* transloc chrom help please

Simon Mercer mercer at mpimg-berlin-dahlem.mpg.de
Mon Jul 1 03:02:02 EST 1996

Dr Van Buijtenen wrote:

> .>In <4pbtu5$sfc at newsbf02.news.aol.com> kabass at aol.com (KABass) writes:
> .>>
> .>>I am writing on behalf of a frightened, pregnant friend of mine
> [rest of message deleted]
>         I have mixed feelings about Mercer's comments. His points are
> well taken and should be considered before replying to medical questions.
> On the other hand if one posts a question on the internet it is a given
> that some replies will be useless, some will be wrong, and a few will be
> real gems, the source of which is unpredictable. On balance I think one
> should be responsible, but not timid in answering questions.
> J.P. van Buijtenen

I believe that the net should not be censored, which implies that anyone
can post whatever they like in reply to this type of question- I only
wish that everyone who wrote in had the experience to know how to
interpret what they read. In the first place answers are often technical
and likely to be misinterpreted, in the second place many readers do not
know what quality of information to expect in replies because they are
not familiar with the internet. I know that there are people who write
directly to the posters of this type of question with the address of
their closest genetics counsellor, which is a good idea.

What I would suggest is that if anyone wants to give advice to people
looking for information on cases of chromosome abnormality via this
newsgroup, they should always advise that the person affected should
seek a professional medical opinion from a doctor or counsellor who
knows the full details of the case, and if in doubt get a second
opinion. In some cases I have replied and suggested some questions which
they should be sure to ask their doctor, which might help them clarify
the situation. Very often I see messages whose senders clearly do not
appreciate the impact of what they write, cases like "oh yeah, so that
means he can't be the father", or "in cases like this the baby won't be
normal". If someone acts on this advice, I wonder what the legal
implications are for the advisor?

The reason we have genetics counsellors is because giving the layman a
clear and unbiassed view of the truth is _hard_. We as a 'net community'
must show some responsibility.

These are just my personal opinions, and I would like to point out that
I am a Ph.D and not a medical doctor and have no authority to impose
standards on any community. I have worked around the fringes of the
genetic and cytogenetic communities for several years but I am not
professionally qualified to give medical advice.


Dr. Simon Mercer                        
The Reference Library Database
+49 30 8413 1395 (fax)
mailto:mercer at mpimg-berlin-dahlem.mpg.de

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