New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Harlan Wittenstein, Inside The Well, Outsourcing


January 30th, 2014

But I Didn’t Write That Stuff on My Website!


Have you passed off your ethics and reputation to someone else lately?

The orthopedist was on the witness stand last week. He was well credentialed as defendant’s expert: top schools, top training, top position.

And then came plaintiff’s cross examination. The issue was the relationship between disc bulges and disc herniations. The doctor said there was a difference. And that bulges were the result of degeneration, otherwise known as the aging process.

(Some doctors are (in)famous for calling everything degeneration, because, you know, we start to degenerate when we are born.)

Then plaintiff’s attorney, Harlan Wittenstein, posed a general question to the doctor about bulges and herniations being the same. He denied it.

But Wittenstein, a seasoned trial attorney, just happened to have, oddly enough, a 24 x 36 blow up of the doctor’s web page where that assertion existed.  He got it into evidence as a prior inconsistent statement. This was the website language:

A herniated disc, also called a bulging disc, ruptured disc or slipped disc, occurs when the inner core of the spinal disc pushes out through the outer layer of the disc.

Herniation describes an abnormality of the intervertebral disc that is also known as a “slipped,” “ruptured” or “bulging” disc.

The doctor kept saying, and I paraphrase here since I don’t have the transcript, ‘I see that its in my website, but its not true.  I didn’t write it.  Someone else writes the content.’

You know what happens when you outsource your marketing? Your ethics and reputation get outsourced also. And this applies to everyone, not just lawyers.

3 thoughts on “But I Didn’t Write That Stuff on My Website!

  1. I first read this with only one eye whilst t’other was on the (so-called) Super Bowl, and thus I saw the doctor’s name as Wittgenstein. Hence I thought he must have been some kind of othopedical philosopher. He should have seen that crass cross coming.

    But, no. Now with both eyes I see that it is not the same name. Pity. I could use his advice.

    My maximum height was once six feet. Then I got fat and then I got old. Now I’m five feet ten inches. I wonder if the good doctor could get me back to my original height. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the meantime. Maybe he would put me into Tractatus.

    Sorry. Could not resist.

  2. Now, here’s a real serious concern. Now what exactly can these physicians and orthopedists do to make sure that the content in their sites is absolutely full-proof? Do they go through the content on a regular basis to remove possible errors or misconceptions, despite their erratic schedules? Yes, of course.. how else do you expect a flawless website (in terms of information) that’s related to a rigorous and complicated field like medicine?

  3. My recommendation (as a web designer) would be to not give specific medical information in one’s own medical web site. There are plenty of medical information web sites out there (and, of course, Wikipedia) to link to for the purpose of medical explanation. On your own web site I would put only marketing stuff like how you are the best doctor in the world and are really good in cross examination duels with opposing counsel.