Log in

No account? Create an account

Wed, May. 25th, 2011, 10:29 am
Does That Hurt? Tough

dbcooper alerts us to some medical professionals making their patients transfer ownership of any public commentary about their doctor/dentist or treatment to that medical provider. So that, for instance, you couldn't mention on FB or Craigslist how badly they messed up your teeth, or how much they charged for something, or... well, anything. Read the whole thing -- it's enlightening and appalling.

I'm very much with DBC on this: If you get one of those forms, do not sign it. If necessary, if they won't treat you without it, get up and leave. If they try to shove it under your nose in the E.R. while you're bleeding out on the floor, scream for help and bellow, "WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE FORM WHEN I NEED HELP?" And then contact the local TV news. Contact the Fox affiliate first.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)

I heard about this yesterday, and I (with my newly minted J.D.--not that it's worth much than any other piece of fancy paper, especially fancy paper that I don't actually have yet, since here I am, back in my classroom, learning about torts all over again. Thanks, Bar/Bri) had the reaction others had: "Some contract writer is making a fortune bilking doctors." No chance those agreements can hold up in court.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)

So, if I get handed one, I just tell the doctor that s/he has been fooled?

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)

So would this be extortion? "Sign the form or I'll let you bleed to death," or "Nice teeth you got there, be a shame if something bad happened to them" don't sound like they'd hold up in court.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)

I'd mention that my professional writer rates apply and that first publishing rights are ALL that they can buy. And that my agent will get in touch with them about the contracts they need to sign in order to purchase the copyrights from me. The realization that they have to pay money to acquire a copyright should shut the whole thing down pretty quickly... some of your clients do make a living at writing and by necessity know the ins and outs of the biz, doc.

Seriously, do these people think that a simple scrap of paper makes anything they do legal?

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)

Generally, yes.
(Deleted comment)

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)

It may hold up. You can speak out about it, but they own what you say so they can legally make you change or delete your public commentary. To run another example if you're hired to review a video game and you say it sucks, your boss could tell you to give it a good review because the game company is a big advertiser. You would have to change your review and it would not be covered under free speech. OTOH, you're being paid in that case.

This may be more of a way to intimidate people from giving bad reviews than anything.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)

Yes, but my response is to say that they don't get to own the copyright unless they pay for it, at the rates I dictate. And if they lose enough customers over it, they are going to be pretty hungry in very short order -- all for being unamerican. And to top it all off, HOW are they going to know that a post from Symbiont222 anywhere on the internet about his treatment is from me to enforce said copyright to begin with? How will he know that any post anywhere in the world is from me, hmmm?

Some scammer found a way to snooker the entire medical profession. I'm hoping they have the wits to realize it and ignore the whole scam as it's much ado about nothing.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)

This seems more like a free speech issue. Does a review or an opinion of a business qualify as free speech?

And how does this jive with the a doctors and medical profession's own ethical requirements?

Seems like the first couple of times this happens some canny person will take the contract holder to court because he signed it under "duress" (I was in major pain because of a toothache/broken arm/corgi related accident) or had impaired judgement (pain again), and demand his "new writers fee" of $8 a word.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)

I had a long conversation with Dr. Cirka's office manager, who insisted that the agreement was not intended to censor the truthful reviews of Dr. Cirka's patients. Rather, she said, it gave Dr. Cirka a tool to remove fraudulent reviews.


In this case, "Fraudulent" is defined as anything less than the five stars Doctor Cirka objectively deserves.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)

'Contact the Fox affiliate first', said by Tom. Words I thought I would never see....

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)

Tell me about it. But they're the likeliest to jump on sensationalistic stuff, and I think this would count.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)

I'm not a lawyer, but I've spent a few decades watching the impenetrable antics of the legal system. In general, I see that the courts can find a way to argue that any proposition, no matter how perverse it may seem to some of us, is unassailably anchored in the Constitution, precedent, and existing law. It comes down to what they want the law to be. This is why we make such a fuss about who gets to be judges, even though if the system worked the way we tell our children in school that it's supposed to, it wouldn't matter that much.

From a liberal prospective, individual rights matter, and a contract that gives up indefinite rights is repugnant and in some cases invalid on its face.

From a libertarian prospective, contracts matter, and any contract entered into legitimately is valid and supersedes the rules that would otherwise apply.

From a conservative* prospective, the rights of the rich matter, so a case would tend to come down to whether the individual getting bad treatment has more money than the medical establishment.

How the dispute is settled depends on which prospective is in control.

*The original definition of conservative is seeking to conserve the rights of the aristocracy. We don't have a hereditary aristocracy in America, but we do have a privileged rich class which is functionally equivalent, and if we try to explain what conservative means today in terms of advancing the interests of that rich class, we get a very good match of what they actually do -- certainly better than the definitions they tend to espouse in their propaganda.

Wed, May. 25th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)

Thanks for linking to the article and posting this. I'm planning to write about it for work now; if all goes as planned, it will go live on Tuesday. It's connected in the sense that I write about search engine optimization, and from that angle this looks at least like an attempt to prevent any negative reviews from showing up when someone searches for information about a particular doctor or dentist. I admit, this is not as important as protecting the free speech rights of patients, but some SEOs may be able to prevent doctors from doing something like this (or get them to stop) when they point out that there are better alternatives.

Thu, May. 26th, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)

Never sign any form someone won't allow you to take home with you.

Fri, May. 27th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)

I'd like to see the reaction of the Boards of Medical Examiners when they see this.

Of course, I'd like it to be:

"Call the AG's office! Find out if we have a rule that we can say prohibits these! If we don't, ask them to write one!"