Medical advice tutorial
Wikiversity does not invite requests for medical advice. Please do not ask for medical advice at Wikiversity. This tutorial explains why.
Wikiversity and other Wikimedia wiki websites do provide health-related information. Do not interpret that information as medical advice. Why not? Please read: Wikiversity:Medical disclaimer.
If you have previously asked for medical advice at a page such as Wikiversity:Help desk, then you should remove that request. You are invited to replace your previous question with a new question that asks for general health-related information. This tutorial explains the difference between asking for medical advice and asking for general health-related information
Why Wikiversity does not invite requests for medical advice 
In the United States the practice of medicine is regulated by law. Medical professionals are licensed by states and, in general, only these licensed professionals are allowed to provide medical advice to patients. Wikiversity is part of the Wikimedia Foundation, a corporation based and registered in Florida. Like other states, Florida has laws (see this website) that define penalties for the practice of medicine without a license. Wikiversity has an education-oriented mission and Wikiversity includes health-related learning resources. However, Wikiversity is not designed or intended to allow anyone to request or provide medical advice.
Anyone who requests or provides medical advice at Wikiversity is probably confused about the nature of wiki technology and how Wikiversity functions as a wiki website. Anyone can add information to the webpages at Wikiversity by editing the content of the webpages. This means that anything you read here should not be trusted for anything as important as making medical decisions. If there is medical or health-related Wikiversity content that you interpret as medical advice, you are making a serious error and putting your health at risk. Don't do it. Trained and licensed health professionals have experience and other resources that are not available to you here at Wikiversity. You are a danger to yourself if you imagine than you can substitute reading Wikiversity for professional medical advice. Anything you read at Wikiversity could be wrong or misleading and dangerous to your health if interpreted as medical advice. Don't do it. At a minimum information acquired at public wiki sites should verified by independent reliable trusted sources. Wikiversity can be a good starting point for personal research but leads and information should be followed up by a rigorous validation effort via other trusted sources.
What is medical advice? 
Medical advice is health-related information that normally is provided by a licensed health professional to a patient within the defined structure of a doctor-patient relationship. It is illegal for medical advice to be given outside of a normal doctor-patient relationship. Nobody at Wikiversity can establish a doctor-patient relationship with you and nobody should interpret health-related information at Wikiversity as a basis for doctor-patient interactions or providing medical advice.
Suggestions for how to avoid asking for medical advice:
- Do not describe your health problems at Wikiversity. Nobody at Wikiversity is in a position to effectively help you with your health problems and it does no good to write about your personal health problems at Wikiversity. This is also the case for the health problems of anyone else you know. If you are dealing with a health problem, go to a doctor.
- Do not behave as if a doctor-patient relationship can be established at Wikiversity. Nobody at Wikiversity should play either the role of a health professional or the role of a doctor. "Play the role" includes asking for help with a personal medical problem or providing such help.
- Do not describe what someone told you about your health problem. Nobody at Wikiversity is in a position to comment on a diagnosis, treatment or prognosis that you got from someone. If you need a second opinion about medical advice, go to a second doctor.
Click "expand" to reveal the answers.
|Review. Which of the following ask for medical advice?|
A. I have numbness in my arm due to a herniated disc. Are there exercises that would help me?
B. My hands become really cold. I don't think this is normal- what could it be?
C. I am a highly confused person. Please tell me how to stabilize myself.
D. What are health risks for someone who sits in front of a computer for 6 hours or more?
|Related information: Medical disclaimer|
If you came to Wikiversity seeking medical advice and learned that Wikiversity discourages editors from asking for medical advice, you might wonder why Wikiversity provides health-related information. Some Wikiversity learning resources provide health-related information that can be used to help increase your general knowledge of biology and medical topics. Broad knowledge of biology and health-related information can help you efficiently work with health professionals to maintain your health. For example, one type of health-related information might help you become aware of of an early warning sign for a health problem that you can report to a doctor.
You should view health-related information at Wikiversity as a starting point, not an end point. Information at Wikiversity can be incomplete, misleading and just plain wrong. When editors add health-related information to Wikiversity webpages, they should support the validity of that information by citing reliable sources such as the CDC, NCI and the NIH. Those websites cannot be edited by just anyone and they are reviewed by experienced health professionals. Even if you use Wikiversity as a starting place to help find reliable sources of health-related information, you should not try to substitute your interpretation of that information for professional medical advice. Experienced health professionals have a broad perspective and depth of understanding that cannot be matched by sleuthing on the internet.
If you want to learn more about a medical topic, register a user account and start participating and editing the Wikiversity biology and medicine-related pages. The Wikiversity School of Medicine is a content development project where you can participate in the creation and development of learning resources related to medicine.
In addition to editing main namespace pages, you can also participate by asking questions at pages such as the help desk. When you ask health-related questions, do not try to obtain medical advice for an existing health problem. If you have previously done so, please remove such questions from Wikiversity. You are welcome to ask general health related questions, but do not interpret any medical or health-related information at Wikiversity as providing medical advice. See a health professional if you need help with an existing health problem. Don't trust yourself to figure out your own health problems. All are welcome to provide general and specific information but please resist the urge to provide others with similar sounding symptoms or concerns with an amateur diagnosis or medical advice. If you find yourself tempted to respond to a request for medical advice please help our community to self educate in how to use public wikis effectively and safely by providing the requestor with a link to this page rather than specific medical advice. All are welcome here to learn and exchange information about specific and general problems but this forum and format are inadequate and inappropriate for personal diagnosis or advice regarding specific medical problems.
- not welcome. Is there a treatment that would help me deal with my medical problem?
- Welcome: What is a reliable source of information about medical topic X?
- not welcome. What can I expect to happen if I treat my medical problem with X?
- Welcome: Where can I find reliable information about the effectiveness of medical treatment Y?
- Welcome: What do others think of this information I found at this link regarding Z?
Remember, if you want to use Wikiversity to learn about medical and health-related topics, do not interpret anything you learn as a substitute for professional medical advice. Even health professionals consult other doctors when dealing with their own health problems. You cannot trust yourself to objectively and effectively deal with your own health problems.
- If you have previously asked for medical advice at the help desk or other Wikiversity webpage, please remove such questions.
- Insert and/or edit specific pages with specific information, summaries, relevent discussion, verifiable citations, and links to further information elsewhere for further community use and expansion.
Related resources 
- Medical practice and the law - how to deal with requests for medical advice