Friday, April 23, 2010

Another Pointless Rule?

As I was brushing my teeth last night, I noticed the Band-Aid box says on it, "For medical emergencies, seek professional assistance." Under what circumstances would this advice be helpful?

Person 1: I have been mauled by a puma! I am bleeding profusely!

Person 2: Oh my God! [Runs to the bathroom, returns with a box of Band-Aids.] Oh no! The Band-Aids are too small for your severe lacerations! What shall we do?

Person 1: Read the Band-Aid box. Perchance it bears valuable instructions.

Person 2: No! There are no instructions!

Person 1: I ... grow dizzy ... and faint.

Person 2: Wait! Yes! Here, it says, "For medical emergencies, seek professional assitance." How do I do that?

Person 1: Call ... 9 ... 1 ... 1 ...

Person 2: 911? Is that an area code? What is the rest of the phone number?!

If a person does not know that Band-Aids are insufficient to deal with a medical emergency, will they know what it means to "seek professional assistance"?

Are the instructions intended for young children? If so, why are they in such small print?

Do other brands of band-aids carry the same advice? Is it an industry standard? A legislated requirement?

Aha! A plausible explanation. Perhaps all medical supplies are required to carry these instructions, due to someone coming up with an idea that sounded good, but was not thought out very carefully.

I can think of some reasons why people would not seek professional assistance in a medical emergency: 1) they are undocumented immigrants 2) they have an irrational phobia of doctors 3) their injury resulted from illegal activities 4) they are freaked out by the prospect of medical fees 5) they did not recognize they were having a medical emergency.

In none of these cases would the advice on the packaging of medical supplies be helpful. Is my imagination too limited? Am I overlooking a plausible foreseeable situation in which the advice on the Band-Aid box would actually help someone?

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