A disgruntled patient posts a critical comment about a doctor on the Internet. The doctor is furious and wants to get the comment removed to make sure it doesn't harm his practice or reputation. What can he do?

He could have his lawyer send a letter threatening a lawsuit to get the offending remark taken down. But that rarely works. Or he may attempt to flood the site with positive comments. But what happens when these tactics don't work?

Most lawsuits filed against bloggers and hosting sites (ie, physician rating sites) by doctors for defamation (or other actions, such as claiming interference with a business contract) have failed. And filing these suits can lead to unexpected negative consequences. Really persistent bloggers may continue to post. Drawing attention to the negative comments can even attract others who don't know the doctor to post negatively as well.

Dr. David McKee, a neurologist in Minnesota, learned the hard way about the unintended consequences of filing a defamation lawsuit in response to online postings by a disgruntled patient.

After consulting on an 85-year-old stroke patient, the patient's son posted derogatory comments about Dr. McKee online and filed complaints with various medical associations. The doctor sued the patient's son.

Dr. McKee's lawsuit was dismissed. The judge stated that the comments posted online were not defamatory. Rather, they were an emotional discussion of the issues. The fact that they had been placed online did not make them defamatory. There was not enough information to form the basis of a lawsuit.

However, Dr. McKee's filing of the suit drew public attention to the matter. Afterward, more than 60 derogatory and negative reports were posted against him on medical rating Websites. Most of these came from people who were neither his patients nor had any personal knowledge of him. Knowledge of the lawsuit appeared to spur anger and revenge from some who didn't even know the doctor.


More Damage When Doctors Strike Back


In another case that backfired, Dr. Jonathan Sykes, a California plastic surgeon, sued a patient who put up a Website criticizing him and his work.

Sykes performed a series of facial cosmetic procedures on Georgette Gilbert in 2003. Gilbert was appalled by the results. She not only sued Sykes for medical malpractice but also created a Website relating her experiences with Dr. Sykes (including before-and-after photos), as well as information and advice for those considering plastic surgery.

Dr. Sykes was a prominent professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. He had been featured in local and national publications touting his expertise in plastic surgery. In the eyes of the court, this made him a "limited-purpose public figure."' As a result, the court dismissed his lawsuit.

When Gilbert refused to close down her Website, Sykes filed a cross-complaint for damages and injunctive relief based on publications appearing in the Website that were allegedly defamatory and caused Sykes emotional distress and loss of business. Sykes ended up paying his own lawyers, plus Gilbert's legal fees, estimated to be in the range of 6 figures. Her Website stayed up and he got more negative publicity.



Were You Really Defamed?


To save yourself trouble and money, it's important to know what constitutes defamation, how to prove it, and how to defend against it.

Defamation is the communication of a false statement purporting to be fact and that causes harm to reputation. Written defamation is known as libel, while verbal defamation is called slander. Statements of opinion are usually not defamatory. Opinion can be erroneous and malicious. However, opinion can cross the line and become defamatory.

Rude, insulting, or offensive statements are generally not defamation. The First Amendment provides wide latitude for free speech. Historically, US courts have always ruled in favor of free speech rather than find for defamation.

Typical defamation statutes require a plaintiff to prove that the defendant made a defamatory statement which a reasonable person would find harmful to reputation; that the statement was shared or transmitted to a third party; that the statement was false (true statements cannot be defamatory); and that the plaintiff experienced damages of reputation as a result of the statement. These could include some form of provable public hatred, ridicule, contempt, or degradation which led to damages.

Defamation per se. Some statements are considered defamation per se (by definition). Plaintiffs are not required to prove that the statements were harmful to the plaintiff's reputation (state laws vary).

Defamation per se typically includes false statements presented as fact concerning a plaintiff's trade or business (stating that the plaintiff is no longer in business, can't get credit, or is engaged in illegal activity); false statements presented as fact indicating that the plaintiff has a "loathsome disease"' (eg, leprosy, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, or mental illness); false statements that the plaintiff is unchaste or sexually impure; false statements that the plaintiff has been involved in criminal activity or convicted of a crime.


