You may remember the case of Dr. Flea. It is described on the Webicina How to write a quality medical blog e-course:
Dr. Flea was a famous and anonymous medical blogger who was a pediatrician in real life and got sued by a patient. Though, he kept on writing about the law suit, had ridiculed the plaintiff’s case and the plaintiff’s lawyer; and revealed the defense strategy. But the lawyer realized this blogger must be the doctor in the law suit. The next day, the case was settled.
After one year, Dr. Flea, now using his real name, Robert Lindeman, gave an interview to the New York Personal Injury Law Blog and had one piece of advice for new medical bloggers: do not blog anonymously!
Now Eric Turkewitz reported that a doctor is live-blogging his/her medical malpractice trial. The blog is the WhiteCoat’s Call Room and here is the first part of the trial. Today, the blogger published a disclaimer.
So to those worried that what I write will be used against me by some future plaintiff attorney, let them try. You’ll be reading about them in this blog in the future.
To those who think the HIPAA police will come and lead me away in handcuffs, file a complaint. Here’s the link. The information in this case has been de-identified, facts have been changed, and it is no longer subject to HIPAA laws.
Defamation? Truth is an absolute defense. What isn’t true hasn’t harmed anyone and my observations and opinions aren’t actionable.
Legal scholars want to debate whether it is “unethical” for me to talk about a malpractice trial? Go for it. The more discussion, the better. If this series is what it takes to bring the issues involved in medical blogging to the next level, I’ll be the fall guy. I won’t live my life in fear of what some evil attorney might sue me for.
After reading the disclaimer, I must admit the blogger is right.You can write about a malpractice trial, you can write about a patient’s medical case if you follow the rules of HIPAA.