Darwinism at work: YouTube is the newest DIY medical school

Darwinism at work: YouTube is the newest DIY medical school

The human quest for combining personal injury with public humiliation is always finding new frontiers to explore: in the ’70s, it was The Gong Show; in the ’80s, it was America’s Funniest Home Videos. In 2010, it’s making YouTube clips of disgusting acts we’d hesitate to call “medical.” And thanks to a story in the Globe and Mail, these cautionary video tales are getting more attention than ever.

Mr. Zube’s is just one of a few dozen home toenail removal videos. There are also several that depict cyst excisions, abscess drainages and tattoo removals (the last done with power sanders and a hot spoon burning method). Most popular, though, are the unassisted home births.

Before, doctors worried about patients who self-diagnosed after doing Internet research on questionable medical Web sites. But the social Web has given birth to a new beast: users who document their DIY medical procedures on camera and share the videos on YouTube.

A doctor quoted by the Globe says doing these kinds of things is “just crazy,” proving once and for all that you can get a medical degree without ever visiting the comments on an average YouTube clip.

• DIY medicine on YouTube: It’s not a how-to, people! [Globe and Mail]