The Medical and Allied Health Sciences collections at the University of Texas
at El Paso Library are provided primarily as an educational component for the
faculty and students of the institution. Other faculty and students in the community
as well as community patrons are welcome to use the collection for their needs.
Reference staff can help you use the collection, but cannot conduct research
about specific medical conditions, diseases, syndromes, ailment, or treatments
for you. If you need to find out more about a medical diagnosis or prescription,
we encourage you to come to the library and use sources such as Medline.
When you come in, we can show you how to access the online resources and print
sources, but you are responsible for your own research. If you find a term that
is not clear to you, Library staff cannot interpret it or explain it to you.
However, they will refer you to dictionaries or other sources that might help
you understand it.
This policy is in place for several reasons:
- We are librarians. Our function is to help people use the library, not
to research and explain medical literature. Only licensed physicians can diagnose
your health, prescribe treatment, and/or interpret laboratory results.
- There are no simple health questions. Each question exists within a factual
circumstance. Determining those circumstances is absolutely necessary to properly
address the underlying question and is very time consuming. By way of example,
your question might be, “What are the side effects of this drug with
someone who has a heart condition?” Such a question should only be discussed
with a license pharmacist and your physician. Texts are published to assist
highly trained health care practitioners to answer these questions. Most of
these texts are not written for the consumer/patient.
- Inaccurate health information may result in improper care. Physicians conduct
probing interviews with their patients in order to uncover all of the relevant
facts necessary to provide effective care. Librarians cannot know all of the
details necessary to properly advise you about which specific text or website
- Discussions between a physician and a patient are protected by The Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Any discussion of the
details of your situation with Library staff is not a protected discussion.
Library staff are prohibited from giving health care advice. Librarians advising
people about their health is against the law. Only a licensed physician can
diagnosis and prescribe treatment.