Wayne Adult Community Center

Feature article from the September, 2001 Cyberspace News

Verify, Verify, Verify

We have noted in this publication that the World Wide Web is an invaluable source of information.  We have also, however, warned against believing everything that comes to you over the Internet unless you carefully verify its source.

Recently we received an Email message entitled “How To Survive A Heart Attack” that appeared to contain life-saving information by giving a procedure for self-administered CPR. Before printing it in the newsletter, we set out to verily its origin.

The Email contained only a person’s name, so we used a Web search engine to find sites with “CPR” and “self’ in their contents.  We quickly found several sites with the heart attack survival information. Some gave no source, but one cited a periodical published by the Rochester General Hospital.

Following our own advice regarding source verification, we did not accept that citation at face value, but instead went to the Rochester General Hospital’s Web site.

There we found a notice warning people that (a) they are not the source of the material, and (b) the procedure recommended in the Email message is not supported by anything in the medical literature. Rochester General advised strongly against it.

We hope that the moral of this incident is obvious.

Thanks to Bill Shapiro for writing this article.


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