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Liability? Introduction to message board?

Posted by Scott R on 4/11/01 at 19:01 (044297)

Are the doctors posting messages here liable if someone gets hurt from following 'advice' or acting on any information they provide here in the message board? Am I liable? What kind of disclaimers do we need? What kind of introduction to the 'ask the foot doctors' message board should a new visitor read before they make a post?

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

BrianG on 4/11/01 at 20:14 (044304)

Scott, do you still have the link to the MGH message boards? Maybe you could take a look at their liability clause. I can forward it to you again if you wish.

BCG

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

wendyn on 4/11/01 at 20:15 (044306)

Scott - is this not something you've checked into before?

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Cynthia D on 4/11/01 at 23:04 (044315)

I always preface my 'advice' for what it's worth by saying, 'I'm not an expert, just a fellow suffer, but....' so I have thought about this topic, I'm surprised you and the docs haven't yet! Good luck in finding a solution soon.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. David S. Wander on 4/12/01 at 08:38 (044331)

Scott,

As you know I have expressed my concern regarding making diagnoses over the internet. I am very comfortable with my academic background, knowledge and skills, but I do not feel it is in the best interest of the patients to be making diagnoses over the internet. I certainly would not make a diagnosis over the phone if a patient called, and I won't make a diagnosis over the internet. If I don't have a patient in front of me, performing a complete history and examination, than I can not possibley make an accurate assessment or diagnosis. Yes, many times the answer seems simple, but I strongly recommend that patients seek the care of a medical professional in person, and not over the internet. I do think it's OK for doctors to answer straight forward questions that define a treatment course or define a medical condition. I think it is dangerous to second guess the opinion of a doctor that had been treating a patient, with the advice of a doctor that has never examined the patient. If you seek a second opinion, go to another doctor until you find one that you are comfortable with. The liability of making diagnoses without seeing or examining the patient is tremendous, and ultimately the only one to truly suffer if an over the internet diagnosis is wrong is the patient.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/12/01 at 13:11 (044355)

Hi,

I believe that every patient that is trying to get a diagnosis without seeing a doctor is making a mistake. I can't recall any doctor or poster on this web site not pointing this out to any person asking for someone to make a diagnosis.

The expertise and experience of the doctor is going to determine the level of comfort that the doctor is going to have when answering any question. The liability question is always going to be there so long as there are lawyers out there. So I don't believe that question is ever going to be resolved to the point that the patients, the doctors and the lawyers are going to agree on.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Beverly on 4/12/01 at 13:38 (044360)

I too have thought about this. I would think this is a great potential liablity for doctors, but I'm not sure if I understand what potential liablility there is for patients dialoguing with each other. As long as someone identifies himself as a fellow patient and not a medical authority.
Beverly

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/12/01 at 15:39 (044371)

Hi again,

There is really nothing to worry about. IF there is a claim everyone that the lawyer can think will be accused of causing the liability . Don't you know that this is American. The disclaimer is important but it will never prevent you from getting a claim that accuses you of causing the problem.
Now actually proving the liability is a different story. Now let's get back to the liability of feet

So live, help and stop worry about this.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. David S. Wander on 4/12/01 at 19:36 (044395)

My concern does not revolve around the liability issue. The issue that concerns me the most is making a diagnosis over the internet without the ability to examine the patient. It is simply bad medicine. As previously stated, I am very comfortable with my academic background, skills and knowledge, but still do not provide diagnoses without examining the patient. Most of the time, the diagnosis or answer seem very simple, but without a complete history and examination a piece or pieces of the puzzle may be missing, and a wrong diagnosis or assumption can be made.

Ask specific questions regarding a diagnosis that has been made, or a question about a treatment, question about a medication, definition of a diagnosis, etc., and I will be happy to answer the question. But I will refrain from making diagnoses, and believe all the doctors on this site should follow my lead. It is ultimately for the benefit of the patients, and that's what we all want, isn't it?

