“Do not take medicines twice a day for diabetes. Blood pressure needn’t be treated. Pregnant women shouldn’t consult doctors during their pregnancy, child birth is a natural process that does not need a doctor’s intervention.”
These are just some of the many messages that have been circulating on social media and messaging platforms among Keralites in the recent past.
For many doctors in Kerala, dispelling false information their patients pick up from social media is becoming a major task.
One such audio message in Malayalam was recently circulated widely on WhatsApp in the name of a doctor from the Mayo clinic in the US.
Alarmed at the number of such messages appearing, the Indian Medical Association has now decided to take the legal course to curb such practices.
Dr Sreejith N Kumar, former state president of IMA said that the association is in the process of filing a police complaint against the latest message that is doing the rounds.
“We will file a complaint with the cyber cell and have also decided to meet DGP to raise the issue. The tendency to circulate such false messages has been brought to our notice even in the past. This time, we want the miscreants to know that the medical community is taking the issue seriously,” he said.
The association wants not only the originators of false messages but also people who forward these messages to be penalized.
“People should understand that forwarding information about health and medication is not as harmless as forwarding other messages. And so we are also consulting legal experts to understand whether people who forward such messages knowingly or unknowingly can be brought to book,” Sreejith said.
He said that many patients think such messages circulated on social media and messaging platforms are true and follow the methods they prescribe.
"We have had many patients discontinuing their medicines and later developing complications," he said.
He added that a bio-medical engineer from Kerala has claimed responsibility for recording the audio clip giving out false medical information.
"Such people do this for momentary publicity and they should realize that such actions could prove to be fatal for patients who follow them," said Sreejith.