Doctor Diagnoses Leukemia Via Facebook, Saves Four-Year-Old Boy's Life

Illustration for article titled Doctor Diagnoses Leukemia Via Facebook, Saves Four-Year-Old Boys Life

The smiling folks in the photos above? Those are four-year-old Ted and his father Phillip Rice. They're happy because—thanks to Facebook and a doctor friend—Ted's acute lymphocytic leukemia was diagnosed early in its progression and he's been able to receive the chemotherapy treatment he needs.


You see, apparently Ted had been feeling under the weather and suffering from odd bruising and nosebleeds for a while when his parents noticed a peculiar rash developing on his face. For whatever reason they decided to snap a photo of it and send it to a doctor friend via Facebook:

After asking a few questions, Dr. Sara Barton, Rice's co-worker at Salford Royal Hospital in England, told him to get Ted to the medical facility right away. Dr. Barton said the rash was a symptom of what turned out to be Tim's diagnosis: Acute lymphocytic leukemia.


Once the health issue was diagnosed, things started looking up:

Since the diagnosis was confirmed three months ago, Ted has had daily chemotherapy treatments. His pop Philip has shaved his head in solidarity with Ted's chemo-related hair loss. And while the boy currently needs a wheelchair to get around, his parents hope he'll be well enough to attend pre-school.

Now, while I'm most definitely glad that this boy was diagnosed properly and has a fighting chance, I truly am concerned that his parents chose to send someone a photo via Facebook instead of actually taking their son to a doctor's office. People on the Internet should not be used as a replacement for proper visits with medical professionals and proper examinations. [Daily Mail via Digital Life]

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Have you actually gone to a doctor's office recently? At my last primary care clinic, appointments were generally a month away, and then you'd get turfed with absolutely ridiculous diagnoses and just have to spin around and go back a few months later.

Once, on a two week bounce-back visit, the resident said "yeah, that definitely sounds like it was actually pneumonia, and we probably missed it, but you're getting over it now..."

If you know a competent physician and can send them a quick snap, it *hardly* seems like it does any harm. How can we pimp telepresence diagnosis for developing nations on the one hand and then chastise parents for sending away images for a quick look on the other?

You want to be the parents pulling a 10 hour wait at the ER for what may be a simple viral infection that can be easily diagnosed from a photograph? No competent physician is going to go out on a limb and make a call if they can't be fairly confident, so give the false worry a rest.

It's tired, like the persistent complaints about the admittedly horrific new site layout.