More from the blogosphere:
Picking Up That Gauntlet Again: An Anonymous Medical Blogger Is Sued
I've alluded to this case before (hat tip to Kevin). And it was so disturbing to me, I linked the post as a Housecall on my sidebar.
An anonymous medical blogger is being raked through the coals in court for saying less-than-nice things about a hospital in Paris, Texas. A Texas judge (who seems not to have any real grasp of HIPAA at all) is threatening to sign an order that would "out" him.
I feel his pain. And now I offer you his blog (courtesy of Pure Pedantry). It will be hereafter linked in the sidebar. Like Flea (even though he isn't there anymore).
It was just a matter of time before a corporate lawyer tried to use HIPAA as a weapon to shut people up.
*Note to the hospital CEO's and corporate healthcare lawyers: In this day and Internet age, suing someone for speaking out on the nasty things going on behind the scenes at your hospital ALWAYS works to get your hospital less scrutiny.
Here's a suggestion: Cleaning up you act is usually the better course than shooting the messengers.
Some the messengers you try to pummel don't' just roll over. They fight back.
The hospital (owned by a larger conglomerate) in this case says, "We understand and respect the blogger and general public's right to voice their opinions about PRMC and welcome constructive criticism . . . However, the method used by the defendants is wholly unacceptable. It is a cowardly infringement on the confidentiality rights of PRMC patients and an unwarranted attack on the reputation of the hospital."
Now THAT is just a load of hooey! Thus, my comment at Kevin's:
I would submit that HIPAA, like the "blanket immunity" offered in medical peer review, is tailor-made for cowards who want to cover their ugly messes up.
The LAST thing this lawsuit is about is "protecting" patients.
"We welcome constructive criticism."
I'd like some of what you're smoking if you really believe that.
I've yet to completely digest the blog, but thumbing through the comments tonight (much of it very entertaining given my own dance with confidentiality and privacy issues . . . and very expository of just how convoluted HIPAA can be), it's obvious that somebody is smoking some really good something. This particular profundity (offered in a mind-bending comment that I think ultimately supported the anonymous blogger) caught my eye.
"Privacy trumps truth".
Huh? On what planet?
The last time I talked with a lawyer, the truth is absolute protection in a court of law. It doesn't get "trumped".
Except when people lie . . . and get away with it because the state (in my case, North Carolina) does not care.
The anonymous defender of free speech (a right that, unlike the "right to privacy", is actually specifically addressed in the US Constitution) says this: "If the blog is squashed by a lawsuit, does that really reassure the public? All it shows is that a large corporation can step on an individual."
Don't I know it, Bub. You would think the guy lives in Asheboro, North Carolina.
Posted by DR. MARY JOHNSON at 1:59 AM
The picture is my addition...frank.