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  doctom's FAQ:
Web Rings, yoursurgery.com, "Politically Correct" Language

Q. What is a Web Ring?

A. A Web Ring is a group of Web sites on a common topic. Each site is connected to the others via a hypertext link, usually at the bottom the home page of each site. There are Web rings devoted to hundreds of health conditions. If you are interested in finding, joining, or creating a Web Ring, a good starting place is the directory at www.dir.webring.yahoo.com.

Q. Our surgical practice would like to recommend a good web site for patients about to undergo surgery. Any suggestions?

A. Check out www.yoursurgery.com. This award-winning site provides detailed descriptions of most common surgeries-why they're performed, what happens during the operation, and possible complications. Each surgical profile includes an extensive selection of medical illustrations.

Q. At a recent workshop you mentioned that some health sites use language that self-helpers consider "politically incorrect." Can you provide guidelines for those who would like to become more sensitive to these issues?

A. The use of terms like "sufferer" "victim" "disease" etc. is sometimes discouraged since they may be so emotionally loaded for some members that they have the unintended effect of "awfulizing" a condition. Using "neutral" words like "condition" and "People with diabetes" rather than "disease" and "diabetes suffers," etc., can help support a goal shared by many of these groups-to "normalize" potentially scary conditions and to communicate to members that they are capable of dealing with their conditions without added layers of unnecessary anxiety.

Would you like to ask Dr. Ferguson a question about online health resources for consumers? Please send your questions via e-mail to doctom@doctom.com. And please put the following in your Subject Line: "doctom's FAQ: your topic."

Published in The Ferguson Report, Number 8, January 2002


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Copyright © 1999-2003 Tom Ferguson, M.D. The Ferguson Report is a free e-mail newsletter published at unpredictable intervals for the friends and associates of Tom Ferguson. ISSN 1520-5487