New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Medical Malpractice


June 1st, 2009

Another Doctor Live-Blogs A Malpractice Trial (Updated)

It’s happening again. A doctor is live-blogging his/her medical malpractice trial.

Regular readers will remember that Dr.”Flea” had live-blogged his under his pseudonym two years ago, only to have the plaintiff’s lawyer find out and confront him on the witness stand with some writing that contradicted his trial testimony. The world found out when his blog disappeared, and two weeks later his name and picture were blasted across the front page of the Boston Globe, above the fold.

But since the content is so compelling — a physician under the gun during a trial — it was inevitable that it would happen again. And so it has.

From this first installment at Emergency Physicians Monthly comes The Trial Of A White Coat – Part 1. In it we learn of the doctor’s surprise after being served with the suit:

The rest of my shift that day sucked. I looked at patients as adversaries rather than as people needing help. I ordered more tests than I probably needed to. Wasn’t for defensive medicine purposes or anything like that. Everyone knows that defensive medicine doesn’t exist. Maybe it helped me feel better about “not missing anything.” Maybe I didn’t want to get named in another lawsuit a few years from now. My head wasn’t in the game at that point. My brain was full and I wanted to go home. The shift couldn’t end quick enough.

There is much more at the link, and I won’t kill the story by letting it all out here. Suffice it to say that it is compelling reading.

But does it come with risks? You bet, unless the trial is already over and this is being published on delay. If plaintiff’s counsel discovers the blog, every word becomes potential fodder for cross-exam if there are contradictions with trial testimony.

And here is an interesting thought/risk: The doctor writes that some of the details have been obscured for the purposes of publication:

This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to do about my malpractice trial.
Names and minor facts about the patient and his family have been changed.
Everything else is the real deal

But could that act of obfuscation also be a source of cross-exam?

If you ask me, this is another doctor playing with fire if this case has not already been resolved. But I will also say this, the style of writing seems to be much more deliberate then the fiery passion with which Flea wrote. So it could be that we are looking at a significantly more cautious person this time around.

Hat tip Shadowfax @ Movin’ Meat
Update: In a new post, Whitecoat confirms what many had wondered: The trial is over. The live-blog is not a contemporaneous view of events.

There were some interesting notes in the comments of the blog, by the way, about fears of violating HIPAA by publishing information about the case. But that is not a real worry. The physician-patient privilege was waived when suit was filed in the public courthouse. And certainly anything that took place at any trial (if it got that far) would have been in the public domain.

Links to this post:

The Changing Face of Health 2.0
As a new generation of users come on the scene and popularity continues to spike, can we coax the healthcare industry into diving deeper with social media practices and leading the conversation? By Dana. Last week, DiagnosisPR attended

posted by @ June 09, 2009 10:37 AM

a doctor is sued, and blogs his malpractice trial
an emergency physician recently concluded his malpractice trial, and is blogging about it. sound familiar? well, this isn’t the first time it happened. in 2007, pediatrician flea live-blogged his malpractice trial, which wasn’ta good

posted by Kevin @ June 03, 2009 11:00 AM

blogging his own malpractice trial
white coat’s trial is in fact concluded, so he’s not liveblogging it, but recounting it after the fact; posting while the trial was in progress was what got boston pediatrician “flea” into so much trouble a couple of years ago after the

posted by Walter Olson @ June 03, 2009 12:24 AM

blogging a malpractice trial
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.
posted by Bertalan Meskó @ June 02, 2009 4:40 PM

3 thoughts on “Another Doctor Live-Blogs A Malpractice Trial (Updated)

  1. I’ve followed and spared with WhiteCoat a couple times.

    He’s sharp. I highly doubt this is anywhere near “live” blogging, and would bet the case is long done and gone.

    Should be an interesting read, though.
    # posted by Anonymous Max Kennerly : June 01, 2009 9:06 PM

  2. Interesting read from the doctor’s point of view, probably something ever plaintiff’s lawyer should read. I suspect what happened already happened and we will soon learn the case was dismissed.

    Writer seems like a good guy but the whole “the daughter was bad so I documented the records” thing kinda rubs me the wrong way. It is hardly a crime against the people and quite human but the way he blithely throws it out there… I just don’t like it. It is medical record no a place for you to begin to defend your malpractice claim.
    # posted by Anonymous Ron Miller : June 01, 2009 9:58 PM

  3. This is what happens when people do work for money, and not for the passion of the work itself. Our entire nation is full of money-hungry, consumer minded zombies that have no love for the line of work they decide to pursue. Work to better the world, not to fatten your pockets, and you will be happy and productive!
    # posted by Anonymous Ares Vista : June 09, 2009 11:36 AM