Do I feel Bad(?)

I enjoyed the blog of Robert Lindeman (Dr. Flea) ever since doing a web search for why I couldn’t use Neosporin to clear up a case of conjunctivitis that came home from daycare (answer: you can).

In fact, I found both the above mentioned page and a link to the Dr. Flea Blog during my Google session. The Doctor, blogging anonymously, had a great blog, with a mix of medical stories, advice, humor, whining (hey, it’s a blog) and great writing. He won a Webby for Best Medical Blog recently.

I read some of the past blog entries as I had a chance, and it became very clear to me, with some additional Google searches that Flea and Dr. Lindeman were the same guy. That’s fine, I’m typically pretty good about extracting information from Google searches and figured he’s putting up there what he felt was appropriate for himself.

There was clearly some material that he could never have talked about nonymously (it’s a word now, dammit) – current fights he was having with medical establishment types, fights with ER docs and dressings-down of the same, his jingoistic support for circumcision, etc.

Over the past few months, he started talking about a malpractice case in which he was involved, and showing a bit of stress in the way he talked about the opposing council. I didn’t think it to be highly mature, but, hey, it’s a blog, that’s cool, dude.

I Googled about and found that the Mass. courts have almost nothing online, so I couldn’t find much out about what was going on, but I put in a Google News Alert for ‘lindeman malpractice’ just to see if anything came up.

Well, a couple days ago it did. Somehow, the opposing council found out about his blog and though she apparently didn’t have a great case, shoved it in his face, and presumably intended to show the jury some of the things he said mocking the jurors. They settled the case next day. He deleted his blog immediately from BlogSpot. Worst of all, he’ll never get a chance to prove in court that it wasn’t his fault (if it wasn’t).

So, why would I feel bad? As he added a few stories here and there with more and more personal details I was really tempted to send him a mail saying, “hey, dude, these n stories are giving away too much of your personal info – you should take them down until the trial is over.” I didn’t send the mail. I even started to send one one time and something came up and I didn’t compile the list of URL’s. It wasn’t in my face (it might still be in my Drafts folder) so I didn’t complete it.

If I had sent the mail, would it have made any difference? Would he have listened? Would it have made a difference in a world with Google cache? Would the lawyer not have been smart enough to figure out the Google cache? Should he be blogging anonymously like that?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I don’t lose any sleep over it, but I’m at least compelled to write this blog entry to put some closure on it. At the same time that I would have liked to have helped the guy, I do not support mandatory motorcycle helmet laws (the point of which is to protect a brain that is functioning so poorly it’s not even trying to prevent the cracking of the skull it’s in. –Jerry Seinfeld) and I don’t think his was functioning so poorly as to be unaware of the potential risks (even though he did go to the wrong Ivy 😉 ).

Here are some things I think I do know:

  • Dr. Lindeman is a bright and talented guy.
  • The medical advice given on the blog seemed spot-on. It would have improved his legitimate website.
  • The gossip also gave his readers insight, though he could not have said it on a professional blog.
  • This case is going to have a chilling effect on other anonymous medical bloggers.
  • If it were not for Dr. Flea I probably would have accepted an X-ray, hospital admission, and IV antibiotics a couple weeks ago when I put a nail in my hand with a framing nailer. I got out with a tetinus shot and $9 antibiotics and it’s healed perfectly, thank you very much.
  • I’m glad I’ve been commenting and blogging as bill_mcgonigle forever – it removes the temptation to put too big of a foot in your mouth.
  • I have no malpractice insurance.

If I were him, would I be mad at me (the real me, not the hypothetical me – ah, hell, you know what I mean)? Hmmm, maybe. But I’d still really like to have lunch with him someday and would love to read his next blog. Hey, Doc, drop me a line and I’ll setup a Typo blog on your domain pro bono – it’s the least I can do for your saving me untold thousands in unnecessary healthcare utilization.