Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Warning to Health Bloggers

Last week my neurologist's office called to cancel my appointment, and I had a bad feeling it was because of this blog. Unfortunately, I was correct.

First I'd like to admit my fault. I'd never used names of doctors' offices in the past, but for some reason I did use the name of my latest neurologist's office. I also described my appointments in detail and did not exclude my frustration. After eight years of headaches/migraine, it's hard not to have feelings of frustration.

My goal in this blog is and has always been to share my struggle with chronic headaches with others so that together we can find a way to bash these painful life interruptions. You can see this in my blog's description to the left. I also aimed at keeping a positive tone, which I think I've done to the best of my ability. I've always been honest though because I don't want to put up a front; I want to express myself and be real in this blog.

Yesterday I received a letter from my (now former) neurologist, the fifth one I've seen. She discovered my blog while setting up her practice's new Web site and was not happy that I disclosed information about our sessions. I'm not going to say much about the letter because I would again be disclosing information that she doesn't want to make public, but I will say that she makes some good points. While I didn't name names, I did name the practice and did share information about my appointments without her knowledge, and that was wrong. At the same time though, her letter is pretty derogatory, particularly her thoughts on blogs in general. I personally find value in the online migraine community, and I believe that neurologists could benefit from reading our blogs every so often to understand our point of view and what we're dealing with. In fact I'm almost pleased that my neurologist read my blog. I hope she keeps what she read in mind when she treats future patients.

So my lesson to other health bloggers is unfortunately an obvious one that I somehow overlooked until now. Don't blog about your appointments in detail and don't divulge information that could identify your doctor. Yes this information can be helpful to others, but it can also go too far. Also, inform your doctor that you keep a blog and make sure he or she is aware that you write about your appointments.

Note I've removed all identifying information - whether it's in posts or comments - from my blog.