USUSA Today confirms what some of us anticipated would happen: Healthcare providers are suing those who post negative reviews of their services. Among those filing the lawsuits has been Cleveland medical doctor Bahman Guyuron. Here is the coverage.
Usually, the providers' legal complaint is that the information posted is inaccurate. That, of course, could easily be the situation since laypeople are not medical procedure-literate. They could assume such and such should have happened or not happened. But what do they really know about practicing medicine and what is standard in a particular nation, state, or medical facility.
This development is yet another warning to activists on social media to know the law. That includes the legal understanding of defamation and libel.
Long before Hulk Hogan dragged Gawker into a landmark lawsuit that media outfit allowed its community to post just about anything. For several years I was a favorite target.
Yes, I could have sued but my knowledge of the legal system told me that Gawker probably had the financial resources to pull the tricks (e.g. the motion game) that would have driven my legal bills into the unaffordable. I would have had to drop the legal action.
As a result of the Hogan litigation, partly funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, the media outlet went bankrupt. Its founder Nick Denton lost his influence and money. And the precedent was set for digital media to be more cautious.
These lawsuits against negative reviewers of medical services also are establishing a precedent. Instead of posting criticism, unhappy consumers of medical services can go for other options. Those range from switching providers (which I did in Arizona versus flame the medical doctor on my blogs) to filing a lawsuit themselves.
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