What Should You Do?


Consider the pros and cons, as well as alternative ways to deal with the situation, before deciding to bring a defamation lawsuit. One way is to place as many positive statements as possible on any Website containing negative comments. Another is to ignore the comments and practice good medicine. As with any business, a loyal following will counterbalance any negativity. Some patients have always made disparaging comments about doctors. The Internet only serves to amplify the level of the rhetoric.

The time of enormous information has shown up. Today, organizations both enormous and little are finding the advantages of examining tremendous pools of unstructured information for new bits of knowledge and upper hand. That being stated, there are various waiting misguided judgments about huge information that organizations looking to effectively actualize a major information investigation stage should know about. To that end here are five normal enormous information myths, at last exposed.

Myth #1: Big Data Adoption Must Happen Right Now

With the entirety of the guarantees enormous information appears to hold, a prominent confusion is that those organizations that don’t receive huge information investigation right presently will get left in the residue. Subsequently, numerous organizations race to be among the first to send Hadoop examination stages, feeling that by storing huge volumes of information they will increase a focused edge. As a general rule, just those organizations that know why they are gathering information and what business results they plan to accomplish through examining the entirety of that data will remain to increase a genuine business advantage by actualizing Hadoop.

Myth #2: Big Data Analytics Platforms Will Replace The Data Warehouse

The misinformed idea that huge information can give the response to everything has offered ascend to the myth that enormous information examination stages are bound to supplant the information stockroom. Nonetheless, actually the Hadoop stage was intended to supplement conventional social database the board frameworks (RDBMS), not to render the information stockroom out of date. On a par with Hadoop is at putting away, overseeing and investigating monstrous volumes and assortments of information, there are different undertakings, for example, quickly preparing organized information and running steady and unsurprising outstanding tasks at hand, that information distribution centers are just better prepared to deal with.

Myth #3: Big Data Benefits Are Marred By “Awful” Data

Among the numerous obstacles that can keep organizations from grasping huge information is the misinterpretation that their information is defective to such an extent that even advanced examination stages like Hadoop can’t completely deal with it. While actually undertaking information will be imperfect as a rule, various information quality, the board and administration apparatuses—alongside information perception frameworks—are promptly accessible to assist organizations with tidying up their information and make it simpler to investigate.

Myth #4: Big Data Implementation Is Expensive

Another normal misguided judgment among organizations is that huge information accompanies a major sticker price. In reality, executing Hadoop is truly reasonable, attributable to the way that Hadoop uses open source programming and runs on item servers. Virtual Hadoop stages, for example, Qubole in the cloud, offer extra reserve funds by absolutely disposing of the cost of physical servers and stockroom space. Additionally the capacity to turn virtual servers up or down on request in minutes—enabling organizations with fluctuating outstanding tasks at hand to pay just for the processing power they need when they need it—makes cloud-based Hadoop considerably progressively moderate.

Half breed frameworks, which incorporate Qubole’s cloud-based Hadoop with conventional social databases, are another financially savvy alternative for organizations to consider.

Myth #5: Big Data In The Cloud Is Not Secure.

Ongoing prominent information hacks have served to sustain the Myth that putting away and handling corporate data offsite is intrinsically not verify. In any case, the truth of the matter is that the present endeavor evaluation cloud suppliers are continually increasing safety efforts to ensure touchy customer information. Alongside utilizing cloud security specialists, cloud merchants keep information secure by performing programmed equipment and programming updates and leading normal outsider security reviews. Obviously, organizations hoping to go into contracts with cloud suppliers ought to completely familiarize themselves with the supplier’s security rehearses so as to all the more likely protect the wellbeing of touchy data.

Fantasies and confusions about huge information are bottomless. Organizations hoping to use huge informational collections for upper hand by actualizing a major information stage must settle on sure they are settling on their choice dependent on reality, not fiction.

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