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Scott R on 4/12/01 at 20:25 (044401)

I've modified the 'terms of use' for the website to help protect visitors who post messages. Agreeing to the terms of use is now more a prominent part of posting a message.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

BrianG on 4/11/01 at 20:14 (044304)

Scott, do you still have the link to the MGH message boards? Maybe you could take a look at their liability clause. I can forward it to you again if you wish.

BCG

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

wendyn on 4/11/01 at 20:15 (044306)

Scott - is this not something you've checked into before?

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Cynthia D on 4/11/01 at 23:04 (044315)

I always preface my 'advice' for what it's worth by saying, 'I'm not an expert, just a fellow suffer, but....' so I have thought about this topic, I'm surprised you and the docs haven't yet! Good luck in finding a solution soon.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. David S. Wander on 4/12/01 at 08:38 (044331)

Scott,

As you know I have expressed my concern regarding making diagnoses over the internet. I am very comfortable with my academic background, knowledge and skills, but I do not feel it is in the best interest of the patients to be making diagnoses over the internet. I certainly would not make a diagnosis over the phone if a patient called, and I won't make a diagnosis over the internet. If I don't have a patient in front of me, performing a complete history and examination, than I can not possibley make an accurate assessment or diagnosis. Yes, many times the answer seems simple, but I strongly recommend that patients seek the care of a medical professional in person, and not over the internet. I do think it's OK for doctors to answer straight forward questions that define a treatment course or define a medical condition. I think it is dangerous to second guess the opinion of a doctor that had been treating a patient, with the advice of a doctor that has never examined the patient. If you seek a second opinion, go to another doctor until you find one that you are comfortable with. The liability of making diagnoses without seeing or examining the patient is tremendous, and ultimately the only one to truly suffer if an over the internet diagnosis is wrong is the patient.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/12/01 at 13:11 (044355)

Hi,

I believe that every patient that is trying to get a diagnosis without seeing a doctor is making a mistake. I can't recall any doctor or poster on this web site not pointing this out to any person asking for someone to make a diagnosis.

The expertise and experience of the doctor is going to determine the level of comfort that the doctor is going to have when answering any question. The liability question is always going to be there so long as there are lawyers out there. So I don't believe that question is ever going to be resolved to the point that the patients, the doctors and the lawyers are going to agree on.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Beverly on 4/12/01 at 13:38 (044360)

I too have thought about this. I would think this is a great potential liablity for doctors, but I'm not sure if I understand what potential liablility there is for patients dialoguing with each other. As long as someone identifies himself as a fellow patient and not a medical authority.
Beverly

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/12/01 at 15:39 (044371)

Hi again,

There is really nothing to worry about. IF there is a claim everyone that the lawyer can think will be accused of causing the liability . Don't you know that this is American. The disclaimer is important but it will never prevent you from getting a claim that accuses you of causing the problem.
Now actually proving the liability is a different story. Now let's get back to the liability of feet

So live, help and stop worry about this.

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Dr. David S. Wander on 4/12/01 at 19:36 (044395)

My concern does not revolve around the liability issue. The issue that concerns me the most is making a diagnosis over the internet without the ability to examine the patient. It is simply bad medicine. As previously stated, I am very comfortable with my academic background, skills and knowledge, but still do not provide diagnoses without examining the patient. Most of the time, the diagnosis or answer seem very simple, but without a complete history and examination a piece or pieces of the puzzle may be missing, and a wrong diagnosis or assumption can be made.

Ask specific questions regarding a diagnosis that has been made, or a question about a treatment, question about a medication, definition of a diagnosis, etc., and I will be happy to answer the question. But I will refrain from making diagnoses, and believe all the doctors on this site should follow my lead. It is ultimately for the benefit of the patients, and that's what we all want, isn't it?

Re: Liability? Introduction to message board?

Scott R on 4/12/01 at 20:25 (044401)

I've modified the 'terms of use' for the website to help protect visitors who post messages. Agreeing to the terms of use is now more a prominent part of posting a message.