Could Have Lied

I was ready to come back from a conference in Chicago and write about the rosy state of medical blogging. I'd describe how my presentation on an EM journal club blog was received, and report how physicians are finally becoming comfortable with sharing their opinions online.

But then I had to work a ton of shifts. And then I saw Kevin MD's post about Black Wednesday, and realized I'd have to write a more balanced entry. And then I saw that others were already doing that, surveying the landscape and summarizing the viewpoints.

I would have added that the alleged blogger-in-hiding, Fat Doctor, had in fact gloriously returned, and then would try to synthesize this week's news -- that Wall Street's listening in on Sermo's physician forums, and the AMA will endorse this, finally legitimizing what we'd known all along -- doctors' online musings make for compelling reading.

But then today, the Boston Globe revealed the identity of Flea, and that his activities as a medical blogger prompted his legal team to settle a malpractice trial. Kevin has the coverage, with some great insights from readers in the comments section.

As I kept reading, I noted that, once again, the comments devolved into a stalemate over doctor's compensation, malpractice liability, and society's expectations.

Why do so many threads on so many blogs end this way? It's tiresome, and I used to think it was just trolls and newbies... but now I wonder if trading barbs about money and risk is just a natural response to medical blogging.

A physician's opinion is always worth something. Everywhere these opinions are expressed -- in the clinic, in M+M, in scholarly journals -- regulations and standards have sprung up, to ensure we're not abusing this privilege, and are acting with the noblest of intentions.

It seems the same forces have begun to act upon medical blogging.

I'd like to write more about this... Really. But after this week, it's clear -- there's more incentive to share my thoughts in protected communications with graciously appreciative clients.