4Facebook Diagnoses an Illness That Doctors Got Wrong
So the guy Reddit helped earlier only thought to see a doctor because Internet strangers told him to. But this next person was already getting advice from a medical professional. It's just that the Internet's advice was better.
Novelist Deborah Kogan woke up to the worst Mother's Day ever when she discovered that her son Leo had a horrid rash and fever, but remembering that a case of strep had been doing the rounds at his school recently, she wasn't too concerned. It would mean a trip to the doctor, and since all moments must be documented with social media photos, Kogan uploaded a picture from her phone to report her disappointment at having to spend Mother's Day at a pediatrician.
"I was told there would be a terrible breakfast in bed, followed by shitty finger paintings ... Promises were made."
The test for strep came back negative, but drawing on his years of schooling and medical experience, the doctor proclaimed that "He looks really streppy" and sent the Kogans on their way with a prescription to treat streptococcus. Leo's symptoms only got worse, and while doctors played pin the tail on WebMD with their diagnoses, Deborah continued posting photos of her ailing son on Facebook. Comments were beginning to stack up, some of them helpful, although many were probably something like "YOU CAN EXPECT MORE OF THIS THANKS TO OBAMA."
But then Kogan was contacted by someone who urged her to take Leo to the hospital -- his symptoms, she observed, matched those of her own son, who had once been diagnosed with something called Kawasaki disease, which sounds like crude police slang for a lethal motorcycle crash but is actually a potentially fatal condition that can cause deadly aneurysms.
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Not to be confused with Harley syndrome, a mental side effect of penile dwarfism.
Kogan disregarded the pediatrician and followed the advice from crowdsourced social networking instead. Guess which one was right?
Leo was swiftly treated for Kawasaki disease and made a full recovery. Kogan later called the family doctor to explain what had happened, and he replied, "Bravo, Facebook," which was the classiest way he could admit to having been out-doctored by a site that is usually only useful for letting us know our aunt earned the "Vegetable Virtuoso" ribbon for her virtual farm.
"That woman is growing an uncomfortable amount of cucumbers and zucchinis."
3A Tourist Lost on Ice Is Saved by a Webcam
St. Peter-Ording is a little town in northern Germany with some apparently beautiful coastlines, so much so that they've set up a live webcam feed for anyone in the world who wants to see for themselves, but not badly enough that they're willing to get out of their chair to do it. Of course, northern Germany in the winter is a blasted arctic wasteland, so viewers at this time of year aren't treated to the most impressive spectacle.
Yet, for whatever reason, somebody on the opposite end of the country happened to be watching the live feed one winter evening, because when you get bored enough on the Internet you'll watch anything. The unnamed woman, who we're assuming had another browser window open to, we don't know, play Bejeweled or something, somehow noticed an odd flashing light in the webcam feed. And somehow, she figured out that it was a goddamn person trapped on the fucking ice.
"If you can see this please send help ... preferably Batman."
A tourist in St. Peter-Ording had decided to wander outside to take some photographs of the sunset. Being that the North Sea was entirely frozen at the time, the photographer just kept walking until he realized he was standing on the ocean and couldn't figure out which direction land was. With the sun going down, any attempt to start walking was destined to end in him falling through the ice or freezing to death, or some combination of the two.
So, he did the only thing he could think to do under the circumstances, which was to use the flash on his camera in the hope that someone would see it up on the shore. But no one was there to see it. His only audience were faceless Internet viewers who under normal circumstances would worry only about how to turn his frozen corpse into a humorous image macro.
Instead, this anonymous watcher hundreds of miles away called the police and somehow was able to explain why these weird flashes she saw on a webcam feed justified a rescue effort in the area. The police headed out and realized that this was not some arcane 4chan prank, but an actual stranded hiker out on the ice. They were able to lure him back on shore by flashing their own lights at him to show the way. Then he probably went home and made a rage comic about it.