internet libel or patient power: doctor reviews

David Kesmodel of the Wall Street Journal Online writes today about the growing number of American websites where patients post reviews, often anonymously, about the medical care they’ve received:

Doctors have long accepted that their patients share opinions about the care they have received, knowing that satisfied patients will refer others while those not so happy with their bedside manner might encourage prospective customers to seek treatment elsewhere. But when William Boothe, an ophthalmologist in Texas, saw that one disgruntled former patient was posting his complaints on the Internet, he launched an aggressive response. He sued for libel and other claims, and earlier this year a state judge ordered the material removed from the Web. The case is one of a growing number of legal battles being waged over Internet postings about medical complaints…

[article here]