Superstar medical blogger KevinMD calls today (May 16, 2007) “Black Wednesday” – the day when two of the Internet’s most popular blogs were officially closed. Both Flea and Fat Doctor were forced to shut down their blogs due to privacy concerns. The two bloggers had been posting anonymously – in order to protect themselves and the privacy of the people they wrote about. It seems that Fat Doctor was outed by a co-worker, and Flea… we don’t know what happened exactly, but he was in the middle of a malpractice lawsuit, and was revealing the unsavory details of how the trial was going.
And this news is timely, coming on the heels of an interview I did with USA Today about blogging and patient privacy.
This seems to me like a wake up call for medical bloggers – there is no such thing as true anonymity. Your identity can only be hidden for so long.
I have never blogged anonymously – and I recognize that anything I post can be read by anyone, anytime, anywhere. This knowledge has resulted in extreme caution in posting information that could even remotely be linked to a real patient. And yes, I have also refrained from blogging about issues and events that I sure would have liked to because of the associated risks.
It may be time for us medical bloggers to create and adhere to a code of conduct to protect ourselves and our patients from harm. I had actually proposed this to Dr. Rob a few weeks ago…
What do you think?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.