Malpractice Suit Defendant Unmasked as Anonymous Blogger; Settles Case

The Boston Globe reports of a case that recently had a blogging-related twist. Pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman was being sued in a medical malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year old boy. While on the witness stand, Lindeman was asked by the prosecution’s counsel a seemingly irrelevant question: Are you Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case didn’t know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.

In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff’s case and the plaintiff’s lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.

With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.

The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston’s tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement — case closed.

It appears Lindeman has been running the Dr. Flea blog long before his involvement in the malpractice suit (since taken down after events of the court case). The writings on the blog were described to be “controversial yet intellectually stimulating” by the prosecution’s own lawyer, and the blog was cited often by other medical blogs and even the mainstream media. Since litigation started, however, the Dr. Flea blog had been increasingly used for putting the prosecution and the jury in a bad light.

When Lindeman admitted he was Flea, the prosecution’s lawyers then (privately) threatened to share with the Jury the contents of the Dr. Flea blog, “containing his unvarnished views of lawyers, jurors, and the legal process,” which would most likely lose him the case. Lindeman then opted for a settlement.

The disclosure drew mixed feelings from the medical and local blogging communities by surprise. Boston Globe’s White Coat Notes blog cites a few reactions here, which includes thoughts from other doctors and lawyers who blog.

Recently, Andy Merrrett wrote here on the Blog Herald about the ethics of blogging in the medical profession. Andy asks if blogging about one’s activities sits well with the Hippocratic oath. Our own editor, Tony Hung, himself an MD, says blogging is all right to some extent, but he is concerned about doctors griping about patients even anonymously.

These things are for sure. One, you can blog anonymously, but sooner or later your identity might get out in the open. Two, be careful with what you blog–these might come haunt you in the future. We’ve often heard of bloggers getting fired by employers or losing prospective jobs because of previously published blog posts. The same goes with legal cases. In some places, writing about details of ongoing cases can even be considered contempt of court.

[Thanks to Ron S. Miller for the link.]

Web Browser Guide: Working Offline With Your Browser

Firefox Work Offline Feature

While this may not apply to you, oh great one connected eternally to the Internet, for those of us who travel, live on dial-up or limited access connections, or who suffer from Internet Frequent Disconnectus Syndrome, the ability to read and view a web page offline is critical.

There are feed readers which allow you to collect feed information online and then read them offline, but this is the Web Browser Guide for Bloggers, so let’s look at how your web browser can help you get online and offline quickly and still keep working.

Why should you know more about working offline with your browser even though you hardly ever go offline?

When researching an article, I often find very helpful web pages that I want to refer back to during my research and writing. I save them in a folder on my computer for fast referral without going online, speeding up my writing process. I like grouping them together under a topic name so I can find all my references in one place quickly, without hunting. I also like storing some web pages referenced frequently as part of my blog and work on the WordPress support forums.

I also store web pages online and use the various offline features mentioned below so I can get online, open a lot of web pages, then disconnect and get on an airplane or go somewhere away from the office to read and write blog posts without being dependent upon an Internet connection.

Understanding the benefits of working offline not only helps you blog but frees you from your reliance upon the web 24 hours a day.
[Read more…]

A WordPress Developer’s Best Friend

Have you ever wondered how some WordPress blogs have all those little sections of content? You know, one list that has the 5 most recent stories in a specific category. Another section has a “aside” story. Yet another list called “news” that has a list of stories, but they never get to the main part of the homepage.

This is sometimes known as a “magazine” or “newspaper” style homepage, and although it is a bit complicated to create, the common denominator is a handy little loop condition called “query_posts“.

I first discovered it, of course, by client request. A client wanted a homepage to have a “sideblog” in one of the sidebars that displayed the title and excerpt from all the posts he put in the “sideblog” category.

In fact, the same strategy is employed here on The Blog Herald. See how in the sidebar, directly under the ads, there is a list of news? Where does that come from? For that matter, where does the feature news on the left side come from? [Read more…]

Should doctors blog? What about that Oath?

