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2 Medical Blogs Shut Down

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

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5 Responses to “2 Medical Blogs Shut Down”

  1. daedalus2u says:

    The people who need “protecting”, are the bloggers. 

    The problem is, it is so expensive to defend oneself from any legal threat, no matter how specious.  Neonatal Doc shut down his blog too. 

    It isn’t clear to me that any action on the part of bloggers can eliminate this risk.  Even if one has done nothing wrong, and are completely vindicated at trial, you are still out your legal fees, which could be thousands at best and hundreds of thousands at worst. 

    If one does nothing “wrong”, it should not matter what name one posts under.  But now it seems that if one posts anonymously, there is the presumption of wrong doing. 

    In some ways it was like being a White House aid.  Even if you did nothing wrong, with all the lawsuits and prosecutions going on, you had to have private legal representation that cost more than you earned. 

  2. daedalus2u says:

    I think I have a solution under a terms of use agreement.  Basicly, the blog can only be read under a terms of use where the user agrees to accept all liability resulting from the users use of the content to identify the blogger.   

  3. CharlieSmithMD says:

    Privacy concerns are very real, but getting permission from the person you want to share about should eliminate any risk involved.  Really, if we are unable, or unwilling, to ask someone if they are willing for us to share their story, we probably shouldn’t share it. 


    Also, it is often very possible to create a hypothetical that illustrates the point without using any realy person’s experience.


  4. hannahFE says:

    that’s sad… maybe they found themselves better in a medical transcription services company than writing a blog about medicines… 

  5. Karolina1 says:

    Dear blogger I really appreciate your thought and concern  for common man. But today many doctors are engaged in such type of malpractice. Earlier we treat doctors as God he is the person standing between man’s life and death. But now they are the one who is making handsome deals of the patients body part. Doctors are not only responsible we people also are equally responsible for that. We are unaware of the fact why the doctor is emphasis to get operated whereas the diseases is not that serious and it can be cured through proper medicine. For demolishing this demerits of ours we have to take the help of latest technique of gaining information and that technique is net surfing. You can also take the help of online medical dictionary encyclopedia in which you can get all the terms used in this field and no doctor can make you fool. 

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