Patient Gagging: Sign here before you're treated.

I wrote a post on this on Medical Spa MD, a blog I own, but since this crosses the bounds from medicine and straddles all of blogging, I've posted most of the original here:

Medical Spa MD, my blog for physicians running med spa and laser clinics, hosts anonymous comments. I made the decision to allow that after some careful thought when I first launched the site. (Of course, almost all comments on the web are anonymous.)

There are both benifits and drawbacks to anonynimity. With the number of cease and desist letters I've received I'm aware that not everyone is happy when they're pilloried in public by namless commenters. Here's a story from the AP on doctors who are asking patients to sign what amounts to a gag order befor they'll treat them.

The anonymous comment on the Web site was unsparing: "Very unhelpful, arrogant," it said of a doctor. "Did not listen and cut me off, seemed much too happy to have power (and abuse it!) over suffering people." Such reviews are becoming more common as consumer ratings services like Zagat's and Angie's List expand beyond restaurants and plumbers to medical care, and some doctors are fighting back.

They're asking patients to agree to what amounts to a gag order that bars them from posting negative comments online.

So... where to come down? The right to criticize and protect yourself, or additional protections for individuals who may be the recipient of negative comments.

A number of companies; Sona, Solana, Dermacare, medical spa frachises and consultants,, Cutera, Thermage, Lumenis... these companies have taken some heavy hits on Medspa MD from disgruntled docs. Would you want unhappy patient to have a high profile forum like this one that they could use to damage your reputation and business?