I read an interesting article about doctors who are turning to blogging as a method of letting off steam and sharing some of their experiences with a wider audience.

According to Fard Johnmar, founder of Envision Solutions, the number of health care providers who are blogging is steadily growing.

Some doctor blogs are intended for the broader public. But many, especially those by anonymous writers, feature doctors venting — about patients, hospitals, insurers and malpractice lawyers — to each other. Others dissect health news or health policy debates, minus the usual stuffiness of medical journals.

Should they be blogging at all?

[Read more…]

Quick tip: How to make the ‘Categories’ box bigger when writing WordPress posts


I’ve written at a couple blogs, including my own and Blog Herald (here), and quite often, I see that there are quite a number of post categories to choose from in order to tag my posts appropriately.

Below, you can see a typical listing of available post categories that you can use on a WordPress blog. As you can see, though, there are so many categories that the box requires a scroll bar. [Read more…]

WordPress Wednesday News: 1 Million Blogs, WordPress 2.2 Upgrade Tips, News on WordPress 2.3, WordPress Plugin Competition, and More

The latest release of WordPress is mandatory, though sadly, it also brings the loss of several valuable WordPress Plugins which have not been updated by their authors. Besides the typical moans and groans of upgrading, there is exciting WordPress news. There is a new WordPress Plugin Competition, blogs crosses the 1 million mark, we get a sneak peak at WordPress 2.3, fans of the popular Vistered Little WordPress Theme need to know a mandatory upgrade has been released, some great improvements to blogs have been announced, and WordPress developer, Mark Jaquith, takes a real job. Shock and worry shakes the WordPress Community.
[Read more…]

YPN now offering publishers payment via PayPal

Good news for any PayPal lovers who currently run, or are considering, Yahoo! Publisher Network ads on their blog: Yahoo has announced an option for publishers to have ad revenue paid directly into their PayPal account.

The threshold for receiving payments this way has been reduced from US$100 to US$50, though you may find that the benefit is cancelled out by PayPal’s own fees for withdrawing money.

[Read more…]

Web Browser Guide: Searching the Web Tips

Google Info Search provides extra links to help you find more information on a site

So far, the Web Browser Guide for Bloggers has covered some of the basic and often overlooked features and functions of your web browser, explored Favorites, Bookmarks, and History features, improving your online efficiency with button, keyboard, and mouse shortcuts, and started you on the path for using a web browser for its primary function, searching the web. In this section, I’ll cover some of the popular techniques for actually digging into search engines and finding the information you want.

These techniques are usually the same across all the different search engines, but some may use different ones. If in doubt, click on the link to Help or Advanced Search on the search engine’s main page to find out what your usage options are for that service.

You think you’ve done some searching before – well, hang on to your search hat. We’re going to explore some serious searching techniques to help you find what you are looking for on the web.
[Read more…]

Blogger broadcasts bone marrow transplant on the web

Adrian Sudbury, a journalist from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, is fighting a form of leukaemia thought never to have been seen before. To raise awareness and encourage more people to become donors, Adrian started a blog and uploaded videos of his preparations for the transplant as well as the final procedure.

“Being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia was devastating. It was a massive shock to me, my girlfriend, my family and colleagues. There isn’t much you can do from your hospital bed but I realised I might be able to raise awareness of bone marrow donation and show people what a bone marrow transplant actually looks like,” Adrian said.

After two cycles of chemotherapy failed, he was told that the only option is a bone marrow transplant. A 29-year old German woman was found to be a match and her marrow was couriered over from Germany to Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where Adrian is being looked after.

The video of the transplant showed Adrian as he underwent the 40-minute procedure, and explained how as a result his blood group would change to that of the donor and he would need to go into isolation because his immune system would need to build itself from scratch.

“There are videos of the transplant online but we think this style of blog might be a bit of a first for the Internet. I hope the videos will raise awareness of bone marrow transplants and donation.” [Watch the videos through YouTube]