As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.
Was Lindeman Flea?
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.
I’m not sure what specific relationship Flea’s blogging had to do with the case, but it’s obvious that there was one. His blog came completely down the same day he settled the case.
If you were not a Flea reader, you may not know that he was live-blogging the trial, which caused a huge stir among legal and medical bloggers. Attorneys felt that by blogging the trial and the sessions with his attorney, he was waiving his attorney-client privilege, and medical bloggers were concerned that the shutting-down of such a high-profile medical blogger would put a chill over medical bloggers as a group. HIPAA concerns were raised, particularly in the context of anonymous bloggers.
I think one of the commenters on Kevin’s post has it right, at least with regard to the blogging analysis (I have no idea about the medical analysis, since Flea never blogged the medical specifics of the case):
Flea may be book-smart but I don’t think he’s street-smart.
He failed to consider the worst case scenario in both situations, in caring for the patient and in blogging the trial while it was ongoing.
Whatever the reasons, it does serve as a reminder to all bloggers (not just medbloggers) to remember that what they write, they own, and it can work to their detriment.
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