor.

Mohammed Madani displays his iPad, which he uses to diagnose himself for medical treatment.
Mohammed Madani displays his iPad, which he uses to diagnose himself for medical treatment.

DUBAI // Mohammad Madani's experiments in self-diagnosis ended up doing more harm than good.

"My glands were hurting me and I felt like I couldn't breathe properly," said Mr Madani, 27. "My first instinct was to go to the pharmacy and start taking lozenges."

When that didn't work, he tried paracetamol dissolved in hot water.

"I thought it was the change in weather that was causing this," Mr Madani said. "It didn't cross my mind that it would be something more serious."

Even after that failed, the Iranian was reluctant to visit a doctor. He decided to use his iPad application by WebMD to diagnose himself.

"The application asks you questions and instructs you to select the body parts where you feel discomfort or pain," he said. "When I put in my symptoms, it informed me I have chest congestion and suggested a certain type of cough syrup."

Mr Madani asked for the cough medicine at his local pharmacy but after taking it for three days, his symptoms only worsened.

At this point, eight days after he started to feel bad, he decided to visit a doctor, who told him had a viral infection in his throat glands.

"The doctor told me the medication I was taking had the opposite effect on my infection and made the symptoms worse," he said. "He also told me the infection was very contagious and to avoid coughing when there were other people around."

This is the second time self-diagnoses had failed him.

"I have no time and sometimes I feel it's not worth visiting the doctor if I can get the medication immediately," said Mr Madani, a financial analyst. "Last time I used an old prescription to buy antibiotics but it also didn't work."

And has a lesson been learnt? "I may go to the doctor a little sooner."

mismail@thenational.ae