Do You Use Medical Justice?

Curious how many of you use Medical Justice or other programs that create contracts limiting or prohibiting patient's ability to review your practice online?

Whether yes or no, what is your stance on the ethical debate over these contracts?

Doctor Answers (2)

Medical Justice and other such programs? What are they all about!

+2

No, I dont have a program like that which is designed to limit patients and I think its not necessary.  Even more I doubt its effectiveness.  Every professional; surgeons, dentists, attorneys, and many many other in all walks of life have been attack by some unstable person.  If aggrivations come up there is always litigation and even better just talking and reasoning with the professional about the complaint.   The unstable person bent on damaging someone,professional or not, simply makes a bunch of fake email and goes on a hate campaign to smear and spread hate.   All walks of life and ages have been hit by this including kids in school, teachers, police, fireman, cities, industries etc etc.   A hateful person with a bunch of fake emails can get free time on the internet to spread hate, libel, slander etc.   These epeople generally figure out systems to make it hard to track them down.  If the hateful person is spreading lies and commiting libel and slander there is always the option of a massive lawsuit but if the hateful person has no resorces th lawsuit ends up as a bit of expensive nonsense.  Plus it is not easy to track these people down if they are even a little bit internet savy.  They hide under anonomizers of which there are many on the internet  (apparently often used by people seeking  illegal porn sites ) and it is not easy to track.  Then there are ther many rogue sites that allow free posting with the fake emails and these sites often end up with considerable Google pickup.  The lies then spread.  Hate is spread.  One unstable person can appear as 10 or 20 and this has been an epidemic problem around the world.    The rogue sites have been accused of extortihg large sums of money to remove names of professionals maligned.   So there is a really big problem out there and this is why  Medical Justice and similar sites evolve.   Of course, valid positive or nagative review sites should be allowed.  These REVIEW sites are not really of much value however.   If a professional gets a negative review, what do you think happens?  Can you guess?  What would you do?  Yes, all of a sudden positive reviews occur.   Some professionals aggressively pursue positive reviews from patients and offer financial reward for posts on review sites....free botox...whatever.  Some have the office staff, and all the kids, and all the friends add positive reviews.  So the whole review system on the internet is of questional value.   Any review good or bad must be suspect and therefore is there really much value?  Sure, a little possibly.  Certainly there are some valid good and bad reviews but the Review system is too easily abused by questionable  and bad motivations.   I hope this helps you understand and furthermore always be suspect of any review of anything on the internet.    It is so easy to misuse the system whether its review of professionals, high school kids, restaurants, products and on and on.   As far as Medical Justice is  concerned I do not have it.   Why.  Oh I think it kind of rubs patients the wrong way.   In my 30 years of practice I have only had ONE PERSON try to malign me on the internet by systems I have outlined above.   It is really aggravating and basically it must be ignored and all good practices continued.  Further if a person wants to spread hate, you cannot stop them anyway and most prospective patients read through the hate.   Anyway thats why the systems such as Medical Justice have come.   It is an honorable program but I feel patients should be able to do as they wish.  Thus I just try to do a perfect job every day and care for and about all my patients.   Hate campaigns are rare but they unfortunately do occur and the internet faciltates this type of hate distribution.  Hope this helps.  My Best,  Dr Commons.


Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

This sounds like a question from the founder of Medical Justice.

+1

I do not disagree with the concept of Medical Justice (do a Google search to find out about this), and have dealt with several unreasonable patients (including several educated professionals, interestingly) over my 24 years in private practice. Personally, I have been sued once in my entire 30-year surgical career (in the first few years after I completed my plastic surgery fellowship, by a woman who felt she was "too small" after breast reduction paid for by insurance), so I have not been a "victim" of frivolous claims or excessive legal threats in my practice.

That being said, I conduct my patient consultations like I answer questions on this site--I really try my best to answer fully, thoughtfully, and with a good breadth of pros, cons, alternatives, and with understanding of the patient's concerns. I trained at the Mayo Clinic, which did not even use signed consent forms (until recently when Federal reimbursement issues with Medicaid patients forced this upon them) for surgical patients. We were always taught (correctly) that "informed consent" is not the "consent" part--the signed form that says "Yes, I agree to proceed." These forms are often pages long, contain many but not all possible concerns or risks, and are the first things to get thrown out in a court of law should issues or lawsuits arise. After all, the patient was not dragged into the operating room toes digging into the floor! Consent is never (or rarely) the issue. "Informed" is the real concern. If you can demonstrate and document and show by habit that you really DO explain an issue thoroughly, then you have nothing to worry about if a patient decides to "target you" with a frivolous suit just because you are perceived to have "deep pockets." The documentation saves you, and your staff will testify just how long you spend in your consultations, and can even regurgitate your phrases since they have heard them over and over!

Information is key, and patients not only deserve it, they sense your innate good will, honesty, and forthrightness when information is presented with THEIR best interests foremost, not an effort to medico-legally CYA!

I do believe it is ethical to "fight back" if frivolously challenged. I also strive to make patients or prospective patients disappointed with their result from other doctors understand that a poor outcome is not the same as negligence or malpractice. I have testified against colleagues who I believe HAVE breached the standards of care, are unethical, alter records, or are just plain doing something they shouldn't be doing. But most of us surgeons (including those who may also have a JD degree) understand that if you do good work and take care of your patients, you will be just fine 99.9% of the time! And if a patient who has an undesired outcome has been "fired up" by an unscrupulous lawyer to sue her doctor because he or she "promised" a certain outcome that was not achieved, I will testify for the doctor who has performed the surgery with proper informed consent, according to accepted standards of care, and with responsible care of the patient.

But I also believe it is up to us to educate the public about poorly- or inadequately-trained "cosmetic surgeons" who imply they have full plastic surgical training and ABPS-certification when they do not.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

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