Medical practice and the law

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Welcome to the Wikiversity learning project for medical practice and the law. This project allows Wikiversity participants to explore what constitutes "medical practice" and what is legally recognized as "practicing medicine without a license". The emphasis here is in making clear how Wikiversity participants can discuss medical topics without being accused of "practicing medicine without a license".

Activity: improve the Wikiversity medical disclaimer[edit | edit source]

The basic issue is that Wikiversity does not provide medical advice and nothing "said" at Wikiversity should be taken as constituting medical advice.

Draft changes here[edit | edit source]

The following is a work space for drafting new modifications of Wikiversity:Medical disclaimer.


Wikiversity encourages wiki participants to explore and discuss medical topics; however, no warranty whatsoever is made that any of the Wikiversity content related to medical topics is accurate. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in a Wikiversity webpage touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. The overwhelming majority of Wikiversity content is written, in part or in whole, by nonprofessionals. Even if a statement made about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.

The medical information provided on Wikiversity is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). Wikiversity does not provide medical advice. Wikiversity attempts to discourage participants from providing medical advice. Wikiversity participants should remove medical advice from Wikiversity webpages when they see it or tell the custodians. However, most discussions of medical topics do not constitute medical advice.

None of the individual contributors, system operators, developers, sponsors of Wikiversity nor anyone else connected to Wikiversity can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or interpret as medical advice any of the information presented on this web site. If you find Wikiversity content that you believe constitutes medical advice, please discuss your concerns with other Wikiversity participants.

Nothing on or included as part of any project of Wikimedia Foundation Inc., should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.

Legal definitions of medical practice and medical advice[edit | edit source]

There are some characteristic elements in the practice of medicine. The following examples suggest how to discuss medical topics without giving medical advice.

  • "Prescribing, dispensing, or administering any medicinal drug" (example, Florida state law). In wiki discussions (such as those at help desk), do not say, "You should take drug X for condition Y," but you might say, "According to the CDC, Ciprofloxacin is one drug that is used to treat Anthrax. If you are describing a real world health problem, consult a doctor." Drugs are just one form of medical treatment; there others such as surgery. At Wikiversity we do not tell people to use a particular treatment, but we do have learning resources that discuss which treatments are used for particular medical problems.
  • Diagnosis of a physical, mental or emotional condition. In wiki discussions, do not say, "Tell us more about your symptoms so that we can figure out your health problem". However, you might say, "That list of symptoms is similar to the list found at Diabetic Foot Exam. If you are describing a real world health problem, consult a doctor. You cannot get a useful medical diagnosis on the internet."
  • Patient-physician relationship. Establishing a patient-physician relationship is a normal part of practicing medicine. Wikiversity participants might fruitfully have informal student-teacher relationships when they exchange information about a medical topic, but Wikiversity participants should not establish any kind of relationship that begins to resemble a patient-physician relationship. Direct people who ask for medical advice to the Medical advice tutorial.
  • Prognosis. A common part of the practice of medicine involves physicians providing the best available information about the expected course of an illness. If a help desk participant asks a question such as, "I have lung cancer, how long will I live?" then do not try to answer the question....just tell the person to ask a doctor. There is no point in accepting such questions framed as a patient seeking a prognosis. However, questions such as, "What is the average life expectancy following a diagnosis of lung cancer," can be answered by citing reliable sources such as the CDC, NCI and the NIH.

Related resources[edit | edit source]