Friday, June 1, 2007

Blog Scandal Hits Home

Yesterday I was listening to NPR on my way to work, and I heard a story about a doctor who had to settle a case (in fact, a wrongful death suit) because he was discovered to have been the author of a blog in which he discussed details of the case during the trial. In the blog, he disparaged the opposing side and the jury and revealed defense strategies. I thought to myself, I hope I'm never so mean or indiscreet in my blog, and that when I criticize certain things, I do so graciously. Then I went to work and thought nothing more of it.

When I got home I found an email from a friend requesting an urgent referral to a new pediatrician. I emailed back and said, oh, so-and-so loves her pediatrician, ask her. My friend then replied, yeah, so-and-so has the SAME one and is also looking for a new one - see sordid story on front page of Boston Globe. So I read the story, and there was that blogger scandal again. I couldn't believe it - a Law and Order type of story in my friends' lives.

My husband, who's an attorney, was fascinated by the whole Perry Mason nature of the sting. The plaintiff's lawyer was asking about textbooks, then whipped out the surprise question asking the defendant on the stand if he was Flea, author of drfleablog. Robert P. Lindeman admitted to being the masked blogger, and now his life will never be the same. Judging from my friends' responses, I imagine his entire practice scurrying to jump ship. It's scary to think that someone who had some good qualities as a clinician, judging from what my friends told me, and from some stuff he has written for his practice's website, might have his career ruined by poor judgment (or perhaps hubris? or a false sense of security behind a pseudonym?) about where and how to vent his frustrations / indignation / contempt / stress.

My husband thinks the practice of law will have to change too. The discovery process can't stay the same after this - it hasn't been the norm to request blogs, myspace pages, and such, but attorneys are now clearly going to have to take various types of records into account and adapt to the Internet age.

My question is, how did they find the blog and make the connection?


It's Summer Reading time!

Here's what I've read/reread in the last few years and recommend:

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (supposed to be for kids, but adults should read this profound and beautiful novel, one of my two favorites of all time)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - of course, my other favorite

The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington

Lying Awake by Mark Salzman (he also wrote The Soloist, about a cellist; True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall; and he stars in the movie based on his book Iron and Silk, about teaching English and learning martial arts in China)

The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Kadra

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Here's what I WANT to read, but invariably, what I get done falls short of all my good intentions:

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith
Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
Dakota: a Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris
The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill Levine
Disappearances by Howard Frank Mosher
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

and, for oboe,
The Art of Reed Making
The Embryonic Oboist
Essays for Oboists
by Jay Light
The Oboe by Burgess & Haynes

We'll see - I have a 2-week vacation coming up end of June. I can't wait!


T. said...

I was just surfing the web to see if there were any follow-up articles about Dr. Lindeman's case, because the whole issue of internet communication and exposure interests me and seems to be getting increasingly important. I was shocked to find words from my post this morning highlighted prominently on the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, maintained by Eric Turkewitz of The Turkewitz Law Firm ( That just underscored the lesson that even this obscure little blog, once written, truly is "out there" ready to be found, read, quoted, interpreted, misinterpreted, etc. My mom always did say, "Be careful what you put in writing!" The power of writing hasn't diminished over thousands of years, despite our electronic age!

Anonymous said...

Great work, keep it up.....