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Friday, June 1st 2007

You Write So People Can Read

Don’t ever forget that when you’re blogging, you’re putting stuff out into the public domain. You don’t need to be revealing state secrets or (as a medical blogger) violating HIPAA to get yourself into trouble.

That point is hit home now that we know what happened to Flea.

Shortly before the end of his second day on the witness stand, while focusing on Lindeman’s views of a pediatric textbook, [Plaintiff Attorney] Mulvey asked him whether he had a medical blog, she recalled. He said he did. Then she asked him if he was Flea. He said he was.

The exchange may have been lost on jurors, but Meyer said Mulvey had telegraphed that she was ready to share Lindeman’s blog — containing his unvarnished views of lawyers, jurors, and the legal process — with the jury.

The next day, the case was settled.

Flea had put up quite a few posts on the medical malpractice case he was facing. They focused on everything from the jury to the plaintiffs and more. They weren’t always flattering.

Kevin, MD (who I owe a H/T to) and Orac have their thoughts of the situation up.

This isn’t a reason for a mass exodus from the medical blogosphere. But it is a reminder. There is no such thing as completely anonymous blogging. If you came out to write only under such protection then you’re probably better off packing it up. This sad turn of events is a reminder of what I’ll call the Golden Rule of Blogging: Only post those opinions and stories you’re comfortable with the world knowing.

Because your pseudonym is a pretty lousy cover.