It’s not really medical malpractice news, but a Texas hospital, the Paris Regional Medical Center, has filed suit against an anonymous blogger who has been critical of the hospital’s practices, including claims that the hospital “values the individual staff member or patient less than the buck” (an allegation that some personal injury lawyers think might be applicable to more hospitals than just this one).
The Houston Chronicle had this to say:
An unlikely Internet frontier is Paris, Texas, population 26,490, where a defamation lawsuit filed by the local hospital against a critical anonymous blogger is testing the bounds of Internet privacy, First Amendment freedom of speech and whistle-blower rights.
A state district judge has told lawyers for the hospital and the blogger that he plans within a week to order a Dallas Internet service provider to release the blogger’s name. The blogger’s lawyer, James Rodgers of Paris, said Tuesday he will appeal to preserve the man’s anonymity and right to speak without fear of retaliation.
Rodgers said the core question in the legal battle is whether a plaintiff in a lawsuit can “strip” a blogger of anonymity merely by filing a lawsuit. Without some higher standard to prove a lawsuit has merit, he said, defamation lawsuits could have a chilling effect on Internet free speech.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.