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Posts from the ‘Blogging’ Category

Interview with Dr. Flea

I use the famous story of Dr. Flea, an anonymous medical “star-blogger” , who had a malpractice lawsuit but kept on blogging about the situation in my Internet in Medicine course when I tell students about the potential troubles around blogging as a doctor. His story in a nutshell (reviews 1, 2 and 3):

In May 2007 Robert Lindeman, a pediatrician from the Boston area, found himself uncomfortably in the public eye when the Boston Globe exposed his pseudonymous life as a blogger in a sensational front page story. The reason? Dr. Lindeman, who clearly loves writing, had been live-blogging under the name “Flea” about his experiences as a medical malpractice defendant. The plaintiff’s attorney found out, he was exposed on the witness stand, and the case immediately settled. His site came down and he disappaeared from the blogosphere.

Now Dr. Robert Lindeman kindly accepted my invitation and gave a short interview about the whole issue and about what has happened since then.

1) You replied to my Facebook message as Flea. Do you still prefer using this name online?

For my old blogging friends, I like to use my old moniker, even if they know my real name. It helps me reconnect with a period of my career that I miss very much.

2) Please tell your story briefly to the readers. What happened to Dr. Flea years ago?

VERY BRIEFLY, a mother in my practice sued me for malpractice. My terrific lawyer and my med-mal insurance company agreed that I had not committed malpractice, so the matter went to trial. I made the heinous mistake of giving the play-by-play of the trial live at my blog. A colleague of the plaintiff’s attorney, who trolls medical blogs, tipped her off that I was doing this. She asked me about it at trial. We settled that day. The blog was full of sources of what attorneys call “prior inconsistent statements”. In laypersons terms, these are statements that can make your opponent look like a schmuck at trial. Seeing no way to defend these statements on the fly, we gave up. I took down the blog the same day. I killed Flea.

3) What about the aftermath? Did this story change the way you practice medicine?

I’m gratified to say that this has NOT changed the way I practice medicine. All that has changed is that I know now that I have survived a shark attack. If it happens again, God-forbid, I know I can survive that one too.

4) A year later, you gave an interview to an injury law blogger and you told him an advice for new medical bloggers: Do not blog anonymously. Do you still think the same?

No question, anonymous blogging is dumb. Period. Don’t do it.

5) Please tell us what you do now and whether you plan to update/manage any online presence such as blogs, Twitter accounts, etc.

I severely limit anything that I write in any forum, electronic or otherwise. I granted this interview primarily because I made these statements in an interview already. The sharks are in the water, Berci. It is foolish to try to behave as if it were otherwise.

6) What do you think about the growing importance of social media in medicine and healtchare?

Social media have helped amplify the voices of the minority, present company included, but only to a certain extent. Crap information that goes viral on the web is still crap information. We all have access to a lot more information than we used to. But we are no wiser.

Go ahead and create a medium that increases the collective wisdom and you’ll really have something.

Internet in Medicine University Course: Medical blogging

We just finished the second lecture of the “Internet in Medicine” university credit course which was dedicated to medical blogging. Here is the summary of my presentations.

  • Definition of blog, post, trackback, pingback, comment, tag.
  • First blog: Jorn Barger, 1997
  • Technorati statistics about the state of the entire blogosphere
  • Blogs in plain English:

In the second slideshow, I described how to start a new blog step-by-step.

  • You need to answer 3 questions first before starting a blog:
  • What kind of blogger will I be?
  • Where should I blog?
  • How should I blog?
  • My “3 blogging rule” described what you need to become a good blogger: commitment, consistency and openness
  • Shared many examples about how to build a successful medical blog.

Take-home message:

A medical blog can be a perfect channel to make new contacts, find new opportunities and share your ideas with the world.

The 2 slideshows are described in details on’s e-guide:

See you next week when we will talk about Twitter in Medicine and also how to keep yourself up-to-date with RSS.

Interview about Webicina and Health 2.0

Walter Jessen, PhD at the famous Highlight Health Blog did an interview with me about doing PhD in genomics, health 2.0, Webicina, Scienceroll and many other issues. Check it out on HighlightHealth. He also created a word cloud of my tweets:

LillyPad: What happens when a pharma company dives into Social Media

Eli Lilly & Company has recently launched a blog, LillyPad, and a related Twitter account as well written by three employees. John Mack and Mark Senak have already covered this issue, and Andrew Spong also published a very detailed review. A few points from Andrew:

  • The name is an eye-roller, not an eye-catcher
  • Wrong blog motto
  • Buzzword rich blog description
  • Contradictory site policy
  • Twitter account sometimes looks like a bot

Yes, they made some mistakes, but I still think it’s good to see the social media efforts of such companies and as long as we can help them, we really should.

So the real challenge here is whether LillyPad will listen to the criticism and feedback. If not, then that is just another closed window for a big company. If they will, it means something new is happening again.

My New Favourite Blog: pwned experiments

My collegue, Peter Brazda, at in and around the lab found a very interesting blog, pwned experiments, that features “owned, pwned, and failed science”.

One of the recent examples, We didn’t start the fire! Oh wait…we did.

Help them and send your pwned experiments at

Health 2.0 News: Doctors using Google, Hospital Blogs being Blocked

It’s not just patients who turn to Google or other search engines to research medical information. According to Google, 86 percent of doctors say they now use  Internet on the job. Of that group, the majority start at Google, which they use as a source to look for general information about diseases and drugs, writes pediatrician Dr. Rahul K. Parikh in a special piece for the Los Angeles Times.

  • MAD MMX – Opening Title Sequence

You may want to think twice before your next visit to the doctor’s office. According to Dr. Barbara Starfield’s now-famous study, iatrogenic deaths (those resulting from treatment by physicians or surgeons) are the third leading cause of mortality in the United States, resulting in the loss of 225,000 lives per year. Of that total, nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections kill 80,000, physician errors claim 27,000, and unnecessary surgery results in 12,000 deaths.

Spanish Medgadget on Spanish Webicina

My friends over at Medgadget, which is the best medical blog out there, launched the Spanish version of the site:

Medical technology affects just about every person in the world in one way or another. Because we write in English, a majority of the world’s population can’t read this site, and automatic online translators simply can’t translate industry specific, professional material. We believe in expanding access to our medical content and so would like to present Spanish Medgadget. We are now professionally translating our posts into Spanish, and if you prefer Medgadget en Español, head on over to or to Medgadget Español on Facebook.

And the Spanish Medgadget is featured in PeRSSonalized Medicine, the customizable collection of selected Spanish medical blogs, journals, news, Twitter users and more on which means you can follow the best Spanish medical blog in the simplest way. Click here for more selection and languages.


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